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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

October 10, 2007 at 10:40 AM

Parsing the rushing numbers

That was a good breakdown of the Arizona State game that regular contributor Malibu posted last night (you can find it in the comments section here).
One conclusion I might take some issue with is saying that UW has as good a running game as does Arizona State.
I understand it’s tempting to think that looking at the stats — UW is fifth in the Pac-10 in rushing at 160.2 per game and 4.4 yards per carry while ASU is sixth at 157.3 yards per game and 3.6 yards per carry.
But you have to remember that quarterback sacks are included in college rushing numbers (they are part of passing stats in the NFL).
Take those out for both UW and ASU and the picture is a little different.
ASU has been sacked 22 times for minus 158 yards, both the most in the Pac-10, in large part because of the immobility of Rudy Carpenter and the fact that he likes to hold on to the ball a long time to let deep routes develop. Take that out and ASU has 237 rushes for 1,102 yards, or an average of 4.6 yards per carry.
UW has been sacked only seven times for 28 yards (second least in the Pac-10 behind Cal), in part because Jake Locker is so mobile he can escape the rush when it gets close.
Take those out, and UW has 173 carries for 773 yards (UW has played one fewer game than ASU as well) an average of 4.4 yards per carry.
But as everyone who reads this knows, more than half of those rushing yards have come from Locker, who has gained 411 of UW’s 801 net rushing yards this season.
In contrast, both of ASU’s main running backs — Ryan Torain and Keegan Herring — are averaging better than five yards per carry. Torain is averaging 5.2 (100 carries for 524 yards) while Herring is at 5.7 (63 for 361).
Obviously, the teams play quite different styles these days due to the nature of their QBs. But I think in terms of a traditional hand-the-ball-to-a-tailback running game that ASU has the edge on UW this week, something that could be a key to the game Saturday night.

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