Pass-happy Big 12 also has some pretty good running combos
After a pair of 1,000-yard seasons, Baylor career rushing leader Shock Linwood still has to earn his carries for the Bears. They have two other runners with 100-yard games this season.
The Big 12 has long had a reputation for big-play passing offenses, but there are also some impressive running combos. Besides No. 11 Baylor, No. 19 Oklahoma and Texas haven’t been single-handed in piling up more than 200 yards a game.
While an injured right knee has Chris Warren III out for Texas, the Longhorns still have Big 12 rushing leader D’Onta Foreman, who is also second nationally with 149 yards rushing per game. Oklahoma has Samaje Perine, the Big 12′s leading rusher as a freshman two seasons ago, and all-around standout Joe Mixon.
Here is more on the dual threats:
In the game after Linwood broke Baylor’s career rushing record that had stood for 35 years, he had only two carries for 4 yards against Oklahoma State on Sept. 24. The senior likely re-established himself as the Bears’ top runner among their trio with a career-high 237 yards at Iowa State before an open date.
“This is the guy that everybody was talking about, and I hadn’t really seen that guy early,” acting head coach Jim Grobe said. “When he got challenged, when he didn’t play a lot, he had a great week of practice.”
Linwood said he was motivated by what happened in the last home game, and admitted being “pretty upset” after barely touching the ball against Oklahoma State. But he clearly took to heart the message about practicing better.
The Bears lead the Big 12 with 290 yards rushing per game — 12 yards more than their passing average. Linwood is fourth in the league with 90.8 yards rushing per game, while sophomore Terence Williams is sixth with 82 yards per game.
Baylor also has redshirt freshman JaMycal Hasty, who had 105 yards against Rice but only one carry in Linwood’s breakout game in which Williams also had 126 yards and two touchdowns.
Even with a pulled abdominal muscle, Foreman ran for 159 yards and two touchdowns Saturday against Oklahoma, when the Longhorns were without the injured Warren for the first time.
“He’s a guy that we are definitely excited about,” offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert said of Foreman, the deceptively quick 249-pound junior. “He was not 100 percent healthy, and the kid went out there and was determined. He fought, he battled to the yards that he got.”
Both Foreman and Warren got banged up in the Oct. 1 game at Oklahoma State. Warren, still third in the Big 12 with 91.5 yards per game, is out 6-8 weeks after running 10 times for 106 yards before halftime against the Cowboys. Foreman had 148 yards in that game.
Perine ran for a season-high 214 yards in the Red River Rivalry game against Texas, on 35 carries without negative yards on any of those. It was Perine’s 12th career 100-yard game , trailing only Linwood’s 15 for the most by an active Big 12 player.
Mixon had been the Sooners’ leading rusher — at least stats-wise — before then. Mixon averages 77.6 yards rushing per game (eighth in the Big 12), and 6.5 yards per carry. He’s also second on the Sooners with 15 catches, and is their primary kick returner.
After missing spring practice following left ankle surgery to repair torn ligaments, Perine’s rushing total has increased each game this season. He is now second in the Big 12 with 92.2 yards per game.
“He’s getting his rhythm back,” coach Bob Stoops said. “I think a lot of people can take it for granted he’s the same old guy as soon as he’s out there. That’s a fine art, those guys, in the way they run, and split-second reactions. He’s just getting his grove back.”
Online: AP college football website: www.collegefootball.ap.org