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October 1, 2013
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While this season hasn't gone the way anyone has wanted it to, there is something to watch out there, something that could be part of USF history.
Only 3 times in program history has a running back gone over the 1000 yard mark in a season. In 1999 Dyral McMillan (transferred from Miami) carried it 181 times for 1017 yards and 9 touchdowns and in back-to-back years (2004 and 2005) Andre Hall had 210 carries for 1357 and 11 touchdowns and 270 carries for 1374 yards and 11 touchdowns.
This season, Marcus Shaw, who has 398 yards rushing so far through the first 3 games of the season, has a chance to make history. Let's break it down game by game for McMillan, Hall, and Shaw to see how possible it is for Marcus to add his names to the USF record books.
To preface this, there is a lot to consider with the numbers. Different coaching, different systems, different levels of competition, all have to be acknowledged, but we are looking at the raw numbers, so let's get started.
Here are Shaw's performances so far this season:
Shaw is off to a good start despite the issues on the offensive line and the lack of a passing game. Shaw's small size still leaves me and other worried about his work load, but he has proven so far he can carry the burden. Now let's look at the people he could be chasing this season.
In 1999, the last year the Bulls were in Division II football, McMillan became the first running back for the Bulls to eclipse the 1000 yard mark. Here are the totals for each game that season.
Game 1, USF falls 12 to 41 to San Diego State: 12 carries for 78 yards
For starters, you will notice that there are only 11 games on the schedule so the numbers are hard to compare for Shaw and McMillan. They are different levels of football, different opponents, but looking at the production on the field, Shaw is way ahead of where McMillan was after 3 games. Shaw has 398 yards after 3 games, McMillan had 183 yards, nearly 200 yards difference right there. McMillan got the bulk of his rushing yards late in the year with 258 and 221 totals in the last 2 games of the year, but Shaw is already on pace to break his mark of 1017 yards from 1999.
So let's move ahead to DI football and the legendary Andre Hall.
In 2004, the 4-star recruit Andre Hall, put himself in the record books for the Bulls.
Game 1: USF wins 21 to 7 over Tennessee Tech: 13 carries for 57 yards
In the first 4 games of the season, Hall had just 273 yards. Shaw is over a 100 yards past that mark already this year. However, later in the year, Hall had huge games, against Army, UAB, and ECU, totaling nearly 500 yards in just those games alone, showing he was able to pick up huge yardage in a single after a slow start to the season. So far Shaw has been consistent in getting his yards, but hasn't had a huge game like Hall did back in the day.
He had the big run against McNeese that showed he could have monster games, but with Darius Tice in the mix and Michael Pierre getting snaps, I wouldn't see Shaw having a monster game like that with split carries. Instead, Shaw will have to have consistent performances each week.
Let's take a look at his 2005 totals when Hall had 1374 yards that year, setting the highest total in USF history on the ground.
Game 1: USF falls 13 to 23 to Penn State: 22 carries for 72 yards
Again we can see Hall and his big game performance, but also notice he started 2005 with two back-to-back 100 hundred yard games in week 2 and 3, getting off to a quicker start. He did have down games where he failed to get over 100 yards, but again the big game ability allowed him to make up for the lost yardage in those.
So what does this all mean for Shaw and his place in rushing history? Let's consider it all. Shaw was never used under Coach Holtz and in just 3 games, he has equaled his career rushing record set in the past 3 years. Shaw doesn't have the size that Hall and McMillan had, but he does have an offense that is known for having 1000 yard rushers. Since Coach Taggart took over at WKU just a few years ago, running back Antonio Andrews set records in the run friendly offense.
In my opinion, I think Shaw does hit the 1000 yard mark (barring injury). He will start to split carries with Darius Tice and Mike Pierre, but he is the go-to running back for this offense and if they are able to find any passing game, he should start to see a few more running lanes, allowing him to use his speed to take it to the second level. Let's sit back and see if history is made during this rough year.