Ka'Deem Carey Deserves To Be In Heisman Watch
By Christopher Wuensch
The story is more of a remake than it is a sequel, and it made its grand re-debut this weekend. It’s a classic storyline that we’ve seen before: A school is terrorized by a student with un-human-like powers bent on inflicting destruction.
It’s a classic October horror. That is, horror for opposing rushing defenses.
It’s the story of Carrie. Err … Carey. Ka’Deem Carey.
The Arizona running back returned to the top of the NCAA’s rushing leaderboard Saturday, at least in terms of yards per game, and now has a realistic shot to defend his 2012 rushing crown.
Carey used a school-record 40 carries to pile up 234 yards on the ground against the Utah defense to reclaim the national lead at 160.0 yards per game. He not only leads the category, he’s averaging 13 more yards than the next closest running back, Antonio Andrews of Western Kentucky. (Andrews, though, leads the nation in rushing with 1,036 yards to Carey's 805).
Carey still remains a bit of a longshot to win the rushing title. (He's currently 11th, and five backs have at least a 100-yard lead, but their teams all have played one more game than the Wildcats.) If he can, he’ll become the first back to do so since Texas’ Ricky Williams (1997-98) and Iowa State's Troy Davis (1995-96).
Not bad for a running back whose hopes of defending his title were dashed by many critics after Carey missed the Wildcats’ season-opener due to a suspension.
So what happened to Carey’s stock? The junior entered the season as a Heisman candidate. Since then, he’s rushed for 6.0 yards per carry and six touchdowns.
Still, entering Week 8, running backs such as Melvin Gordon (Wisconsin, 144.6 ypg/11 TDs), Lache Seastrunk (Baylor, 126.7/10), Duke Johnson (Miami, 109.2/4) and T.J. Yeldon (Alabama, 93.9/7) are considered the Heisman relevant in what’s considered a down year for rushers.
It’s almost a foregone conclusion that a quarterback will hoist the Heisman Trophy this winter. But if Carey repeats as rushing champ, he at least deserves a spot on the dais.
The truth is, he’s going to have to practically carry the Wildcats down the stretch to get noticed. Arizona (4-2, 1-2) got its first conference win of the season over the Utes thanks in large part to Carey. The Wildcats’ two Pac-12 losses came on the road against Washington and Southern California — not exactly the easiest places to play.
They have an excellent opportunity to become bowl-eligible in the next two weeks with matchups against conference doormats Colorado and California.
Carey (3,159 career yards in 29 games) sits just 467 yards behind Trung Canidate on the Wildcats’ all-time rushing list. At his current pace, he’ll eclipse Canidate at home against UCLA in three weeks.
But he could do it earlier if history sticks to its old axiom and repeats itself. Carey torched Colorado last year for 366 yards. California yields 178.7 ypg to opposing backs.
From there, Arizona closes its season with three home games against Oregon, UCLA and Washington State before heading to Tempe to face Arizona State in the Territorial Cup.
Carey might need to haul the Wildcats to victory over UCLA and/or ASU to get some notice.
What he really needs is the nation’s top quarterbacks such as Marcus Mariota, Teddy Bridgewater and Jameis Winston to cancel each other out.
While he's unlikely to win, Carey now deserves to be in the conversation.