Arizona took a beating in Tempe on Saturday night. The Sun Devils scored early and often in the 58-21 rout. Read on to see what influenced the loss, how Ka'Deem Carey played, and more.
was routed in the Duel in the Desert 58-21 on Saturday night. Arizona finishes the season with a 7-5 record and will wait for its fate with the bowl selection. Here is a closer look at what happened:
Arizona running back Ka'Deem Carey extended his streak of 100-plus yard rushing games to 15. The junior finished with 157 yards on 32 carries, but it wasn't enough, as Carey was held in check for most of the game.
He did manage to score one touchdown early in the second half. Carey led his team down the field on the first drive after halftime and punched in the touchdown from eight yards out. It was his 50th career touchdown at Arizona.
Quarterback B.J. Denker wasn't at his best on Saturday night. The senior leader completed 15 of his 30 passes for 175 yards. He failed to throw a touchdown, but he did throw three interceptions after only throwing four up to that point in the season. Denker also tried to get things going with his legs in the game, rushing the ball 15 times for 87 yards. He scored Arizona's first touchdown of the night with one-yard rush in the second quarter.
Denker's first interception came as the blitz was coming and he lofted a ball up for grabs down the middle of the field. His second interception broke his team's back. Arizona was driving, hoping to cut down a 16-point lead, but Denker misread the defense, throwing directly at a Damarious Randall, who intercepted the ball and ran it back 64 yards for a touchdown. It flipped the momentum of the game and proved to be the back-breaker for the Wildcats.
The Arizona Wildcats started slow and it set the pace for the entire game. Arizona State was held to just a field goal, but the offense went three-and-out, letting Arizona State get another field goal. Arizona punted again and Arizona State turned it into a touchdown. The following drive, the Wildcats turned the ball over on downs after Carey was stuffed on fourth-and-one. The Sun Devils went down the field and scored again, making it 20-0 in a hurry.
Arizona scored on one of the strangest plays it has seen all season. Denker rushed the ball up the sidelines on a second-and-one from the ASU 30-yard line. At the five yard line, Denker was hit and the ball popped loose, bouncing once and landing in Garic Wharton's hands. Wharton took it the remaining five yards and scored the touchdown, making it 37-21 in favor of the Sun Devils.
Sione Tuihalamaka had one of the best games of his life in the rivalry game. The senior finished with six tackles, but more importantly, he had three sacks. Most of them came as the Wildcats were still trying to get back into the game. It wasn't enough, but Tuihalamaka's effort was on another level on Saturday.
Jonathan McKnight was beaten a couple times on defense, but did have one good play late in the game. In the fourth quarter, McKnight stepped in front of Taylor Kelly's pass and hauled it in just before he went out of bounds. It was Arizona's only turnover that it forced during the game and it was not enough to overcome the mistakes that were made early on.
To add insult to injury, the Wildcats turned the ball over just two plays later when Denker threw a pass into double coverage that was intercepted.