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Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey loses ground in national rushing race

Ka'Deem Carey is on his way to a 30-yard TD run vs. Washington State. Photo by Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Ka’Deem Carey is on his way to a 30-yard TD run vs. Washington State. Photo by Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Ka’Deem Carey’s chances of repeating as the NCAA rushing champion took a big hit Saturday.

As the Arizona Wildcats junior was turning in a fine statistical day in a 24-17 upset loss to Washington State, Boston College’s Andre Williams was putting the finishing touches on the best rushing performance of the season by an FBS player.

Williams, who entered Saturday leading the nation in rushing, ran for 339 yards in a win over North Carolina State.

He stretched his lead over second-place Carey from 10.8 yards per game to 30.7 yards per game (see chart below).

Carey ran 26 times for 132 yards against the Cougars, including a 30-yard touchdown burst that was only his third rush this season of at least 30 yards. He had eight such runs last season, which shows how packed defenses have been against Carey in 2013 as they don’t have to respect Arizona’s passing game as much.

He still has managed to rush for at least 119 yards in 13 consecutive games.

Carey averaged 148.3 yards per game last season and is at 150.3 this year.

Based on his average, he will break the Arizona career rushing record on Saturday against Oregon. Carey has 3,707 career yards on the ground, needing 118 to break the record of 3,824 held by Trung Canidate. Also on the record watch, Carey has 41 rushing touchdowns, three away from matching Art Luppino’s career mark.

Carey also caught six passes for 45 yards and a touchdown Saturday, showing the all-around skills that put him in first-round range in the NFL Draft.

Carey is trying to become the 10th back-to-back rushing champion in NCAA history. It was first done by Luppino in 1954 and 1955 and most recently accomplished by Oregon’s LaMichael James in 2010 and 2011.

Here are the nation’s top five rushers (Williams and Carey are also Nos. 1 and 2 in rushes per game; Williams at 28.8 per game and Carey at 26.9):

Rk Player, team Cl G Rush Yds YPG
1. Andre Williams, Boston College Sr. 10 288 1,810 181.0
2. Ka’Deem Carey, Arizona Jr. 9 242 1,353 150.3
3. Antonio Andrews, Western Ky. Sr. 10 226 1,407 140.7
4. Bishop Sankey, Washington Jr. 10 249 1,396 139.6
5. Branden Oliver, Buffalo Sr. 9 238 1,225 136.1
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