SHREVEPORT, La. — First-year coach Steve Addazio said Boston College has plenty to be proud of after a remarkable turnaround season that included a return to postseason play after a 2-10 record in 2012.
But the way things ended is undeniably disappointing.
Not much went right for the Eagles in a 42-19 loss to Arizona in the Advocare V100 Bowl on Tuesday. Boston College running back Andre Williams, the Doak Walker Award winner and Heisman finalist who came into the game with 2,102 yards rushing, was held to 75 yards and one touchdown in his final collegiate game.
Boston College (7-6) kept things tight early, trailing just 7-6 midway through the second quarter. But Arizona scored two quick touchdowns just before halftime to take a 21-6 lead and the Eagles could never mount another challenge.
“The way we’re built right now, this year, we’re not built to come back from three scores,” Addazio said. “We’ve got to be on schedule, or we start getting into things we don’t do best. It can get out of whack.”
Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey took a decisive victory in a showdown between two of the nation’s top running backs. Carey rushed for 169 yards and two touchdowns, getting stronger as the game progressed. B.J. Denker threw for 275 yards and two touchdowns and also rushed for a 14-yard touchdown.
It was another impressive performance for Carey in what might be his final college game. The 5-foot-10, 207-pound junior topped 100 yards rushing for a 16th straight game.
Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez had plenty of praise for Carey before sneaking in a plug to campaign for a senior season.
“He’s the hardest runner in the country and I think he’s the best running back in the country,” Rodriguez said before breaking into a grin. “And he’s still got some things to learn. So another year and he’d be just right.”
Boston College (7-6) didn’t score a touchdown until Williams’ 4-yard run early in the fourth quarter. Williams and Carey both earned first team AP All-America honors this season, but the expected duel never materialized.
“The biggest key for us defensively was tackling (Williams) before he had the chance to get going,” Rodriguez said. “We wanted to tackle him early and be physical.”
Carey had plenty of help. Arizona (8-5) had 529 total yards and scored 35 straight points to turn a tight 7-6 game in the second quarter into a 42-6 blowout by early in the fourth.
Denker completed 17 of 24 passes while Nate Phillips caught nine passes for 193 yards. Redshirt freshman Trey Griffey — the son of former baseball star Ken Griffey Jr. — caught two touchdown passes, including a 26-yarder just before halftime that gave the Wildcats a 21-6 lead.
Arizona’s six touchdowns tied an Advocare V100 Bowl record. Rodriguez said the offense — and particularly Denker— played at a high level for most of the day
“I know when a quarterback gets it like B.J,” Rodriguez said. “He’s seeing everything — good and bad. He was really sharp mentally and obviously, he showed his athletic ability on some of those runs.”
Boston College could never get in sync offensively.
Williams looked ordinary against Arizona’s active defensive line. The senior never had much of a chance, usually meeting a pile of defenders right at the line of scrimmage.
“We had to execute at a high level and we failed to do that at certain points.” Williams said.
The Eagles’ secondary struggled to contain Arizona’s receivers, who repeatedly found space in the defense. Boston College’s Alex Amidon caught 10 passes for 129 yards and Nate Freese made field goals from 32 and 41 yards to cap a 20-for-20 season.
Both teams took to the air early. Denker completed 8 of 12 passes for 145 yards in the first half. Griffey’s two touchdowns were the first of his career.
Boston College looked much less comfortable throwing. Chase Rettig tossed two first-half interceptions, including one that William Parks returned 69 yards for a touchdown.
“As I was running I heard the crowd getting real loud,” Parks said. “So I said `Oh man, I must have done something really good.”’
Denker was selected game’s Most Valuable Player on offense, and Parks took defensive honors.
Carey had 116 of his 169 yards rushing in the second half. The Wildcats pushed ahead 28-6 early in the third quarter after a long drive ended with Carey’s second touchdown — a 5-yard run up the middle.
“(Denker) started making unbelievable plays downfield and with his feet, and then everything came open for me,” Carey said.
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