College Football Power Rankings: The Top 25 Running Backs Heading Into Week 9

Michael PintoSenior Writer IOctober 28, 2010

College Football Power Rankings: The Top 25 Running Backs Heading Into Week 9

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    For as much as Cam Newton has captured the attention of the nation from the quarterback spot, LaMichael James deserves nearly as much praise from his spot in the backfield. 

    Oregon's sophomore running back is more than halfway on his way to having an outstanding season and we have to think if the Heisman voting ended today, he'd be sitting comfortably as the runner-up.

    Week after week he's produced while other backs have stumbled or struggled with inconsistency. 

    He's our clear-cut favorite No. 1 back heading into Week 9. 

25. Dan Herron, Ohio State

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    2010 Stats

    Rushing Yards: 520 / AVG: 4.6 / TD: 11 / Receiving Yards: 137 / AVG: 12.5 / TD: 0

    Herron's numbers aren't particularly strong at first glance, but his 11 rushing touchdowns are tied for fifth in the country among running backs. And with limited carries in the last four games, Herron is averaging 4.7 ypg with seven rushing touchdowns. 

24. Bobby Rainey, Western Kentucky

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    2010 Stats

    Rushing Yards: 838 / AVG: 4.8 / TD: 7 / Receiving Yards: 98 / AVG: 2.4 / TD: 0

    Rainey had his second to worst game of the season in Week 8, carrying the ball 21 times for 67 yards and failing to find the endzone. Coming off a 169-yard, two-touchdown performance against Louisiana-Monroe the week before, you would've expected more against Louisiana-Lafayette. 

23. Ronnie Hillman, San Diego State

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    2010 Stats

    Rushing Yards: 849 / AVG: 6.2 / TD: 11 / Receiving Yards: 14 / AVG: 4.7 / TD: 0

    Hillman was coming off one of his best performances of the season against Air Force in Week 7, but he wasn't able to capitalize against New Mexico last week, with 64 yards and a touchdown off 18 carries. It was only the second time in his last six games he's averaged less than 5.5 ypc. 

22. Chris Polk, Washington

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    2010 Stats

    Rushing Yards: 636 / AVG: 5.2 / TD: 4 / Receiving Yards: 126 / AVG: 9.7 / TD: 0

    Washington in general had one if it's bad days against Arizona in Week 8, with Jake Locker struggling. And when Locker struggles, so does the running game. That left Polk with 65 yards off just 14 carries, though he did score a touchdown in the 44-14 loss. 

21. Montel Harris, Boston College

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    2010 Stats

    Rushing Yards: 694 / AVG: 4.7 / TD: 3 / Receiving Yards: 71 / AVG: 4.4 / TD: 0

    Harris had gone through a rough patch earlier in the year, but he's been on fire the last couple of weeks against Florida State and Maryland. After putting up 191 yards against the Seminoles, Harris came back in Week 8 with 116 yards and two touchdowns against the Terrapins. 

20. Mikel LeShoure, Illinois

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    2010 Stats

    Rushing Yards: 757 / AVG: 5.3 / TD: 4 / Receiving Yards: 56 / AVG: 6.2 / TD: 0

    After starting the season hot, LEShoure has cooled off over the last month, averaging under five ypc in his last four games and scoring only one touchdown over that stretch. Of course three of those games came against Ohio State, Michigan State and Penn State so expectations were tempered anyway. 

19. Jordan Todman, Connecticut

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    2010 Stats

    Rushing Yards: 841 / AVG: 6.0 / TD: 8 / Receiving Yards: 62 / AVG: 6.2 / TD: 0

    Todman was held under 100 yards rushing and failed to score a touchdown for the first time this season in UConn's 26-0 loss against Louisville. Considering the Huskies were down big, the running game was abandoned so the fact that he still totalled 102 yards was impressive. 

18. Bilal Powell, Louisville

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    2010 Stats

    Rushing Yards: 1,003 / AVG: 7.1 / TD: 9 / Receiving Yards: 114 / AVG: 11.4 / TD: 1

    Powell was able to crack the century mark against Connecticut, but failed to score for the first time this season. He had 27 carries for 105 yards in Louisville's 26-0 win, brining his total for the year over 1,000 yards; making him the second-leading rusher in the nation amongst running backs. 

17. Adam Robinson, Iowa

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    2010 Stats

    Rushing Yards: 737 / AVG: 4.8 / TD: 9 / Receiving Yards: 222 / AVG: 14.8 / TD: 0

    Discount Robinson's game against Arizona in Week 3 and the sophomore has been outstanding this season, averaging 122 yards in his other six games. He was outshined by John Clay in Iowa's loss to Wisconsin last week, but with 114 yards and a score, the performance was still noteworthy. 

16. Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina

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    2010 Stats

    Rushing Yards: 538 / AVG: 4.4 / TD: 10 / Receiving Yards: 214 / AVG: 17.8 / TD: 2

    Lattimore sat out South Carolina's win over Vanderbilt after suffering an ankle injury against Kentucky the week before. A shame considering he ripped the Wildcats to shreds with 212 total yards and three touchdowns; maybe the best game of his young career. 

15. Ed Wesley, TCU

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    2010 Stats

    Rushing Yards: 874 / AVG: 7.0 / TD: 9 / Receiving Yards: 6 / AVG: 1.5 / TD: 0

    One thing Welsey has proven all season long is that if you feed him the ball he'll produce. While he's failed to surpass 100 rushing yards in four games, he's been held under 5 ypc just once. Against Air Force, TCU got the memo and gave him 28 carries. He rushed for 209 yards and two touchdowns. 

14. Derrick Locke, Kentucky

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    2010 Stats

    Rushing Yards: 574 / AVG: 5.3 / TD: 7 / Receiving Yards: 225 / AVG: 9.4 / TD: 0

    Locke hasn't played since sustaining a shoulder injury against Auburn on October 9. Considering the type of year he was having it's really a shame too. He's missed Kentucky's last two games, but has returned to practice and should be nearing a return soon. 

13. Edwin Baker, Michigan State

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    2010 Stats

    Rushing Yards: 779 / AVG: 6.8 / TD: 7 / Receiving Yards: 15 / AVG: 7.5 / TD: 0

    After his breakout performance against Michigan we expected Baker to make his rise to stardom, but it hasn't happened yet. He's been give only 18 carries combined in the Spartans last two games. He didn't do much against Illinois, but had 11 touches against Northwestern for 86 yards and a score. 

12. DeMarco Murray, Oklahoma

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    2010 Stats

    Rushing Yards: 712 / AVG: 4.4 / TD: 63 / Receiving Yards: 218 / AVG: 7.3 / TD: 3

    After putting up 286 total yards and five touchdowns in his last two games, Murray was quieter against Missouri, but that can be chalked up at least partially due to Oklahoma falling behind early. Murray still managed 97 total yards and a score off 12 carries and eight catches though. 

11. Andre Ellington, Clemson

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    2010 Stats

    Rushing Yards: 642 / AVG: 6.3 / TD: 10 / Receiving Yards: 100 / AVG: 9.1 / TD: 1

    Ellington had one of the best games of his career in Week 8 and boy did he need after a couple of very forgettable weeks of football before then. In Clemson's win over Georgia Tech though, Ellington stole the show with 20 carries for 166 yards and two touchdowns, scoring a third off a six-yard pass. 

10. Daniel Thomas, Kansas State

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    2010 Stats

    Rushing Yards: 895 / AVG: 5.4 / TD: 9 / Receiving Yards: 88 / AVG: 5.5 / TD: 0

    Thomas ha s been good the last couple of weeks, but not great and certainly not as good as he was in the first three weeks of the season. In Weeks 1-3, Thomas averaged 184 yards rushing and two scores, but in his last four games he's averaging 85.7 ypc with three total touchdowns. 

9. Shane Vereen, California

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    2010 Stats

    Rushing Yards: 721 / AVG: 5.5 / TD: 10 / Receiving Yards: 172 / AVG: 10.8 / TD: 3

    Vereen has been one of the few bright spots in a tough year for Cal, but he didn't have his strongest game this weekend in the Bears win over Arizona State. Vereen rushed for 91 yards and two scores in the 50-17 win. 


8. Jacquizz Rodgers, Oregon State

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    2010 Stats

    Rushing Yards: 621 / AVG: 4.4 / TD: 10 / Receiving Yards: 128 / AVG: 8.5 / TD: 2

    Rodgers can't seem to play with any consistency, but when he's hot there might not be a better back in the country. After a decent good game against Arizona, Rodgers blew up against Washington, rushing for 140 yard and three touchdowns with another 49 yards receiving and a fourth score. 

7. Vai Taua, Nevada

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    2010 Stats

    Rushing Yards: 928 / AVG: 6.6 / TD: 11 / Receiving Yards: 102 / AVG: 9.3 / TD: 3

    After averaging 167 yards over his previous for games we expected Taua to come out swinging against Hawaii, but the game didn't turn out to be the offensive shootout we were expecting. Taua was limited to 91 yards off 24 carries, but did catch three passes for 30 yards and a score. 


6. Noel Devine, West Virginia

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    2010 Stats

    Rushing Yards: 626 / AVG: 4.9 / TD: 4 / Receiving Yards: 129 / AVG: 5.9 / TD: 1

    Devine bounced back from a miserable game against South Florida last week with solid performance against Syracuse. The problem was he didn't score and West Virginia lost the game 19-14. Truthfully, we've quite troubled the fact he's scored only three times in his last five games. 


5. Trent Richardson, Alabama

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    2010 Stats

    Rushing Yards: 606 / AVG: 7.0 / TD: 5 / Receiving Yards: 244 / AVG: 13.6 / TD: 3

    Richardson's performance against Tennessee showed us yet again that he's going to really this country by storm once he's the featured back. Even in Mark Ingram's shadow, Richardson is 44th in the country in rushing. Against the Vols, he need only 11 carries and one catch for 124 total yards and two scores.


4. Mark Ingram, Alabama

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    2010 Stats

    Rushing Yards: 544 / AVG: 6.4 / TD: 8 / Receiving Yards: 68 / AVG: 5.2 / TD: 0

    Ingram has failed to rush for over 100 yards in each of his last four games and while splitting carries with Trent Richardson has cut into his production, averaging four ypc or less in three of four contests can't be explained with that.


3. Kendall Hunter, Oklahoma State

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    2010 Stats

    Rushing Yards: 1,031 / AVG: 6.4 / TD: 12 / Receiving Yards: 44 / AVG: 3.1 / TD: 0

    Take away Oklahoma State's win over Tulsa, a contest Hunter was barely needed in, and the Cowboys star back is averaging an astounding 162 yards and three touchdowns a game in six appearances this season. His 202 yards and two scores made him the No. 1 rusher among running backs in the nation. 

2. John Clay, Wisconsin

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    2010 Stats

    Rushing Yards: 887 / AVG: 5.5 / TD: 13 / Receiving Yards: 9 / AVG: 9.0 / TD: 0

    Clay failed to rush for over 100 yards for just the second time this season in Wisconsin's win over Iowa last week. He carried the ball 24 times for 94 yards and his two third quarter touchdowns were pivotal in the win. The scores made him second in the nation only to Cam Newton in rushing touchdowns. 


1. LaMichael James, Oregon

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    2010 Stats

    Rushing Yards: 971 / AVG: 7.2 / TD: 11 / Receiving Yards: 121 / AVG: 30.3 / TD: 1

    James was spectacular yet again in Week 8, with 20 carries for 123 yards and two scores. He's averaging 182 total yards and two touchdowns a game on the year. Let that sit for a second and think it over again. James is in the top five in rushing and top ten in rushing touchdowns and yards per carry average.