Latest Team Rankings
Free Text Alerts
|ShopMobileRadio RSSRivals.com Yahoo! Sports|
|College Teams||High Schools|
November 2, 2013
Ka'Deem Carey continued his tear on the Arizona record books and true freshman Samajie Grant set a career high in catches Saturday to help make the Wildcats bowl eligible.
But for a second consecutive week, it was quarterback B.J. Denker who stole the show with both his left arm and legs.
A week after establishing a personal best in rushing yards, the senior ran for a career-high three touchdowns in Arizona's 33-28 road win over California at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley.
The Wildcats (6-2, 3-2 Pac-12 Conference) are bowl eligible for the second time in as many seasons under head coach Rich Rodriguez. Arizona also remained a game behind first-place Arizona State in the South division.
"It's a good road win in the Pac-12," Rodriguez said in a release, "and we've got a lot of big games coming up."
Denker netted 44 yards on the ground and threw for 261 more and a score on 24-of-38 passing for Arizona, which generated 448 yards of total offense. Carey added 152 rushing yards, setting a school record with his 11th consecutive 100-yard performance, and Grant made nine catches for 78 yards.
Carey moved past Art Luppino (3,381 yards) into third place on UA's all-time rushing list. The junior now has 3,426 yards for his career. Next on the list is Ontiwaun Carter's 3,501 yards.
"When you've been playing a long time you just kind of know," Carey said of his total. "You get a feel for how the game's going and you can estimate. I don't know how many yards I ended up with but I knew about when I got to 100. But more importantly, the team got the win and that's what you play the game for."
Cal (1-8, 0-6 Pac-12, which racked up 419 yards, received three touchdown catches from receiver Kenny Lawler in a losing effort.
The Wildcats attempted to erase any chances of a letdown early in the second half.
Leading 19-14 and sputtering to open the third quarter, Denker found Terrence Miller on a short, third-and-10 pass that the senior turned into a 60-yard gain - the longest pass play of the season for Arizona.
Denker capitalized with his second rushing score of the afternoon at the 12:32 mark in the third quarter to give the Wildcats a double-digit advantage.
"The defense really loaded up against Ka'Deem," Denker said. "They didn't want him to have the ball, so I knew I was going to have to carry it some and take some shots. Yeah, I'm a little banged up, but they geared toward stopping Ka'Deem and I was able to take advantage."
The defense responded immediately with a pair of plays in short-yardage situations to force a Cal punt. William Parks, who collected his first career interception last week at Colorado, soared for a pass deflection and near interception. The Bears then failed to move the chains on third-and-1 after a host of defenders swooped in for the stop.
But Cal eventually got the ball back and was aided by the UA defense.
Jourdon Grandon was flagged for a late hit after a 9-yard run and slide by Cal quarterback Jared Goff, putting the ball inside the Arizona 10 after the play. Lawler pulled in a one-handed catch from three yards out for his second touchdown, cutting the deficit to 26-21 late in the quarter.
"His ball skills are pretty special," Cal head coach Sonny Dykes said of the redshirt freshman Lawler. "He can do things catching the football; some of the things he can do as far as making plays on the football are pretty special."
The Bears had complete control of momentum and had possession again. That changed in a hurry, however. Inside the final 90 seconds, Jonathan McKnight intercepted Goff at the Cal 27-yard-line and Denker ran for his third touchdown with seven seconds to play in the third.
Denker's 11 rushing touchdowns are a single-season record for an Arizona quarterback, two more than any other signal caller.
Grandon then made up for his penalty early in the fourth, intercepting Goff in the end zone to help hold off Cal. The pick was the team's 12th of the season, matching its total from last season.
"They were huge," Rodriguez said of the interceptions. "We didn't get a lot of pressure on the quarterback when we sent three, but on the one fourth-down play, when we went cover-zero and coach (Jeff) Casteel sent them all, I thought that was huge. That got (Cal) off the field with less than five minutes to go, so he mixed it up just well enough."
Goff finished 34-of-56 passing for 289 yards, with four touchdowns and two inteceptions. Lawler added his third touchdown of the day, a 29-yard catch with 1:42 left, to finish with six catches for 72 yards.
After scoring on its first drive, the Cal offense managed just three total yards over its next five possessions.
Leading 9-7, the Wildcats pushed the lead to five on Jake Smith's career-long 53-yard field goal with 12:54 left in the half. It also was the school's longest field goal since Nick Folk connected from the same distance in 2004.
Smith would later miss short from 55 just before the end of the half.
Arizona extended the advantage to 19-7 on Nate Phillips' 21-yard touchdown reception, giving the 5-7 receiver a score in each of his last four games.
"Those guys - Scooby Wright, Nate Phillips, Samajie Grant - are studs," Denker said of the contributions from the true freshmen. "Last year they're playing high school football, they just got their diplomas, and now they're playing big-time Pac-12 football. That's a credit to them working hard and to our coaches' recruiting."
Wright finished with a career-high 11 tackles - including three for a loss.
The Bears broke out of their slumber with a 63-yard drive capped by a 17-yard catch by Lawler, trimming the deficit to 19-14 at the 6:04 mark.
Inside the final minute, Carey topped the century mark on runs of 11 and 17 yards.
Cal took advantage of a pair of defensive breakdowns on the game's opening drive to get on the board first.
Anthony Lopez was flagged for pass interference on a third-and-20 to move the Bears in the red zone. Cal then converted on a fourth-and-2 from the 15 to setup an 11-yard touchdown reception by Khalfani Muhammad with 10:38 left in the quarter.
The Wildcats quickly responded, scoring in less than 2 1/2 minutes. Three Denker passes to Grant and 23 rushing yards from Carey setup Denker's nine-yard score to tie the game at 7.
After missing out on a safety on the next defensive drive, Arizona picked it up on Cal's third possession.
The Bears' defense stuffed Carey on a fourth-and-goal from the 2 to take over on downs. But on the first play of the ensuing drive, Wright and Jared Tevis knocked Darren Ervin back in the end zone to give Arizona the 9-7 lead inside the final two minutes of the first quarter.
GOAZCATS.com Senior Editor
Follow Tracy on Twitter