Phoenix, Ariz. – Arizona football (7-5) stumbled in a 58-21 loss to ASU (10-2) in front of 72,542 fans, the 12th-largest crowd in Sun Devil Stadium history.
Despite the loss, junior running back Ka’Deem Carey collected his 15th-consecutive 100-yard rushing game, a new Pac-12 Conference record. Carey rushed for 157 yards on 32 attempts. Adding to the offense was senior quarterback B.J. Denker, who threw for 175 yards. Arizona rushed for three scores, each coming from a different Wildcat, with Denker, Carey and Garic Wharton each collecting a touchdown.
Defensively, Jake Fischer led the team with 10 tackles followed by Marquis Flowers and Jared Tevis with eight each. Senior defensive lineman Sione Tuihalamaka had six tackles, including three sacks - the most for an Arizona player since Rick Elmore in 2010.
The Cats had five turnovers on the night, including a 64-yard touchdown return on an interception by Damarious Randall with 7:24 remaining in the third quarter when Arizona was driving, attempting to cut into what was, at the time, a 16-point ASU lead. UA forced one turnover of its own.
Opening the game, ASU was held to a field goal on their opening drive. Unable to score in its first drive, Arizona was forced to punt. ASU was once again held to another field goal by Zane Gonzalez to give the Sun Devils a 6-0 lead.
Despite two strong offensive plays made by the Wildcats on their subsequent drive, they were unable to score. During the drive, Denker completed a pass to Trey Griffey for 16 yards followed by an 11-yard keeper.
ASU continued their scoring with a 38-yard touchdown pass from Taylor Kelly to Darwin Rodgers that gave them a 13-0 lead.
After having gone for the fourth down, Arizona turned the ball over at midfield, which allowed D.J. Foster to continue the Sun Devil scoring with a 14-yard rushing score.
With less than 10 minutes to play in the half, a pass by Denker was intercepted by Alden Darby. On the drive, the Sun Devils were able to score another touchdown to lead the Wildcats, 27-0.
With the Arizona offense back on the field, the Wildcats were able to score their first touchdown of the night after making their way down the field including two long passes, a 23-yard pass to Griffey and 30-yard pass to Wharton. The rushing touchdown by Denker was his 11th of the season and cut the lead to 27-7. Jake Smith made the extra point.
With momentum in Arizona’s hands, the defense came up with a big stop with just over three minutes left in the half after a deflected pass by Shaquille Richardson. With the ball back in hand, the Wildcats began the drive with a 28-yard rush by Ka’Deem Carey. Following was a 13-yard run by Denker. With a missed field goal attempt, ASU came up with the ball to end the half.
In their final drive of the half, Kelly completed a 50-yard pass to move down the field. In field goal range, the Sun Devils opened the lead to 30-7 to end the half.
To begin the second half, the Wildcats opened the drive with four rushes by Carey for a total of 52 yards. The momentum led to another Arizona touchdown to make the score 14-30. The eight-yard rushing touchdown by Carey was his 50th career touchdown.
Following a strong defensive effort, the Wildcats were unable to score in their second drive of the half. Denker’s pass was intercepted by Damarious Randall and ran for a 64-yard touchdown to make the score 37-14.
A strong defensive effort by Arizona gave the ball back to the offense with four minutes left in the third quarter. In full speed, Carey had three back-to-back rushes for 29 yards. A nine-yard completion to Terrence Miller provided gave the Cats additional yardage. Following was a 21-yard rush by Denker that was then fumbled but picked up by Wharton. The pick up resulted in a touchdown for the Cats.
Immediately following, a four-play drive by ASU and a 61-yard pass to Jaelen Strong gave the Sun Devils another touchdown to make the score 44-21.
On the kickoff return, there was an Arizona fumble giving the ball back to ASU. On the drive, ASU ended with another touchdown after a seven-yard rushing touchdown by Foster.
With a 51-21 lead, the Sun Devils prevented the Wildcats from completing a fourth-down conversion providing ASU’s offense another hand at the ball with just less than 12 minutes in the game. ASU continued its offensive momentum with another touchdown by De’Marieya Nelson to end the night’s scoring.
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