BOULDER, Colo. (AP) – Their first face-off was a dud, so the Richardson cousins are both counting on more memorable performances Saturday when the Arizona Wildcats visit the Colorado Buffaloes.
The only other time they met up in a college football game was two years ago when both were banged up – Buffs star receiver Paul Richardson with a knee injury and Wildcats star cornerback Shaquille Richardson with a high ankle sprain.
Paul had one catch for a couple of yards and a 15-yard run in which Shaq made the tackle.
Paul missed all of last season with an ACL injury, so Saturday’s showdown between the Wildcats (4-2, 1-2 Pac-12) and the Buffaloes (3-3, 0-3) marks the last time they’ll face each other in college.
Shaq, a senior, has two of Arizona’s nine interceptions so far, and Paul, a junior, has 782 yards receiving and six TDs.
As a lead-up to the matchup, the cousins talked smack to each other via Skype on the Pac-12 Network this week, although Paul noted that trash talk is a “defense thing. I was just telling him he shouldn’t hold me.”
Paul added that Shaq “doesn’t want me to go deep but that’s kind of my M.O. I can’t wait for when the ball is in the air, he’s going to think it’s 50-50, but it’s not.”
The banter continued off the air.
“I’ve seen you get one pick against Utah, it was all right. But who was that receiver? Not me,” Paul said. “Just like the DBs that I scored on wasn’t you.”
The cousins have squared off since they were 8 years old, tackling each other in Shaq’s front lawn in Compton, Calif., so they know all about each other’s strengths and weaknesses. In fact, they grade each other and offer pointers during the season. “We respect each other a lot and we try to help each other as much as we can,” Paul said.
This week, they’ll try to exploit each other’s weaknesses.
Other things to keep an eye on Saturday:
TOP RUSHER: Arizona running back Ka’Deem Carey is the nation’s leading rusher at 161 yards a game. He had a season-high 236 yards rushing on a school record 40 carries in a 35-24 win over Utah last week. Last year, Carey set a conference record by piling up 366 yards on the Buffaloes in Tucson. “There’s no question he’s one of the best football players I’ve ever coached,” Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez said.
BUFFS SKID: Colorado is trying to snap an 11-game Pac-12 losing skid. The Buffs have dropped their three conference games by a combined 106 points, which led to the benching of QB Connor Wood. Freshman Sefo Liufau, who won his first career start last week in Colorado’s 43-10 rout of lower-tier Charleston Southern, gets his first crack at Pac-12 defenses Saturday.
FRESHMAN BREAKOUT: The fresh face who stole the spotlight for the Buffaloes last week wasn’t Liufau but running back Michael Adkins, who became the first Colorado running back to reach the end zone four times in a game since Lawrence Vickers did it against Missouri in 2005. Adkins finished with 137 yards on 13 carries for a 10.5-yard average.
ROAD WEARY: The Wildcats are in the middle of a stretch in which they have four of their first five conference games away from home. They visit Cal next week before getting three straight home games and a regular season finale up I-10 at rival Arizona State.
LAST TIME: Carey led the Wildcats to a 56-31 romp over Colorado last season, when he gained a school-record 366 yards on just 25 carries for an eye-popping 14.6-yard average and five TDs. “They’re a much improved team from last year,” Arizona offensive lineman Mickey Baucus said. “We’re not thinking, ‘We had a big day last year.’ We’re thinking about what we can do to get ourselves better and have another big day this year.”
– By Arnie Stapleton, AP Sports Writer
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