In this week’s Sunday Poll I wanted to look at OSU’s new star running back, Justice Hill. I don’t think I’m getting ahead of myself when I call Hill a star. We haven’t seen a back like him at OSU since Joseph Randle declared for the draft after the 2012 season. Randle was also the last Cowboy running back to run for 1,000+ yards in a season (1,417 in 2012). Since then, our leading backs by year have gone for 811 yards (Smith 2013), 770 (Roland 2014), and 517 (Carson 2015). Can Hill be the first to do it in 4 years?
So far through the first seven games of the season, Hill has 565 yards. To reach 1,000 Hill would need to average 87 yards a game over the last 5 games of the regular season. If we add in a bowl game (assuming OSU gets to one) Hill would need to average 72.5 yards a game. I think that is completely within his reach.
Through the first three games of the season Hill averaged just over 29 yards a game. He was also averaging only 8 carries a game. Over the last four games? Hill has taken the starting role and is averaging over 21 carries and 119 yards a game. If he keeps that average up over the rest of the regular season, Hill would head into the bowl game with 1,160 yards.
Here’s the concern going forward. Hill’s three biggest rushing games have come against the 55th (Baylor), 59th (Texas), and 88th (Kansas) ranked rushing defenses. In the next five games, OSU will face four of the five best rushing defenses they see all season; 42nd (TCU), 29th (OU), 25th (WVU), and 3rd (KSU). We also get Texas Tech who has the 91st ranked rushing defense, so that’s nice.
So my question this morning is; Can Justice Hill reach 1,000 rushing yards this season? Vote in the poll, and offer your thoughts in the comments section below!