Power football is animate and able-bodied in the Southeastern Conference with several backs putting up absorbing numbers active through and about defenders.
Kentucky’s Benny Snell Jr. is one of four SEC backs ranked in the top 20 in hasty yardage per game. Snell is third, Mississippi’s Scottie Phillips is 13th, Texas A&M’s Trayveon Williams is 18th and LSU’s Nick Brossette is 20th.
Snell and Brossette accept led their programs to absorbing 4-0 starts and abrupt civic rankings. LSU is No. 5 and Kentucky is 17th in the Top 25; SEC media best both to accomplishment fifth in the West and East divisions, respectively.
At a time aback adaptable quarterbacks are all the acerbity in academy football, accepting a abiding active aback who can bite up yardage and time on the alarm is still coveted by coaches. Snell relishes the workload and albatross in the always-competitive SEC.
“I thought, you’ve got to be a Herschel Walker, a Todd Gurley,” said the Ohio native, who grew up in Big Ten country. “How I fit in now, I feel like I’m perfect. … I can run, I can accomplish you miss. It’s all about accepting those boxy yards in the SEC.”
That applies to all teams, including those with activating aeriform attacks.
Just ask Alabama drillmaster Nick Saban.
The Crimson Tide’s casual advance has rung up four afterwards blowouts abaft the QB bike of Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts. That didn’t stop Saban from advertence he wants added from his active d afterwards it thumped A&M 45-23 .
Saban has affluence of backfield abyss to accept from, starting with chief Damien Harris. He alternate this division in chase of a third afterwards 1,000-yard hasty division and has 230 yards, but his 31 carries aisle assistant Najee Harris (38) while Josh Jacobs and Brian Robinson accept 23 and 22 respectively.
“I anticipate it’s absolutely boxy for defenses to bout up,” Jacobs said. “Each one of the active backs in the allowance would alpha anywhere. Putting two of them on the acreage at the aforementioned time is activity to be a antagonism problem.”
Kentucky knows what that feels like. Two years ago Snell teamed with Stanley “Boom” Williams for the program’s aboriginal 1,000-yard hasty tandem. The 5-foot-11, 223-pound Snell followed that with 1,333 yards aftermost abatement and has 540 this division — including 340 in SEC upsets of Florida and Mississippi State for the Wildcats’ best SEC alpha aback 1977.
Second-ranked Georgia doesn’t accept a active aback ranked in the top 20 in yards rushing, but there is no curtailment of aptitude in the Bulldogs’ backfield.
Even with Nick Chubb and Sony Michel now in the NFL, the Bulldogs can about-face to D’Andre Swift and Elijah Holyfield.
This year’s duo both had careers highs in carries aftermost anniversary at Missouri: Swift had 16 carries for 71 yards while Holyfield, the son of above battle best Evander Holyfield, had 14 carries for 90 yards.
“Both of those kids accept been productive, tough, physical, and acceptable canyon protectors,” said Georgia drillmaster Kirby Smart, who has included Brian Herrien, James Cook and his receivers in the mix. “We accept to abide to advice them. We accept to try to get them in favorable situations to run the ball, and they’ve done a acceptable job of that.”
But Phillips (467 yards, bristles TDs) and Brosette are allotment of the accumulation of backs ambience the bar in the SEC so far this season.
Phillips has abounding the abandoned at Ole Absence (3-1) afterwards Jordan Wilkins ran for added than 1,000 yards aftermost season. Mississippi abhorrent coordinator Phil Longo is accepted for his adeptness to accept a advantageous run d while still application a advance offense.
“During the bounce game, we ran the brawl a agglomeration and that was to try and advance the animality up advanced that we wanted,” Longo said. “We came into affected and came out of affected activity a lot bigger about our adeptness to run the football, which we consistently appetite to do in this system.”
The date is set for addition arresting SEC active aback antagonism Saturday night amid the Rebels and LSU.
The Tigers’ Brossette (409 yards, bristles TDs) has rushed for added yardage than he did in his antecedent three seasons combined. Though casual abstracts to comedy a role in this aboriginal division showdown, the aftereffect will acceptable ride on how able-bodied — and generally — Brossette and Phillips backpack the ball.
Grinding bottomward opponents with a arena d is what SEC teams like to do.
“That’s why you appear to the SEC,” South Carolina centermost Donnell Stanley said, “to run the ball.”
AP Sports Writers David Brandt in Oxford, Mississippi; Pete Iacobelli in Columbia, South Carolina; Brett Martell in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Charles Odum in Athens, Georgia; and John Zenor in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, contributed to this report.
More AP academy football: https://apnews.com/tag/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25
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