UA wide receiver Austin Hill delivered one of he most memorable moments of the season Saturday night, when he extended his arm, charged and - pow! - stiff-armed Washington safety Sean Parker on the way to a touchdown.
Hill said he was motivated.
"I was looking into the end zone," Hill said following the Arizona Wildcats' 52-17 rout of Washington at Arizona Stadium. "I didn't want to give Ka'Deem another touchdown if I got tackled at the 3-yard line."
That's how good tailback Ka'Deem Carey has been so far this season. Through seven games, the sophomore tailback has rushed for 842 yards and 11 touchdowns. His 222 receiving yards rank third on the team.
The Canyon del Oro High School product was at his best in Saturday's win over the Huskies, rushing 29 times for a career-high 172 yards and a touchdown and catching one pass for two yards in the Wildcats.
The Wildcats (4-3 overall, 1-3 Pac-12) played with pace and tempo in their most impressive performance of the season. With Carey running strong, the UA can make a case for winning at least four of its final five games. The toughest team left on the Wildcats' schedule, USC, comes to Tucson this week.
First-year coach Rich Rodriguez calls Carey "a really, really talented guy."
Here are six things you need to know about the Cats' star tailback:
1. He's one of the nation's best backs. Carey is averaging 120.3 rushing yards per game, numbers that rank 14th nationally and fourth in the Pac-12. He has more rushing yards than any back in the ACC, Big East or SEC. The three Pac-12 backs averaging more yards per game than Carey - UCLA's Johnathan Franklin (125.4), Oregon's Kenjon Barner (124.3) and Stanford's Stepfan Taylor (120.9) - are all seniors, as are six of the 13 backs listed ahead of him on the national charts. In the Pac-12, only Barner has more rushing touchdowns (12) than Carey.
2. He's taking aim at UA records. Carey's breakneck pace has him poised for one of most prolific seasons in Arizona history. Only nine UA backs have ever rushed for more than 1,000 yards in a season, a figure Carey could reach in the next week or so. He's on pace to finish with 1,443 rushing yards - 1,563 if Arizona can somehow make it to a bowl game. Either figure would be the second-best single-season rushing mark in program history. Trung Canidate rushed for 1,602 yards in 1999.
Carey is more than halfway to Art Luppino's single-season touchdown mark of 21, set in 1954.
3. He can shoulder the load. Though Carey's talent was undeniable heading into the season, there were some concerns about his durability. Not anymore: Carey tied his career-high with 29 carries on Saturday, two weeks after posting 36 "touches" - 29 carries and seven catches - against Stanford. His 155 carries are second in the Pac-12 behind Taylor's 175.
4. His third-quarter fumble was a one-time thing. Carey made one mistake Saturday: He fumbled on his first carry in the second half, and Washington recovered. That Arizona was able to force a turnover on the next play from scrimmage was little consolation for Carey, who promised his first career fumble - he had 332 consecutive touches without one - would be a one-time thing.
"I will always hold on to the ball," he said, "and not ever get used to that (feeling)."
5. He's Mr. Consistent … Carey is averaging about the same number of carries in Arizona's four wins (22) as the Wildcats' three losses (22.3), and has only 16 more yards per game in Arizona's victories than in their defeats. Carey's 11 touchdowns are split almost evenly in wins (6) and losses (5).
Carey said Saturday that he's been doing the same thing all year.
"I feel like we've always had the right running game," Carey said. "Matt (Scott) makes the right reads, and that means the holes are open. I just hit the holes and go."
6. … and he's only getting better. The way Carey has played a sophomore prompts this question: If he continues to improve as an upperclassman, stays at the UA all four seasons and remains healthy, how good can he be?
The future is, for now, secondary to the way he's currently playing.
"He runs hungry, he makes you tackle him and, boy, he took some shots," Rodriguez said. "All he needs is a little bit of a crease, and he breaks a lot of tackles."
On StarNet: Read more about the Wildcats as they get ready to take on the Trojans at: azstarnet.com/finley
• Who: No. 10 USC (6-1, 4-1) at Arizona (4-3, 1-3)
• When: 12:30 p.m. Saturday
• TV: Channel 9
• Radio: 1290-AM, 107.5-FM, 990-AM (Spanish)