Baylor RB Finley back on track after injury

November, 17, 2010
11/17/10
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Despite all the attention Robert Griffin III's running ability got as a freshman, he didn't lead the team in rushing like Taylor Martinez is doing at Nebraska these days. His 843 yards weren't enough.

As Baylor's racked up seven wins in 2010, the most in the program since the inception of the Big 12, Griffin again hasn't been the team's leading rusher.

[+] EnlargeJay Finley
AP Photo/Harry CabluckJay Finley has rushed for at least 143 yards in four of Baylor's past five games.
That title goes to senior running back Jay Finley, who rushed for 169 yards and three touchdowns against a stout Texas A&M run defense (No. 13 nationally) last week to achieve his first-ever 1,000-yard season and moved into third in the Big 12 in rushing yards.

"It's not a surprise," said coach Art Briles. "He's a back that can get it done and will get it done. We're happy that he crossed that milestone for himself personally and for our football team because it's a big deal. It is impressive that he's been able to do it against the caliber of competition that we've been playing. So that's the impressive part."

A few weeks ago, Finley looked like he'd fall well short of 1,000 yards, like he did last year while battling an ankle injury that required offseason surgery. But for the experienced, 5-foot-11, 205-pound back, a late surge in the thick of conference play has easily pushed him over the mark.

"He got healthy, that's the main thing," Briles said. "When you're healthy, you've got a chance to be good."

In Finley's last five games, he's run for 769 yards and 10 touchdowns, the bulk of his yards this season.

"It feels great. I worked hard to get this," Finley said. "One thousand yards is a lot, but I just want to keep on going."

That stretch included a 250-yard game against Kansas State and a three-touchdown performance against Texas A&M.

"It's what we expected," Briles said. "He's a good, powerful, tough back who fights hard to make yards and win. He's really just right on track with what he's been showing us for three years."

He'll need another big day to go out a winner against No. 14 Oklahoma in his last game at Floyd Casey Stadium, and one that could put an emphatic stamp on Baylor's breakout season that's been three years in the making.

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