TUCSON, Ariz. – Each week, Arizona football head coach Rich Rodriguez and his staff select Player of the Week honorees based on performance leading up to and including the game each week. The Wildcats were victorious at Colorado, 44-20, Saturday night, in Boulder, at Folsom Field. Arizona advanced to 5-2 overall and 2-2 in Pac-12 play.
Offense: B.J. Denker, Senior, Quarterback
A career day for B.J. Denker resulted in one of the most prolific offensive games in school history as Arizona spoiled Colorado’s homecoming with a 44-20 victory in Boulder. Denker collected 457 total offense yards (sixth-most in school single-game history) and established a new school record for quarterbacks with 192 rushing yards on 15 carries (12.8 ypc). His rushing total was the fourth-highest this season for an FBS quarterback. The senior was equally as dangerous in the passing game as he completed 21-of-32 passes for 265 yards with a touchdown and an interception (only third in 196 attempts this season). He accounted for eight plays that gained 20 or more yards, including six pass completions (44, 43, 29, 25, 24 and 22 yards) and two rushes (46 and 54 yards).
Denker’s 457 yards of offense paced the Wildcats to 670 total yards in the game, which ranks third-most in program history. It was also the most yards gained for the school in a road game and any Pac-10/12 contest. Arizona finished the game with 405 rushing yards on 50 attempts, its most rushing yards in a game since last November 10 against Colorado.
Defense: All Defensive Players
In a first for the Wildcats under Rodriguez, the entire defensive unit earned weekly honors after Saturday’s 44-20 win at Colorado. Arizona’s scrappy defense, headlined by freshman linebacker Scooby Wright and sophomore safety William Parks, turned in several big stops in the 44-20 victory at Colorado. Filling in for injured Jared Tevis (16-game starter), Parks collected seven tackles, including 0.5 for loss, broke up two passes and intercepted his first career pass, which he returned 19 yards. Wright led the squad in tackles with nine, including three solo, and collected a half tackle for loss and a quarterback hurry. The defensive unit was a force defending the run and the pass as the Wildcats held the Buffaloes to 3.3 yards per carry and 6.4 yards per pass attempt.
In the second quarter, the defense turned in two critical stands following UA turnovers to prevent the Buffaloes from gaining momentum. Following a fumble late in the first quarter, Colorado mustered only 19 yards on seven plays and needed a 53-yard field goal from Will Oliver to covert the miscue into points. Later in the second quarter, Colorado intercepted a pass and took over at the UA 49-yard line. The Buffs gained 18 yards on seven plays and again had to settle for an Oliver field goal to take a three-point lead (13-10) instead of a full touchdown edge. The Wildcats outscored Colorado, 34-7, the rest of the game.
In the third quarter, the defense turned away the Buffaloes on downs in the red zone. Later, it was Parks’ first career interception at the Arizona six-yard line that thwarted a potential Colorado scoring drive and preserved a fourth quarter shutout for the defense.
The Cats’ five passes defended and four quarterback hurries bolstered an Arizona pass defense that ranks first in the conference and 18th nationally with 201.3 yards allowed per game, while it ranks second in the conference and 12th nationally with a 106.39 pass efficiency defense rating. The Wildcats are fourth in the league and 22nd nationally with 10 interceptions this season.
Special Teams: Jake Smith, Senior, Kicker | Trevor Ermisch, Junior, Receiver
Placekicker Jake Smith was perfect on the night and totaled 14 points scored in Arizona’s 44-20 victory at Colorado. Smith, who had just two field goal attempts in his previous three games combined, drilled all three tries against the Buffaloes (37, 26 and 28 yards) while converting 5-of-5 PAT kicks. Smith’s 37-yarder in the first quarter put the Wildcats on top, 10-7, while his second from 26 yards in the third quarter gave Arizona its largest lead of the game at 27-13. His final field goal from 28 yards capped the scoring with over nine minutes to go in the fourth quarter. Smith also kicked off nine times in the game and recorded seven touchbacks to set a new career high. The point total was the second-highest of Smith’s career.
For the second week in a row, special teams veteran and skilled receiver Trevor Ermisch delivered a punishing solo tackle as a member of the punt return team. The Buffs, facing fourth-and-5 from their own 17-yard line, opted for the fake punt with CU’s Darragh O’Neill taking the snap and taking off. He managed a one-yard gain before colliding with Ermisch at the 18-yard line. Arizona got the ball back on downs and Ka’Deem Carey made it short and sweet with 18 rushing yards to a TD. The score put the Cats up, 41-20, with 14:30 to play in the fourth quarter.
Sophomore safety William Parks was named Hard Edge Player of the Week. Sophomore quarterback Nick Isham was named Student of the Week. Freshman safety Brogan Kemmerly earned the Community Service Award after spending time at Casa Maria lunch bag project at St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church.
From the scout team, freshman snapper Alex Arnaud on offense, senior cornerback Justin Samuels on defense and redshirt freshman safety Zach Streuling on special teams were honored for their efforts during the Colorado game preparations.
Next on the docket for the Wildcats is a trip to Berkeley on Nov. 2 to take on California for a 12:30 p.m. MST kickoff. The game will be televised by Pac-12 Networks with Glenn Parker, Ted Robinson and Drea Avent on the broadcast crew. The game will also air on Arizona IMG Sports Network, KCUB 1290 AM in Tucson and Fox Sports 910 AM in Phoenix.
Tickets for the 2013 football season including in the north end zone and club level of the Lowell-Stevens Football Facility, are available and can be purchased by visiting the McKale Center Ticket Office, calling 520-621-CATS or by visiting ArizonaWildcats.com/footballtickets. Fans can also make appointments via the McKale Center Ticket Office to tour the seating areas during normal business hours.
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