Carey ready to lead Arizona

December, 5, 2012
12/05/12
7:05
PM ET
Good running backs see holes even before they open, so it should come no surprise that Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey immediately recognized holes in a reporter's questions.

So, Ka'Deem, are you thinking about maybe hitting 2,000 yards rushing in 2013?

"Hopefully 2,000 this year!" he said, laughing.

Carey will head into the Gildan New Mexico Bowl against Nevada on Dec. 15 with 1,757 yards rushing. Considering he broke the 28-year-old Pac-12 single-game record rushing record when he pilled up 366 yards against Colorado, Carey getting 243 against the Wolfpack isn't that much of a stretch. He also rushed for 204 yards against a good Utah run defense.

Carey leads the nation in rushing with 146.42 yards per game.

So, Ka'Deem, how does it feel to win the FBS rushing title?

"That is good," he said. "But it's not done yet."

True. Bowl stats now count for official season statistics.

In fact, Carey's closest pursuer will be eyeballing him from across the field in Albuquerque: Nevada's Stefphon Jefferson, who averages 141.92 yards per game.

Both should see at least a little daylight in the bowl game. Arizona is 87th and Nevada 110th in the nation in run defense. And both offenses rank in the nation's top-20 in scoring.

Carey, who averages 6.4 yards per carry and has scored 20 touchdowns, may need to find the endzone a handful of times.

"I'll hopefully do that," Carey said. "But I feel like our defense is going to step up and make big plays."

It's smart on Carey's part not to knock the Wildcats' defense, which has probably exceeding low preseason expectations. It also shows him to be a budding leader. He'll need to be next fall. With the graduation of QB Matt Scott, the Wildcats offense will face some uncertainty. Carey will be the first and perhaps second option.

The first-team All-Pac-12 performer didn't get an invitation to the Heisman Trophy ceremony -- "I knew I had no chance," he said -- despite his big numbers against A-list competition, but he certainly will make a number of 2013 preseason Heisman lists. He will be the face of the Arizona program, and his leadership will need to take another, more vocal step.

"I'm definitely ready," he said. "I learned a lot from Matt and the other seniors, just the way they led the team."

But first Carey needs to make sure he leads the nation in rushing.

Ted Miller | email

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