LAS VEGAS — Arizona Wildcats coach Rich Rodriguez has often described Ka’Deem Carey’s running style as “angry.”

Maybe it was Carey’s one-game suspension or some pregame bulletin board material from an UNLV defender. Maybe it was just Ka’Deem being Ka’Deem, but the junior’s running Saturday against the Rebels would best be classified as furiously efficient.

Carey took his first carry of the 2013 season 58 yards for a touchdown and finished the game with 171 yards on 16 carries as the UA routed UNLV 58-13 at Sam Boyd Stadium.

“I told the O-line, ‘We’re going to score on this first one’ and that’s what happened,” Carey said. “They hit the holes and it was there.”

Added quarterback B.J. Denker: “That first run showed why he’s an All-American and what he can do.”

Carey sat in last week’s opener against Northern Arizona, the result of a well-documented, tumultuous offseason. He entered the game late in the first quarter Saturday.

Being held out “hurt so bad,” Carey said.

“It’s just been a humbling experience watching your team go out and play and you want to be a part of it,” he said. “It hurt, but it was great to be out there tonight and get through it.”

On the first play of the second quarter, Carey showed he hasn’t lost any form from his sophomore All-America season, dashing through the UNLV defense for his 58-yard score.

It was a far cry from what UNLV junior defensive end Jordan Sparkman predicted. Sparkman told the Las Vegas Review-Journal this week that “we’re going to dominate him, I mean every play.”

Well, that didn’t happen.

Carey scored later in the quarter on a 12-yard run, and finished the first half with 110 yards on nine carries.

The scary part for future UA opponents? Carey didn’t start the game, instead giving way to senior Daniel Jenkins.

Rodriguez said the decision to hold Carey out in the beginning was related to discipline from Carey’s offseason incidents.

“He didn’t start, so you can view it as you want,” Rodriguez said. “But it also wasn’t so much discipline as it was that D.J. deserved to start and he did.”

Carey may have had to wait to get in, but he was effective the entire time he played.

He started the second half with rushes of 7, 8 and 25 yards respectively. Carey averaged 10.7 yards per carry Saturday.

“It’s hard to sit and watch when you know you can play,” Rodriguez said of Carey. “He had a good week of practice and I thought he ran really hard today.”

Of course, Carey was far from the only highlight for the Wildcats (2-0) on Saturday. Defensively, the unit was just plain dominant.

Senior linebacker Jake Fischer intercepted UNLV quarterback Nick Sherry midway through the second quarter and returned it 49 yards for a touchdown.

“Jake showed some skills there,” Rodriguez said. “I’m sure he’ll be talking about that all season now.”

A little more than five minutes after the former Ironwood Ridge High School star scored, safety Tra’Mayne Bondurant picked off Sherry and scampered 52 yards for a touchdown — his second in as many weeks.

“Our defense is money,” Denker said. “It’s fun when you don’t have that much pressure to put up points on the board because you know the defense is making plays and flying around.”

Bondurant’s score gave the UA 45 points at halftime, which marked the second-most points Arizona has ever scored in a half. The Wildcats scored 49 points in the first half against Idaho in 2008 en route to a 70-0 win.

“It was a solid performance, but I know when we watch the film, we’ll see some plays we left out there,” Rodriguez said.

Denker also had two rushing scores in the first half. He scored from 35 and 4 yards in the first quarter. The senior from Torrance, Calif., finished the game with 60 yards on 16 carries. He wasn’t as effective through the air, passing for 81 yards on 8-of-21 passing. For the second straight game, Denker was interception-free.

The UA returns home Saturday to host University of Texas-San Antonio. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

Contact reporter Daniel Berk at or 573-4330. On Twitter @DSBerk.