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Has OSU Replaced Kendall Hunter?



Photo Attribution: @eknielsen

Amongst the many nicknames for Jeremy Smith and Joseph Randle floating around the interwebs I believe “Run and Guns” is my favorite if not for anything else other than its accuracy. Randle doing the running, Smith sporting the gun show. It’s distinctive, apt, and scary.

All three adjectives also describe the production of OSU’s “how do they always have this sick of a backfield?” version 2k11. It’s hard to replace a two-time All-Big 12 performer like Kendall Hunter but it would appear that’s exactly what Mike Gundy and his staff have done through seven games. Let’s take a look at 2010 numbers versus 2011:

2010 rushing stats through 7 games:

180 YPG   |   16 TDs   |   4.81 YPR   |   34% of the offense

2011 rushing stats through 7 games:

161.1 YPG   |   20 TDs   |   4.6 YPR   |   30% of the offense

So 2010 stands as slightly better overall, but consider the following factors: the Cowboys have run it 20 fewer times (or 3/game) than they did last season. Also, you’re not looking at a true comparison because Randle + Smith were more of a factor last year than Roland and Sims are this year.

It should also be noted that Randle + Smith also have 200 yards receiving and a TD whereas Hunter only had about 40 yards receiving and 0 TD this time last season.

All things being equal you have to like the situation better this year because of one overarching factor (that has become an issue in the last few weeks): two guys splitting carries and playing time are far less likely to get worn down and/or h-word over the course of 13 games than one.

Even one as indomitable as this one.

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