Ka’Deem Carey played what amounted to less than two full quarters against UNLV, but that did not stop him from making great strides toward history.
The junior running back from Canyon del Oro High School did not get his first carry of the season until the second quarter in Arizona’s 58-13 rout of the Rebels at Sam Boyd Stadium. On his first rush, Carey burst free for a 58-yard touchdown run, giving Arizona a 24-6 lead (after Jake Smith’s extra-point kick) with 14:28 left in the second quarter.
He finished with 171 yards on 16 carries, an average of 10.7 yards per carry. He also rushed for two touchdowns.
“Ka’Deem is a player and everybody knows it,” said Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez, who sat Carey for the entire game against NAU for disciplinary reasons following off-the-field turmoil following last season.
“He runs hungry. D.J. (Daniel Jenkins) runs hungry. He gives us an added dimension. Now, we just got to get better in our passing game. We made a couple good reads. The routes were there, but we just overthrew a couple and missed a couple. We’ve got to get that right.”
Arizona will not face defenses such like those at NAU and UNLV during most of the Pac-12 season. The Wildcats can afford to run, run and run again against the Lumberjacks, Rebels and Roadrunners of Texas-San Antonio Saturday in Tucson. Pac-12 defenses will crowd the box more, and present better athletes and more depth with a relentless attack.
B.J. Denker will be forced to be on target with his quick-read passes when the UA travels to Washington for the conference opener Sept. 28.
The production of Carey and Jenkins (who has rushed for 226 yards on 29 carries in two games) is more than enough to get the UA victories in the non-conference portion of the schedule. Carey especially must be a factor all season to allow Arizona to achieve at least another eight-win season.
Against UNLV, his totals surpassed personal numbers necessary to catch Trung Canidate for the school’s career rushing record and Art Luppino for the UA’s career rushing touchdown mark. Entering the game, he needed to average 133.6 yards per game and 1.4 touchdowns to reach Canidate and Luppino.
Here’s a breakdown of where Carey stands now with 10 regular-season games remaining:
Career rushing yards: Canidate gained a school-record 3,824 yards from 1996-99. Carey now has 2,525. He needs 1,299 yards to reach Canidate. That means he must now average 129.9 yards per game to reach Canidate.
Career rushing touchdowns: Luppino “The Cactus Comet” scored a school-record 44 rushing touchdowns from 1953-56. Carey now has 31. He needs 13 to reach Luppino. That means he must average 1.3 touchdowns in the next 10 games.
These averages will slightly be reduced if the UA plays in a bowl.
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.