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Alabama Running Back Success Rate: Week 3

For the first time all season, our stable of running backs all had games to write home about. Let's look into their numbers next to the rest of the conference.

Kevin C. Cox

Week 3's tracking of success rates saw many great performances from running backs around the league. It also saw some performances that were affected by bad playcalling, bad O-line play or a combination of both. With South Carolina taking on Georgia (the best rivalry in the SEC East since Tebow's graduation) and Tennessee taking on Oklahoma, this was a huge week for the conference. AS a refresher, I want to remind my first-time readers that a successful is gaining 40% of the remaining yardage on first down, 60% on second down, and 100% on third and fourth down.

School Player Carries Successful Carries Yards Yards per Carry Success Rate
Alabama T.J. Yeldon 9 5 56 6.2 55.6%
Alabama Derrick Henry 11 7 73 6.6 63.6%
Alabama Kenyan Drake 9 7 59 6.6 77.8%
Alabama Tyren Jones 7 6 57 8.1 85.7%
Alabama Altee Tenpenny 5 5 39 7.8 100.0%
Arkansas Alex Collins 27 20 212 7.9 74.1%
Arkansas Jonathan Williams 22 17 145 6.6 77.3%
Florida Matt Jones 29 16 156 5.4 55.2%
Florida Kelvin Taylor 15 9 64 4.3 60.0%
Georgia Todd Gurley 20 10 131 6.6 50.0%
Kentucky Braylon Heard 12 4 39 3.3 33.3%
LSU Leonard Fournette 10 5 52 5.2 50.0%
LSU Kenny Hilliard 12 9 50 4.2 75.0%
LSU Terrence Magee 12 5 43 3.6 41.7%
Mississippi State Josh Robinson 12 8 77 6.4 66.7%
Missouri Marcus Murphy 15 7 94 6.3 46.7%
South Carolina Brandon Wilds 14 7 93 6.6 50.0%
South Carolina Mike Davis 17 7 66 3.9 41.2%
Tennessee Jalen Hurd 14 5 97 6.9 35.7%
Tennessee Marlin Lane 10 5 42 4.2 50.0%
Texas A&M Tra Carson 11 7 66 6.0 63.6%
Vanderbilt Ralph Webb 26 15 116 4.5 57.7%

Alabama's backs averaged 6.9 yards per carry at a 73.1% success rate. They went for 284 yards. Guys. That is absurd. I get that Southern Miss might be the worst team on our schedule (seriously, I think Western Carolina could take them), but we can't ignore the quiet success of the running game. I did notice that T.J. Yeldon was taken out of the game relatively early, but that was probably due to a minor injury. I fully expect him to be starting the Florida game this upcoming Saturday. Also, for the second week in a row, I'm very intrigued by Ralph Webb of Vanderbilt. It's becoming more and more obvious that he is the only legitimate offensive threat for the Commodores. It looks like the coaching staff finally started leaning on him, just in time for South Carolina! Who is apparently not dead!

Other Observations:

1) Hutson Mason did not play poorly. Georgia's receivers are solid players. Todd Gurley was the most talented player on the field Saturday in Columbia, SC. But that game was all about Brandon Wilds. His 50% success rate wasn't setting the world on fire, but all of his successful runs came in the second half. On SC's first drive of the second half, they gave Wilds the rock four consecutive times. Those resulted in four consecutive successful runs. Gurley is by far the better player, but Wilds made every one of his yards count.

2) Remember when I said last week that UT's bad offensive line would eventually do them in?'s happened in Week 3. Jalen Hurd and Marlin Lane combined for a 41.7% clip. On the surface, the two backs got 5.8 yards per carry. But when you take away Jalen Hurd's runs of 43 and 29 yards in the second half (both when the game was pretty much out of reach for this Vols offense), they combine for 3.0 yards per carry. Marlin Lane had five successful runs, and three came on the last drive in the garbagiest of garbage times. If you have a nickelback that tackles well, you can probably play nickel the entire game against Tennessee and not feel too many consequences.

3) Alex. Collins. Jonathan. Williams. When Bret Bielema was at Wisconsin, his teams were at their best when the running backs were force-fed the football and told to eat until their bodies starting rejecting everything. Williams and Collins went for 7.3 yards per carry at 75.5%. Those numbers are crazy. This was all against a Power 5 team, on the road, in a poorly-executed marketing ploy. Brandon Allen threw 12 passes. This was one of the weirdest results of the day, and, regardless of talent level, Arkansas appears to have found their offensive identity.

Do Collins and Williams put unimaginable fear in your heart? Starting to feel like Mississippi State might be overrated? Not too worried about LSU because of the seeming complete lack of of a passing game? As always, thank you for reading!