TUCSON, Ariz. — Arizona quarterback Matt Scott has become one of the better signal callers in the college game this year and put up impressive numbers all season. The numbers weren’t all there Saturday, but he did manage to lead UA to a road win over Utah, giving the Wildcats some momentum heading into Friday night’s rivalry game at home against Arizona State.
Scott called it a “team win” and thanked the defense for coming through.
“I didn’t feel it was that great,” he said of his 12-for-27 performance for 160 yards. “It felt like my (throws) were sailing on me a lot. I don’t know if it was the air.”
He clearly didn’t look Scott-like in his return from a concussion two weeks earlier. He had been averaging more than 300 passing yards a game coming in.
“I thought Matt was good but not the sharpest accurate-wise,” said UA coach Rich Rodriguez. “He missed some throws he had made all year. But he was really sharp in the run game. He ran until he threw up.”
And it was all there for cameras to see. It surely wasn’t pretty, as Scott was seen throwing up as he helped UA score on an eventual 1-yard run by Ka’Deem Carey.
“I heard that so much today, with people coming up to me saying ‘I’ve seen you on TV’ and them replaying it,” Scott said after practice on Monday. “It was pretty funny. But I’m done hearing about it.”
That wasn’t the first time Scott was seen throwing up. He did it a couple times against USC, both before and after a big hit he took late in the game.
Rodriguez said Scott would be one of the first ones “to lose his lunch” during conditioning over the summer.
“He had two or three runs (on Saturday) where he was kind of running out of bounds and to the 3-yard line, but you could tell how he was running and bobbing that he was tired,” Rodriguez said. “There was a break in the action and I asked him, ‘Matt, are you tired?’ and he said, ‘Hell yeah.'”
But still good enough for the win.
Carey leads the nation in rushing going into Friday’s game with 1,585 yards and is just 18 yards from breaking former UA star Trung Canidate’s record of 1,602 set in 1999.
“It feels good just to know all your hard work is a dream coming true,” Carey said. “At the beginning of the year, you always have high goals … to set and accomplish it is good.”
A lot of Carey’s yards this year have come on huge runs. In addition to leading the nation in rushing yards, he is tied for the lead in runs of 20 yards or more with 18. He leads the nation in runs of 10 or more yards with 48.
“That guy is a magician back there, I swear,” senior center Kyle Quinn said of Carey. “I think he’s got eyes of an eagle. He can see the lanes forming before they’re even there.”
The coaches said Carey is seeing his blocks better and adjusting accordingly.
“Coach (Calvin) Magee sat down with the running backs and said, ‘Just focus on the cutback lane,;” Carey said. “Vision is that cutback lane. After Coach Magee said where it would be, I sat back and started to look for it more. It is there — that’s why I’m starting to break the 20-to-30-yard runs.”
It was a year ago Wednesday when Arizona officially announced Rodriguez would be the new head coach. The Wildcats’ fortunes have turned since, as Rodriguez has worked his magic to get the team to 7-4 and a bowl game in his first season.
The hiring came two days after Arizona stunned ASU 31-27 at Sun Devil Stadium. Did Rodriguez watch the game? What did he remember?
As it turns out, he was in El Paso doing a broadcast for CBS.
“I saw the highlights,” he said. “I was so focused on being such a good broadcaster.”
When told he was hired two days after that game, he quipped, “See how focused I was.”
UA will have a “Red Out” at Arizona Stadium for Friday night’s game.
The Wildcats will wear all red, including helmets. It’ll be the first time since 1980 that UA will wear red helmets. Since then, the Cats have worn blue or white helmets for every game, with the exception of Sept. 29 this season against Oregon State, when they broke out copper helmets as a way to recognize the state’s mining tradition.
In talking about coming to Arizona as highly touted local recruit, Carey joked, the “red helmets brought me right here.” Of course, there had been not even a thought of wearing red helmets two years ago, when Carey was at Tucson’s Canyon del Oro High School.
His thoughts on them, though?
“I love them,” he said. “I think it’s a great thing that we get to wear them out there against ASU. It brings that much more to the rivalry.”