As more teams get into the heart of SEC play, having a competent running game is a must in order to have success.
Controlling the clock and moving the chains is a great way to keep your defense fresh, so getting the ball in the hands of talented running backs is something that will separate the conference’s top teams from the rest of the pack.
As more teams start to figure out their backfield identities, the rushing numbers in the conference should only get better.
Heading into a loaded Week 6 SEC slate of games, here’s how the conference’s top-10 running backs stack up:
10. Malik Davis, Florida (Last week: Not ranked)
Davis (and the Gators’ running game as a whole) really broke out against Vanderbilt on Saturday, accounting for five total touchdowns.
Should the talented freshman turn in another impressive outing against a struggling LSU squad this weekend, he could skyrocket up this list.
Last week: 17 carries, 124 yards, 2 touchdowns; 2 catches, 6 yards
Season: 43 carries, 319 yards, 2 touchdowns; 3 catches, 17 yards
9. Damarea Crockett, Mizzou (LW: 8)
Crockett had a huge Week 1, rushing for more than 200 yards against the Missouri State Bears. However, he (and the Mizzou offense as a whole) has struggled in the past few week. The Tiger were idle last week.
If Crockett can’t bounce back with a big week at Kentucky on Saturday, he’s in danger of falling off of this list.
Last week: Bye
Season: 59 carries, 375 yards, 2 touchdowns; 2 catches, 25 yards, 1 touchdown
8. Derrius Guice, LSU (LW: 4)
An “undisclosed” injury prevented Guice from playing in the Tigers’ loss to Troy on Saturday night, and the LSU offense clearly struggled without its star.
As the Tigers resume SEC play this week at Florida, they’ll need Guice back in the lineup to have any chance of moving the ball consistently.
Last week: DNP
Season: 65 carries, 314 yards, 5 touchdowns; 2 catches, 7 yards
7. Damien Harris, Alabama (LW: 3)
Once again, QB Jalen Hurts continued to lead the the Crimson Tide on the ground, putting up 101 yards and a touchdown on only 10 carries.
However, Harris has settled into a nice role and continues to pile up impressive stats when considering the Tide also give carries to Bo Scarbrough, Najee Harris, Josh Jacobs and others.
He didn’t find the end zone last week, which hurt him, but it’s safe to say he’ll have plenty of opportunities against Texas A&M this weekend.
Last week: 7 carries, 67 yards
Season: 45 carries, 376 yards, 6 touchdowns; 5 catches, 38 yards
6. Trayveon Williams, Texas A&M (LW: 5)
The Aggies continue to succeed thanks to the efforts of Williams and Keith Ford (see below) in the backfield.
Even with a freshman quarterback in Kellen Mond trying to work his way up to SEC speed, the Aggies have been able to count on Williams to deliver big plays.
He didn’t get quite as many yards as he would have liked against South Carolina, but he and Ford managed to do enough to lead the team to a win.
Last week: 16 carries, 56 yards, 1 touchdown; 3 catches, 22 yards
Season: 66 carries, 384 yards, 5 touchdowns; 6 catches, 34 yards
5. Keith Ford, Texas A&M (LW: 7)
Ford has proven this year that he’s much more than just a goal-line back, dominating in the middle of the field, too.
His size makes him a tough matchup for opposing defenses, but he’s proven that he can affect the game with his speed and with his pass-catching abilities, too.
Last week: 12 carries, 70 yards, 2 touchdowns; 2 catches, 10 yards
Season: 57 carries, 302 yards, 7 touchdowns; 6 catches, 38 yards
4. Kerryon Johnson, Auburn (LW: 6)
Johnson has been a touchdown machine the past two weeks, scoring five times against Mizzou and adding three more touchdowns against Mississippi State on Saturday night.
With nine touchdowns, he’s a no-brainer to make this list, but if he can keep having 100-yard performances like he did against the Bulldogs, he might force his way into the top three.
Last week: 23 carries, 116 yards, 3 touchdowns; 1 catch, 3 yards
Season: 57 carries, 300 yards, 9 touchdowns; 3 catches, 18 yards
3. Benny Snell Jr., Kentucky (LW: 9)
Snell didn’t have his best game against Eastern Michigan, but his second-half efforts kept the Wildcats from suffering an embarrassing loss.
The Kentucky offense performs better when Snell gets the ball, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him get 25-30 touches against Mizzou this weekend.
Last week: 21 carries, 75 yards, 1 touchdown
Season: 106 carries, 406 yards, 4 touchdowns; 5 catches, 40 yards
2. Nick Chubb, Georgia (LW: 2)
Chubb and the Bulldogs absolutely annihilated the Volunteers on Saturday afternoon, thanks in large part to the strength of the running game.
With Chubb, Sony Michel and D’Andre Swift leading the way (and QB Jake Fromm adding a couple touchdowns with his legs as well), the Georgia ground attack is one of the best in the country.
Last week: 16 carries, 109 yards
Season: 75 carries, 480 yards, 6 touchdown; 1 catch, 11 yards
1. John Kelly, Tennessee (LW: 1)
Kelly and the Vols had a rough week, losing 41-0 at home to a talented Georgia squad, but Kelly still proved why he’s the SEC’s best back.
Yes, his rushing numbers were down, but his ability to contribute as a receiver sets him apart from the other backs on this list.
Chubb is breathing down his neck, though, so he’ll need to have a big game against South Carolina in two weeks to maintain his top spot.
Last week: 16 carries, 44 yards; 4 catches, 47 yards
Season: 97 carries, 494 yards, 6 touchdowns; 22 catches, 229 yards