Arizona Wildcats freshman linebacker Scooby Wright grew up about an hour north of Berkeley, Calif.
Not that the Cal Bears ever noticed.
Wright’s team-high 8.5 tackles in Arizona’s 33-28 win on Saturday was his revenge.
“It was pretty cool because Cal didn’t recruit me at all,” he told 1290-AM (KCUB). It was pretty cool to come back and play in my hometown and beat Cal on their field. That was a special feeling for me.”
With a few dozen family and friends in the stands wearing “Scooby’s Crew” T-shirts, Wright had three tackles for loss, including a share of the safety late in the first quarter. Wright and safety Jared Tevis combined to bring down Darren Ervin for a 3-yard loss late in the first quarter.
Wright, from Cardinal Newman High in Santa Rosa, Calif., went unnoticed by most of the Pac-12 until Arizona offered him a scholarship the June before his senior season. He accepted that month.
Wright has been quite a two-star find for coach Rich Rodriguez and his staff. He leads the team with 57.5 tackles.
“He’s been a great player all year and he had to be today because Jake Fischer didn’t play,” Rodriguez said on radio.
Fischer, the team’s middle linebacker in its 3-3-5 scheme, was out because of a knee injury. Arizona often played with six defensive backs, with Wright and Marquis Flowers at linebacker.
Junior running back Ka’Deem Carey exceeded 100 yards for the 11th consecutive game, setting a school record in that category. He finished with 32 carries for 152 yards.
He had a 42-yard run nullified by penalty. His long run was 21 yards as Cal focused on not giving him any room at all.
“Cal did a good job of loading up the box,” Carey told reporters.
“It seemed like they were really focusing on stopping me, but you come into games expecting that and you adjust. B.J. (Denker) did a good job of keeping it on some and making some big runs at the end of the game.”
–Improved his career total to 3,426 rushing yards, passing Art Luppino (3,381) into third place in the school record book. Ontiwuan Carter is No. 2 (3,501) and Trung Canidate (3,824) leads the way.
–Remained five rushing touchdowns behind Luppino, who holds the school record with 44. Carey had rushed for a touchdown in 13 of his past 14 games heading into Saturday.
–Is averaging 26.9 carries per game, well above the UA season-record of 24.4, set by Carter in 1994.
Here are B.J. Denker’s passing stats for the past four games: 91 of 144 (63.2 percent) for 1,057 yards, with seven touchdowns and one interception.
He also has rushed for 283 yards and five touchdowns in that span, with three of those scores coming Saturday.
Arizona is bowl eligible at 6-2 overall. If the Cats indeed go to the postseason, Rodriguez would earn $75,000 for taking the team to a non-BCS bowl game.
(According to USA Today, ASU coach Todd Graham has a sweeter bonus, taking home $191,667 — one month of a $2.3 million annual salary — for a non-BCS bowl.)
As a refresher, here are the Pac-12′s bowl arrangements:
Champ — BCS (title game or Rose Bowl)
No. 2 — Alamo vs. Big 12
No. 3 — Holiday vs. Big 12
No. 4 — Sun vs. ACC
No. 5 — Maaco Bowl Las Vegas vs. Mountain West
No. 6 — Kraft Fight Hunger vs. BYU (already accepted bid)
No. 7 — New Mexico Bowl vs. Mountain West
UCLA, which plays at Arizona next Saturday (8 p.m., ESPN), defeated Colorado 45-23 on Saturday night to improve to 6-2 overall and 3-2 in the Pac-12, the same records as Arizona.
The Bruins were ranked 17th in last week’s AP poll.
Arizona started 0-3 in conference play last season, so it never played a pivotal game in the Pac-12 South race. In that regard, this will be the biggest game of Rodriguez’s two years at Arizona.