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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Run game improves


LOS ANGELES — Until Saturday’s game against the USC Trojans, the Arizona Wildcats’ offense was proving to be one-dimensional. That one dimension was Nick Foles’ arm.

The senior quarterback is second in the nation with 1,872 passing yards and has thrown for 14 touchdowns in the first five games of the season, but complementing the passing numbers, the Wildcats are averaging 75.6 rushing yards per game, a frightening average that ranks 116th out of 120 FBS schools.

But the one positive out of Arizona’s 48-41 loss to the USC Trojans in Los Angeles was the run game. Something started to click for the Wildcats, who ran for a season-high 129 yards.

“We just knew our running game would get going,” Arizona running backs coach Garret Chachere said. “We have a young line and we knew once that line got clicking and once we started sticking with the run we could run the ball on a lot of people.

“When we can create some seams and some holes those guys can do some damage.”

It was finally a situation where the Wildcats could use the run to set up the play-action, which was something Arizona ran more times against USC than any other opponent this season.

It was in fact, a play-action roll out where Foles found H-back Taimi Tutogi all alone with room to run for the first Arizona touchdown of the game.

Tutogi and tight end Drew Robinson were also able to create a lot of solid lead blocking for the Wildcat running game.

“Taimi was great, he really played well,” Chachere said. “When he got the ball in his hands, he showed an aggression and a power that we’ve always seen from him in practice.”

Arizona running back Keola Antolin also looked like his former self, as he was able to capitalize on the holes created by the offensive line and break off a few key runs.

The real highlights of the day, however, came from true freshman back Ka’Deem Carey, who scored his first collegiate touchdown on a 27-yard pass completion from Foles.

Despite rushing for only 34 yards, Carey followed up his touchdown catch with two scores on the ground, the first being a leap over the goal line and the second being a 16-yard scamper where he took three defenders into the end zone with him.

“I feel like I’m getting smarter back there,” Carey said, “getting comfortable with the offensive line. Keola’s just been pushing me. He’s been a big help. He’s just been there.”

The Arizona coaching staff has been amazed so far with Carey’s ability to be a solid contributor so quickly in his career.

“It was great for him, it was really great for us as a team.” Chachere said. “I don’t really care who scores the touchdowns, and I don’t think Ka’Deem does. But it’s always nice for a young man who’s working hard to score and kind of see the fruits of his labor.”

Some critics might blame the advancement in the run game on the opposing defense, but Saturday was a much-needed breakthrough game for the Arizona offense. It will need to keep the same tenacity on the ground throughout the rest of their schedule, if it hopes to break out of a nine-game losing streak to FBS opponents.

Foles couldn’t be happier with the way that the running game is coming together.

“I love Ka’Deem,” Foles said. “He’s got that kid mentality but he loves the game. You can tell by the way he runs and the way he does everything. He will go down as one of the top backs in Arizona history.”

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