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Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey takes national rushing lead into postseason

Ka'Deem Carey

Ka’Deem Carey is still running ahead of the competition. Photo by Russ Isabella-US PRESSWIRE

Arizona Wildcats sophomore running back Ka’Deem Carey heads into the postseason as the nation’s leading rusher.

With Arizona’s regular season over, several of the top running backs in the country played last week, including Nevada’s Stefphon Jefferson, who took on Boise State on Saturday. He rushed for 139 yards in a 27-21 loss, slightly dropping his season average to 141.9.

That is still good for second place behind Carey’s average of 146.4.

Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch has more total rushing yards than Carey (1,771 to 1,757), but he has played in one more game, as the Huskies won the MAC championship game. The NCAA rushing champion is determined by average, not total yardage.

Carey might pick up a couple of votes on Heisman ballots (voters list their top three picks), but there has been little correlation of late between being a rushing champion and a serious Heisman candidate. Not only has the award become more quarterback-centric, the rushing champion often comes from a non-BCS conference school.

The last rushing champ to win the Heisman was Ricky Williams of Texas in 1998. Since then, the best Heisman finishes for the rushing leader came from Penn State’s Larry Johnson (2002) and Oregon’s La’Michael James (2010), who were each third.

Carey said after Friday’s practice that it will be “pretty exciting” to see who wins this year’s Heisman.

As for his potential to maybe get into the top 10?

“It feels all my hard work starts to pay,” he said. “Work hard and continue to be blessed.”

Here are the top 10 rushers in the NCAA after Saturday’s games.

Rank Player Games Carries Net TDs Yds/rush Yds/gm
1 Ka’Deem Carey, Arizona 12 275 1757 20 6.39 146.42
2 Stefphon Jefferson, Nevada 12 341 1703 22 4.99 141.92
3 Le’Veon Bell, Michigan St. 12 350 1648 11 4.71 137.33
4 Jordan Lynch, Northern Ill. 13 271 1771 19 6.54 136.23
5 Kenjon Barner, Oregon 12 248 1624 21 6.55 135.33
6 Antonio Andrews, Western Ky. 12 277 1609 11 5.81 134.08
7 Montee Ball, Wisconsin 13 332 1730 21 5.21 133.08
8 David Fluellen, Toledo 11 252 1460 13 5.79 132.73
9 Johnathan Franklin, UCLA 13 268 1700 13 6.34 130.77
10 Beau Blankenship, Ohio 12 293 1500 11 5.12 125.00
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