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CFB's most elusive player meets its immovable object

Houston's Ed Oliver is coming off a typically stellar performance, but Arizona QB Khalil Tate hopes to recapture his running game.

Before the season, the Week 2 matchup between Ed Oliver and Khalil Tate had that mythical feel to it.

There was the immovable object at defensive tackle in Houston's Oliver and Arizona's unrivaled unstoppable force at quarterback in Tate giving the usual second weekend of dud matchups and overconsumption of cupcakes a contest of epic proportions.

Then came Week 1.

Oliver, who was last season's Outland Trophy winner, continued to look like the nation's best player, earning American Athletic Conference co-defensive player of the week honors with 13 tackles -- including tying a career high with 3.5 tackles for loss -- in Houston's 45-27 victory over Rice.

Tate, however, barely registered a murmur on the enthusiasm meter in the Wildcats' 28-23 loss to BYU. After averaging 128.3 rushing yards per game last season, Tate gained just 14 yards on eight carries for a measly 1.8 yards per carry. He also threw for just 197 yards and a touchdown.

We're now left wondering if Tate, equipped with a new coaching staff and offense, can get his groove back for Saturday's kickoff (noon ET, ABC/ESPN2).

To pull off a Stella-like comeback, Tate -- and new head coach Kevin Sumlin -- needs to dive into Saturday, uh, feet first.

"We certainly have to do a better job schematically to get him more involved with his legs," said Sumlin, who admitted to holding back some of Tate's running against BYU. "That's something we have taken a really hard look at. It can only help us to get him more involved [running the football], get his legs more involved in the offense."

Here's the thing: You now have Oliver to worry about. He's a legit Heisman candidate ... as a nose tackle. He's a pass-rusher ... at nose tackle. He entered the season second in NCAA history and first among defensive tackles with 39.5 TFLs ... in two years.

He's already declared for the 2019 NFL draft, and he'll probably go No. 1 ... even if he skips the combine, because he moves like a safety and hits like a Mack truck.

No matter what your offensive plan is, it goes through Oliver, and if Arizona is going to thwart him, Tate has to be the electric runner that helped him win five games last season and gain Heisman attention.

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