Arizona Football

Arizona Wildcats football: How Wilson stacks up with Carey’s dominance



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Sophomore prolific running back Nick Wilson is 15 games through his Arizona career. What was up with the Wildcats’ leading career rusher Ka’Deem Carey at the same point in his career?

Arizona was 3-1 in 2012 — Rich Rodriguez’s first season — coming off a 49-0 loss at Oregon. That feels like a decade ago. Carey, a sophomore, was establishing himself as Arizona’s featured back with 423 yards on 90 carries at that point of the season.

In Carey’s career at the 15-game mark, the former Canyon del Oro standout had 848 yards on 171 carries with 16 touchdowns.

By the end of the following season in 2013, Carey shattered most of the career rushing records at Arizona, including Trung Canidate’s yardage mark and Art Luppino’s touchdown record. Carey finished with 4,239 rushing yards and 48 touchdowns.

Because of Carey’s gaudy rushing totals, Wilson’s numbers now seem at the least par for the course. His performance through his first 15 games, however, is much better than Carey at the same point in terms of rushing yards — 1,666 on 279 carries with 19 touchdowns.

The catch: Carey was a backup to Keola Antolin his freshman season. He didn’t get uncorked until he was a sophomore. Wilson was the featured back from his first game against UNLV last season when he gained 104 yards on seven carries at Arizona Stadium.

To make the production comparison of Carey and Wilson more substantial, I factored their rushing attempts as a barometer.

One aspect of Carey’s game in which he had a distinct advantage was catching the ball out of the backfield. He had 25 receptions for 287 yards and three touchdowns 15 games into his career. Wilson stands at 14 receptions for 120 yards and one touchdown.

He has a long way to go to catch Carey’s career marks of 77 receptions for 679 yards.

The following slides show when the numbers of Carey and Wilson are shown together in terms of their games played and carries. Click the “Next” arrow at the top or bottom right to continue.


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