TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Ka’Deem Carey ran for a Pac-12 record 366 yards and scored five touchdowns, powering Arizona to a 56-31 rout of Colorado on Saturday.
Carey, who carried 25 times, broke the record of 357 rushing yards set by Washington State’s Rueben Mayes at Oregon on Oct. 27, 1984. The sophomore’s five rushing TDs — of 10, 13, 30, 8 and 3 yards — tied a conference record. Carey, whose longest gain of the day was 71 yards, smashed the school record of 288 yards set by Trung Canidate against Arizona State in 1998.
With Pac-12 leading passer Matt Scott out with a concussion, junior college transfer B.J. Denker completed 12 of 14 passes for 136 yards and two touchdowns in his first start for Arizona (6-4, 3-4). He also ran for 44 yards and a touchdown as the Wildcats became bowl eligible with their sixth win, rebounding from a 66-10 embarrassment at UCLA the previous week.
In his first start this season, Colorado’s Nick Hirschman was 12 of 13 for 123 yards and one interception. Connor Wood relieved Hirschman and went 4 of 7 for 90 yards and a touchdown. Christian Powell rushed for 137 yards and two scores for the Buffaloes (1-9, 1-6), and Donta Abron gained 83 yards in 13 attempts.
Wood connected on a 71-yard pass play to Scott Fernandez for a touchdown that cut the lead to 49-31 with 10:22 left. It was Fernandez’s first career catch. But after the subsequent kickoff, Carey broke through on a 64-yard run to the Colorado 3, then scored from there to provide the final 56-31 score.
The Buffaloes had the ball for 41 minutes, 48 seconds, yet still lost by 25.
Denker and Carey messed up a handoff on Arizona’s first offensive play, and Derrick Webb recovered for the Buffaloes at the Arizona 7. Powell rumbled into the end zone on the next play and Colorado led 7-0.
The Wildcats scored touchdowns on their next seven possessions.
First came a nine-play, 80-yard drive, capped by Carey rushing 10 yards for the first of his three first-half touchdowns. Denker was 3 of 3 for 42 yards on the drive.
The Buffaloes mounted their longest drive, in time elapsed, of the season, consuming 8:24 to go 69 yards in 15 plays. On fourth-and-goal at the 1, Colorado chose Will Oliver’s 18-yard field goal, which put the underdog Buffs up 10-7.
The lead lasted just under two minutes. Denker completed three straight passes, then Carey rushed in from the 13 and Arizona was up for good, 14-10 with 13:31 left in the half.
Hirschman, replacing Jordan Webb — who started the first nine games — completed his first eight passes before his toss into the left flat went right into the hands of Tra’Mayne Bondurant. Had he not bobbled the ball, Bondurant would have scored easily, as he did with an interception return at Colorado last season.
As it was, Arizona took over at the Colorado 49. Garic Wharton gained 19 on an end-around, then Carey broke a series of tackles in a 30-yard run that made it 21-10.
Another long, time-consuming drive moved the Buffaloes 75 yards in 13 plays, using up 7:51. Powell scored from the 1 to cut it to 21-17 with 2:44 left in the half.
That was plenty of time for Arizona, even without Scott. Carey started the drive with a 26-yard run and had another for 21 yards to set up Denker’s 21-yard scoring pass to Dan Buckner, and Arizona led 28-17 at the half.