TUCSON, Ariz. – Ka’Deem Carey had a field day in his first game of the year, notching 171 of the team’s 397 total rushing yards and adding two touchdowns as Arizona cruised to victory, 58-13, against UNLV in Las Vegas on Saturday.
Fellow running backs Daniel Jenkins and Jared Baker, along with quarterback B.J. Denker, contributed significantly to the rushing offensive, posting 79, 66, and 63-yard performances, respectively.
UNLV couldn’t establish a rhythm against the stifling Arizona defense, which held the Rebels to 282 total yards, forced three turnovers and scored two touchdowns.
Senior linebacker Jake Fischer and junior safety Tra’Mayne Bondurant each returned interceptions for touchdowns, and freshman linebacker Scooby Wright led the defense with seven tackles, including one for a loss. Senior defensive lineman Tevin Hood was responsible for the other turnover in the game as he forced a fumble early that eventually led to an Arizona touchdown.
In their first drive of the game, Arizona faced a third down early, but Jenkins was able to keep the chains moving with a 20-yard rush. The drive culminated with a 41-yard Jake Smith field goal to give the Wildcats the early lead.
After a strong defensive hold, UA needed only 2:22 to drive 85 yards for their first touchdown, a 35-yard keeper by Denker.
Just as the Rebels were starting to put together a drive, Hood forced a fumble that was recovered by senior linebacker Marquis Flowers and returned 36 yards to the UNLV nine-yard line. It only took two plays for Arizona to go up 17-0 on another Denker keeper.
UNLV bounced back to tighten the gap 17-6 on a 69-yard connection from Nick Sherry to Devante Davis.
To open the next drive, Carey got his first carry of the season, a 58 yarder for a touchdown to put UA up 24-6.
Carey put the Wildcats up another touchdown on the following drive, this time on a 12-yard run.
The next two Arizona touchdowns came off a pair of pick-sixes. Fischer returned one 49 yards, and reigning Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week Bondurant took a Shelly pass 52 yards to the house to put Arizona up 45-6 at the end of the first-half.
Arizona opened the second-half in similar fashion to the first as Smith hit a 29-yard field goal. Despite it being the only points of the third-quarter, the Wildcats extend their streak of opening every half this season by putting points on the board.
Smith gave the Wildcats another three points in the fourth-quarter, this time from 30 yards out.
UNLV thinned the scoring margin late on a 79-yard rush by junior running back Shaquille Murray-Lawrence, but it was short lived as Kylan Butler capped off a 5:23, 84-yard drive with a touchdown run to increase the Wildcat lead for the last time at 58-13.
The Wildcats will come back to Tucson next weekend, hosting the UTSA Roadrunners on Saturday for a 7:30 PDT kickoff. The game will be televised by the Pac-12 Network, and tickets can be purchased by calling 520-621-CATS, stopping at the McKale ticket office, or visiting ArizonaWildcats.com