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Ka'Deem Carey's rushing totals in his last four games have only increased, and that may be a bad sign Saturday night for the team that surrendered his career-best performance a season ago.
Carey, who owns the nation's rushing lead and longest active streak of 100-yard performances with nine, will lead Arizona (4-2, 1-2) into Colorado (3-3, 0-3) for a Pac-12 Conference showdown. Kickoff at Folsom Field in Boulder is scheduled for 5 p.m. MT.
The junior running back rushed for a Pac-12 record 366 yards and five touchdowns in last season's 56-31 victory in Tucson.
"It was a good game of execution for the line, for me, the quarterback, for the team," said Carey, who is now coming off last week's 232-yard effort on a career-high 39 carries in a 35-24 win over Utah.
And Carey is no stranger to following up big performances. The 5-10, 207-pounder collected 204 rushing yards the week after his torrid game against the Buffaloes last season.
But Colorado, although winless in the league, is not the same team in a number of areas. The Buffs are led by first-year head coach Mike MacIntyre, who brought in new defensive coordinator Kent Baer.
Regardless, the memories of Carey's record-setting afternoon cannot be completely swept under the rug.
"We should have a little fire about what happened in Arizona last year and that is the good thing about it, that is what we have to use," Buffs linebacker Derrick Webb said. "But it is a fine line. We can't turn it into a revenge game and lose focus. Ka'Deem is a workhorse for them and one of those running backs that only comes around every so often."
The Wildcats also will see plenty of changes from the CU offense, particularly at the three major skill positions.
MacIntyre decided to burn the redshirts of true freshman quarterback Sefo Liufau and running back Michael Adkins.
Lifau, who replaced Connor Wood two weeks ago in a loss at Arizona State, has completed 69.6 percent of his throws for 367 yards, with two touchdowns and a pair of interceptions.
MacIntrye told BuffStampede.com that his young signal caller has to make ball security a priority.
"He's going to get hit quite a bit in the pocket, which hasn't really happened yet," MacIntyre said. "Sometimes you're going to get sacked and you can't fumble the football."
Adkins has four games of experience, rushing for team highs of 315 yards and four touchdowns on 49 carries. He collected a career-high 137 yards and all four of his scores in last week's 43-10 win over Charleston Southern.
UA head coach Rich Rodriguez said Adkins, a 5-10, 200-pounder from San Diego, was someone the staff looked at in the recruiting process.
"He's a quick guy, runs hard and I think he's playing really well for them," Rodriguez said.
But the most important new face of them all will be Paul Richardson, a redshirt junior receiver who missed all of 2012 with a torn MCL. The speedy wideout leads the Buffs with 43 catches for 782 yards and six touchdowns.
He also is the cousin of UA cornerback Shaquille Richardson.
And the Wildcats' secondary may also have to overcome the loss of a pair of safeties for a second consecutive week. Starters Tra'Mayne Bondurant (concussion, out) and Jared Tevis (knee, questionable) landed on this week's injury report.
Bondurant was injured in the first quarter against the Utes and was replaced by sophomore Anthony Lopez, who will now get his first collegiate start. Meanwhile, Tevis' status is the same of the previous week, when William Parks started in his place.
The replacements combined for nine tackles and a broken-up pass.
But the biggest hurdle of all may be mental for the Wildcats, who are looking to avoid a letdown in the second leg of a critical three-game stretch before entering a grueling gauntlet in the final four weeks.
"We're not undefeated and beating everybody by 40 points," Rodriguez said about respecting Colorado. "We're a team that's just got to be resilient and go play our tails off."
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Click Here to view this Link.Tracy McDannald
GOAZCATS.com Senior Editor