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Tate takes off into the stratosphere

January 1, 2018

A month into the 2017 campaign, Khalil Tate had 41 passing yards and 86 rushing yards, no touchdowns either way, and one interception.

A month later, he was the talk of college football.

Next year? The sky may be the limit for the Wildcats’ wildly exciting quarterback, who will only be a junior in 2018. Can he top his astounding 2017 campaign, which included three — count ’em, three — 200-yard rushing performances, highlighted by a breakout game the likes of which have never been seen before.

Tate rushed for 327 yards on 14 carries, an absurd 23.4 yards per rush, with four touchdowns, and threw for 154 yards and a touchdown, in Arizona’s thrilling 45-42 win at Colorado on Oct. 7. The very next week, Tate torched UCLA for 230 rushing yards and two scores, and added 148 passing yards and a score on just 13 attempts.

But, here’s the thing: It was his Foster Farms Bowl performance that truly makes the potential Heisman candidate’s 2018 odds so good. Tate threw for a career-high 302 yards and five touchdowns in a narrow loss to Purdue. If Tate can continue to mature as a quarterback — and another offseason with coach Rich Rodriguez would help — then Pac-12 defenses have plenty to be nervous about in 2018.