Wildcats football wins big in opening act on road
LAS VEGAS — It isn’t that surprising that Arizona defeated UNLV, but on Saturday night, the Wildcats (2-0) dominated UNLV (0-2) 58-13 at Sam Boyd Stadium.
The Rebels could not hold back the Wildcats offense, which rushed for a total of 397 yards compared to UNLV’s 157.
It was refreshing, however, to see Arizona’s widely criticized defense step up, causing two interceptions, both of which resulted in touchdowns. Senior linebacker Jake Fischer ran in for a 49-yard touchdown after intercepting the ball in the second quarter. Junior safety Tra’Mayne Bondurant intercepted and scored a 52-yard touchdown shortly after Fischer, his second pick six of the season.
“Our defense is a little bit unique. What we do is a little bit different; sometimes it takes a lot of understanding, but I like their attitude … Since the beginning of fall camp, [I’ve liked] the way they have approached each and every practice,” head coach Rich Rodriguez said.
Coach Rich Rodriguez speaks with the media following the Wildcat 58-13 victory UNLV on Saturday.
Tremendous support came from the amount of Arizona fans present. The cheering for the away team nearly matched that of the UNLV fans.
“Our Arizona crowd was pretty vocal,” Rodriguez said. “It didn’t feel like a home game, per se, but it didn’t feel like a real hard road game.”
The Wildcats also shined on offense. Senior quarterback B.J. Denker said that the dynamic duo of running backs Ka’Deem Carey and Daniel Jenkins will be a force to be reckoned with.
Carey referred to himself and Denker as the thunder and lightning duo.
Despite the high-scoring win, Denker still said that he thought he could have improved his passing game.
“I couldn’t execute. I couldn’t hit water if I fell out of a boat,” Denker said. “I’m pretty disappointed in that. I’m gonna have to keep working on that.”
Rodriguez justified Denker being hard on himself.
“He should be. But that is [what] I like … our guys that are competitive,” Rodriguez said. “B.J. is a competitive guy, and he knows what he can do better.”
Carey entered the game in the second quarter after knowing he would miss the first and accounted for 171 of Arizona’s 397 total rushing yards. His first play of the game was a 58-yard run into the end zone.
“As he ran, I thought, ‘That’s a hell of a welcome back,’” Denker said.
Carey said he was beyond thrilled to get back on the field after watching from the sidelines during week one and not starting against UNLV.
“It hurt so bad,” Carey said. “It’s just a humbling experience just to see your team go out there and just slate. You just want to go out there and be a part of that team.”
The Heisman contender said he was not nervous about returning until it was his turn to step out onto the field.
“When they were about to call my name and say I was about to go in, I was nervous,” he said. “It was great, though.”
Denker said he was delighted to have his fellow teammate back. After all, Carey is the thunder to his lightning.
—Follow Megan Coghlan @MeganCoghlan