The Arizona Wildcats lost to Purdue 38-35 Wednesday in the Foster Farms Bowl at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California. Here are some pertinent notes, quotes and statistics:
* Arizona lost for the fourth time in five games to finish 7-6. It’s the Wildcats’ second 7-6 record over the past three years. Since going 10-4 in 2014, Arizona is 17-21.
* The Wildcats appeared in their fifth bowl game in six years under Rich Rodriguez. Their record in those games is 3-2.
* Arizona is 0-3 all time against Purdue.
* The Wildcats punted a season-high nine times.
* Purdue’s 38 points were its second-highest total of the season and the most the Boilermakers have scored since a 44-21 victory over Ohio on Sept. 8. Purdue’s 555 yards also were its most since that game (558).
* The Boilermakers converted four times on third-and-10. Two of the plays resulted in touchdowns, including the winning TD pass from Elijah Sindelar to Anthony Mahoungou with 1:44 to play.
* Purdue coach Jeff Brohm revealed after the game that Sindelar has been playing with a torn ACL since Nov. 11.
* Khalil Tate set career highs with 302 passing yards and five TD passes. He was held under 60 rushing yards for the third game in a row.
* The Wildcats’ 128 rushing yards were their lowest total of the season.
* Receiver Shawn Poindexter’s 31-yard TD catch in the first quarter was the first of his career. He also had a team- and career-high five catches for 71 yards.
* Receiver Tony Ellison set career highs with 102 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
* Freshman receiver Brian Casteel recorded his first career catch, a 24-yard grab in the fourth quarter.
* Freshman safety Scottie Young Jr. recorded his first career interception in the third quarter.
Rodriguez on Tate: “Khalil’s a competitor. Khalil will be the first to tell you, his best football’s out in front of him. He’s a second-year player. He hasn’t even started a whole season yet. He hasn’t gone into a season as the established starter, and he is now. Knowing Khalil, he’ll work his tail off in the offseason and the summer and in August camp next year to be an even better version of himself. That’s what’s exciting about it.”
Rodriguez on the close loss: “You can look at a bunch of plays in a game like this and not be able to sleep tonight. If you make one of those, you win the game. That’s what happens in a tight game. You relive all these moments. If you had made that play, if you had called a better call here, you’d have won. It’s frustrating, but it’s a good group in there – a good group of men. If our guys aren’t mad and disappointed about losing, then they’ve got the wrong mindset. I think I know them. They’re all going to be disappointed for a little bit. But I don’t want them to hang their heads too long. They did some things this year that a lot of folks didn’t think they would.”
Tate on Arizona’s future: “It’s bright. It’s like these lights up here – they’re super bright. We have a lot of guys coming back on offense – pretty much the same team. I don’t like losing, but we like to use these as learning (opportunities).
UA linebacker Tony Fields II on Purdue’s fake kneel-down play: “The referee told us it was a kneel. That’s all it is. When the ref tells us it’s a kneel, it’s really a dead play. We can’t do anything. They don’t even want us to rush the quarterback. That’s an injury-prevention thing. They just got us.”
Senior guard Jacob Alsadek on Tate throwing five TD passes: “It was weird. Usually we’ll have three or four rushing touchdowns, and we had none. Up front, we thought we weren’t doing the right thing. Then we were trying to do too much. Coach (Kyle) Quinn did a great job of trying to calm us down, telling us, ‘Hey, it’s not you guys. The defense is playing us a certain way, so we’re going to take some shots.’ We started taking shots, and we started scoring points.”
Ellison on the season as a whole: “You never settle. Seven-and-six, that’s not what we want to be, that’s not what we want the future to be. We’ve got a lot of young guys. We’re going to use this game as motivation going into the spring. We’re going to come back better than ever.”
* Purdue had 27 first downs; Arizona had 19.
* Purdue averaged 4.0 yards per rush; Arizona averaged 3.0.
* Purdue ran 93 plays and possessed the ball for 32:05; Arizona had it for 69 plays and 27:55.
* Purdue converted 7 of 19 third downs (36.8 percent); Arizona converted 4 of 14 (28.6).
* Arizona RBs Nick Wilson and J.J. Taylor combined for 48 yards on 18 carries.
* Fields had a team-high 13 tackles, a sack and a quarterback hit.
* Defensive backs Jace Whittaker and Dane Cruikshank each had three pass breakups.