Arizona running back Ka'Deem Carey outplayed Andre Williams in a 2013 AdvoCare V100 Bowl blowout of the Boston College Eagles, and Arizona's complaints about snubs were validated in the 42-19 win. But to throw aside the production for Carey and Williams this season isn't fair to either player.
It is fair to say that the outcome on Tuesday in Shreveport, La., said a lot about the two teams and the conferences they play within. The talent gap between the two teams showed in the individual numbers by Carey and Williams.
Arizona's junior took 28 carries for 165 yards (5.9 yards per carry) and two touchdowns, but Williams could only muster 75 yards on 29 yards, a 2.9 per carry average.
The Wildcats, with their small -- for a Pac-12 school -- defense stuffed Williams at the line of scrimmage time and time again. Rarely did Williams run through contact, and never did he show any sort of speed that the Doak Walker Award voters especially might have seen in ACC play.
Overall, it was Arizona looking far and away like the more athletic team.
UA receivers, short as they are, out-jumped BC defensive backs or drew penalties on jump balls. Nate Phillips set an Arizona postseason record with 194 yards on nine catches. The freshman caught two balls for 79 yards on a four-play, 92-yard drive to put Arizona ahead 7-0.
Boston College answered with two field goals after stuttering in the red zone before UA safety William Parks, who in Pac-12 play appeared slow afoot, raced for a 69-yard pick-six for a 14-6 lead with seven minutes left in the first half. Simply put, the talent gap showed.
Early on, it was a struggling RichRod attack against an offense trying to slow things down -- but the Eagles couldn't even get the run game going. Despite a first half where the offense lost the time of possession battle 22 minutes to eight, the Wildcats seemed set on rotating its defensive players to stay fresh.
And just as it seemed Williams began to break down the wall of Arizona defense, he limped off the field. That, and a quick-hit drive by the Wildcats ending with a Trey Griffey touchdown catch off a double-move, hinted the game was just about to get out of hand for the Eagles.
Despite two first-half turnovers -- a Carey fumble on the first Arizona possession and a muffed punt by Phillips -- the Wildcats were sitting pretty behind a physical defense that wasn't allowing Williams to do much other than plow forward for two yards here and three yards there.
Once Arizona began to read the play-action plays by BC quarterback Chase Rettig, the blowout was on.
The second half started with a quick drive led by Denker targeting his freshmen receivers, and it ended with a Carey touchdown run. The next possession went to Carey early before Denker finished off the drive with a 14-yard run. All five of Arizona's scoring drives took less than three minutes.
What did it all mean? Despite their easy nonconference slate, the Wildcats -- like every other Pac-12 school -- had few easy games in conference play. It was further proof of the value in playing ranked teams for much of the season.
The receiver depth of Phillips and Griffey, who recorded his first two touchdown catches of the year, makes next year promising despite so many question-marks at quarterback and receiver. Rich Rodriguez's recruiting still has to show, but against a relatively weaker Boston College team, it's clear Arizona is on the right path.
Although the Wildcats' win said a lot about where they're at as a program, it did just as much -- if not more -- to validate Ka'Deem Carey's season, one that had him appreciated despite his All-American status.