With last night’s evisceration (and if you want to see an amazing stat, check out the time of possession numbers from the game: has a team ever lost a game by 47 points before while running up a 17-minute advantage in TOP?) in mind, this is a timely article on the rise of running quarterbacks and the success of the zone-read option play in college football.
The stats show that we’ve entered a new era of offense.
… Four of the nation’s top 18 rushers in the Football Bowl Subdivision — Robinson, Martinez, Newton and Nevada’s Colin Kaepernick — are quarterbacks.
Robinson leads the nation with 1,096 yards rushing in seven games. To put that in perspective, Nebraska’s Eric Crouch ran for 1,115 yards overall on his way to the Heisman Trophy in 2001. Robinson already has run for more yards this season than Vince Young, Tim Tebow, Michael Vick and Tommie Frazier gained in any season during their storied careers and he’s closing in on the single-season record for yards rushing in a season by a quarterback (Air Force’s Beau Morgan had 1,494 yards in 11 games in 1996).
But it’s not just the big-name quarterbacks who are gouging defenses with their legs.
According to STATS LLC, quarterbacks have accounted for 15 percent of all rushing yardage in the FBS this season. That’s the highest total in the past 15 years. As recently as 2006, quarterbacks accounted for just 8.9 percent of the yards rushing. In 1996, that total was just 5.3 percent.
Quarterbacks have rushed for more than 18,700 yards this season — already more than in any entire season between 1996 and 2000. In all, 16 quarterbacks rank in the top 100 nationally in net rushing yardage. If that holds up, it will by far be the highest total of the past 10 years…
It will be interesting to see how defenses adapt. Judging from Oregon’s play last night, they’ve got their work cut out for them.