ALBUQUERQUE — Arizona Wildcats running back Ka’Deem Carey won’t be shy about it.
He knows the numbers. He has a goal. If you’re going to dream, dream big, right?
The sophomore wants 2,000 rushing yards.
“I said I wanted to look at everything at the end of the season, and I got a chance to look at it,” Carey said Thursday night before a team dinner at the New Mexico Bowl. “I saw that I was close and I want to go get it.”
Carey needs 243 yards against Nevada in Saturday’s bowl game to achieve the 16th 2,000-yard season in NCAA history.
Well, Carey did have that Pac-12 record 366 yards against Colorado last month, and Nevada did give up 261 yards to Fresno State standout Robbie Rouse and is among the worst teams nationally against the run … so the kind of big day Carey wants isn’t just a fantasy.
Imagine. Not only would such a day almost certainly protect his lead over Nevada’s Stefphon Jefferson in the race for the national rushing title, but bowl game performances also help set the hype level for the following season.
Arizona has started promoting Carey under the banner of “TeamKaDeem” (see the video here). The consensus All-American is totally fine with that.
“I like that ‘TeamKaDeem,” he said with a laugh. “Keep saying it, keep hashtagging it, keep twittering it. I love it.”
The URL www.teamkadeem.com has already been snatched up, redirecting browsers to goazcats.com, the Arizona-centric site on the Rivals.com network.
Jefferson will be trying to steal the headlines — and the rushing title — from Carey, starting the New Mexico Bowl second nationally, trailing by 54 yards. The two met Wednesday night as the teams competed in various arcade games. (Carey won a head-to-head battle in Connect Four.)
“He’s a cool dude,” Carey said of Jefferson.
“He’s really humble. I like the way he carries himself. Coming on this trip, I wanted to see how he carried himself on and off the field. He’s a great dude and you can learn something from him.”
Carey can also do some teaching. He’s a high-energy, happy kid who trades in his big smile to enter “beast mode” in the pregame locker room.
“I feel like I turn into the Hulk or something,” he said.
“I drink a little Five-hour Energy,” he added, emulating ripping off his shirt and giving a little roar, “and the team just waits for that in the locker. I feel like that just feeds some energy before we go out there. It’s pretty cool.”
Two grand in rushing yards would be pretty cool, too.
Coach Rich Rodriguez says a quest for stats or individual honors won’t influence the play-calling, and Carey said he understands that.
“I feel if we win this game, I’m going to win the rest of the competition,” he said. “Winning the game is important, and I feel like the rest will come along. …
“I can’t wait until Saturday. I’m just embracing and enjoying this time up here. When it’s Saturday, it’s time to shine.”
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2,000-yard rushers in FBS history
|1.||1988||Barry Sanders, Oklahoma State||11||344||2,628|
|2.||2007||Kevin Smith, Central Florida||14||450||2,567|
|3.||1981||Marcus Allen, USC||11||403||2,342|
|4.||1996||Troy Davis, Iowa State||11||402||2,185|
|5.||2000||LaDainian Tomlinson, TCU||11||369||2,158|
|6.||1983||Mike Rozier, Nebraska||12||275||2,148|
|7.||2007||Matt Forte, Tulane||12||361||2,127|
|8.||1998||Ricky Williams, Texas||11||361||2,124|
|9.||2002||Larry Johnson, Penn State||13||271||2,087|
|10.||1996||Byron Hanspard, Texas Tech||11||339||2,084|
|11.||2008||Donald Brown, UConn||13||367||2,083|
|12.||1994||Rashaan Salaam, Colorado||11||298||2,055|
|13.||2004||J.J. Arrington, California||12||289||2,018|
|14.||2007||Ray Rice, Rutgers||13||380||2,012|
|15.||1995||Troy Davis, Iowa State||11||345||2,010|