Arizona’s suspension of junior running back Ka’Deem Carey against NAU on Friday night was merited following his off-the-field negative publicity since the end of the 2012 season.
Although misdemeanor assault and disorderly conduct charges from last December were dropped, Carey made national headlines for the wrong reasons. His removal from an Arizona basketball game by university law enforcement in late January is something Rodriguez could not brush aside.
Rich Rodriguez let the nation know he is not one for first-half suspensions. He sat his All-American running back for the entire game. Some may argue that a suspension against NAU is not a penalty because the game lacks magnitude.
Not true. The suspension was very important because of Carey’s personal goals and his opportunity to break a couple of significant Arizona career rushing records.
That could have been Carey rushing for a 91-yard touchdown against NAU instead of Daniel Jenkins. The Football Gods smiled upon Jenkins, who has paid his dues. He flirted with the idea of transferring to Washington State after last season, but remained true to his commitment to compete for Arizona.
Carey has visions of grandeur after topping the nation with 1,929 rushing yards last season. He believes he is a Heisman candidate. He uses the hashtag #HeismanYear. He should believe in that opportunity. Nobody is eliminated from the race after one game, but Carey’s suspension can be a stigma in the eyes of Heisman voters for the remainder of the season.
He also has a chance to become Arizona’s career rushing leader and the Wildcats’ career leader in rushing touchdowns, but the challenge became more difficult with his suspension against NAU.
This is what Carey must average in the next 11 regular-season games to break the record in each category:
Career rushing yards: Trung Canidate gained a school-record 3,824 yards from 1996-99. Carey stands at 2,354. He needs 1,470 yards to reach Canidate. That means he must now average 133.6 yards per game to reach Canidate.
Career rushing touchdowns: Art Luppino “The Cactus Comet” scored a school-record 44 rushing touchdowns from 1953-56. Carey has 29. He needs 15 to reach Luppino. That means he must average 1.4 touchdowns in the next 11 games.
These averages will slightly be reduced if the UA plays in a bowl.
The marks are still attainable. Carey averaged 144.4 yards and 1.77 touchdowns a game last season. The significant difference is Rodriguez will likely use Jenkins more this season.
WILDABOUTAZCATS.net publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes blogs for Lindy’s College Sports, TucsonCitizen.com and Sports Illustrated-sponsored site ZonaZealots.com.