Friday, October 10, 2014

Youth being served at UConn, Tulane

There are plenty of intriguing angles off tomorrow's UConn/Tulane game but none drew my attention more than the Huskies' and Green Wave's reliance on freshmen - especially at the running back position.

The headliners are Tulane's Sherman Badie, who has three runs of more than 70 yards in Tulane's first five games of the season and UConn's Arkeel Newsome, who had a 74-yard touchdown on a screen pass in the Huskies' last game which is the longest offensive scoring play since Shakim Phillips' 75-yard TD catch in a 2013 game against Maryland.

However, there are other newcomers making an impact for both teams as Dontrell Hilliard have added 101 rushing yards for Tulane while Ron Johnson and Josh Marriner are the UConn freshmen very much in the running back mix at UConn.

What I find interesting is that of the 125 Football Bowl Subdivision programs, Tulane and UConn rank ninth and 11th in the percentage of rushing yards coming from the freshman class and with UConn coach Bob Diaco stating that he intends to get Newsome and Johnson more offensive touches, the Huskies could be moving up the charts.

Here is the breakdown (not including this week's games).
Team                     PCT  FR. YARDS TOTAL YARDS
Washington State 110.0 95-373 122-339
USF                        95.0 128-643 169-677
Vanderbilt              84.2 136-558 182-663
FIU                        78.8 127-484 217-614
Northwestern         72.1 105-470 198-652
Western Michigan 72.1 118-676 188-937
Virginia Tech         67.9 155-706 252-1040
Arizona                  67.4 146-755 217-1120
Tulane                    63.9 110-546 184-855
Clemson                 61.9 116-480 228-775
UConn                    59.5 71-232 174-390

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