First-year Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre wasn’t around to see Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey run for 366 yards against the Buffs last season.
But he’s had to relive the nightmare many times while preparing for Saturday’s home game against the Wildcats.
“I get a headache the more I watch him on film,” MacIntyre said Tuesday on the Pac-12 coaches media teleconference.
“He’s an incredible player. The thing that amazes me about him — everybody knows his ability to cut and all that — is he is extremely tough and physical.
“When he doesn’t have a place to go, he tries to punish the guy trying to tackle him. If there is a better running back in America, I would like to see him. He’s the best I’ve seen in a long, long time.”
Carey, on only 25 carries against Colorado last year, scored five touchdowns and set the Pac-12 single-game record with 366 rushing yards. That is the ninth-best total in NCAA history.
He had runs of 13, 10, 30, 26, 21, 46, 14, 14, 10, 71 and 64 yards in a 56-31 victory.
“We didn’t play assignment-sound football,” Colorado linebacker Brady Daigh told the Boulder Daily Camera. “That’s pretty much what it comes down to. People didn’t do their job. People tried to start making plays for other people and that opens up big gaps.
“… On defense, we just got down in that game and once you blow one assignment, it’s a lot easier to start blowing more.”
Carey is coming off a 40-carry, 236-yard performance in a win against Utah last Saturday and is the nation’s leading rushing at 161.0 yards per game.
How to stop him?
“Maybe him spraining his ankle when he gets off the bus,” MacIntyre said.
“He is really, really good. We have to stay gap conscious. … We have to tackle him well and gang tackle him. It’s not usual that one guy gets him down.”
Arizona quarterback B.J. Denker is second on the team with 54.5 rushing yards per game, making him the second-best rushing quarterback in the Pac-12 behind Oregon’s Marcus Mariota (70.4 yards per game).
“The quarterback can really run, too,” MacIntyre said, “so that puts you in some real predicaments.”