The Arizona Wildcats came into Saturday's game at home against the Colorado Buffalo's, wounded, embarrassed and angry. In what can only be described as a monumental collapse and a sheer spanking against UCLA in Westwood just 7 days prior, Rich Rod's team looked to bounce back. And bounce back they did.
Usual starter under center for the Wildcats, Matt Scott sat out this contest due to a concussion. So the reigns were handed over to first time starter B.J Denker.
Looking a little shaky and one might even say understandably so, the first quarter saw the Cats fall to the Buffalo's 10-7. However, after some momentum and rhythm was gained on the offensive side of the ball, Denker looked like a season vet, and the Wildcat scoreboard began to light up in their favor.
The day was a momentous one not only for the Arizona team, as they trounced Colorado 56-31 after all was said and done, but more so for its superb and multi record setting performance by its star on the day, running back Ka'Deem Carey.
Carey certainly earned his keep early on Saturday morning, as the Cats played the earliest game in Arizona Stadium since 1983 when the first whistle blew at 10:30am in the desert. Sitting out the last half of the fourth quarter, probably to replenish with fluids and rest his body, Carey still rushed for an eye popping 366 yards on just 25 carries. Along with this video game like performance, came 5 touchdowns.
That's an average of almost 15 yards a carry!
His numbers on the day set a new career record for yards and touchdowns in his young career, Arizona school records for single game touchdowns and single game yardage, and also a Pac-12 record for yards in one game. Quite the day for Tucson native, having the home crowd behind him sure seemed to help.
While Ka'Deem racked up the yards, he also rushed past one of the all time greats at Arizona; Trung Canidate. The former Wildcat had the previous school record of yards in a single game, which stood at 288 until Saturday morning. There had already been whispers and mentions of Ka'Deem Carey surpassing Canidate someday, but nobody ever thought it would be in the single game rushing category, more so for the career yards. As of now, the record held by Trung is 3,340 yards. Carey is well on his way to surpassing that mark too.
Lets put this absolutely phenomenal performance into perspective for those whose jaws have still not dropped to the floor. Just last week, Kenjon Barner rushed for 321 yards on 38 carries and scored 5 touchdowns. He set a University of Oregon record in the process. Now, Carey had the same amount of touchdowns, but more yards on less carries; his numbers speak for themselves. It was quite the outing for Carey, and perhaps it was a coming out party of sorts. The buzz around Carey has been mediocre at best this season, granted the Pac-12 is loaded with talent in the backfield, but Carey deserves a look on some big time award lists. This game should put his name into the mix.
Granted, you naysayers will sit and say that he tore apart a Colorado defence that is close to last in defending the run in the entire nation, however, 366 yards is an amazing feat, no matter who you play against. In fact, Carey may have even tied or broken the NCAA all time single game rushing record if he had played all four quarters. The record was set by the incomparable Ladanian Tomlinson in his TCU days, which stands at 406 yards (LT did it on just 46 carries).
So, this was indeed an amazing weekend for College football, and many may have snoozed right through this early game, but I sure as heck didn't. This is a wonderful achievement no matter how you break it down. Ka'Deem Carey deserves some recognition and a heck of a lot of congratulations. I can only imagine the feast that his rookie quarterback and his stellar offensive linemen will receive from him, but I hope its good.
It seems that Coach Rich Rodriguez and his staff have found the perfect blend of players to fit the system. Arizona is now bowl eligible and have a few winnable games down the stretch. Don't sleep on the Wildcats, they're coming for their respect.