Arizona Wildcats, Carey dominate AdvoCare V100 Bowl
SHREVEPORT, La. — In what was supposed to be a battle of the best running backs in the country, Arizona football and Ka’Deem Carey stole the show.
The Wildcats (8-5) beat Boston College (7-6) in the AdvoCare V100 Bowl 42-19 as Carey ran for 169 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries, averaging 6.3 yards per rush in what may be the junior running back’s last game in college.
“I think he’s the hardest running back in the country,” UA head coach Rich Rodriguez said. “I think he’s the best running back in the country.”
Carey said he isn’t leaning toward coming back for his senior season or leaving school early for the NFL Draft.
Rebecca Marie Sasnett/ Daily Wildcat UA senior players hold their trophy up high after winning the AdvoCare V100 Bowl Game against BC, 42-19, Tuesday at Independence Stadium in Shreveport, La.
“I just started thinking about it now,” Carey said. “I have to be ready regardless; I have to prepare myself. I’m thinking about it right now; after that game clock hit zero, I started thinking about it.”
BC senior running back Andre Williams, who won the Doak Walker Award as the nation’s best running back, ran for 75 yards on 26 carries, an average of 2.9.
Williams was also a unanimous All-American, while Carey was only a consensus All-American.
Williams was leading the nation in rushing going into the game, while Carey was second. Williams also had the most yards rushing.
Carey also had the longest run of the game, 27 yards, while Williams’ longest run was seven yards, fourth best on his team.
“I think that the staff did a real nice job; we’ve been doing a lot of substitution based on their personnel,” Rodriguez said. “We wanted to tackle him early and be really physical. Our guys up front held the point pretty good, and, on the back end, we tackled well. We got him on the ground quickly and didn’t let him get the big runs.”
Carey scored two touchdowns, extending his school rushing and total touchdown records to 48 and 52 respectively and he raised his school record of career rushing yards to 4,239. He has 5,483 all-purpose yards.
Carey, who led the country in rushing in 2012, owns or is tied for 22 school records.
“I think he’s very deserving – as deserving I was, especially because this is his second year in a row being able to pull out of such an awesome season, and I wish him the best of luck,” Williams said.
Senior quarterback B.J. Denker said Carey is the best back when you watch them up close, to forget the overall yardage and look at yardage after contact.
“I have the best seats in the house,” Denker said.
Carey broke the UA’s all-purpose yardage record during the game. The previous record was 5,392 by Dennis Northcutt.
Carey finished the season with 16 straight games of a least 100 yards rushing.
It was hardly just Carey, though, for Arizona, which improved its bowl record to 8-9-1 and has won two straight. The Wildcats have won five of their last seven bowl games.
Arizona broke the bowl’s record for most first downs with 49, tied its record for most touchdowns with six, and had the third-highest yardage with 529.
Freshman receiver Nate Phillips had 193 yards, good enough to be the school record for receiving yards and the most ever by a UA freshman receiver.
Denker was 17-for-24 passing for 275 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 51 yards on 14 carries and one score. In his last game, he won the offensive most valuable player award.
Denker scored a touchdown on a 14-yard run to cap an eight play, 93-yard drive, the longest in bowl history.
Carey actually started the game on a sour note.
After junior safety Jared Tevis ended BC’s first drive with an interception, Carey rushed for 20 yards on his first carry, but fumbled the ball away. Carey only had three fumbles in 2013.
Carey responded on the next drive, though, with a two-yard touchdown run to cap a four play, 92-yard, 41-second Arizona drive.
Immediately after Arizona return man Phillips muffed a BC punt and gave the ball back to the Eagles, sophomore safety William Parks got a 69-yard interception return for a touchdown.
“It was huge because they were controlling the game from a tempo and clock standpoint,” Rodriguez said. “We didn’t get the ball but three possessions for most of the first quarter. We felt comfortable with our tempo when we were out there. They were getting four or five yards a carry, so Will’s interception obviously gave us a big boost.”
Parks was named defensive MVP.
Senior linebacker Jake Fischer tied his career-high in tackles with 14.
BC didn’t score a touchdown until there were 12 minutes left.
This is the 10th time Arizona has won eight or more games since joining the conference and second in a row.
Rodriguez is the first UA coach to lead the Wildcats to back-to-back bowl games in his first two years.
—Follow James Kelley @jameskelley520