Rushing after History: Tracking Marlon Mack’s rushing yardage

Posted: September 23, 2014 in Uncategorized

Marlon Mack’s break out performance against Western Carolina got the fans excited about the future of the running game thanks to a record setting day by the young freshman. After 275 yards and 4 touchdowns, Mack showed the potential to become a feature back for the offense. While Coach Taggart said it would be a running back by committee approach this year, Mack has emerged as the go-to man, getting the majority of the carries in the last 3 games.

If Mack continues to get the majority of carries throughout the rest of the year, he could potentially leave his name in the history books at USF. Let’s look at some of the numbers he could potentially be chasing down throughout the year as he continues to carry the rushing load for the Bulls.

Mack has 502 yards on the year on 89 carries. Compared to Marcus Shaw who had 765 yards last year, Mack is already on pace to eclipse the yardage totaled by Shaw in his final year. Now Shaw missed a lot of time due to injury last season, but the numbers after 4 games for Mack are very impressive. Coach Taggart’s offense is a running based offense, requiring a lot of production out of the running backs. In his coaching career, starting back at Western Kentucky, he has always had a back he could feed carries to each game and carry the offense. Every year that Coach Taggart led his team, he always had a back go for over 1000 yards in the season. Could Mack be on pace for that this season? Barring injury, Mack is on pace for just that, 1000 yards, something that is very, very rare to this program. In fact, only 3 running backs in USF history have ever reached the 1000 yard mark in a single season. Let’s see who they are and how they did it.

In 1999, the last year the Bulls were in Division II football, Dyral McMillan became the first running back for the Bulls to eclipse the 1000 yard mark. Here are the totals for each game that season.

Game 1, USF falls 12 to 41 to San Diego State: 12 carries for 78 yards
Game 2, USF wins 17 to 10 over SW Texas State): 16 carries for 68 yards (big thanks to Joey Johnston for providing those numbers)
Game 3, USF wins 21 to 6 over Western Kentucky: 9 carries for 37 yards
Game 4: USF falls 24 to 41 to Troy: 8 carries for 30 yards
Game 5: USF wins 21 to 14 over Southern Illinois: 4 carries for 12 yards
Game 6: USF wins 28 to 0 over Liberty: 19 carries for 110 yards
Game 7: USF wins 14 to 13 over Illinois State: 13 carries for 55 yards
Game 8: USF wins 42 to 41 (3 OT) over New Hampshire: 14 carries for 144 yards
Game 9: USF falls 3 to 13 to James Madison: 9 carries for 21 yards
Game 10: USF wins 41 to 27 over New Haven: 34 carries for 258 yards
Game 11: USF falls 23 to 41 to Hofstra: 40 carries for 221 yards

For starters, you will notice that there are only 11 games on the schedule so the numbers game in a shorter span (had over 200 yards in the last two games to barely get the mark). The Bulls were in the FCS at that point so these games were coming against different competition, not the same type that Mack is facing this season However, just based on the numbers, Mack is on pace to break the 1017 yards that McMillan set so many years ago. Now is Mack continues to have success and even have another break out game like the opener, Mack could even chase arguably the best running back in program history.

Let’s move ahead to DI football and the legendary Andre Hall.

In 2004, the 4-star recruit Andre Hall, put himself in the record books for the Bulls.

Game 1: USF wins 21 to 7 over Tennessee Tech: 13 carries for 57 yards
Game 2: USF falls 3 to 34 to South Carolina: 8 carries for 41 yards
Game 3: USF wins over TCU in 3 OTs, 45 to 44: 28 carries for 119 yards
Game 4: USF falls 20 to 27 to Southern Miss: 14 carries for 56 yards
Game 5: USF falls 35 to 42 to Army: 19 carries for 200 yards
Game 6: USF falls 9 to 41 to Louisville: 17 carries for 74 yards
Game 7: USF wins 45 to 20 over UAB: 29 carries for 275 yards
Game 8: USF wins 41 to 17 over ECU: 27 carries for 161 yards
Game 9: USF falls 23 to 45 to Cincinnati: 16 carries for 155 yards
Game 10: USF falls 15 to 31 to Memphis: 24 carries for 134 yards
Game 11: USF falls 14 to 43 to Pitt: 15 carries for 85 yards

In the first 4 games of the season, Hall had just 273 yards. However, later in the year, Hall had huge games, against Army, UAB, and ECU, totaling nearly 500 yards in just those games alone, showing he was able to pick up huge yardage in a single after a slow start to the season. So far on the year, Mack has had the one big game and then two quiet games against Maryland and NC State. Mack had the 106 yards against Uconn but unless he has the big break out games like Hall had during his 2004, he may not reach the records that he set that season which was not even his best year!

Let’s take a look at his 2005 totals when Hall had 1374 yards that year, setting the highest total in USF history on the ground.

Game 1: USF falls 13 to 23 to Penn State: 22 carries for 72 yards
Game 2: USF beats FAMU 37 to 3: 18 carries for 156 yards
Game 3: USF wins 31 to 14 over UCF: 22 carries for 155 yards
Game 4: USF wins 45 to 14 over Louisville: 23 carries for 83 yards
Game 5: USF falls 7 to 27 to Miami: 19 carries for 53 yards
Game 6: USF falls 13 to 31 to Pitt: 19 carries for 79 yards
Game 7: USF wins 45 to 31 over Rutgers: 35 carries for 168 yards
Game 8: USF wins 27 to 0 over Syracuse: 24 carries for 222 yards
Game 9: USF wins 31 to 16 over Cincinnati: 29 carries for 100 yards
Game 10: USF falls 10 to 15 to Uconn: 21 carries for 93 yards
Game 11: USF falls 13 to 28 to WVU: 20 carries for 75 yards
Game 12 (bowl game): USF falls 0 to 14 to NC State: 19 carries for 118 yards

Again we can see Hall and his big game performance, but also notice he started 2005 with two back-to-back 100 hundred yard games in week 2 and 3, getting off to a quicker start. He did have down games where he failed to get over 100 yards, but again the big game ability allowed him to make up for the lost yardage in those. Can Mack reach those marks this year? I don’t think he will, not with the other backs in the rotation, but he could have similar games like Hall did.

Here are Mack’s first 4 games:

24 for 275 vs. Western Carolina

22 for 73 vs. Maryland

12 for 51 vs. NC State

31 for 103 vs. Uconn

So what is the summary of all these numbers? They show that after just 4 games, Mack is on pace to leave his name in the USF history books in his freshman season. Now he has to stay healthy and has to continue to get the majority of the snaps and if he does, but if everything goes well, he will continues this trend. Only 3 backs in program history have rushed for over 1000 yards in a single season. Coach Taggart has a track record of producing 1000 yard backs in his system as well, all leading towards history in progress with Mack. Marcus Shaw had 753 yards last year and missed multiple games due to injury. He could of broken the 1000 yard mark, even with a bad offensive line. Now with a better offensive line, more weapons and a better overall offense, everything is place for Mack. Let’s hope he continues to stay healthy and continues to get the rock. If he does, we could be watching history with a true freshman.



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