Washington rains on Arizona Wildcats football's parade
SEATTLE — The Washington Huskies haven’t scored a safety on an opponent since playing Nebraska at the Holiday Bowl in 2010. Until Saturday, that is.
The safety that happened late in the first quarter was the first one the Wildcats allowed since 2011 against UCLA. The ball slipped through the hands of sophomore punter Drew Riggleman, who was fighting to see through the rain.
The No. 16 Huskies recovered the ball in the end zone and scored a safety. It was a gift to the Huskies, courtesy of the rain.
At kickoff, the temperature was 60 degrees Fahrenheit with winds at 14 mph and a 100 percent chance of precipitation.
Cole Malham/The Daily Wildcat Running back Ka'Deem Carey scores Arizona's first touchdown in the last seconds of the first half at Washington on Saturday.
Conditions fluctuated throughout the night. The rain, which fell sideways thanks to the wind, continued throughout the game, but varied in strength. Arizona’s performance on the field seemed to reflect that strength. The harder the rain fell, the worse the UA performed.
When the rain slowed, the Wildcats seemed to catch a break. The first half was particularly challenging for Arizona.
“The rain was coming down hard,” senior quarterback B.J. Denker said. “It was cold. The ball was slippery. First half was the worst.”
Arizona went three and out for the first five plays. It wasn’t until the second quarter that junior running back Ka’Deem Carey picked up a first down after a 13-yard rush.
“It was ugly, poor execution, bad weather, you couldn’t grip the ball,” head coach Rich Rodriguez said. “You couldn’t throw the ball in the first quarter.”
However, Carey’s performance wasn’t impaired by the bleak weather conditions.
The All-American picked up 132 rushing yards, making it his seventh-straight game breaking 100-yards and the 13th in his career. But the Huskies stopped Carey from making any long runs. His longest rush of the night was the 13 yarder, giving the Wildcats their first, first down.
Carey also scored a three-yard touchdown with six seconds left on the clock in the second quarter. Carey has scored a rushing touchdown in every game he has played this season.
He also had a career high 30 rushing attempts. The Wildcats relied on Carey heavily after it was evident the weather and the Huskies’ pressure on the outside receivers were inhibiting their passing game.
The rain, however, affected both teams’ passing game. Huskies quarterback Keith Price was held to 39 yards, with one touchdown and one interception going into halftime. Price didn’t complete a pass in the second quarter.
“It was raining so hard that the ball was wet,” Rodriguez said. “I think both teams were struggling in the passing game with that.”
Whether it was nerves, the rain or a lack of execution, Denker did not perform like a Pac-12 quarterback.
“To beat a pretty good team in their place, you have to play a clean game, in every position, but especially at quarterback,” Rodriguez said. “B.J.’s a smart guy, though, he’ll learn from that.”
But at the end of the day, Washington suffered through the same conditions, and still managed to prevail.
“Keith Price was playing in the same conditions, so I don’t have an excuse,” Denker said.
— Follow Scarlett McCourt @scarlettnoelani