Ka’Deem Carey, the national leader in rushing last season, is back on top.
The Arizona Wildcats’ junior, who averaged 148.8 yards per game last season, went from fourth to first nationally after his big game against Utah on Saturday night.
Carey rushed 40 times for 236 yards, pushing his season average to 161.0 yards per game.
Last week’s leader, Washington’s Bishop Sankey, was held to 22 yards on 13 carries in a loss at Arizona State, dropping to seventh.
Carey leads over Western Kentucky’s Antonio Andrews (148.0 yards per game), Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon (144.6), Toledo’s David Fluellen (142.7) and Boston College’s Andre Williams (139.7).
Carey has rushed for at least 132 yards in nine consecutive games, averaging 191.2 yards in that span.
He twice has rushed for more than 200 yards against the Utes, including a 204-yard effort on 26 carries last season.
“Ka’Deem Carey really took it to us again in the second half,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said Saturday after Arizona’s 35-24 victory. “He was really one player against us that made a difference in this game.”
Carey went from seventh to fifth on UA’s career rushing record list Saturday night, passing Nic Grigsby (2,957) and Hubie Oliver (3,096).
Carey is at 3,159, just four yards behind Mike Bell. At his current pace, he will break the school record of 3,824 yards, held by Trung Canidate, this season.
“He doesn’t stop,” Utah defensive end Trevor Reilly said of Carey.
“You have to make sure you wrap up and roll with him because he just does not go down. He’s one of those backs that always leans forward and gets a couple more yards.”
Carey is trying to become the second Arizona Wildcat to lead the nation in rushing in consecutive seasons. Art Luppino, the Cactus Comet, did so in 1954 and 1955 and might have gone for three in a row, if not for a senior-season knee injury.
There have been nine back-to-back rushing champs in NCAA history, most recently by Oregon’s LaMichael James (2010-11).