WKU's Antonio Andrews: The Most Underrated Player in College Football

Jordan BallCorrespondent IOctober 29, 2012

Oct 27 2012; Miami, FL, USA;  Western Kentucky Hilltoppers running back Antonio Andrews (5) runs the ball past Florida International Golden Panthers cornerback Junior Mertile (2)   in the first quarter at FIU Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-US PRESSWIRE

With the school's all-time leading rusher, Bobby Rainey, graduating a year ago and joining the Baltimore Ravens, the WKU coaching staff had a difficult task in front of them in attempting to replace him on the field.

In the first two weeks of the season against Austin Peay and No. 1 Alabama, the Hilltoppers used a committee of backs before finally finding their man in their week three match up against in-state rival Kentucky. 

That man was Antonio Andrews.

Andrews had shown promise in his first two years with the team, but being behind Rainey made it difficult for him to find playing time.

In the game against UK he finally got his shot. Andrews went off for 125 yards on a career high 34 carries and three touchdowns, also a career best. He also added a game-winning pass on a two-point conversion in overtime. 

That was the first instance in which Andrews had reached the 100-yard plateau, but definitely not the last as he has reached it in each of the five games following. That six game streak is currently the longest in the nation. 

This year he has rushed for 917 yards, putting him at 19th in the country. That's with him only seeing 13 carries total in the first two games and missing a lot of time in their overtime thriller to Louisiana-Monroe due to an injury.

He's amassed that total on 165 carries, good enough for a 5.6 average while finding the end zone seven times on the ground. 


What makes Andrews special, though, is that he is more than just a running back. 

The six foot, 211-pound Fort Campbell native has proven to be one of the most versatile players in the country. He is an excellent receiver out of the backfield and one of the most exciting players in the return game as well.

In his eight games, Andrews has hauled in 23 receptions for 260 yards with one trip to the end-zone. Those 23 catches are tied for second on the team and the 11th most in the country for a running back. He is also only one of three backs who has over 900 yards rushing with 260 or more receiving yards. 

When he's not moving the offense down field, he's setting them up in good field position as a returner. 

The WKU star has had nine kick returns on the year, gaining 274 yards on 9 attempts, a 30.4 average, with his longest being of 58. He has also returned nine punts, gaining only 129 yards (14.3 avg); however, he is one of the 41 players this year that has taken one all the way to the house. 

All of these numbers combined have him sitting at an average of 197.5 all-purpose yards a game.

If that number doesn't blow you away, then maybe knowing that that's good enough for fifth in the entire nation will. That's out of 124 teams with around 100 or so players each.

You do the math: that's good. 

Numbers like these demand attention and it's only a matter of time before Antonio Andrews, and his 6-2 Hilltoppers, get just that.