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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Football notes: McKnight on the road to recovery, two Wildcats recognized for OSU performance

Larry+Hogan%2FArizona+Daily+Wildcat%0A%0ABrandon+McKnight%2C+No.+6%2C+celebrates+in+the+end+zone+after+intercepting+the+ball+and+running+it+back+for+a+touchdown+against+OSU+in+Sept.+7%2C+2012.
Larry Hogan/Arizona Daily Wildcat Brandon McKnight, No. 6, celebrates in the end zone after intercepting the ball and running it back for a touchdown against OSU in Sept. 7, 2012.

Against Oklahoma State, it was the play of the game — at least according to head coach Rich Rodriguez.

With 10:24 left in the fourth quarter, and Arizona leading by just six points at 37-31, Jonathan McKnight made a jump on his receiver and intercepted a Wes Lunt pass for a 48-yard pick six.

That was the closest OSU came to a comeback, and McKnight put the nail in the coffin.

“On that particular play it was a blitz and he anticipated the ball coming out quicker,” Rodriguez said after Wednesday’s practice. “He had a great play on the ball and that was the play of the game.”

McKnight has often been cited as the Wildcats’ best cover corner, by both players and coaches, but coming off an ACL injury that cost him all of last season he was limited in practices in both spring and fall camps.

Rodriguez believes McKnight is fully recovered and likes his feel for the game.

“Jonathan is still coming back from the injury, but he’s 100 percent,” Rodriguez said. “He hasn’t hit a lot because he had a sore shoulder during camp but he’s played physical. He’s got a great feel for the game.”

Linebacker Jake Fischer also missed all of last season with an ACL injury, so he understands what McKnight went through last season sitting on the sidelines.

“The thing that sucked last year is that he [got injured] a week before our first game. He was a starter,” Fischer said after Saturday’s game. “He worked his way back up, he worked his tail off. When you’re a good football player, you have good instincts like that and you have a hunger to win … he’s gonna get to the next level. He came out and showed that he’s still got it.”

Rodriguez “putting on some pounds” waiting for the late games

So far this season, Arizona has had two games with late, 7:30 p.m. start times. The next two games on the schedule, at home against South Carolina State on Saturday and at Oregon one week later, are listed for the same time.

As the head coach at Michigan and West Virginia, Rodriguez rarely ever had late start times, so he’s found himself occupying his time on Saturdays watching football and eating food.

“What else are you gonna do all day Saturday?” Rodriguez said.

“It’s a long day to wait around. There’s games on at nine in the morning, so I don’t watch them all day, but I watch quite a bit of football.

“We eat a couple times, probably gain some weight, put on a few pounds, but thankfully there are some games to watch.”

Rodriguez had trouble recalling which games in particular he watched on Saturday, but said he typically tries to watch the UA’s upcoming opponents.

Carey, Tevis recognized for OSU performance

Safety Jared Tevis and running back Ka’Deem Carey were acknowledged for their performance against the Cowboys in Saturday’s 59-38 win.

Tevis was named an honorable mention Jim Thorpe Defensive Back of the Week on Wednesday. Tevis, a former walk-on, led the Wildcats with two interceptions and also added nine tackles. Tevis is second on the team with 21 total tackles.

“Some guys just know how to play football, and he’s one of them,” Rodriguez said.

Carey was named the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas Pac-12 Player of the Week after rushing for 126 yards and three touchdowns while also catching four balls, one for a touchdown. The award recognizes top performers from the Pac-12 and Mountain West conferences, determined by a fan vote on a Facebook poll.

Carey is second in the Pac-12 and ninth nationally with 273 rushing yards, and he has five total touchdowns on the season.

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