When the Arizona Wildcats head to Seattle to take on the No. 16 Washington Huskies, there will be plenty of storylines to talk about leading up to the game. Is this Huskies team for real or will they fizzle out to another seven-win season? How good is this Arizona team after three cupcake non-conference games? Will UW avenge their blowout loss from last season in the desert? While those headlines will matter leading up to kickoff, once the game kicks off on Saturday the biggest story will be the elite running backs putting on a show.
For Arizona, Ka’Deem Carey returns for a repeat performance of his college-football-leading 2012 season. After sitting out the season opener for a suspension stemming from a tumultuous offseason, Carey looks like he’s as prolific as ever. In two games, Carey has rushed for 299 yards on 43 carries with four touchdowns. His 149.5 yards per game average would be second in the nation if Carey had played in enough snaps yet to be eligible. He is the driving force of this Wildcats’ offense and looks ready to stake his claim as the nation’s best running back.
On the other side, Bishop Sankey has been so important to the early success of the Washington offense. He’s rushed for 446 yards in three games on 64 carries with four touchdowns, including a career-best 208 yards on 35 carries against the Illinois Fighting Illini. His 148.7 yards per game average ranks second among qualified running backs and would likely be significantly higher if he hadn’t left Washington’s last game against the Idaho State Bengals after gaining 77 yards…on four carries. He is a strong runner that has given UW solid contributions behind Keith Price and helped lead the No. 9 rushing attack in college football so far.
While so much attention these days is paid to the quarterback position, this game on Saturday will be a showcase of two of the premier running back talents in college football. Each of them is ready to put their team on their back and carry them across the goalline. Whoever comes out ahead between the two of them on Saturday could make the difference in this game and in the individual awards that will get handed out at season’s end.
Last season, it was Carey who came out ahead on 172 yards on 29 carries to Sankey’s 87 yards on 19 touches and the Wildcats won 52-17. Who gets the upper hand in their rematch Saturday?