TUCSON, Ariz. – Picked to finish fifth in the Pac-12 South preseason poll, Arizona is now in sole possession of first place in the division following back-to-back wins over UCLA and Colorado. The surging Wildcats look to extend their winning streak to five games Saturday against visiting Washington, which struggled offensively in last week's 23-13 loss to Stanford.
TV: 11 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1. LINE: Washington -6.5
Quarterback Khalil Tate returned after missing the UCLA contest due to a hamstring injury and turned in a stellar outing against Colorado, throwing for 404 yards and three touchdowns in the Wildcats' 35-30 victory. "He is something else," Huskies coach Chris Petersen told reporters. "He really is. He can run like nobody I've seen in quite a long time playing quarterback." Tate was 31-of-41 passing while completing passes to 11 different receivers in last week's victory for the Wildcats, who have won four in a row since losing their season opener to Hawaii. While Arizona ranks seventh in the country in total offense at 539.2 yards per game, Washington offensive coordinator Bush Hamdan drew criticism after his unit underperformed against a shaky Stanford defense in last week's loss.
ABOUT WASHINGTON (4-2, 1-2 Pac-12)
Quarterback Jacob Eason threw for 206 yards and one score versus Stanford while focusing on senior wide receiver Aaron Fuller, who was targeted 17 times and recorded nine catches for 171 yards. Running backs Salvon Ahmed and Sean McGrew could share time in the backfield Saturday in place of Richard Newton, who is averaging 5.1 yards per carry with seven touchdowns but is questionable with a foot injury. Defensive back Myles Bryant has a team-high 39 tackles, but the Huskies need more stops on third down after Stanford held an 18-minute edge in time of possession last week.
ABOUT ARIZONA (4-1, 2-0)
The improving Wildcats defense is led by junior linebacker Colin Schooler, who became the 24th player in Arizona history to log 250-plus career tackles with eight against Colorado. Linebacker Tony Fields has 30 tackles in his last three games and had a team-high 11 stops against the Buffaloes, while cornerbacks Jace Whittaker and Lorenzo Burns each have three interceptions. Tate ranks eighth in the country in total offense at 337.3 yards per game but figures to be tested by the Huskies, who have yet to allow more than 23 points in a game this season.
1. Washington has won the last two meetings versus Arizona and holds a 21-11-1 edge in the all-time series.
2. Arizona has allowed only three fourth-quarter points over the past three games.
3. Washington has outscored opponents 84-6 in the first quarter.
PREDICTION: Arizona 31, Washington 27