SHREVEPORT, La. — The Arizona Wildcats put an exclamation point on their season this afternoon at Independence Stadium.
A really, really big exclamation point.
The Wildcats rolled Boston College 42-19 in front of an announced crowd of 36,917 fans at the AdvoCare V100 Bowl. Arizona finishes the season with an 8-5 mark for the second straight season.
Boston College’s big, physical defense couldn’t keep up with Arizona’s spread, up-tempo offense.
"It was a nice win for our program," UA coach Rich Rodriguez said. "This is a big, physical football team with a style we don't see very often. These players came out with great energy from the first snap."
The Wildcats finished with 523 yards of offense and had significant contributions from all over the field.
Ka’Deem Carey, once again, was the tone-setter, going over 100 yards for the 16th straight game and setting a new school record for career all-purpose yards. Carey finished with 165 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries. Freshman receiver Nate Phillips set a bowl record with 193 receiving yards on nine catches.
The 23-point is the second-largest in UA postseason history. The Wildcats beat Miami (Fla.) 29-0 in the 1994 Fiesta Bowl. They led by 30 points today before Boston College scored a touchdown with 35 seconds remaining.
Not that it mattered. The UA was in command from the start.
The Wildcats got on the scoreboard first when Carey scored on a two-yard touchdown run. Carey’s rush capped off a fast furious drive that spanned 92 yards and just four plays in 41 seconds.
Boston College responded with a 14-play, 54-yard drive that resulted in a 32-yard field goal from kicker Nate Freese to make it a four-point game.
Before Carey’s score, both teams traded turnovers on their first drives of the game.
Boston College quarterback Chase Rettig was intercepted by Jared Tevis on BC’s first drive. Then Carey fumbled after a big gain up the middle to give the ball back to the Eagles, who eventually punted.
In the second quarter, BC cut the lead to one with Freese hit a 41-yard field goal with 8:45 to play in the half.
With Arizona’s offense sputtering, the defense stepped up to lend a hand.
Sophomore safety Will Parks intercepted BC’s Rettig and returned it 69 yards for a touchdown to make it 14-6.
"That was huge," said Rodriguez of the Parks interception. "They were controlling the game from a tempo standpoint and a clock standpoint."
The Wildcats then forced Boston College to punt on its next possession and the offense got rolling near the end of the half.
Quarterback B.J. Denker engineered a 10-play, 80-yard drive that ended in a 26-yard touchdown pass to Trey Griffey. It was Griffey’s first career touchdown.
Arizona picked up right where it left off in the second half, scoring on its first drive of the frame. Carey scored from five yards out to make it 28-6.
Later in the quarter, Denker added a 14-yard rushing touchdown to make it 35-6.
The lead stretched to 42-6 when Denker found Griffey again for a three-yard touchdown.
Boston College added a final score later in the fourth when running back Andre Williams, a Heisman Trophy finalist and the Doak Walker Award winner, scored from four yards out. He finished with 75 rushing yards on 26 carries.
"Our defensive staff did a really nice job," Rodriguez said. "We wanted to tackle him early and be really physical. I thought we did that."
Check StarNet later today for more coverage from Shreveport, and read more in Wednesday's Arizona Daily Star.