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November 23, 2013

Carey sets Arizona records in upset over No. 5 Oregon

After a rainy start, the sun fittingly came out just in time after Arizona's opening score and it continued to shine down on the Wildcats against the fifth-ranked team in the country.

The Wildcats led by 19 at the half and Ka'Deem Carey became the program's all-time leading rusher in a 42-16 stunner over Oregon on Senior Day at Arizona Stadium.

"It means a lot to this program, to me and my family," said Carey, who finished with 206 yards on a school-record 48 attempts, putting his three-year tally at 3,913 yards with a regular-season finale and bowl game left to play.

Added the Tucson native, who may have played his final home game: "I feel like I put on for this city."

Carey - who entered the second half 22 yards shy of tying Trung Canidate's 3,824-yard total - ran the ball three consecutive times, his last on a clean 20-yard scamper up the middle to break the record in the third quarter. He established the new mark with Canidate in attendance, and the stadium cameras panned to both separately during a break in action following the feat.

But Carey wasn't done with the UA record book. The Wildcats (7-4, 4-4 Pac-12 Conference) extended the lead to 35-9 on his 9-yard run with 2:07 to play in the third. It was the junior's third of the game, tying Art Luppino's all-time record of 48 career touchdowns.

Leading by 19 after a Ducks score early in the fourth, Carey then put his name at the top of the list on a 1-yard run to deliver the dagger with 8:59 remaining. All that was left was for part of the 45,777 in attendance to storm the field.

"He's a physical, hungry runner," UA head coach Rich Rodriguez said. "There were some holes, a few holes that were there. But there were also some holes that he just made.

"I could give [Carey] a candy bar but that's probably an NCAA violation."

It is Arizona's first win over a top-five team since defeating a No. 2 Oregon squad, 34-24, at home in 2007. The Wildcats also snapped a two-game slide, as well as a five-game skid in the head-to-head series.

UA quarterback B.J. Denker completed 13 of his first 15 throws and finished 19 of 22 for 178 yards and two touchdowns. The senior added 102 rushing yards on 14 attempts in his final home game.

Arizona took a 14-3 lead into the second thanks in part to its effective play on third downs. That continued, as Denker's throw on third-and-2 found Terrence Miller for a 5-yard touchdown - the seventh consecutive third-down conversion to start the contest - with 11:32 left in the half.

The Wildcats finished the game 11 of 16 on third downs.

He even added a rare, big play on special teams.

"Everything went right today," said Denker, who added a 44-yard pooch punt that landed inside the Oregon 5. "I've never played a better-feeling game."

Among his top targets, Miller finished with a career-high nine catches for 88 yards.

Oregon (9-2, 6-2 Pac-12), which lost back-to-back road games for the first time since 2007, still managed to rack up 506 yards of total offense, out-gaining UA by 24 yards.

But the Ducks turned the ball over three times, including a Marcus Mariota interception on the first play from scrimmage that ended a string of 353 passes without a pick - a Pac-12 record - dating back to last season.

"To me, that was one of the keys," Rodriguez said of the early break.

UO was just 3 of 5 in the red zone and gained just one yard through its first two possessions to set the tone.

"We did a good job getting after the quarterback and making him uncomfortable," said UA linebacker Jake Fischer, who collected a game-high 14 tackles.

Mariota, who came into the game with questions surrounding his left MCL sprain suffered two weeks ago, showcased his mobility to finally get the Ducks going. His 22 rushing yards accounted for the team's 67 total on the drive, and a fourth-and-1 touchdown pass to Pharaoh Brown - but failed two-point conversion - cut the deficit to 21-9 with 7:39 remaining.

A little more than two minutes later, the UA defense continued to slow the Oregon attack with forced fumble by Tra'Mayne Bondurant and recovery by Jourdon Grandon on a Thomas Tyner rush.

"We have to give Arizona a ton of credit," Ducks head coach Mark Helfrich said. "They were playing really hot today and their system worked really well."

Although the Wildcats gave the ball back, Drew Riggleman's 48-yard punt pinned the Ducks on their own 1.

A special teams unit that struggled the previous week in a loss to Washington State helped give the Wildcats the complete game they were looking for in every facet.

"We just dominated them in all three phases," Denker said.

The Wildcats capped the half with Carey's second rushing score of the day, a 1-yard run with 18 seconds left to extend UA's lead to 28-9 going into the locker room.

The rain was a factor early and it was bad news for Mariota's interception-less season.

Mariota's first pass slipped through his intended receiver's hands and popped into the air along the sideline. The hang time was long enough for UA cornerback Shaquille Richardson to bat the ball back in bounds and into the hands of linebacker Scooby Wright.

"When you fly to the ball, good things happen," said Richardson, who added a late fourth-quarter interception of his own to start the celebration in the stands.

Nine plays later, Carey picked up his first score of the afternoon to give the Wildcats a 7-0 lead after a little more than three minutes into the contest.

"Ka'Deem Carey was certainly as advertised as a ball carrier and we knew that coming in," Helfrich said.

Oregon quickly went three-and-out, with another dropped pass to end the drive. Arizona continued to sustain its drives, however, following up the opening nine-play sequence with a 10-play march.

Denker, who had trouble with the rain at Washington earlier in the year, completed his first six passes - including a 9-yarder to Nate Phillips to extend the lead to 14.

Mariota, who finished the game 27-of-41 passing for 308 yards and two touchdowns, eventually found a rhythm but still ran into bad fortune.

De'Anthony Thomas went airborne for a one-handed, 20-yard catch over the middle to get inside the UA 10. But three plays later, Mariota's 6-yard rushing touchdown was a negated by a holding penalty. He then fired incomplete on third-and-16 and UO settled for a Matt Wogan's 33-yard field goal to pull within 14-3 at the 2:49 mark.

"I have never been blown out like this before in my life," Mariota said.

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Tracy McDannaldTracy McDannald
GOAZCATS.com Senior Editor

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