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Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin's freshman season is another example of how the NFL's process of separating sacks from rushing statistics gives us a clearer picture of running effectiveness.
The rushing totals of Griffin were diminished significantly last season because of the sacks he endured as a passer.
Griffin rushed for 1,118 yards to rank fifth last season among all NCAA quarterbacks. But a preponderance of sacks cost Griffin 275 yards of that gain, dropping him back to 843 yards.
And because of those losses, he wasn't even the leading rusher of his team after the net yardage was sorted out. Tailback Jay Finley nosed him out with 865 yards.
Griffin is one of college football's transcendent stars. He's one of three returning quarterbacks who rushed for more than 1,000 yards last season before those pesky sacks were figured in.
He's a throwback to the glory days when the zone-read play dominated Big 12 offenses and quarterbacks were as much rushers as passers.
Not too many years ago, Missouri's Brad Smith posted three 1,000-yard rushing seasons in his four-season stint as a starter for the Tigers.
Jammal Lord of Nebraska posted a conference rushing record for quarterbacks with 1,412 yards in 2002. Earlier, Scott Frost and Eric Crouch each produced 1,000-yard rushing seasons while quarterbacking for the Cornhuskers.
And Vince Young rushed for back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in leading Texas to back-to-back BCS bowl triumphs in 2004 and 2005.
Young's 2005 season was the last time a Big 12 quarterback topped 1,000 yards rushing.
Griffin appears to have the best shot of joining that group, although it's going to be hard.
As he evolves as a passer, it will be surprising if Griffin runs as much as a sophomore in 2008. Look for Griffin to flash his scintillating rushing skills at times, but not nearly as often.
The Big 12 had three of the nation's top 20 rushing quarterbacks last season. I would expect all of them to see their rushing totals diminish in 2009 as their roles are transformed in their respective offenses.