NAU QB Cookus, UA’s Tate set high bar for ASU’s Daniels


Jayden Daniels has a couple of tough acts to follow when he takes the field tomorrow.

The Arizona State quarterback didn’t play last Saturday because the Sun Devils had a bye week on the schedule.  But while he was sitting on the sidelines, his counterparts in Flagstaff and Tucson stole the show.

Together they piled up over 800 yards of offense with their arms.

Khalil Tate threw for 404 yards and three touchdowns to lead the University of Arizona Wildcats to a 35-30 victory over Pac-12 foe Colorado, while up in Flag Case Cookus was shredding the Northern Colorado defense for 406 yards and five touchdowns as Northern Arizona University coasted to a 41-23 win over its Big Sky opponent.

(*Update: Daniels was up to the challenge.  He set career highs in both passing yards (363) and single-game touchdowns (4) as ASU squeezed out a 38-34 win against Washington State.)

Both quarterbacks engineered comeback victories.  Arizona was down 20-14 at the half and NAU overcame a 13-10 halftime deficit that swelled to 20-10 before the Jacks’ offense got rolling.

The Lumberjacks (3-3, 1-1) used an explosive attack of 24 unanswered points in the third quarter to climb back on top and stay there to keep their record perfect at 9-0 against Northern Colorado when the games are played in Flagstaff.  The Wildcats (4-1, 2-0) were faced with a back-and-forth scoring match with the Buffaloes until Colorado failed to convert a fourth-and-8 in a last-ditch attempt to retake the lead late in the fourth quarter.

The Arizona win makes the Cats the last unbeaten team in the Pac-12 South and gives them sole possession of first place in that division.

Tate had to sit out the previous week’s game with UCLA to nurse a leg injury, but made up for lost time against the Buffs in a crucial game on the road.  He was able to save any additional injury to that leg by getting the job done with his arm; he ran the ball just four times.

He threw 41 passes and completed 31 of those.  The three that went for touchdowns were big hits.  Tate’s completion to Cedric Peterson went for a 75-yard TD and Brian Casteel turned his reception into a 33-yard score.  The third was a 7-yard strike to Stanley Berryhill III.

Cookus’ favorite targets were wide receivers Stacy Chukwumezie and Brandon Porter.  Chukwumezie, a redshirt sophomore, finished with 156 yards and redshirt sophomore Porter was not far behind with 152 yards.  It’s the second time this season that more than one receiver in a game has gone over the 100-yard mark.

ASU’s Daniels will be trying to break a losing streak tomorrow afternoon when Washington State visits Sun Devil Stadium.  The Cougars have won the last two meetings between the two teams.

Daniels will need to put plenty of points on the scoreboard since the Cougs are averaging 44.8 points a game, tops in the conference and eighth-best in the nation.

But he may have caught a break.  The Cougars’ defensive coordinator, Tracy Claeys, just resigned.

(Photo: UA Athletics)