Pac-12: Stepfon Jefferson

Pac-12 bowl primer: Gildan New Mexico

December, 10, 2012
This week we'll be taking a snapshot look at all of the bowl games including Pac-12 teams.


Nevada (7-5, 4-4 MWC) vs. Arizona (7-5, 4-5 Pac-12)

Where: Albuquerque, New Mexico.

When: Sat. Dec. 15, 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT


About Arizona: All but one of the Wildcats' losses this year came to teams that are currently ranked in the BCS Top 25 -- including Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford and UCLA. The 41-34 loss to Arizona State in the Territorial Cup is the only loss that wasn't to a ranked team. In their first year under Rich Rodriguez, the Wildcats quickly adapted to the spread attack and finished the regular season boasting the nation's No. 7 offense.

About Nevada: Pac-12 fans might remember Nevada from the season opener -- when the Wolf Pack went into Memorial Stadium and topped the Bears 31-24. Nevada only played one ranked team in 2012 -- which came in the season finale when it lost to Boise State 27-21.

Key players, Arizona: Running back Ka'Deem Carey, obviously, has to get the touches. And as the nation's leading running back, there's no reason to think he won't. But safety Marquis Flowers -- who has been one of the more underrated defensive performers in the conference, will likely get the call to spy Nevada quarterback Cody Fajardo -- who is a gifted runner in Nevada's pistol zone read.

Key players, Nevada: Much like the Wildcats, Nevada has a premier running back as well in Stefphon Jefferson, who trails only Carey in rushing yards. On the flip side, safety Duke Williams has forced a team high three fumbles, has 5.5 tackles for a loss, 100 total tackles and has broken up eight passes -- so he's productive against the run and the pass.

Did you know: This is a return trip to New Mexico for the Wolf Pack. Nevada already played one game this year at University Stadium where they edged New Mexico 31-24 in a Mountain West Conference game. Fajardo threw three touchdowns (matching a season high) and also led the Pack in rushing ... this is just the third meeting between the schools, the last one coming in 1941 ... both teams have matching records and the quarterbacks, Matt Scott and Fajardo, are the second leading rushers on their teams.

Who will transform the bowls?

December, 7, 2012
Arizona running back Ka'Deem Carey has a great opportunity to show a heck of a lot of people why he landed on several All-America lists -- including first-team Walter Camp -- and why he should get some Heisman buzz in 2013.

We all know that he's the national leader in rushing with 1,757 yards, 20 touchdowns and an impressive 6.4 yards per carry. But people are going to tune into the Gildan New Mexico Bowl for several reasons. For starters, it's the first game of the bowl season -- kicking off next Saturday at 4 p.m. ET. So he'll have an opportunity for the whole country to be watching (yes, even East Coast people won't be asleep yet).

Second, Nevada running back Stefphon Jefferson is right behind Carey in the national rankings, coming in at No. 2 with 1,703 yards, 22 touchdowns and an average of 5 yards per carry. People are going to tune in to watch the only 1,700-yard rushers in FBS football go head-to-head.

Carey has risen to prominence this season with his explosive running, his ability to break tackles and his overall consistency. He's gone for at least 100 yards in nine games, and four times he's had at least 150 yards on the ground. Not to mention his Pac-12 record-setting performance against Colorado -- a 366-yard day that included five touchdowns and a whopping 14.6 yards per carry.

The Pac-12 has plenty of stars on display during the bowl season. But few have skyrocketed as quickly in 2012 as Carey. And what he does to close out 2012 could make him a national star heading into 2013.