Surprising Rushing Stats


We’ve trashed our OC (for good reason). We’ve complained about our running game (for good reason). But I was surprised when I did a little looking at our stats.

Did you know by most stats, we had a better running game this season than last?

Yards per game
2016 - 147.1
2017 - 166.8

Yards per carry
2016 - 3.4
2017 - 4.5

Rushing TDs per game (usually use total but we played 1 less game this year)
2016 - 2.23
2017 - 2.08

Our individual RBs had better years too. Same 3 leading RBs as last year Catalon, Birden, and Car

2016 YPG - 58.7 (DNP 4 games) YPC - 3.6
2017 YPG - 53.1 YPC - 4.3

2016 YPG - 24.1 (DNP 1 game) YPC - 4.7
2017 YPG - 55.5 (DNP 6 games) YPC - 5.6

2016 YPG - 22.9 (DNP 4 games) YPC - 4.2
2017 YPG - 38.8 (DNP 2 games) YPC - 4.8

Combined YPG (Total/12/13 games ignoring DNP)
2016 YPG - 78.7 YPC - 4.0
2017 YPG - 113.2 YPC - 4.7

Combined Rushing TDs by RBs (remember 1 less game played in 2017)
2016 - 12
2017 - 15

Some of you may have known this, but I was surprised to find out our running game this year was better than last. I didn’t like this year’s offense and didn’t like the running game, but it was an improvement.

(Eric Prado) #2


I’m not totally surprised. I thought last year’s rushing offense outside of Ward was about as bad as I’ve seen in a long time of watching college football. This year’s rushing attack was bad but not as bad as last year.

It’s kind of like comparing Kim Helton passing seasons, year four may of been better than you two but they both sucked

(Cary) #4

Good stuff. I am surprised a little bit. Our running game in 2016 was poor as well, as Alex states. The difference is our scoring offense dropped from 35.8 ppg to 28.3 ppg, and that is after a drop from 40.4 ppg in 2015.

(Mike) #5

UH seems to cycle. We lit up college football with the Run n Shoot. Got a Heisman also. The problem then was Jenkins was a great OC but not a good HC. No defense either. Jenkins’ philosophy was simply to outscore the other team, not unlike run and gun basketball.

So we bring in Kim Helton with his SEC/Miami mindset. Helton throws away everything that had taken UH to the top. We go back to what he referred to as “Big Boy” football. Pound the football. Use the run to set up the pass, blah, blah, blah. Result?

So we stay that course until Art Briles comes in with his hybrid Veer meets Run n Shoot. But it works and the forward pass is once again in favor. Briles gets UH back on the football map.

At least we stay the course with Sumlin, with a modest shift to the Air Raid. The AR is wildly successful and with Case Keenum at QB UH is once again back on the national map. 12-1 will do that for you.

So Levine comes in and makes a stab at the Air Raid but for too many reasons to mention here, can’t pull it off.

So we bring in the hottest OC around. But he comes in with a philosophy of running the ball to set up the pass. He’s lucky. He has Greg Ward who time and again saves his bacon. It almost looks like his offense is working. Problem is the bump in running stats has a large number of escape yards as Ward’s scrambling saves the day, over and over.

So now we have Applewhite, who, following in the finest tradition in college football, knows that really good teams run the ball to set up the pass. The record speaks for itself.

From my perspective it’s pretty clear that UH’s best teams over the past 30 years have been built around the forward pass. And that’s not Helton’s pro set drop back passing offense. It’s the option spreads starting with the Run n Shoot up through the Air Raid. Applewhite and Herman succeeded, but they were lucky. Without Ward Herman might not be coaching UT today.

So where do we go from here. I’ve skipped over a ton of information, but it’s pretty clear we need to turn the offense upside down and go back to what worked for UH over the past 30 years. There’s all the difference in the world between a run-first offense that passes a lot and an offense built around the passing game. Which, by the way can then have a strong running game because the defense can’t stack 6 defenders in the box on every down. Except maybe 3rd down because on 3rd and long now we HAVE to pass.

(Eric Prado) #6

All sports follows a cyclical pattern. We’re not Manchester United.

(Mike) #7

Gosh. You are right. I retract everything I posted.


UHFan spot on.


I agree with what you said and would add our really successful offenses have utilized smaller, faster players to make up for recruiting decencies relative to the bigger name programs-this would include yeoman and the veer. The problem with the offense we are running is that I believe you need a dominant run blocking o line which we’ve had a hard time recruiting over the years. It’s why coaches like Gary Patterson and art Briles focus on speed over power and they have success


Exactly! You were spot on with the recruiting analysis. The one question I have, is are we heading back that direction? If you look at some of the recruits that CMA is getting this year they are smaller and more athletic. Maybe he is aware of this and is deviating away from Herman’s blueprint. It’s tough to tell because CMA doesn’t say much but of course time will tell.


Speed kills !


I’m sure we will hear at Spring Practice that we are Bigger, Faster, and Stronger than we have ever been! 12-0 headed our way! You know we are in major trouble if the rose colored glasses aren’t on thick in the spring.

(Mike Higdon) #13

Alexogar, I sure hope we go to the faster guys. The trouble we had with our receivers was that they were slow. Too often we had to win the jump ball pass because they couldn’t separate. When they separated, it was generally due to a good route, rather than speed. Yes, Dunbar and Bonner made some spectacular plays and scored some TD’s – just not enough. We need guys like that, they are called possession receivers, but we need those guys that can separate in the open.