Arizona Wildcats football: UA's report card for first road game at UNLV

2013-09-08T02:09:00Z 2013-09-08T02:35:52Z Arizona Wildcats football: UA's report card for first road game at UNLVDaniel Berk Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
September 08, 2013 2:09 am  • 

LAS VEGAS—Offense

Quarterbacks

C: Starting with the good, B.J. Denker certainly deserves some credit for his running ability. The senior ran for 60 yards on 16 carries and reached the end zone twice. But, for the second straight week, the passing game wasn’t impressive. Denker finished 8 for 21 for 81 yards and no touchdowns. Coach Rich Rodriguez said this week he wanted to open up the passing game more against UNLV and he tried, but Denker missed some throws.

Running backs

A: Daniel Jenkins started, but Ka’Deem Carey stole the show. Carey finished with 171 yards on 16 carries—an average of 10.7 yards per carry. He took his first carry 58 yards for a touchdown and looked every bit as good as he did last season when he led the nation in rushing. Jenkins was also solid and had 82 yards on 17 carries. Sophomore Jared Baker and senior Kylan Butter were also effective later in the game. All total, Arizona rushed for 397 yards in the win.

Wide receivers

C+: For the second straight week, it’s hard to grade the receivers. They weren’t very active, but managed to get open a couple of times and Denker missed them. Something else that needs to be taken into account here is their downfield blocking. A team doesn’t rush for 397 yards without good downfield blocking from the receivers. Freshman Nate Phillips led the team with 35 yards on three catches.

Offensive line

A-: Rodriguez wasn’t thrilled with the line against NAU and said he wants to watch the film before filing final judgment of their outing against UNLV. But, Carey and Jenkins had giant holes to run through all night and Denker had time to throw, despite being sacked twice. The chemistry of the line also seems to be improving with junior college transfer Steven Gurrola in the middle at center.

Defense

Front six

A-: This was an active group for the Wildcats in the lopsided win. Senior middle linebacker Jake Fischer was able to take a lot of snaps off because of the big lead, but managed to register an interception and return it 36 yards for a score. Senior weak-side linebacker Marquis Flowers returned a fumble 36 yards before being tripped up inside the 10-yard line. True freshman Scooby Wright led the team in tackles with seven and continues to be around the ball. On the line, Tevin Hood forced a fumble and had a tackle for loss.

Back five

B: Safety Tra’Mayne Bondurant had another really good game. The junior registered the lone sack of the contest for the UA defense and had a 52-yard interception return for a touchdown. He now has three picks in two games and has returned two of them for touchdowns. The major knock for this group was allowing a 69-yard touchdown pass from Nick Sherry to Devante Davis early in the second quarter.

Special teams

B-: Jake Smith was three for four on field goals. He hit from 41, 29 and 30 yards and missed from 39. He was perfect on extra-point attempts and had five touchbacks on 11 kickoffs. Drew Riggleman punted just once and it went 44 yards for a touchback. In the return game, Johnny Jackson had a 25-yard return on his first try and was solid, despite muffing a punt later in the game.

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About this blog

Daniel Berk began covering UA football in 2013 after spending two-plus years as the Star's high school sports coordinator. Previously, he served as the sports editor and NAU beat writer for the Arizona Daily Sun in Flagstaff for three years.

A University of Kansas graduate and St. Louis native, Berk is still getting used to 350 days of sunshine, the relentless "dry heat" of the summer and the fact that Tucson doesn't have a real hockey rink.

Contact Daniel at dberk@azstarnet.com or by calling 573-4330. Follow him on Twitter @DSBerk.

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