Arizona Football: 5 Things Wildcats Must Do to Win AdvoCare V100 Bowl
Win the last game.
It's a common goal for most college football teams, particularly those that get to play in a bowl to end their seasons. Whether it's for a national title or just to get a fancy trophy and some bragging rights, being able to win the final game of a season always provides a certain level of satisfaction.
Not to mention, a final win is a great accomplishment to springboard off of for the next season.
Winning the AdvoCare V100 Bowl might not seem like the biggest thing in the world, but it's the top priority for Arizona right now. And in order for the Wildcats to beat Boston College on Dec. 31 in Shreveport, La., certain things need to happen.
Ka'Deem Carey Gains 150 Yards
Getting 100 yards has become almost a foregone conclusion for Ka'Deem Carey, who has hit the century mark in a school-record 15 straight games. Actually, he's managed at least 119 yards in each of those games.
But in order for Arizona to win against Boston College—and its own standout running back, Andre Williams—Carey will need to provide more than just the status quo. He'll need to have the kind of game he put forth when the Wildcats upset Oregon last month, a 48-carry, 206-yard, four-touchdown performance.
And Carey's yards have to come at all times of the game and in all situations. It cannot be like one of the Wildcats' most recent games, a 58-21 loss to Arizona State, in which Carey finished with 157 yards but was stuffed several times on third- and fourth-and-short run plays.
Andre Williams Is Held Under 100 Yards
Andre Williams is the FBS rushing leader this season with 2,102 yards, which is the ninth-highest total in FBS history. But compared to Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey, who has never gained fewer than 119 yards this season, Williams' output ranged from as low as 29 to a school-record 339.
Boston College was 0-3 in games that Williams didn't reach 100 yards, including the season finale to Syracuse when Williams left the game with a shoulder injury. Additionally, each Eagles loss came when Williams rushed for 172 yards or fewer.
If the Wildcats can slow down Williams enough, so he isn't getting the ball on each and every down, Boston College will be forced to turn to a passing game that averages only 150.5 yards per game.
B.J. Denker Makes Big Plays
B.J. Denker has put together the greatest rushing season ever for an Arizona quarterback, running for 898 yards and 12 touchdowns.
But the Wildcats are at their best when Denker is effective both with his legs and his arm.
Since Denker's breakout 363-yard, four-touchdown performance in a loss at USC, the senior's ability to throw the ball has been a key to success. It's not so much about the yardage, as he managed just 178 yards in Arizona's upset win over Oregon.
Instead, when Denker shows accuracy (he was 19-of-22 against Oregon) and a willingness to attempt passes downfield, the Wildcats become a more balanced offense and therefore that much harder to stop.
Wildcats Win the Turnover Battle
Quarterback B.J. Denker only threw seven interceptions this season, but six of those came in Arizona's five losses. And four of the team's nine lost fumbles came in defeats as well.
In those five losses, Arizona lost the turnover battle in four of them. Nothing kills momentum and interferes with offensive rhythm than giving the ball away.
Against Boston College, the Wildcats are going to be matched up with a team that runs the ball well and controls the clock. Therefore, Arizona cannot afford to squander any offensive chances, especially by turning the ball over.
No Mistakes on Special Teams
In Arizona's last game, its first possession (following an Arizona State field goal) resulted in a three-and-out, followed by a punt that was shanked for 12 yards, giving ASU the ball at the Wildcats 24-yard-line.
ASU scored a few plays later, and Arizona was never able to recover.
Special teams mistakes have popped up at various times for Arizona, whether it be missed field goals or extra points, bad punts or muffed catches on punt returns. If those miscues don't resurface in the bowl game, look for the Wildcats to win.