Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey deflects the question as deftly as he bounces off defenders.
Does he think much about the Wildcats’ debacle against UCLA last season?
“I think about that as much as I think about the year before, my freshman year, what we did to them at home,” Carey said.
“I remember the last time they came here, something different happened.”
Arizona, in 2011, rode a momentum boost from the mid-season firing of Mike Stoops and routed UCLA 48-12.
Last season, the Bruins dominated the Cats 66-10.
That’s a 92-point differential from one season to the next.
Arizona was down 14-0 about five minutes into the first quarter in last season’s game, eventually falling behind 28-0.
“What could go wrong, went wrong,” said Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez.
“We obviously were playing poorly and they playing well. You turn around and you’re down 28-0 and you barely got out of the locker room. I was embarrassed. And I hope every one of us was embarrassed.”
That’s certainly how UCLA felt in 2011, which is a familiar feeling for the Bruins in Tucson recently.
The Wildcats have won the past four meetings in Arizona Stadium, meaning the Bruins haven’t won here since 2003.
If there is a revenge angle for Arizona based on last season, Rodriguez didn’t play it up this week.
“What revenge? They didn’t do nothing to our families,” he said.
“They just kicked our tail. Now, do some kids have a little extra bounce in their step and want to prove themselves? I hope so. I think anytime you get embarrassed you want to try to redeem yourself, and you wait a whole year to do that. But if that’s the overriding motivating factor for us, then we’re wired the wrong way.
“I hope we’re motivated because we want to go out and prove ourselves every time we play.”
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Carey has rushed for at least 119 yards in 11 consecutive games. The last time he failed to reach triple-digits was at UCLA last season, as he was pulled early in the lopsided loss. He ran 16 times for 54 yards.
“They haven’t seen my play football,” he said.
“I’m excited to show them how developed I’ve grown since last year and go out there and have fun in our home stadium.”
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There was a time, not too long ago, when the Wildcats made a habit of beating a ranked team at Arizona Stadium in November. It happened four consecutive seasons, from 2004 to 2007, under Stoops:
|Nov. 26, 2004||No. 18 ASU||34-27|
|Nov. 5, 2005||No. 7 UCLA||52-14|
|Nov. 11, 2006||No. 8 Cal||24-20|
|Nov. 15, 2007||No. 2 Oregon||34-24|
Since then, Arizona lost both its November home chances against ranked teams, both close calls — 19-17 to No. 22 Oregon State in 2008 and 44-41 in double-overtime to 11th-ranked Oregon in 2009.
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Arizona quarterback B.J. Denker needs four yards to hold the school’s single-season rushing record for a quarterback. Ronald Veal ran for 566 yards in 1987.
Denker already holds the single-game quarterback rushing record (192 yards) and the single-season rushing touchdown record for quarterbacks (11).
* * *
Bruce Feldman of CBSSports.com picked his list of the best defensive players in college football, putting UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr at No. 1.
Barr has 13 tackles for loss, including six sacks, and four forced fumbles.
“He could’ve jumped to the NFL last spring and been a first-rounder, but he opted to spend another season in Westwood under Jim Mora and the Bruins should be thankful. … ‘Some guys seem like they ease up when they come back for one more year,’ said one NFL scout. ‘Not Barr. He’s only continued to get better and play faster. It probably won’t take him that long to make an impact when he gets up to our level.’
Arizona is 4-2 in Pac-12 games with Denker at quarterback, including last season’s contest against Colorado. The combined league record of the teams the Wildcats defeated: 2-23.
UCLA is not like any of those teams.
Arizona has done what it was supposed to do this season, checking off victories against inferior teams, getting all the way to 6-2. Nothing wrong with that, but there’s no evidence yet that UA is ready to knock off a team that comfortably fits into the top half of the Pac-12.
The Bruins are flawed — three true freshman starters on the offensive line is a huge red flag — but they have the better overall collection of players and a first-round talent at quarterback.
UCLA 35, Arizona 31.
Q&A with Arizona’s B.J. Denker: On UCLA’s defense, setting records, criticism
Greg Hansen’s Mr. Football column at the Arizona Daily Star
Steve Rivera: Last meeting with UCLA always on LB Hank Hobson’s mind
Los Angeles Times: Bruins have had tough times in Tucson