Arizona's Kahlil Tate, seen here in last year's Pac-12 matchup against Colorado, will be a primary focus of the Buffs rush defense when the teams meet again on Friday in Arizona.
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Arizona’s Kahlil Tate, seen here in last year’s Pac-12 matchup against Colorado, will be a primary focus of the Buffs rush defense when the teams meet again on Friday in Arizona.

Leading up to Halloween, Mike MacIntyre was forced to watch a horror film.

Titled “Colorado vs. Oregon State, 2018,” the video was enough to scare the Colorado head football coach.

If it wasn’t bad enough that he had to review CU’s collapse against the Beavers on Saturday, MacIntyre then had to watch film starring Khalil Tate.

“When I turned on the tape and saw 14, I definitely had nightmares,” MacIntyre said.

On Friday night, MacIntyre and the Buffs (5-3, 2-3 Pac-12) will visit Tate and the Arizona Wildcats (4-5, 3-3). CU will be looking to snap a three-game losing streak by trying to beat a player it put on the college football map.

It was just over a year ago, on Oct. 7, 2017, that Tate came off the bench in Boulder to lead Arizona to a 45-42 victory. He ran for 327 yards — an NCAA single-game record for a quarterback — and four touchdowns. Oh, and he also completed 12-of-13 passes for 154 yards and a touchdown.

“I know everybody on the team who was here last year, we all remember what happened at Folsom last year,” CU linebacker Rick Gamboa said.

That performance was Tate’s coming-out party, and he was the talk of college football the rest of the season. Because of that, he entered this year on the short list of Heisman Trophy candidates.

This season, however, Tate hasn’t been the same player.

Under first-year head coach Kevin Sumlin, Arizona is running a different offense. Tate’s not running as much by design, but was also hobbled for several weeks by a bad ankle. Tate has just 138 yards and two touchdowns on the ground for the entire season.

In preparing this week, though, CU won’t forget what Tate did with his feet last year.

“We all vividly remember him running wild against us,” MacIntyre said.

While not running as much, Tate has thrown for 1,604 yards and 14 touchdowns, with only five interceptions. Last week, for the first time in several games, Tate looked healthy as he sparked a 44-15 rout of Oregon.

Tate ran for just 26 yards against the Ducks, but scored once on the ground and threw for 189 yards and three touchdowns.

“He’s a dual threat guy,” MacIntyre said. “He can make plays with his feet and he also can make plays with his arm.”

Tate also looks more comfortable in Sumlin’s offense than he did earlier in the year.

Although Tate’s not having a Heisman-type of season, the Buffs are fully prepared to face one of college football’s top play-makers.

“On film, you see him as the same athlete,” Gamboa said. “He’s not running as much this year, but he’s been effective when he’s been in the game and been healthy, so we still have a big challenge with him because he’s probably one of the best athletes in the country. I know as a defense we’re looking forward to the challenge.”

Short-time Buff

Sumlin has never faced the Buffs as a head coach, but he was very briefly a member of the CU coaching staff years ago.

In January of 2003, CU head coach Gary Barnett hired Sumlin to coach the Buffs’ receivers. Less than a month later, Sumlin left CU to take a job as the tight ends coach at Oklahoma.


CU is playing its third Friday game of the season. It’s the first time in program history it has had three Friday games. … Arizona has rushed for at least 267 yards in each of the last six meetings with Colorado. The Wildcats lead the Pac-12 with 205.33 rushing yards per game this season. … CU has tied a school record with four turnover-free games this season, including last week against Oregon State.

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