Observations: Arizona vs. Arizona State

Arizona lost to Arizona State on Saturday and the game was never really close. Read on to see what the loss taught us about B.J. Denker, the defense, and more.

Coming off a huge win over No. 5 Oregon, it seemed like Arizona had finally figured things out after laying a couple of stinkers against UCLA and Washington State.

Instead of coming out firing like they did against the Ducks, Arizona found itself in a 16-0 hole early.

Outside of a five-minute stretch where the Wildcats had cut the deficit to 16 points midway through the third quarter, it never really felt like UA was in the game.

And just as it seemed like the Wildcats had some momentum, an errant throw from B.J. Denker was intercepted and taken to the end zone to just about wrap things up.

  • Speaking of Denker, after doing a terrific job of protecting the football all season long, he couldn't seem to keep the ball away from the Sun Devils on Saturday night.

    He threw three interceptions after throwing four all year long, two of which were a product of ASU just sitting back and waiting for him to fire the ball into coverage.

    Denker also fumbled the ball inside the five-yard line, and if it wasn't for a fortunate bounce right to Garic Wharton, the final score would've been even uglier.

  • Ka'Deem Carey might have played his final regular season game in a Wildcat uniform, and if he did, he went out with a bang as he carried the ball 32 times for 157 yards and a touchdown.

    Carey has done everything the coaching staff could have possibly asked him to do, and it'll be a real shame if he isn't at least invited to the Heisman ceremony in a couple of weeks with the way a handful of other candidates have fallen off.

  • The defense was a disaster, and when you consider the Sun Devils didn't even have all-conference tailback Marion Grice healthy, it's scary to think just about badly the unit played.

    D.J. Foster and De'Marieya Nelson ran all over the Cats, scoring four touchdowns and averaging nearly five yards a carry. Taylor Kelly picked apart the secondary and threw for 274 yards and two touchdowns.

    If there was a bright spot to the game, the defensive line did a nice job getting pressure on Kelly in the backfield and kept him from getting outside of containment.

  • Special teams were also a mess. Jake Smith missed a kick just before the half that could have given UA some momentum, and a late fumble on a kickoff return was another punch in the gut with the game already out of hand.

  • Fortunately for Arizona, it still has a bowl game to play. It's tough to really know where this team is at mentally, but a win would give the Wildcats eight on the year.

    That would mean back-to-back eight-win seasons under Rich Rodriguez, and he managed to do it with a roster that's lacking an abundance of talent.

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