Ka'Deem Carey has wanted one thing above all for the past month: respect.
That was the junior running back's answer when asked what he would like his yet-to-be-returned NFL evaluation to reveal. On Tuesday, Carey will have the opportunity to command the respect of an entire nation.
The nation's second-leading rusher will lead Arizona (7-5) against Boston College (7-5) and top rusher Andre Williams, the Doak Walker Award winner, in the AdvoCare V100 Bowl in Shreveport, La. Kickoff at Independence Stadium is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. local Tucson time.
"You've got two of the most talked about running backs in the country and a lot of people are going to be tuned in to watch Andre and Ka'Deem," UA head coach Rich Rodriguez said. "That, in itself, is motivating."
Carey, who led the nation in rushing last season, finished with 1,716 rushing yards and averaged 156 per game while running his nation-leading streak to 15 consecutive games with at least 100.
He also earned consensus All-American honors for a second year in a row, but his future remains a question that will have to wait for an answer until after the bowl game.
"Last game or not, this game is big for me and my career," said Carey, who was a finalist for the honor given to the nation's top running back. "And for next year, it would be nice to have a bowl game win to continue on to next year.
"I need to go out there in style, I need to perform. I need to have a good game and just go out there and enjoy it, have fun like I always do."
But it was Williams who was showered with the individual accolades and the Heisman Trophy presentation invite. The senior ran for 2,102 yards and finished with a per game average that is more than 19 yards better than Carey's.
Williams' 2,000-yard season is the 16th in NCAA history and ranks ninth all-time in single-season yardage. He needs 84 to pass Iowa State's Troy Davis for fourth on the list.
"If you don't get enough guys in the box, they're going to torch you," UA linebacker Jake Fischer said. "We're taking it as a big challenge."
Fischer will be among the 17 Wildcats who will officially be done with their collegiate careers as soon as the final whistle blows. Among that list is quarterback B.J. Denker, who entered the season as the default starter and started off shaky before settling in to throw for 2,241 yards and 14 touchdowns and run for another 898 yards and 12 scores.
But the pressure from the outside world during his early gameday struggles was nothing compared to the words directed his way in practice, Rodriguez said.
"I was on him so hard in August and stayed on him pretty much," Rodriguez added. "But I think he's grown an awful lot in two short years in the program. … For a first-year starter and a second-year player, I think he's done pretty well."
The Wildcats are in search of back-to-back eight-win seasons capped by bowl wins. The Eagles are seeking their first bowl win in six years
This is the first meeting between the programs.
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Click Here to view this Link.Tracy McDannald
GOAZCATS.com Senior Editor