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Lost: Joseph Randle Edition

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Photo Attribution: @eknielsen

With all this talk about how Brandon Weeden is faring in the Heisman race and how he compares to Andrew Luck I think we’ve kind of been missing out on one of the truly great non-Barry seasons for a running back in OSU history.

It’s hard to believe year-after-year OSU is going to keep replacing the embarrassment of riches it continually places in its backfield, and yet year-after-year it keeps happening. Consider this evolution since Mike Gundy took over:

2005: Mike Hamilton – 1122 total yards, 1 TD
2006: Dantrell Savage and Keith Toston – 1591 total yards 16 TD (Hamilton was 3rd string)
2007: Dantrell Savage and Kendall Hunter – 2364 total yards, 16 TD
2008: Kendall Hunter and Keith Toston – 2501 total yards, 26 TD
2009: Keith Toston and Kendall Hunter – 1944 total yards, 13 TD
2010: Kendall Hunter and Joseph Randle – 2528 total yards, 19 TD
2011 (pace): Joseph Randle and Jeremy Smith – 2517 total yards, 39 TD

We’ve looked at this crazy 1-2 punch in the past though, for now I want to focus on the spectacular season Joseph Randle is putting together.

A reader sent me these stats yesterday:

Joseph Randle: 997 all-purpose yards on 156 touches (6.39 yards/touch) and 17 total TD.
Trent Richardson: 1201 all-purpose yards on 167 touches (7.19 yards/touch) and 18 total TD.

Pretty similar, right?

And yet Randle doesn’t get nearly the run of a Richardson or, hell, even a LaMichael James who has missed the last few games because his elbow went to a dark, dark place only known by extremities like Willis McGahee’s knee.

ESPN had a poll up yesterday asking OSU fans who the offensive MVP was and 46% of you said Justin Blackmon. 40% said Weeden and only 14% said Randle.

Those numbers are all kinds of wrong.

You could argue (not with a lot of credibility, but still) that Justin Blackmon has been the 4th best offensive player on the team this year if you throw in the fact that Jeremy Smith is averaging nearly 8 yards a touch and has 7 touchdowns to Blackmon’s 10.

Back to Randle though. He’s on pace to stand by himself in second behind Barry for most single season rushing touchdowns (the current second place mark is 21), and he has a pretty decent chance to break Barry’s career rushing touchdowns record of 48…provided he doesn’t jump ship after his junior year.

He’s also staring down an all-time top 15 rushing season (no small feat in Stillwater) and though OSU doesn’t keep all-purpose yards in its media guide I would imagine he’s on pace for a top 10 season in that category.

He’s probably the most complete back (but maybe not the best) OSU has had since, well, maybe since Thurman Thomas because of all the things he can do outside of just running the ball. You could line him up in the slot and he’d probably be the 3rd or 4th best WR on a team with no shortage of wide receivers.

All of this is getting overshadowed, however, by the Weeden2Blackmon festival and the “hey guys, listen, our defense really is good!” campaign. Pay attention the rest of the way though, OSU might win it all because of #3 and #81, but they wouldn’t be nearly the juggernaut they are without #1.

PS: I wouldn’t want to be the next guy to wear #1 after the Dez to Randle handoff…

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