June 27, 2007

Wildcat rushing attack still needs work

609 - Leon Patton's team-leading yards rushing in 2006. The team's overall rushing production dropped from 138.4 yards per game in 2005 to 115.2 in 2006.

After seeing a huge drop-off in 2005 - the first year without Darren Sproles - K-State didn't show that much of an improvement in 2006. Actually, the Wildcats may have gotten worse.

The team's average of 115.2 rushing yards per game ranked 86th out of 119 Division I-A teams and ninth in the Big 12 Conference, ahead of only one other team that consistently ran the ball - Iowa State. Texas Tech and Baylor placed 11th and 12th, respectively, but those passing teams both had at least 130 fewer attempts than K-State. In fact, Baylor finished dead last in the nation with 40.2 yards per game.

Leon Patton led the Wildcats with 609 yards, which was a pretty good effort considering he averaged 5.6 yards per carry to get to that total. But that mark was the lowest output for a K-State leader since Pat Jackson paced the team with 328 yards in 1989.

The statistics become even more shocking when examining how little K-State ran as a team. The record for fewest attempts in a season is 298 in the 10-game 1947 season, which factors to 29.8 rushes per game. In 2006 the Wildcats rushed the ball 372 times, or only 28.6 times a game. The 115.2 yards per game was K-State's lowest rushing production since 1993.

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