Jahvid Best or Jacquizz Rodgers: Which Running Back Was Better?
Jacquizz Rodgers walked away with the Pac-10’s Offensive Player of the Year award, but was he the best candidate?
Before I delve into this story I want to state that I am not taking away what Jacquizz Rodgers has accomplished this season, nor am I against his winning of any awards. He had a tremendous season and deserves his hardware.
Now, on to the debate!
While many are quick to say “Quizz” was head-and-shoulders above any other Pac-10 running back this season, I say, “Not so fast, my friend.”
Let’s start by taking at look at basic stats, shall we?
Sophomore Jahvid Best rushed for 1,394 yards this season, while freshman Jacquizz Rodgers rushed for 1,253. Both players missed time due to injury, and, according to my research, their playing time was actually fairly equal.
These next few stats were very telling for me (Best’s numbers listed first, with Rodgers’ listed second):
Total Carries: 174 / 259
Yards Per Carry: 8.01 / 4.84
Yards Per Game: 126.73 / 113.91
Touchdowns: 13 / 11
National Rank: Fifth / 13th
It has taken Rodgers 85 more carries to produce less than Best—85 more carries. That’s three to four games the carries for an average running back.
Many will tell you Jahvid Best is nothing more than an “explosive” runner, meaning he only produces yards in large chunks and cannot be relied upon as a grind-it-out type of back.
Therefore, Jacquizz Rodgers is better suited for most every team out there. I mean, who doesn’t want a running back they can rely on for three or four yards per carry, right?
Well, ponder this: After researching each player’s rushing plays of 10 yards or more, the numbers surprised me. Best had 44 total carries for plays that went 10 yards or more, while Rodgers had 41. Not a big discrepancy if you ask me. I think it’s safe to throw out the explosive-only argument against Best.
Both Jahvid Best and Jacquizz Rodgers had very similar receiving stats. Best had 27 catches for 246 yards, while Rodgers had 29 catches for 247 yards.
One last stat I came across leads to me say Best only got stronger as the game went on, whereas Rodgers got ever-so-slightly weaker.
First Half Stats
Attempts: 108 / 129
Yards Gained: 793 / 667
Average: 7.34 / 5.17
Touchdowns: 8 / 5
Second Half Stats
Attempts: 66 / 130
Yards Gained: 601 / 586
Average: 9.11 / 4.51
Touchdowns: 5 / 6
Best carried the ball quite a bit less in the second half of his games, yet his production increased. Rodgers, the first freshman to garner the hardware, carried about the same amount of times from the first half to second, but his production decreased slightly.
Two things helped Rodgers win the Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year award. One is that the Beavers had a better record (8-4, 7-2 conf.) than the Bears (8-4, 6-3 conf.).
Another, the coaches, who vote on the award, had to submit their ballots before last weekend. In other words, voting was completed before Jahvid Best turned in his 311-yard performance in just over two quarters against Washington.
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