Published September 20, 2012 - 6:24pm
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LSU is winning with the running game. It’s nothing different than the past few years under Les Miles’ regime, but the players are slightly different from even last year’s squad.
We saw Spencer Ware and Michael Ford getting the bulk of the carries for the Tigers last year. Ware rushed for 707 yards, while Ford rushed for 756 yards. This year’s cast of Kenny Hilliard and Alfred Blue might have different names, but the results are still the same – ground game domination.
LSU is bull-rushing opponents’ defenses to the tune of 269.3 yards per game, 163 yards per game more than Arkansas is averaging. Soak that in. And they are doing it with sophomore running back Kenny Hilliard leading the way.
Hilliard exploded onto the scene last year when Spencer Ware sat out due to a one-game suspension against Auburn. That was Hilliard’s coming out party, and he is the leading rusher for the Tigers heading into a battle with the Plainsmen at Jordan-Hare Stadium this Saturday.
Hilliard has carried 37 times for 303 yards and a league-leading six touchdowns. He’s averaged a nasty 8.2 yards per carry, second to Georgia’s freshman phenom Todd Gurley, who has much less carries.
Hilliard has been sharing the load with Blue this season, but Blue has a knee injury that will keep him out a few weeks.
It’s safe to say, when LSU gets into the red zone, it’s Hilliard time. But he also boasts breakaway speed latched onto his 245-pound frame. It’s really remarkable to see arm tackles missed while Hilliard eats up yardage in a hurry. He’s developing into the complete running back, and Les Miles knows it.
“He’s a much more complete back,” head coach Les Miles said. “He’s really good in pass protection, and a great majority of the calls. We had to ease him in (last year) so he could understand the offense. He understands more what to expect.”
38-yard TD run against North Texas
71-yard TD run against Idaho
The visitor hasn’t fared too well in this series, with the home team winning the last 11 of 12. And LSU hasn’t been on the road yet this season with their new starting quarterback Zach Mettenberger. So, you better believe the Tigers will rely on Hilliard’s smash mouth expertise.