Arizona Wildcats running back Ka’Deem Carey, despite missing stretches of the second half because of injury, improved his national-best rushing average with 25 carries for 172 yards and one touchdown against Arizona State on Friday night.
Carey said last week he has been bothered by a bruised collarbone and other injuries.
Carey had only six carries after halftime. Backup Daniel Jenkins had 20 rushes in the second half.
“He was banged up before the game,” coach Rich Rodriguez said of Carey after the 41-34 loss to the Sun Devils.
“He was banged up last week (at Utah). He got banged up again. He wasn’t able to go as much, but I think D.J. did a nice job when he went in there.”
Carey, who entered the game leading the nation with 144.1 yards per game, did break the school season rushing record early in the game. He zoomed past Trung Canidate (1,602 yards, 1999) and sits at 1,757 at the end of the regular season. That’s 146.4 yards per game.
His closest competitor nationally is Nevada’s Stefphon Jefferson, who entered this week 19 yards behind Carey. The Wolf Pack plays host to Boise State on Dec. 1.
Carey’s lone touchdown run against Arizona State — a Superman-style leap over safety Alden Darby from 1-yard out — to give the Cats a 6-0 lead in the first quarter. He has 20 touchdown runs, and can aim for the school season record of 21, set by Art Luppino in 1954, in the bowl game.
Carey has rushed for 742 yards in the past three games.
I don’t understand how the kid from Arizona gets no hype he’s leading the nation in rushing just saying
— LaMichael James (@LaMichaelJames) November 24, 2012
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Rodriguez and Arizona State coach Todd Graham mostly danced around the issue leading up to the game, but it’s clear there is a chilly relationship between the coaching staffs.
Rodriguez and Graham managed only a cursory handshake after the game.
According to Craig Morgan of FoxSportsArizona.com, Graham later quipped about Rodriguez, “He didn’t have much to say.”
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The loss to Arizona State cost Rodriguez $30,000. That’s the bonus he would have received if the Wildcats had finished ranked 16th to 25th in the BCS standings.
Arizona was 24th last week and presumably would have at least maintained its position with a victory.
Rodriguez will earn a $75,000 bonus for getting to a non-BCS bowl game.
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Arizona junior nose tackle Tevin Hood — who had been a topic of discussion during the week because his younger brother, Jaxon, is a nose tackle for ASU — led the Wildcats with 10 tackles.
Hood started in place of Sione Tuihalamaka, who played in a reserve role. Hood said Tuihalamaka suffered a shoulder injury in last week’s game at Utah.
Hood was one of four walk-ons who started on defense, the others being linebacker Sir Thomas Jackson and safeties Jared Tevis and Vince Miles.
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Arizona wide receiver Dan Buckner, bothered by an ankle injury, played early in the game but then had to sit out after not making a catch.
“We were worried we weren’t going to be able to do much coming in,” Rodriguez said. “Dan tried, but he just couldn’t push off on the ankle.”
The passing game was out of sync most of the night. Quarterback Matt Scott was just 19 of 39, missing at times when receivers were running different routes than he anticipated.
“It affects us a lot, especially me,” receiver Austin Hill said of Buckner’s absence.
“We didn’t have our senior leader out there today and somebody had to step up. … It’s kind of weird not having Dan out there, just because I have to play a little bit more outside than I want.”
Hill, who usually plays in the slot, finished with five catches for 70 yards and a touchdown. The team’s leading receiver was slot receiver Garic Wharton, who finished with career highs of six catches for 89 yards.
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The visiting team has won the past four games in the Arizona-Arizona State rivalry. … The Sun Devils have won five of the past seven games in Tucson. … Seven of the past nine UA-ASU games have been decided by a touchdown or less. … ASU fifth-year senior linebacker Brandon Magee had a game-high 17 tackles, including three for loss. Magee, on ASU clinching its first winning season since 2007: “It just feels nice to start changing things with this program. It feels great to leave on a positive note.” … Arizona and ASU will each have a winning season for the first time since 1997.
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Freshman linebacker Dakota Conwell tweeted this after the game:
That one hurts as bad if not worse than any. Sorry to our senior we played as hard as we could. All we can do is get em for you next year.
— Dakota Conwell (@Dakota_Back) November 24, 2012