Josh Kendall

Numbers not pretty for Gamecocks running game, which explains some things

South Carolina Gamecocks running back A.J. Turner (25) tries to get past Texas A&M Aggies defensive back Nick Harvey (1) on a run in the fourth quarter at Williams-Brice Stadium, Saturday, Oct 1, 2016.
South Carolina Gamecocks running back A.J. Turner (25) tries to get past Texas A&M Aggies defensive back Nick Harvey (1) on a run in the fourth quarter at Williams-Brice Stadium, Saturday, Oct 1, 2016.

Since being hired in December of 2015, South Carolina football coach Will Muschamp has been harping about his team’s ability to run the football. Here’s why: Only one team in the Southeastern Conference has averaged fewer yards per rushing attempt in the past decade than the Gamecocks.

South Carolina is averaging 4 yards per carry the past 10 years, which ranks 13th in the league, ahead of only Vanderbilt (3.91), and the correlation between yards per carry and the conference title is clear. The average finish of the SEC champion in yards per carry the past 10 years is 2.3. Only once in that time has the SEC champion finished outside the top four in the conference in yards per carry (Alabama, sixth, 2015). Four times, the champ has finished first (Georgia, 2017; Auburn, 2013; Auburn, 2010; Florida, 2008).

On the flip side, South Carolina has finished last in the conference in yards per carry four times in the past 10 years – 2016, 2012, 2009 and 2008. No other team in the league has done it as many times. Only once in that time span has South Carolina finished in the top half of the SEC in yards per carry (2011, third).

In Muschamp’s two seasons, the Gamecocks have finished 12th and 14th in the conference in yards per carry. South Carolina returns its top three running backs from the 2017 team — A.J. Turner (5.4 ypc), Ty’Son Williams (5 ypc) and Rico Dowdle (3.8 ypc).

GROUNDED

We look at yards per carry in the past 10 years in the Southeastern Conference. The numbers are not pretty for the Gamecocks, which explains why coach Will Muschamp keeps talking about improving the run game.

Past Ten Years

1. Alabama 5.278

2. Auburn 4.985

3. Texas A&M 4.96

4. LSU 4.837

5. Georgia 4.828

6. Mississippi State 4.644

7. Missouri 4.59

8. Mississippi 4.456

9. Arkansas 4.462

10. Florida 4.361

11. Kentucky 4.308

12. Tennessee 4.064

13. South Carolina 4.004

14. Vanderbilt 3.910

2017

Georgia 5.79

Alabama 5.73

Missouri 5.18

Mississippi State 5.16

LSU 4.79

Auburn 4.76

Arkansas 4.36

Mississippi 4.34

Kentucky 4.31

Florida 4.30

Texas A&M 4.00

South Carolina 3.92

Vanderbilt 3.70

Tennessee 3.41

2016

LSU 6.09

Alabama 5.75

Texas A&M 5.69

Mississippi State 5.63

Auburn 5.47

Kentucky 5.44

Tennessee 5.16

Missouri 4.92

Georgia 4.66

Vanderbilt 4.30

Mississippi 4.25

Arkansas 4.13

Florida 3.69

South Carolina 3.68

2015

LSU 6.10

Georgia 5.14

Mississippi 5.14

Arkansas 5.01

Tennessee 4.71

Alabama 4.67

Kentucky 4.66

South Carolina 4.39

Mississippi State 4.39

Auburn 4.35

Texas A&M 4.35

Vanderbilt 3.75

Missouri 3.49

Florida 3.48

2014

Georgia 6.04

Auburn 5.47

Mississippi State 5.24

Alabama 5.10

Arkansas 5.09

LSU 4.70

Texas A&M 4.63

Missouri 4.62

South Carolina 4.37

Florida 4.36

Mississippi 4.25

Kentucky 4.14

Tennessee 3.63

Vanderbilt 3.42

2013

Auburn 6.30

Alabama 5.80

Missouri 5.66

Arkansas 5.28

Texas A&M 5.17

LSU 5.03

Tennessee 4.92

South Carolina 4.80

Mississippi State 4.69

Mississippi 4.68

Georgia 4.55

Kentucky 4.12

Florida 3.63

Vanderbilt 3.59

2012

Texas A&M 5.90

Alabama 5.59

Georgia 4.87

Tennessee 4.66

Florida 4.53

Mississippi State 4.42

LSU 4.28

Vanderbilt 4.13

Kentucky 4.13

Mississippi 4.09

Auburn 4.07

Arkansas 3.88

Missouri 3.67

South Carolina 3.67

2011

Alabama 5.49

LSU 4.80

South Carolina 4.52

Mississippi State 4.44

Auburn 4.42

Arkansas 4.33

Vanderbilt 4.30

Florida 3.96

Georgia 3.95

Kentucky 3.48

Mississippi 3.36

Tennessee 2.76

2010

Auburn 6.12

Alabama 5.09

Mississippi 5.02

Arkansas 4.60

Kentucky 4.56

Mississippi State 4.53

LSU 4.53

Florida 4.13

South Carolina 4.14

Georgia 4.07

Vanderbilt 3.96

Tennessee 3.48

2009

Florida 5.59

Alabama 5.01

Auburn 5.01

Mississippi State 4.87

Mississippi 4.78

Georgia 4.68

Kentucky 4.51

Arkansas 4.34

Tennessee 4.30

Vanderbilt 4.26

LSU 3.67

South Carolina 3.62

2008

Florida 5.94

Mississippi 4.65

Alabama 4.55

Georgia 4.53

LSU 4.38

Kentucky 3.73

Vanderbilt 3.69

Tennessee 3.61

Arkansas 3.60

Auburn 3.50

Mississippi State 3.07

South Carolina 2.93

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