2020 NFL Draft RB Watch: Sermon's mysterious disappearance, Moss back in a big way
Oklahoma star has been absent from the Sooners offense recently
It has been an interesting year for the expected 2020 NFL Draft running back class. The top has remained relatively stable but others have been injured or seen their roles almost entirely disappear. Fumbles were a big problem this week as rain swept across the country.
CBS Sports rounded up the weekend's action from college football's elite.
1. D'Andre Swift, Georgia: Stock Steady
Stats: 7 games -- 110 carries for 752 yards, seven touchdowns; 13 receptions for 148 yards, a touchdown
Swift recorded 21 rushing yards on the first drive. As the game progressed, the drizzle present at the beginning of the game developed into a deluge. He was able to get some chunk yardage on the edge of that Kentucky defense but there was no real estate available up the middle. Georgia was able to eventually wear down the opposition with their run game but it was a physical, wet game between the hedges. The junior displayed his jump cut ability and agility en route to 179 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries.
2. Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin: Stock Steady
Stats: 7 games -- 157 carries for 957 yards, 15 touchdowns; 16 receptions for 138 yards, four touchdowns
Wisconsin suffered their first loss of the season but it was not due to a down game from Taylor. He finished the day with 132 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries. He broke off a few long runs on the day and he did a good job of blocking. It is not to say the New Jersey native had a perfect day. He fumbled for the second time this season and lost it this time. There were a few plays where he probably should have taken a different route. On one particular play near the goal line, he tried to cut up the middle rather than jumping outside where it looked clear. On the first play of the game, he had running room to the left but tried to fight through contact instead. Those are picky notes but the difference in big yardage.
3. Travis Etienne, Clemson: Stock Up
Stats: 7 games -- 98 carries for 781 yards, six touchdowns; 15 receptions for 128 yards, a touchdown
Etienne had two runs of at least 40 yards. He came up a bit gimpy after a 49 yard touchdown run late in the third quarter but he did return. The Louisiana native caught four passes for 35 yards, which has been an emphasis for him as much as it has for Taylor. Etienne continues to show good balance and he delivered a successful stiff arm as well. Holes were pretty common against the Louisville defense but praise Etienne for taking advantage of the opportunities. He finished with 192 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries.
4. Cam Akers, Florida State: Stock Steady
Stats: 7 games -- 154 carries for 773 yards, eight touchdowns; 19 receptions for 150 yards, three touchdowns
Aker's third lost fumble of the season came this past weekend against Wake Forest. It is frustrating because he otherwise looks like a complete player. He is not a liability in pass blocking, he is an explosive runner and he is effective catching the ball out of the backfield. The Mississippi native had 30 carries for 157 yards and a touchdown as well as four receptions for 42 yards and a touchdown. He showed tremendous balance by spinning through an attempted tackle.
The concerns over his fumbling dampen an otherwise fantastic performance.
5. Zack Moss, Utah: Stock Up
Stats: 6 games -- 93 carries for 613 yards, eight touchdowns; five receptions for 85 yards
Moss lost a fumble this week but it was his first of the season. The rain may have made the difference. Essentially, he has fumbled 1% of his carries. He broke the school's all-time rushing record this week. The Florida native had 25 carries for 99 yards and two touchdowns as well as three receptions for 78 yards. Moss had one run where he made a cut, hit a gap and was off to the races. The Utes topped No. 17 Arizona State. The running back has a great combination of size and speed.
6. Trey Sermon, Oklahoma: Stock Down
Stats: 6 games -- 50 carries for 362 yards, four touchdowns; six receptions for 56 yards, a touchdown
It is a bit concerning that Sermon has not had more than 11 carries in a game this season. It is even more concerning that he only has five touches in their past two games. The Sooners have a talented backfield but so does Clemson and Georgia. Those teams have elite running backs and they are still getting their share of the carries. To my knowledge, there have not been any reported injuries or discipline. There is some speculation that Oklahoma may be keeping his legs fresh for the later portion of the season.
7. Ke'Shawn Vaughn, Vanderbilt: Stock Steady
Stats: 7 games -- 131 carries for 703 yards, six touchdowns; 21 receptions for 223 yards, a touchdown
Missouri filled the box and made it difficult for Vaughn but the Commodores adapted. The Nashville native finished with 96 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries but he also had four receptions for 80 yards and a touchdown. It was all enough for Vanderbilt to spring an upset over No. 22 Missouri, 21-14.
8. J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State: Stock Up
Stats: 7 games -- 134 carries for 947 yards, seven touchdowns; 10 receptions for 74 yards, two touchdowns
Dobbins has averaged 143.7 rushing yards per game over the past six weeks. The Texas native had 3,403 all-time rushing yards, which is fifth most in program history. He passed Braxton Miller and Beanie Wells with his latest effort. The Buckeyes supplemented their College Football Playoff resume with a 52-3 win at Northwestern. Dobbins contributed 18 carries for 121 yards and a touchdown as well as three receptions for 30 yards and a touchdown.
The first quarter made it look like it was going to be a long day for Dobbins. He had to grind out some yardage early. A big chunk of his day came on a 68-yard carry. He also ran a check route behind the linebacker that went for a touchdown.
9. Eno Benjamin, Arizona State: Stock Steady
Stats: 7 games -- 140 carries for 633 yards, seven touchdowns; 19 receptions for 185 yards, two touchdowns
Benjamin rushed for 104 yards on 15 carries in a 21-3 loss to Utah. The Sun Devils had to abandon the run game when they fell behind in the second half but Benjamin was effective with his opportunities. He averaged nearly seven yards per carry, which was his second best average of the season.
10. Darius Anderson, TCU: Stock Down
Stats: 6 games -- 83 carries for 588 yards, six touchdowns; 13 receptions for 86 yards
Anderson only had 13 carries for 56 yards in a narrow loss at Kansas State. He also had three receptions for minus-1 yard. His longest run of the day was 13 yards so there was little room to work. The Texas native has averaged 52.5 rushing yards over the past two weeks after averaging 151.7 rushing yards the prior three weeks.
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