Stats & Info: Jeremy Hill

LSU ground game will challenge Georgia

September, 27, 2013

Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Jeremy Hill's rushing, especially in the first quarter, has fueled the LSU offense.
When the LSU Tigers face the Georgia Bulldogs this Saturday in Athens, the Tigers will rely on a much-improved offense. LSU enters Saturday having scored at least 35 points in each of its first four games of a season for the first time in school history.

The running game, led by Jeremy Hill, has been the foundation of the team’s offensive success. Only 14 teams in the nation run the ball a higher percentage than LSU’s 62 percent, and Hill has been one of the best backs in the country since returning from suspension.

First-quarter dominance
Part of LSU’s success has been its ability to get early leads, with its running game serving as the offensive catalyst.

LSU is one of just eight FBS teams not to trail all season, outscoring opponents 62-3 in the first quarter. Five of those first-quarter touchdowns have come on the ground, tied for the most in the FBS.

Hill has led the first-quarter dominance. In each of the last two weeks, he’s rushed for touchdowns on each of LSU’s first two drives.

On two game-opening drives this season, Hill has four carries for 112 yards, including 58- and 49-yard TD scampers against Kent State and Auburn. Hill also scored on his first touch of the season, a three-yard TD in Week 2 against UAB.

What Hill does best
Hill has bolstered LSU’s offense with his explosive running ability and nose for the end zone. He is averaging 8.3 yards per rush and his 12 rushes of at least 10 yards are the third-most in the SEC. His six rushing touchdowns lead the SEC.

Opponents have been prepared for LSU’s running game even if they can’t stop it. Over 44 percent of LSU’s carries this season have been against at least eight men in the box. Alabama is the only other SEC team that faces a loaded box more than 40 percent of the time.

Hill’s bruising style has allowed him to thrive despite this defensive strategy.

His average of 5.3 yards after contact per rush is third-best among BCS-AQ players (minimum 40 rushes), and he is the only player in FBS with three 30-yard runs against a loaded box.

Hill attacks the opponents’ defensive line head-on, with more than 60 percent (27 of 42) of his rushes this season up the middle. He averages nearly 11 yards per rush on those carries, compared to four yards per rush when going left or right.

Can Georgia stop Hill?
Georgia’s run defense struggled in two games against top-10 opponents this season, allowing 423 combined rush yards vs Clemson and South Carolina.

However, last week Georgia did hold a North Texas team that was averaging 174 rush yards per game to only seven yards on 25 carries.

This will be the first meeting between LSU and Georgia since the 2011 SEC Championship game when the Tigers ran for 207 yards in a 42-10 win.

Georgia must improve on that performance in order to win this weekend -- LSU has won 25 straight games dating back to 2007 when rushing for at least 207 yards.

Who's better? Alabama D or Oregon O?

November, 6, 2012

Kirby Lee/Image of Sport/US PresswireKenjon Barner has put up eye-popping numbers for Oregon this season, but hasn't had to contend with a defense as good as Alabama's.
Alabama and Oregon rank first and second in every major human poll entering this weekend and have two of the best units in all of football. Which is better?

Oregon’s offense is the best unit in college football this season. The Ducks average 54.3 points per game, best in the nation, and have not scored fewer than 42 points in a game this season. Oregon has scored at least 30 points in 22 straight games, which is tied for the second-longest streak in the FBS era. - S.K.

What about Alabama’s defense? The Tide lead the nation in scoring defense for the second straight season despite losing six players from last season’s defense to the NFL Draft, including four in the first 35 picks. There have been only three other college defenses that have produced four players in the first 35 picks and no team has had more. - T.P.

Have you seen how quickly Oregon scores? The Ducks lead FBS in touchdown drives in two minutes or less (37), one minute or less (20) and three plays or fewer (17) this season. Oregon has scored at least two touchdowns in two minutes or less in every game this season, including four such touchdowns against USC last week. Louisiana Tech is the only other team to score at least two such touchdowns in all of its games.

Let’s see if Oregon can even make it to the red zone to score against Alabama. Opponents have had 17 drives this season in which they reached the red zone against Alabama, the fewest in FBS. In fact, they have forced six more turnovers than they have allowed red zone trips this season.

Oregon does not even need to reach the red zone in order to score. Oregon has 19 touchdown plays longer than 20 yards this season, second in FBS behind Georgia. The Ducks have 93 such touchdowns since Chip Kelly took over in 2009, four more than any other FBS team.

Alabama’s defense does not give up long touchdowns. The Tide have allowed one touchdown longer than 20 yards this season, tied for the fewest in FBS and have not allowed a rushing touchdown of this length against an FBS opponent since Oct. 23, 2010, against Tennessee.

Do you think Alabama will be able to slow down Heisman contender Kenjon Barner? He rushed for 321 yards and five touchdowns last week against USC, and has rushed for 100 yards in each of his last five games despite only playing in the fourth quarter twice.

100 yards against Alabama? There have been two players who have rushed for 100 yards against Alabama since the start of the 2008 season. That is seven fewer than any other FBS team. Granted, the last one was last week when Jeremy Hill rushed for 107 on 29 rushes, but the last one before Hill was in 2010. Remember, Oregon averaged 2.3 yards per rush against Auburn in the BCS Championship Game.

Oregon showed what it is capable of when it plays four full quarters last week at USC. Oregon averages more points in the first half (36.0) than 92 FBS teams average in a game. If the Ducks continued their first-half pace, the Ducks would average 72 points and 728.2 yards per game. Those numbers would crush the FBS record for points (56.0 by Army in 1944) and yards (624.9 by Houston in 1989) per game in a season.

If those Ducks can move up in the computers, maybe they'll get to tangle with the Tide in Miami and settle this debate on the field.