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Arizona's Denker gets second chance vs. UNLV

The SportsXchange

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Senior B.J. Denker did well enough in the season-opener to earn a second start at quarterback.

Denker was efficient, although not flashy, in Arizona's 35-0 victory over lower-division NAU last Friday night. He completed 9 of 13 passes for 87 yards and a touchdown, and he ran 13 times for 71 yards.

His highlight came when he dropped back to pass in the third quarter, saw a huge opening and sped right up the field, diving into the end zone for a 30-yard touchdown. He did not turn the ball over.

"I thought B.J. played pretty well. He was pretty solid," said coach Rich Rodriguez. "He understands our system and all of that."

For the first week, Rodriguez listed Denker or junior college transfer Jesse Scroggins or redshirt freshman Javelle Allen as the starter at quarterback (although Denker has been the favorite since the spring). There are no "ors" on the depth chart this week heading into Saturday's game at UNLV, which dropped its opener 51-23 at Minnesota.

Denker is first, followed by Allen and Scroggins.

Allen came in for Denker in the fourth quarter against NAU and ripped off a 61-yard touchdown run.

"He ran faster than I thought," Rodriguez said. "I think a lot of guys run faster when they're getting chased. He might be one of those guys."

Rodriguez had been critical of Allen in the spring for being too heavy and not in optimum condition. Allen got the message. He reported to fall camp in better shape, at 6-2, 218, and made up a lot of depth-chart ground in the final two weeks.

"He's a good guy; we just thought he could work harder," Rodriguez said of his spring comments. "I just didn't think he was taking himself elite-athlete serious."

Many expected Scroggins, a strong-armed former USC quarterback, to claim the starting job. But he had to sit out his first spring practice because of toe surgery and missed time in fall camp because of concussion problems and illness.

What Scroggins needs is reps, Rodriguez said, so the coaches will continue to give all three ample time in practice. By no means is the competition over. But as long as Denker takes care of the ball against UNLV, chances are good he'll be making a third consecutive start.
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