AdvoCare V100 Bowl
Arizona 42, Boston College 19
Basically … Boston College answered a two-yard Ka'Deem Carey touchdown run with two Nate Freese field goals from 22 and 41 yards away to make it 7-6 Arizona late in th first half, and then the roof caved in. The Wildcats got a 69-yard pick six from William Parks and a 26-yard Trey Griffey touchdown catch in the final few minutes for a 21-6 halftime lead, and they opened up the second half with a six-yard Carey touchdown run and a 14-yard scoring dash from B.J. Denker as part of a 35 point scoring run to turn the game into a laugher. BC star running back Andre Williams was held in check with just 75 yards, but he scored in the fourth quarter on a four-yard run once the game was out of reach.
- Arizona RB Ka'Deem Carey ran 28 times for 165 yards and two scores.
- Arizona QB B.J. Denker completed 17-of-24 passes for 276 yards and two scores, and he ran 13 times for 49 yards and a touchdown.
- Arizona WR Nate Phillips made nine catches for 194 yards and Trey Griffey caught three passes for 41 yards and two scores.
- Boston College RB Andre Williams ran 26 yimes for 75 yards and a score.
- Boston College QB Chase Rettg completed 16-of-26 passes for 189 yards with two scores.
- Boston College WR Alex Amidon caught ten passes for 129 yards.
Arizona (7-5) vs. Boston College (7-5) Dec. 31, 12:30, ESPN
Here's The Deal … The Independence Bowl got what every postseason craves—a storyline to sell.
The bowl pits the country's top two rushers, BC's Andre Williams and Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey, against one another. Williams won the Doak Walker Award earlier in the month, catapulting into the national lexicon with his second-half performance. Carey meanwhile is hoping to join Williams in the 2,000-yard club, while giving balloters a reason to second-guess their vote.
Williams' Eagles were one of the pleasant surprises in the ACC during the regular season. A year ago after the program won just two games, head coach Steve Addazio came aboard and whipped it into a bunch of winners. BC was a different team, tougher, more confident and executing better on both sides of the ball. It beat Virginia Tech, hung with Clemson and was the only team to come within two touchdowns of top-ranked Florida State. Addazio can add another brick to the foundation with a win in Shreveport.
It's been a curious season for the Wildcats and second-year head coach Rich Rodriguez. They were good enough to rout Oregon on Nov. 23, yet still finished below .500 in Pac-12 play. Consistency continues to elude Arizona, which is going to need more time running the staff's offensive and defensive systems. That staff is using December practices to give reps to some of the younger players on the roster who'll be contributing in 2014.
Players to Watch: NFL scouts in attendance will closely monitor the play of Williams, who's expected back from a shoulder injury, and Carey, who figures to forego his final year of eligibility. Williams was literally unstoppable before getting dinged in the Carrier Dome, rushing for 1,235 yards during a torrid five-game stretch. Carey has been a model of consistency all year long, rushing for no less than 119 yards in all 11 of his games. In fact, he hasn't been held under yards in a game since UCLA did it back on Nov. 3, 2012.
Which of the All-American backs gets more support from his quarterback? It's a toss-up between BC's Chase Rettig and Arizona's B.J. Denker. Rettig is the better passer, while Denker is a dangerous scrambler when he pulls the ball down, rushing for 898 yards and a dozen scores this season. Rettig, though, will have access to the best non-running back skill position player at Independence Stadium. WR Alex Amidon, despite getting zero cover from other receivers, has hauled in 67 passes for 895 yards and five scores. If the ‘Cats load up to stop Williams, Amidon is capable of making them pay the price.
Addazio's biggest concern in the offseason will be to fix a defense that's pulling up the rear in the ACC. The only silver lining for the Eagles is that they're better against the run than the pass, which will help in slowing down Carey. Boston College's strength is in the front seven, where DE Kasim Edebali has developed into a steady pass rusher and linebackers Kevin Pierre-Louis and Steele Divitto earned all-league recognition. The two seniors from the second level will have to watch Carey closely, while not biting on play-fakes.
Arizona's 3-3-5 defense is better suited to stop the spread than north-south running games. Its small and quick defenders should make for an interesting matchup with the power of Williams. As the biggest members of the back eight, linebackers Scooby Wright and Marquis Flowers will be especially important for the Wildcats. Flowers, along with Jake Fischer, is one of the senior leaders of the D. Wright is an emerging star, a rugged 230-pound rookie from Windsor, Calif. who earned honorable mention All-Pac-12 in his first year on campus.
Arizona will win if … Boston College has to account for Denker.
Carey is going to get his yards. He always does. But, the Wildcats elevate into a completely different team when No. 7 is making things happen as well. Denker not only has to protect the ball and make wise decisions, but he'll have to challenge the Eagle defenders with his feet and his ability to connect with shifty slot receiver Nate Phillips. If the backs cancel one another out, the outcome could be decided by whichever hurler delivers more positive plays.
Boston College will win if … Amidon can get behind the Arizona secondary.
No, the senior isn't expected to be the MVP of the Independence Bowl, but if he can get deep even once or twice in the early going, it'll help to dramatically open up the field for the Eagles. The Wildcats can be erratic in pass defense at times, yielding more plays of at least 60 than all but four teams in the FBS. Any kind of a threat on the outside will not only help Williams between the tackles, but Rettig as well. The quarterback might even earmark a couple of balls for TE Jake Sinkovec, who's been effective near the end zone.
What Will Happen: Carey and Williams will play to a draw. Arizona, though, will be slightly better everywhere else.
There's not a lot that separates the ‘Cats and the Eagles, right down to their identical records. Arizona, though, is just a little faster overall, the difference in a game that ought to be competitive throughout. Denker will make just enough plays to balance Carey, and the defense will prevent BC from getting to the edge. The Wildcats will remain a step ahead of the Eagles in Shreveport, reaching eight wins for a second consecutive year.
Prediction: Arizona 38 … Boston College 28
Line: Arizona -7.5 o/u: 57
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