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SEC Running Back Success Rates | Week Two

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Kentucky's Raymond Sanders leads the SEC with a phenomenal 88% Success Rate in Week Two.
Kentucky's Raymond Sanders leads the SEC with a phenomenal 88% Success Rate in Week Two.

We've got two weeks under our belt, and this week's numbers gives us a couple of prime examples of why ypc and total yards aren't the full measure of a running backs ability. For those of you who are new to this, the Running Back Success Rate is a measure of how "successful" each of a running back's rushing attempts is. A "successful" run is one that :

Gains at least 40% of the yardage needed to move the chains on 1st down
Gains at least 60% of the yardage needed to move the chains on 2nd down
Gains at least 100% of the yardage needed to move the chains on 3rd and 4th down

First, the numbers:

WEEK TWO

Player Team Games Total ATT Successful ATT Success Rate Gained AVG
Trent Richardson Alabama 2 26 15 58% 111 4.3
Eddie Lacy Alabama 2 11 7 64% 85 7.7
Ronnie Wingo, Jr. Arkansas 2 12 6 50% 73 6.1
Michael Dyer Auburn 2 18 11 61% 150 8.3
Onterio McCaleb Auburn 2 11 6 55% 68 6.2
Michael Ford LSU 2 13 9 69% 72 5.5
Spencer Ware LSU 2 6 3 50% 20 3.3
Vick Ballard Miss. State 2 21 13 62% 135 6.4
Jeff Demps Florida 2 2 1 50% 10 5.0
Chris Rainey Florida 2 16 13 81% 119 7.4
Isaiah Crowell Georgia 2 16 7 44% 118 7.4
Josh Clemons Kentucky 2 14 4 29% 126 9.0
Raymond Sanders Kentucky 2 8 7 88% 62 7.8
Marcus Lattimore South Carolina 2 27 12 46% 176 6.5
Tauren Poole Tennessee 2 21 11 52% 101 4.8
Zac Stacy Vanderbilt 2 10 1 10% 58 5.8

Kentucky's Josh Clemons leads the group this week with a 9.0 ypc average (with 126 yards, good for 3rd place), yet he only ran with a 29% success rate.  How does that happen? An 87 yard run accounted for the vast majority of his yardage. Contrast that with his partner in the backfield, Raymond Sanders.  Though Sanders gained less yardage on fewer attempts, his 88% success rate leads the pack this week.  Seven out of his eight attempts kept the Wildcats "on schedule" with down and distance, and he also had two runs of 10+ yards.  Clemons may have had more yardage thanks to one "explosive" play, but Sanders is the more consistently effective running back.

Similarly, Vanderbilt's Zac Stacy had a horrific 10% success rate but a more than respectable 5.8 ypc.  His lone successful run out of ten attempts netted 48 yards, while the rest of his attempts gained 1, 0, -1, 2, 1, -4, 2, 10, and -1 yards, with the 10 yard gain coming on 2nd and 18. 

Both Trent Richardson and Marcus Lattimore pulled workhorse duty this week, with most successful attempts and most total attempts, respectively.  Though Richardson  was fairly average with his 58% rate, it's an improvement from last week's 54% against Kent State, and given the increase in both number of attempts and quality of opponent it's a welcome sight.

The cumulative numbers are still somewhat skewed thanks to the cupcake nature of most of the opponents.  Mississippi State's Vick Ballard still leads the group in Success Rate, Total Yards, and YPC, but his inflated numbers against Memphis (the worst team in college football) are helping his average considering his success rate fell by 9% against Auburn.  He still had a very solid average this week, but against better defenses I expect his numbers will continue to look more and more average.

Florida's Chris Rainey is the new leader in success rate, following up a 64% performance in week one with a 81% effort in week two.  Both efforts came against lightweight defenses (FAU and UAB), so we'll have to wait and see how he performs once we get into the conference schedule.

CUMULATIVE

Player Team Games Total ATT Successful ATT Success Rate Gained AVG
Trent Richardson Alabama 2 39 22 56% 141 3.6
Eddie Lacy Alabama 2 19 12 63% 139 7.3
Jalston Fowler Alabama 1 4 3 75% 69 17.3
Blake Sims Alabama 1 6 4 67% 11 1.8
Ronnie Wingo, Jr. Arkansas 2 23 13 57% 111 4.8
Michael Dyer Auburn 2 32 18 56% 208 6.5
Onterio McCaleb Auburn 2 20 10 50% 113 5.7
Michael Ford LSU 2 27 17 63% 168 6.2
Spencer Ware LSU 2 32 16 50% 117 3.7
Enrique Davis Ole Miss 1 12 3 25% 33 2.3
Vick Ballard Miss. State 2 31 22 71% 301 9.7
Jeff Demps Florida 2 14 6 43% 109 7.8
Chris Rainey Florida 2 27 20 74% 193 7.1
Isaiah Crowell Georgia 2 31 13 42% 178 5.7
Josh Clemons Kentucky 2 25 8 32% 168 6.7
Raymond Sanders Kentucky 2 21 10 48% 97 4.6
Marcus Lattimore South Carolina 2 50 27 54% 288 5.8
Tauren Poole Tennessee 2 45 19 42% 198 4.4
Zac Stacy Vanderbilt 2 18 6 33% 106 5.9