AMES, IOWA — If there is one certainty about Mike Warren, it’s that you won’t find him gushing about his soon-to-be 1,000-yard achievement.
The redshirt freshman running back will almost certainly reach the milestone Saturday back in his native state of Oklahoma. He’s 46 yards shy of becoming Iowa State’s first 1,000-yard rusher since Alexander Robinson in 2009.
So, what’s he thinking?
“I’m not really nervous about it. I’m just waiting on it,” Warren said Monday. “If it happens, it happens. Credit to the O-line for that.”
That’s where Warren’s credit has so often gone in recent weeks. Before he’s willing to talk about his rushing totals, he’ll first give a disclaimer about the offensive line. When he reaches his 1,000-yard mark, he’ll soon have a reservation — and a lighter wallet — at Texas Roadhouse for both he and his blockers.
Before then, Warren is working on tickets.
Following Saturday’s win against Texas — in which Warren rushed for 157 yards on a career-high 32 carries — Warren said he had about 10 ticket requests for when he returns home to face Oklahoma. By Monday that number had doubled.
Since Warren burst onto the scene is Week 3 against Toledo, he has amassed the third-most yards in the nation behind LSU’s Leonard Fournette (198.8/game) and Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey (156/game) with 154.3 yards per game. With his 954 yards, he’s the nation’s leading freshman rusher, and in addition to three games with 150-plus yards, he’s also reached 100 yards in five of the last six games since taking over in the backfield.
Meanwhile, if Warren reaches 1,000 yards Saturday against the Sooners, he’ll become just the seventh freshman in Big 12 history to reach the mark, joining the likes of Adrian Peterson (Oklahoma), Cedric Benson (Texas), Brad Smith (Missouri) and Samaje Perine (Oklahoma).
Perine and Warren, in fact, are both from the Class of 2014.
“We thought he was a great player and really liked him. Actually we were in a situation where Samaje was already committed and if Joe [Mixon], if that wasn’t going to work out, he was our next guy,” Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said of Warren and the Sooners’ recruitment of him. “He is a great player. Speed, tough, excellent cuts. All of it. We were very close [to offering].”
Now, Warren may reach a coveted milestone back home.
“It means a lot just going back there and accomplishing something like that. It’s going to mean a lot once it happens,” Warren said. “It’s just another game to me. I have the guys around me to calm me down and my coaches to keep my composure and just play football.”