TUCSON, Ariz. – B.J. Denker accounted for three total touchdowns and Ka’Deem Carey added a pair of scores on the ground as the University of Arizona football team overpowered UTSA, 38-13, on Saturday night.
The Wildcats piled up more than 400 yards of total offense on the night, including 264 in the running game as Carey posted a game-high 128 yards to go along with his two touchdowns. Denker ran for 90 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 10 carries, as UA averaged 5.5 yards per carry for the game.
The senior quarterback was also 14-of-21 for 158 yards and a touchdown through the air. Freshman Samajie Grant hauled in a team-high five receptions, including the first touchdown of his career, and Garic Wharton put up a team-high 57 receiving yards on three grabs. Carey added two receptions for 33 yards to give him 161 yards of total offense on Saturday night.
Arizona was 7-of-13 (.538) on third down and a perfect 5-of-5 in the red zone against UTSA. The Wildcats converted two UTSA turnovers into 14 points.
“It was a business-like performance for our guys,” Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez said. “We didn’t execute all the time, but we played well in spurts to get a nice win. That’s a good football team. They’re pretty scrappy. It’ll be good to have an open date to clean stuff up and get ready for Washington.”
Tra’Mayne Bondurant and Shaquille Richardson spearheaded UA’s defensive effort on Saturday with eight tackles apiece, while the former broke up three passes in the secondary. Jourdon Grandon added six tackles and an interception, and Scooby Wright also posted a half dozen stops.
“Our defense got better as the game went along,” Rodriguez said. “We contained the ball pretty well for the most part. Overall, it was a solid performance against a pretty good team.”
After UTSA kicked a field goal on the game’s opening drive, Arizona ripped off an 11-play, 82-yard march the first time it touched the ball, taking a 7-3 lead when Denker found Grant for a 13-yard touchdown pass. The scoring strike capped a drive that saw Grant account for four receptions and 46 yards.
Grandon came up with his first interception of the season on UTSA’s ensuing possession, setting up a 35-yard scoring run by Denker on a third-down scramble to make the score 14-3. After a UTSA punt, Jake Smith connected on a 23-yard field goal less than a minute into the second quarter to push the Wildcats’ advantage to 17-3. Carey plunged four yards into the end zone with 2:57 left in the second quarter to extend the lead to 24-6 at the half.
Arizona used a balance offensive attack in the first half, passing for 113 yards and running for 112. Denker was 10-of-16 with a touchdown through the air and also ran for 64 yards in the first half.
Denker got Arizona on the board once again to open the second half, keeping the ball for a one-yard touchdown run to give UA a 31-6 lead early in the third period. The score would remain the same until Carey recorded his second touchdown run of the night, a seven-yard scamper, at the 13:57 mark of the fourth quarter to extended Arizona’s advantage of 38-6.
After a bye week, the Wildcats will return to action on Sept. 28 when they visit Washington. Time and television information for the team’s Pac-12 opener will be announced on Monday.
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