Arizona 45, Colorado 42
How it happened: CU simply could not stop Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate, who set an NCAA Division I record for rushing yards by a quarterback, with 327. He scored four times and also completed 11 of 12 passes for 142 yards and a score.
Turning point: On Arizona's first series of the game, starting quarterback Brandon Dawkins was knocked out of the game by a late hit from Drew Lewis. That put Tate in charge of the offense, and he dominated.
CU's stars of the game
RB Phillip Lindsay: He ran for 281 yards and three touchdowns and caught three passes for 39 yards.
QB Steven Montez: Threw for 251 yards and three touchdowns.
TE Chris Bounds: Caught two passes for 41 yards and two touchdowns.
Bottom line: At 3-3 overall and 0-3 in the Pac-12, the Buffs going into the second half of the season with bowl eligibility — not a conference title — as the realistic goal.
On Saturday night, Colorado's Mike MacIntyre coached in a game for the 350th time in his career, and he's never felt so helpless in trying to stop a player.
Arizona's backup quarterback Khalil Tate, still just 18 years old, set a Division I college football record for rushing yards by a quarterback and delivered a crushing 45-42 defeat to the Buffaloes at Folsom Field.
"No, I've never been in a situation like that," MacIntyre said after watching Tate run for 327 yards and four touchdowns. "About halfway through the second quarter, except when we had to kick the field goal (at the end of the half), everything was four-down territory. I mean, everywhere on the field, because we weren't going to stop him. You could just tell. He was dynamic."
Tate was sensational, and the Buffs (3-3, 0-3 Pac-12), still trying to prove last year wasn't an aberration, came up short again.
Picked to finish last in the Pac-12 South, Arizona (3-2, 1-1) won a conference game for just the third time in its last 16 tries. And, it won a conference road game for the first time since its last visit to Boulder, in 2015.
For the defending Pac-12 South champion Buffs, they can forget winning the conference title, which has been their goal all year. Right now, they can't figure out how to win a conference game, and even bowl eligibility might be tough to achieve.
"I think you have to hit the drawing board, take it a week at a time, quarter by quarter, half by half, game by game," senior safety Ryan Moeller said of what the Buffs have to do in the second half of the season. "You have to go out there and give your best fight and you have to execute and obviously we didn't do that."
Offensively, the Buffs were as good as they've been all year.
CU senior Phillip Lindsay had a game for the ages for the Buffs, with 281 yards and three touchdowns on a school-record 41 rushing attempts.
Quarterback Steven Montez threw for 251 yards and three touchdowns, and tight end Chris Bounds hauled in a pair of TD passes.
"The offense did everything they could," MacIntyre said.
None of it was enough, however, because Tate could not be stopped.
All week, the Buffs prepared to face Arizona starter Brandon Dawkins, who came in leading the team in rushing.
After Dawkins was knocked out of the game on the first series, however, Tate took over and shredded the Buffs.
"We didn't even know his number, to be quite honest," Moeller said of Tate. "We were expecting a different guy. Someone else came in the game and we didn't execute."
In addition to his 327 yards rushing — on just 14 carries — Tate completed 11-of-12 passes for 142 yards and another score.
On his first run of the game, Tate sprinted through the defense for a 58-yard touchdown. He had touchdown runs of 58, 28, 47 and 75 yards, and went for 11 yards or more on eight of his carries.
"About his fourth time out there, I was like, 'Crud, I don't know if we're ever going to get this kid down,'" MacIntyre said. "We did everything we could. We tried. We have to do a better job on defense of corralling the quarterback. I told the offense, we're going to have to run the ball and keep him off the field as best we can."
Asked if Tate did anything in particular that made it difficult to defend, Moeller simply said, "No."
MacIntyre said it was a simple matter of tackling Tate.
"We had him hemmed up, made him change direction, stopped the original play multiple times and he just outruns us and we missed him a few times," MacIntyre said. "He made some great plays. Of course there's some things we could have done better, coached better, but we just couldn't tackle him."
In all, Arizona racked up 567 yards on just 56 plays, an average of 10.1 per snap.
Because the Buffs couldn't corral Tate and the Wildcats, they'll play the rest of the season with their backs against the wall.
"I'm pretty positive I know what's going to happen," Lindsay said. "We're going to be all right at the end of this."
Arizona 14 7 14 10 —45
Colorado 7 7 7 21 —42
First quarter: ARI — K.Tate 58 run (Pollack kick), 8:59 COL — Lindsay 5 run (Stefanou kick), 4:33 ARI — K.Tate 28 run (Pollack kick), 2:13Second quarter: COL — Lindsay 1 run (Stefanou kick), 2:24 ARI — S.Brown 13 pass from K.Tate (Pollack kick), 1:21 Third quarter: ARI — K.Tate 47 run (Pollack kick), 12:21 COL — Bobo 7 pass from Montez (Stefanou kick), 7:13 ARI — Green 1 run (Pollack kick), 1:51 Fourth quarter: COL — Bounds 2 pass from Montez (Stefanou kick), 13:21 ARI — K.Tate 75 run (Pollack kick), 13:06 COL — Bounds 39 pass from Montez (Stefanou kick), 11:02 ARI — FG Pollack 24, 8:06 COL — Lindsay 11 run (Stefanou kick), 5:04
First downs 26 30
Rushes-yards 43-425 58-300
Passing 142 251
Comp-Att-Int 11-13-0 19-32-0
Return Yards 38 17
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 0-0
Penalties-Yards 2-10 12-110
Time of Possession 24:063 5:54
RUSHING — Arizona, K.Tate 14-327, Wilson 11-42, Taylor 10-29, Dawkins 4-17, S.Brown 1-12, Green 1-1, (Team) 2-(minus 3). Colorado, Lindsay 41-281, Bisharat 8-32, Adkins 1-2, Montez 8-(minus 15).
PASSING — Arizona, Dawkins 0-1-0-0, K.Tate 11-12-0-142. Colorado, Montez 19-32-0-251.
RECEIVING — Arizona, S.Brown 6-26, Wolma 2-17, Ellison 1-60, T.Johnson 1-28, Poindexter 1-11. Colorado, Bobo 6-53, MacIntyre 3-57, Lindsay 3-39, S.Fields 3-38, Bounds 2-41, Winfree 2-23.
MISSED FIELD GOALS — Colorado, Stefanou 51.