Arizona quarterback B.J. Denker picks up yardage during the second quarter against UCLA. Earlier in the game, Denker set an Arizona single-season record for rushing by a quarterback.
B.J. Denker’s turnaround has been well-documented in these parts.
Saturday, he wrote his name in Arizona’s record books.
Heading into Saturday’s game against UCLA, Den-ker needed only 4 yards to set an Arizona single season record for rushing yards by a quarterback.
It took him one run — an 11-yard scramble on Arizona’s second possession. The previous record was 566 yards, set by then-freshman Ronnie Veal in 1987.
Denker had already set the single-season rushing touchdown record for quarterbacks last week. He had 11 coming into Saturday.
#BeThere, or be square
The idea for Arizona’s latest football marketing game was birthed in the Twitterverse.
After Arizona became bowl eligible with a 33-28 win against California last week, the official Arizona football twitter (@ArizonaFball) sent out a tweet that said “The ‘Cats r bowl eligible, but there’s still work to do. Be there Sat when we host UCLA.”
So athletic director Greg Byrne and his marketing team ran with it, and for the last week university-wide Be There (#BeThere on Twitter) has been pushed as the Homecoming game’s slogan. It seems to have worked — Saturday’s game drew 51,531 fans despite kicking off at 8:15 p.m.
“It’s important we had a good crowd tonight,” Byrne said. “We’re just trying to get everybody to understand the importance of being here. You can always find a reason not to go to the game, we like to focus on why you should be here.
“Our fans are so supportive of our program and we sure appreciate them. And at the same time too we’re working hard to build a culture that people want to be a part of.”
LB Fischer returns to starting lineup
Linebacker Jake Fischer returned to the starting lineup Saturday night, allowing the Wildcats to return to their (somewhat) regular rotation on defense.
Jared Tevis, who was in Fischer’s place last week, returned to his “bandit” safety Saturday. Will Parks, who started the last two weeks for Tevis, was moved to the bench.
Fischer, an Ironwood Ridge High School graduate and one of the UA’s best defenders, had been out with a knee injury.
Homecoming attracts recruits, commits
The UA used Saturday’s homecoming festivities as a lure for future Wildcats.
One in particular.
Sabino High School offensive tackle Andrew Mike, rated as a four-star recruit by the Scout.com recruiting service, unofficially visited the UA for the second straight game. Mike is considering the Wildcats, Vanderbilt, Washington and Arizona State.
Sabino coach Jay Campos previously told the Star that it was likely Mike would make his college decision before the start of Division III state playoffs.
But the Sabercats won their first-round matchup against Tempe 56-49 Friday night, and Mike remains uncommitted.
Salpointe Catholic stars Cameron Denson and Kaelin Deboskie, both UA commits, also took unofficial visits. Five other UA commits were in the house Saturday, including tight end Trevor Wood, offensive tackle Layth Friekh, tight end Darrell Cloy, receiver Jordan Morgan and kicker Josh Pollack.
Canyon del Oro defensive end John Jackson, who is also considering New Mexico State, Northern Arizona, and Wyoming, was also in the stands, as was Brian Lewerke, a class of 2015 quarterback from Phoenix Pinnacle. Lewerke has an offer from ASU.
Ex-Lions GM Millen impressed by Carey
Matt Millen’s eight-year tenure as the Detroit Lions general manager was marked by constant struggle.
But Millen, the ESPN analyst for Saturday night’s game, did draft All-Pro receiver Calvin Johnson and was a Pro Bowl linebacker for the Oakland Raiders in the ’80s.
When it comes to Ka’Deem Carey, color him impressed.
Here’s Millen’s scouting report, as told to the Star:
“Here’s what Ka’Deem is. He’s not the fastest, not the biggest, not the strongest, but he’s probably the best combination. He’s a complete player, blocks, catches the ball well, always goes forward, runs through tackles. He’ll be playing on Sundays for a really long time.
“Ka’Deem is like the kid in Washington, Alfred Morris. One of those kids that you don’t really go ‘Wow’ at the end of a game. You go ‘Oh, another 100-yard game.’ He’s underappreciated and very valuable.”
When Arizona trotted out onto the field for its first offensive play Saturday night, freshman linebacker Derrick Turituri joined them, as a blocker, when Denker completed a 12-yard pass to Samajie Grant.
UCLA one-upped the Wildcats in the second quarter, though, when star linebacker Myles Jack uncorked a 29-yard run.
Rich Rodriguez is no stranger to having guys switch sides — last year, former Wildcats fullback Taimi Tutogi doubled as a defensive end, and Jowyn Ward switched from defensive to offensive line. Keoni Bush-Loo, a sophomore linebacker, was originally recruited to the UA as a tight end.