Ready, set, run.
The AdvoCare V100 Bowl — formerly known as the Independence — has lined up the premier running back battle in the postseason, a storyline that broadcast partner ESPN will be only too happy to promote.
It’s Boston College’s Andre Williams vs. Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey.
No. 1 in the nation in rushing (175.2 yards per game) vs. No. 2 (156.0).
“Let the show begin,” Carey said.
“I want to show everybody who’s the better back. Me and him are going to be battling.”
The game will be played Dec. 31 in Shreveport, La., kicking off at 10:30 a.m. Tucson time.
Arizona (7-5 overall) will be playing in its fifth bowl game in the past six seasons. Boston College, from the ACC, also is 7-5.
Williams and Carey will meet off the field before they meet on the field. They are two of the three finalists for the Doak Walker Award, which will be given Thursday to the nation’s top running back in Orlando, Fla. Washington’s Bishop Sankey is the other finalist.
“We’ll probably have a ball out there,” Carey said of meeting Williams for the first time. “I’m curious to see how he carries himself.”
Williams (6-0, 227) carries himself like a freight train on the field, emerging as an All-American as a senior.
“He’s a big guy, but he’s a big, fast guy,” said Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez.
Carey said he’s only seen Williams in highlights so far.
“He looks like a powerful back who can break tackles and take it some distance,” Carey said.
“I don’t want to disrespect, but he reminds me of a fullback. With speed, though. I’m curious.”
Williams had five games this season in which he rushed for more than 200 yards, including a 339-yard effort on 42 carries vs. North Carolina State.
“It’s like 200 yards, 200 yards, 300 yards. I mean, c’mon now,” Carey said. “Hopefully our defense goes out there and does what it has to do and we make it a great game.”
This marks the second consecutive season in which Arizona has been involved in a bowl featuring the nation’s top two rushers. Last season, Carey entered the New Mexico Bowl against Nevada with a lead on the Wolf Pack’s Stefphon Jefferson.
Jefferson outrushed Carey 183 to 172, but Carey still won the national running title with 148.4 yards per game.
Arizona was available this year to the New Mexico Bowl, which also had its choice of Washington State and Oregon State from its Pac-12 partners. The Dec. 21 bowl picked the Cougars.
The Wildcats filled an at-large spot in the AdvoCare V100 Bowl because the SEC did not fill its bowl allotment. Arizona wasn’t thrilled with the prospect of repeating a bowl trip to Albuquerque, and this matchup with Boston College provides a better opponent and bigger stage.
The Independence Bowl has been in business since 1976.
“It’s a bowl that has been in place for a long time,” Rodriguez said.
“It typically has the SEC-ACC matchup, so you know they know how to do their deal. The bowl game should be a fun experience, but we have to be dialed in to win.”
Boston College had a four-game winning streak late in the season but lost its regular-season finale at Syracuse 34-31, when Williams had to leave early in the second half because of injury. He is expected to fine for the bowl game.
This is the farthest east Arizona has been for a postseason game, previously venturing as far as San Antonio for the 2010 Alamo Bowl. Arizona and Boston College have never met.
Arizona’s all-time bowl results
|1921||Christmas Classic||San Diego||Centre (Ky.) 38, Arizona 0|
|1949||Salad||Phoenix||Drake 14, Arizona 13|
|1969||Sun||El Paso||Auburn 34, Arizona 10|
|1979||Fiesta||Tempe||Pittsburgh 16, Arizona 10|
|1985||Sun||El Paso||Arizona 13, Georgia 13|
|1986||Aloha||Honolulu||Arizona 30, North Carolina 21|
|1989||Copper||Tucson||Arizona 17, N.C. State 10|
|1990||Aloha||Honolulu||Syracuse 28, Arizona 0|
|1992||Sun||El Paso||Baylor 20, Arizona 15|
|1993||Fiesta||Tempe||Arizona 29, Miami 0|
|1994||Freedom||Anaheim, Calif.||Utah 16, Arizona 13|
|1997||Insight.com||Tucson||Arizona 20, New Mexico 14|
|1998||Holiday||San Diego||Arizona 23, Nebraska 20|
|2008||Las Vegas||Las Vegas||Arizona 31, BYU 21|
|2009||Holiday||San Diego||Nebraska 33, Arizona 0|
|2010||Alamo||San Antonio||Oklahoma State 36, Arizona 10|
|2012||New Mexico||Albuquerque||Arizona 49, Nevada 48|
|2013||AdvoCare V100||Shreveport, La.||????|