The Pac-12's two most efficient runners are both in the Oregon backfield
Few offenses in the country have been more efficient than the Oregon Ducks through the first half of the 2022 season, and that’s including a nightmarish game against Georgia in the opener. Oregon has moved the football up and down with pretty remarkable consistency. It has its problems that still need ironing out — red zone production is a big one — but when it comes to just putting up yards, the Ducks are doing it at a per-play clip that’s as good as any.
Oregon is top-25 in yards per play and entered Saturday’s contest with Stanford fifth nationally in offensive success rate. The ground game, averaging 6 yards a carry, ranks as the eighth-best in the country.
Powering that rushing attack are the Pac-12’s two most efficient runners: quarterback Bo Nix and tailback Bucky Irving.
Pac-12 leaders in yards per carry, among players with at least 25 carries:
— Rob Moseley (@DuckFootball) October 2, 2022
Even without the qualifier used above by team reporter Rob Moseley, Nix and Irving would still both sit firmly in the top three. Only Utah’s Cameron Rising is averaging more yards per carry than Nix — and even then, the difference is 0.06 yards an attempt. Nix has 10 more carries and four more touchdowns. Take your pick there.
Of course, Nix gets helped out a bit in the per-carry department by ripping off an 80-yarder against Stanford. Going nearly the length of the football field on one run will always help the average. Nix has that home run ability with his legs, though. He’s been dangerous for the Ducks when presented with the opportunity to use his legs. His five rushing touchdowns this season are tied for the most of any player in the Pac-12.
Irving, a former Minnesota back who arrived in Eugene this offseason, is fifth in the conference in rushing yardage through five weeks. That’s with nearly 20 fewer carries than No. 4 on the list. Perhaps one of Oregon’s most dangerous weapons, Irving has made the most of every touch he’s gotten. He hasn’t had more than 14 carries in a game yet, but he hasn’t had fewer than 71 rushing yards in any of the last four weeks.
“The guy works really hard, runs really hard, does a good job, and I’m consistently proud of his performance in games,” coach Dan Lanning said of Irving’s play on Saturday. “It’s the same thing that shows up in his work ethic and everything else he does.”