Keep your friends close and your enemies closer; that’s what they say.
The Arizona Wildcats are not the enemies of the Boston College Eagles as such — it’s pretty hard to hate a team you’ve never played — but for now, they’re our adversaries in the forthcoming 2013 AdvoCare V100 Bowl. We already know some things about the bowl and the Eagles, so with eighteen days until the game, here are eighteen facts about Boston College’s opposition.
1.) Arizona is coached by Rich Rodriguez, in his second season. Boston College had faced him previously at West Virginia when the Eagles were in the Big East, but since then he added a miserable existence in Ann Arbor to his resume.
2.) This year’s Wildcats are 7-5 (4-5 Pac-12) and have qualified for bowls in consecutive seasons under Rodriguez.
3.) On New Year’s Eve, the Wildcats will be seeking their third bowl win of the 21st Century. Their first was in the 2008 Las Vegas Bowl over BYU, and the second was last year in the New Mexico Bowl against Nevada, a game in which Arizona came back from 13 down with two minutes to go.
4.) Boston College has a pregame “Eagle Walk,” while, not surprisingly, Arizona has a “Wildcat Walk.” This one is more like what the Eagles’ used to be — walking down a fan-lined street. Of course, the Eagles come down the Million Dollar Stairs.
5.) Arizona started out the 2013 season at 3-0 through a light non-conference schedule, but ultimately closed out the year losing three of their last four games. The Wildcats will be eager to erase the stench of their rivalry game, a 58-21 pasting by Arizona State. That actually came a week after pasting Oregon.
6.) Much has been made of the running backs in this bowl game, and with good reason. Arizona’s back, Ka’Deem Carey, is fifth in the nation with 1,716 rushing yards and tied with Andre Williams with 17 touchdowns. Notably, Carey was an All-American last season, the first such for Arizona since Rob Gronkowski in 2008.
7.) Carey was also just recently named the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year for this season.
8.) Thanks in large part to Carey’s efforts, the Wildcats are eleventh in FBS in team rushing yards per game, posting about 266 per contest.
9.) In his best game out of a consistent season, Carey rushed for 232 yards against Utah, but scored four touchdowns twice: at Colorado and against Oregon.
10.) Arizona’s starting quarterback this season is senior BJ Denker, whose Rettig-esque stats are 216-for-357 (60.5%) for 2,241 yards, 14 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. However, Denker has also rushed for almost 900 yards himself.
11.) Much like Boston College, Arizona’s offense has been far more productive with the run than with the pass. The Wildcats are 98th in passing offense this year.
12.) Arizona’s leading receiver this season is Nate Phillips, who has 503 yards and seven touchdowns to his credit.
13.) The Wildcats’ kicker, Jake Smith, has not been quite so good. He is 47-for-49 in extra points, but has gone just 12-for-19 in field goal tries. Four of his misses were from less than 40 yards away.
14.) Arizona runs a spread option offense, which has resulted in them scoring nearly 33 points a game.
15.) They also run a base 3-3-5 defense, and they’re giving up 24.7 points per contest.
16.) The Wildcats are 3-3 away from their home stadium this season. Their three wins away from Tuscon were at UNLV, at Colorado, and at California.
17.) The two leading tacklers for the Wildcats this season are senior linebackers Marquis Flowers (86) and Jake Fischer (85).
18.) Finally, the Wildcats this year started wearing uniforms with two-toned numbering, which, I gotta say, it’s pretty dreadful. Just keeping it real.