The Oregon Ducks put their noses up at the Rose Bowl leading into a game against the Arizona Wildcats, and that's when you knew a visit to Tucson could go more than poorly. Or did you?
The Wildcats were coming off a questionable performance against Washington State. To predict an upset seemed foolish.
But the things that happen on a rainy senior day. B.J. Denker played to all his strengths and put in a performance gutty as Matt Scott's game against the USC Trojans a year ago, but it was all about running back Ka'Deem Carey, who allowed the Wildcats to use the Stanford treatment against a Ducks team that couldn't take the pounding. The end result was a 42-16 victory over the No. 5 team in the country at Arizona Stadium.
Carey also put himself atop the Arizona record books.
The Canyon Del Oro product rushed for his fourth touchdown of the day in the fourth quarter and separated himself from Art Lupino's previous record of 48 career touchdowns. Carey finished with 48 carries for 206 yards and four touchdowns.
In the first quarter, a magnificent midfield interception off a bobbled catch and tip-back inbounds from Shaquille Richardson set the tone for the day. And it was a long one for the Ducks.
The Wildcats would pound in their first score with Carey with just more than three minutes expired in the game, and from there the field position game would pay huge dividends for Arizona. Denker found Nate Phillips for a nine-yard reception midway through the first quarter to cap a 59-yard drive to make it a 14-0 score and no matter how deep into the first half it went, there was never a sense that a rout was on -- but it was.
Denker continued to throw darts, especially looking Terrence Miller's way in the first half. Miller finished with nine catches for 89 yards and a touchdown.
Arizona's offense looked the same all night long. Denker hit passes he could to finish with 178 yards on 19-of-22 completions for two touchdowns while rushing for another 102 yards. Carey continued to put the throttle down. With Carey seemingly out of breath after taking 41 carries, he was kept in the game and force-fed the ball for his record-setting touchdown jaunt.
The defense didn't get enough credit with Carey and Denker running the show. Though it allowed 506 yards, it forced a Marcus Mariota fumble and Richardson picked off another late pass. Denker used a pooch punt on a fourth down in the first half, and the ensuing possession ended with a punt by Drew Riggleman that effectively pinned the Ducks inside their own 5-yard line.
Arizona led 28-9 after forcing a turnover with a minute to play before halftime. The Wildcats went 59 yards in 42 seconds to make an easily potential second-half differential for the Ducks look a little more daunting. It never looked as if the Ducks were ready to make a run, and the second half went no better than the first for Oregon, which wasn't in position often and looked slower and less-motivated than they have all season long.
Now, the Pac-12 Championship picture is only murkier than ever. And for Arizona, which won its seventh game, there aren't many questions left. They'll be going bowling.
Perhaps the only thing now: Where does Ka'Deem Carey and this game fall into the archives of Arizona football? For the junior running back, who potentially played his last game at Arizona, it might be at the very top.