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October 1, 2013

Marcus Shaw on pace for historic run

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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:
vs. Mcneese State: 12 carries for 145 yards
vs. Michigan State: 23 carries for 94 yards
vs. FAU: 22 carries for 159 yards
Vs. Miami: 27 carries for 127 yards
525 yards total on the season so far.

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
Game 2, USF wins 17 to 10 over SW Texas State): 16 carries for 68 yards (big thanks to Joey Johnston for providing those numbers)
Game 3, USF wins 21 to 6 over Western Kentucky: 9 carries for 37 yards
Game 4: USF falls 24 to 41 to Troy: 8 carries for 30 yards
Game 5: USF wins 21 to 14 over Southern Illinois: 4 carries for 12 yards
Game 6: USF wins 28 to 0 over Liberty: 19 carries for 110 yards
Game 7: USF wins 14 to 13 over Illinois State: 13 carries for 55 yards
Game 8: USF wins 42 to 41 (3 OT) over New Hampshire: 14 carries for 144 yards
Game 9: USF falls 3 to 13 to James Madison: 9 carries for 21 yards
Game 10: USF wins 41 to 27 over New Haven: 34 carries for 258 yards
Game 11: USF falls 23 to 41 to Hofstra: 40 carries for 221 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
Game 2: USF falls 3 to 34 to South Carolina: 8 carries for 41 yards
Game 3: USF wins over TCU in 3 OTs, 45 to 44: 28 carries for 119 yards
Game 4: USF falls 20 to 27 to Southern Miss: 14 carries for 56 yards
Game 5: USF falls 35 to 42 to Army: 19 carries for 200 yards
Game 6: USF falls 9 to 41 to Louisville: 17 carries for 74 yards
Game 7: USF wins 45 to 20 over UAB: 29 carries for 275 yards
Game 8: USF wins 41 to 17 over ECU: 27 carries for 161 yards
Game 9: USF falls 23 to 45 to Cincinnati: 16 carries for 155 yards
Game 10: USF falls 15 to 31 to Memphis: 24 carries for 134 yards
Game 11: USF falls 14 to 43 to Pitt: 15 carries for 85 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
Game 2: USF beats FAMU 37 to 3: 18 carries for 156 yards
Game 3: USF wins 31 to 14 over UCF: 22 carries for 155 yards
Game 4: USF wins 45 to 14 over Louisville: 23 carries for 83 yards
Game 5: USF falls 7 to 27 to Miami: 19 carries for 53 yards
Game 6: USF falls 13 to 31 to Pitt: 19 carries for 79 yards
Game 7: USF wins 45 to 31 over Rutgers: 35 carries for 168 yards
Game 8: USF wins 27 to 0 over Syracuse: 24 carries for 222 yards
Game 9: USF wins 31 to 16 over Cincinnati: 29 carries for 100 yards
Game 10: USF falls 10 to 15 to Uconn: 21 carries for 93 yards
Game 11: USF falls 13 to 28 to WVU: 20 carries for 75 yards
Game 12 (bowl game): USF falls 0 to 14 to NC State: 19 carries for 118 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.



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