TUCSON, Ariz. — B.J. Denker ran for two touchdowns and passed for another, leading Arizona past outmatched UTSA 38-13 Saturday night.
Denker, the senior who won the offseason competition to succeed Matt Scott at quarterback, had TD runs of 35 and 1 yards and threw 13 yards to Samajie Grant for another score.
Ka’Deem Carey carried 27 times for 128 yards, including touchdown runs of 4 and 7 yards. Denker had 10 rushes for 90 yards and completed 14 of 21 passes for 158 yards with no interceptions.
Arizona improved to 3-0 against a soft early schedule, beating Northern Arizona, UNLV and UTSA by a combined 131-26.
Eric Soza completed 30 of 46 passes for 277 yards with one interception for the Roadrunners (1-2). He also fumbled the ball away.
UTSA, formerly known best as Texas-San Antonio and in just its third season of college football, took the opening kickoff and drove 58 yards in 11 plays, but the offense stalled and Sean Ianno’s 34-yard field goal made it 3-0.
The Roadrunners’ only lead of the night didn’t last long.
On its first possession, Arizona went 82 yards in 11 plays with Denker throwing 13 yards to Grant for the touchdown. Denker completed 6 of 7 for 82 yards on the drive. Four of them went to Grant for 46 yards. The TD catch was the first of his young collegiate career.
After the ensuing kickoff, Soza’s pass was intercepted by Jourdan Grandon, who returned it 16 yards to the UTSA 34. Three plays later, Denker ran 35 yards for the score, rolling on top of teammate Garic Wharton for the final yard. Initially, he was ruled down at the 1-yard line but after a review he was given the touchdown to put the Wildcats ahead 14-3.
Leading 17-6, Arizona took advantage of a short UTSA punt and went 53 yards in seven plays for the score. Carey rushed four yards for the touchdown to make it 24-6 with 2:57 to play in the half.
The Wildcats scored again on their first possession of the second half, Denker running it in from the 1. He had a 17-yard run in the drive and a 16-yard pass to Wharton to put the ball at the Roadrunners’ 4.
Jake Fisher scooped up Soza’s fumble and returned it 13 yards to the Roadrunners’ 36 to set up Arizona’s final touchdown. Carey carried it in from the 7 for the touchdown. Carey, the nation’s leading rusher a year ago, has 33 rushing touchdowns in 26 career games.
Soza’s 35-yard pass to Kenny Bias set up UTSA’s lone touchdown on David Glasco’s 4-yard run with 9:39 to play.
Arizona has a bye week before beginning Pac-12 play Sept. 28 at Washington. UTSA, in its first season in Conference USA, plays its league opener next Saturday at UTEP.