Before the season started, if you were going to pick one running back in college football who you thought might lead the nation in rushing, it probably would’ve been someone like Todd Gurley of Georgia, Ka’Deem Carey of Arizona or Lache Seastrunk of Baylor.
It probably would not have been Andre Williams of Boston College.
Nonetheless, through 10 games this season, the senior Eagle is on his way to the best season by a college running back since 2007.
That was the year that Kevin Smith of UCF led the nation in rushing by averaging 183 yards per game while gaining 2,567 yards and scoring 29 touchdowns in 14 games. After rolling over North Carolina State on Saturday for 339 yards and two scores, Williams has 1,810 yards and is averaging 181 yards per game, which is 31 yards better than his nearest competitor, the aforementioned Carey.
William has eclipsed the 200-yard mark four times this season and is averaging 243 yards per game over his last four (and 317 over his last two). Including a potential bowl game, he’s on pace to finish the year with 2,353 yards, which would be the third best rushing total in NCAA history behind Smith and the all-time leader, Barry Sanders, who rushed for 2,628 yards in 1988.
If Williams rushes for at least 190 yards against Maryland on Saturday, he’ll reach the 2,000-yard mark in 11 games, something that doesn’t happen too often in college football. And if he continues his recent tear by averaging 243 yards the rest of the way, he’ll have a chance to pass Smith as the FBS’s second-best single-season rusher of all time.
Not bad for a guy who had just 1,562 career yards entering the season.
With each passing day, it appears Miami won’t be able to avoid one of the most talented and productive running backs in the country.
Thursday, Dalvin Cook returned to practice for the first time this week. Cook suffered a hamstring injury in the first quarter of Florida State’s win over Wake Forest this past Saturday, and had spent the previous two days of practice riding a bicycle while the rest of his teammates prepped for the in-state and conference rivalry game against The U this Saturday.
The Palm Beach Post wrote that Cook showed “no signs” of the hamstring injury that had some worried about his availability in Week 6.
Head coach Jimbo Fisher, who said Wednesday he doesn’t “ever count Dalvin out” because of his healing ability, will meet with reporters later this evening and could address Cook’s status for the weekend then. Or, he could play to keep the Hurricanes guessing, even as most assume the All-ACC back will be on the field.
Cook is far and away FSU’s leading rusher, with his 142.5 yards per game good for eight in the country and his six rushing touchdowns tied for 20th.
It would be an understatement of significant proportions to say that the Minnesota football team is banged up.
How banged up? On his radio show Thursday, head coach Jerry Kill, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported, revealed his team will be down a whopping eight starters for Saturday’s game against Purdue.
Kill’s revelation comes one day after he confirmed a total of 20 players donned non-contact jerseys in practice earlier in the day.
The coach didn’t specifically identify which starters would be sidelined, with the Pioneer Press writing “[t]he known injuries to starters include safety Damarius Travis (hamstring), cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun (knee), tight end Lincoln Plsek (back) and tackle Ben Lauer (knee/hand).”
One injured starter who will play, Kill confirmed, is quarterback Mitch Leidner. While not detailing any specific injury, Kill said Wednesday that Leidner “hasn’t been healthy. He’s been beat up.”
Overall, though, the Gophers’ health, or lack thereof, is bordering on historic.
“I’ve never seen anything like this in my 32 years in coaching,” Kill said yesterday. “The toughest thing for me right now is all of these kids that work so hard, and when they get hurt, it kills me. … We are running out of people.”
Coming off an 8-5 season last year, the Gophers are struggling. While they stand at 3-2 after five games, the three wins came by a total of nine points over the likes of Colorado State, Kent State and Ohio. Their second loss — the first was by six to TCU in the opener — was a 27-0 shutout at the hands of Northwestern in the Big Ten opener last weekend.