Arizona keeping busy on the road

MICHAEL WAGAMAN (Associated Press)
The Associated Press

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) -- Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez has kept talk about the possibility of becoming bowl eligible to a minimum this week.

Outside of mentioning that the Wildcats could likely secure an extra game for their seniors by winning at California on Saturday, Rodriguez hasn't said much about it.

''I like to narrow our focus to not even a week or a day, but just the next hour or minute,'' Rodriguez said. ''You want to be in a bowl every year. If you're a senior, you want to play in a bowl game somewhere.''

The Wildcats (5-2, 2-2 Pac-12) played in the New Mexico Bowl a year ago in Rodriguez's first season at Arizona but are looking for much more than that.

They're one game behind Arizona State in the South division. The two schools meet in Tempe in the regular season finale.

Arizona also has a trio of home games remaining on the schedule, including against No. 2 Oregon on Nov. 23.

Before that, however, the Wildcats need to get past struggling California in the first meeting between the two schools since 2010.

The Golden Bears (1-7, 0-5) have dropped six straight under first-year coach Sonny Dykes and have been outscored by an average of 27 points during that span.

Here are five things to watch when the Bears host the Wildcats:

ROAD WEARY 'CATS: The game marks Arizona's first trip to Northern California since 2009 and ends a stretch in which the Wildcats have played four out of five on the road. Quarterback B.J. Denker hasn't let it bother him much. The Wildcats' senior relishes playing on the road, where the Wildcats are 2-2 this season. ''I kind of like it. I like silencing the crowd,'' Denker said. ''We struggled on the road last year but now that we are progressing and getting better on the road, it's good.''

KA'DEEM THE DREAM: Dykes is not surprised that the nation's leading rusher calls Arizona home. As an assistant with the Wildcats from 2007-09, Cal's first-year head coach got an early look at running back Ka'Daeem Carey and was almost immediately impressed. ''He's a physical, hard-nosed, talented kid,'' Dykes said. ''Probably the best back in the league. I like the way he plays the game.'' Carey has topped 100 yards rushing in 10 consecutive games and needs just 80 more to post consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. He set a school single-season record with 1,929 yards rushing a year ago.

RECRUITING 101: People have come up with a number of reasons why California has just one win this season. A new coaching staff, a bad defense racked by injuries, and some inconsistency from the quarterback position have all been blamed for the Bears having lost seven of eight games this season. Dykes, who replaced the fired Jeff Tedford following a tumultuous 2012 campaign, has an easier explanation. According to Dykes, Cal's biggest problem this season stems from a lack of recruiting success. Dykes pointed out that of the 40 kids that were signed from 2009-10, only one has developed into a starter. ''Let that sink in for a moment,'' Dykes said. ''That's just the way that it is.''

GOFF GETS THE CALL ... FOR NOW: Cal freshman Jared Goff spent the previous week looking over his shoulder while Dykes mulled the possibility of making a change. That scenario never came to pass. Goff, who was yanked off the field after fumbling twice in the rain during Cal's 55-19 loss to Oregon, is much more polished and throws a better pass than backup Zach Klein. ''It's made both of us better,'' Goff said. ''I felt a little more comfortable compared to the last two days.''

ARIZONA QB HAS THE MOVES: Denker set a school record for rushing yardage by a quarterback when he torched Colorado for 192 yards on just 15 carries last week. He needs just 59 yards to become the most prolific running quarterback for the Wildcats. ''Any time your quarterback is involved in the run game, it always creates a numerical advantage for the offense,'' Dykes said.

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