100 Carries In, J.K. Dobbins Off to Best Start in Ohio State Rushing History

J.K. Dobbins Indiana 2017 Ohio State

With the 12 carries two weeks ago at Nebraska, Ohio State freshman running back J.K. Dobbins has now recorded exactly 100 carries on the season.

He sits at 100 rushes for 775 yards.

That’s a pretty good start, isn’t it?

In fact, it’s so good I began wondering if any Buckeye had ever had a better start.

Turns out, they haven’t.

I opened the Ohio State record books and took a look at the Top 10 rushers in Buckeye history, as well as guys who didn’t make it but had outstanding freshman seasons — namely the only three Buckeye running backs to ever rush for 1,000 yards in a season: Robert Smith, Maurice Clarett, and Mike Weber.

And nobody came close to the start by J.K. Dobbins.

I charted the first 100 carries for Dobbins, Archie Griffin, Ezekiel Elliott, Eddie George, Tim Spencer, Beanie Wells, Keith Byars, Carlos Hyde, and the three aforementioned freshmen.

I did not chart Pepe Pearson or Carlos Snow, who round out the top 10, because their yard-per-carry average didn’t warrant it. Suffice it to say, they didn’t do what Dobbins has done with their first 100 carries.

Braxton Miller didn’t make it either. I didn’t chart his first 100 one-by-one because his yard-per-carry average didn’t threaten Dobbins either.

I did the same with Michael Wiley, who had a very good first 100 carries, but not nearly as good as Dobbins.

And if you want to ask about Chic Harley, he only appears in Ohio State’s record book once — for a 22-yard field goal to beat Wisconsin 3-0 in 1919.

I told you all of that to tell you all of this — no Ohio State running back has ever done what J.K. Dobbins has done with his first 100 carries.

Here’s the breakdown of the 11 total running backs I did chart. They appear in order of yardage total.

1. J.K. Dobbins 775
2. Robert Smith 688
3. Ezekiel Elliott 683
4. Maurice Clarett 637
5. Mike Weber 627
6. Archie Griffin 605
7. Keith Byars 579
8. Beanie Wells 562
9. Tim Spencer 556
10. Carlos Hyde 541
11. Eddie George 483

That’s quite a span from first to second. And that’s quite a span of names. There are Pro Bowlers, Heisman winners, a Sullivan Award winner, national champions, and first-round NFL draft picks.

I wish I had something more profound to say before I start listing random tidbits about the data I have mined, but I think Dobbins’ production speaks for itself. There is nobody even in his neighborhood, and he was already living in a pretty exclusive area.

Other Random Factoids

+ Tim Spencer is the only player on this list without a negative carry in his first 100 carries. Dobbins has been stopped for a loss three times for -3 yards. Maurice Clarett (-8 yards) and Mike Weber (-3 yards) are the only other two running backs with three negative rushes. Everyone else on the list has at least four. Eddie George has seven such carries and Robert Smith lost yardage on 10% of his first 100 attempts. That’s a huge number for somebody who finished second on this list.

+ Carlos Hyde’s 38 carries of less than three yards is the most of the group. Ezekiel Elliott and J.K. Dobbins top this list with only 25 such carries.

+ 9% of the carries for J.K. Dobbins, Archie Griffin, and Ezekiel Elliott went for no gain or a loss. The best number of the group is Tim Spencer’s 4%. 20% of Robert Smith’s carries went for a loss or no gain.

+ J.K. Dobbins and Ezekiel Elliott lead the way with 24 carries of at least 10 yards. The lowest number belongs to Eddie George and his seven carries of 10+ yards.

+ First home runs: Archie Griffin’s fifth carry went for 32 yards and his 23rd carry went for 55 yards; Ezekiel Elliott’s 14th carry went for 57 yards; Eddie George’s 31st carry went for 60 yards; Tim Spencer’s 14th carry went for 33 yards; Beanie Wells’ 91st carry went for 33 yards and his 98th carry (against Michigan in 2006) went for 52 yards; Keith Byars’ 33rd carry went for 46 yards; Carlos Hyde’s 52nd carry went for 36 yards; Maurice Clarett’s sixth carry went for 59 yards and his 13th carry went for 45 yards; Mike Weber’s 38th carry went for 35 yards; Robert Smith’s fifth carry went for 39 yards; J.K. Dobbins’ 10th carry went for 35 yards.

+ 10% of J.K. Dobbins’ carries have gone for at least 20 yards. The next closest is Robert Smith with 8%.

+ 5% of J.K. Dobbins carries have gone for at least 30 yards. The next closest are Archie Griffin, Maurice Clarett, and Robert Smith with 4%.

+ Maurice Clarett’s four carries of 40+ yards are the most on this list. Archie Griffin is second with three.

+ J.K. Dobbins and Robert Smith each have two carries of at least 50 yards.

3 Responses

  1. All the more reason for JK to get more carries than the QB on Saturday! I have the true pleasure of remembering every single player on the list. Lots of players on it deserve the accolades. Timmy Spencer was a wonderful OSU player, as was his contemporary at WR, Gary Williams (now THERE is a guy our WR corps could use!).

    1. I remember ’em all too. Nice for us old guys to reminisce, eh?

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