ShowMeMizzou.com continues our position-by position review of Missouri’s just-completed 11-3 season with a look back at the tailback position.
Four Missouri TBs saw action in 2014, although the bulk of the carries went to the Tigers’ top two TBs, senior Marcus Murphy and junior Russell Hansbrough. Hansbrough led Missouri in rushing, with 1084 yards and 10 TDs on 205 carries (5.3 yards/carry). He also had 11 receptions for 58 yards. Hansbrough showed toughness running inside, to go along with his breakaway speed.
Murphy finished his final season at Missouri with 924 yards and 4 TDs on 177 carries (5.2 yards/carry). Always the elusive perimeter threat, Murphy really improved as a running back his last two seasons at Mizzou. Almost exclusively an outside-the-tackles runner earlier in his career, he became a tough inside runner, as well. He also had 28 receptions for 212 yards and 1 TD. And, Murphy returned 27 punts for 281 yards (10.4 yards/punt return) and 1 TD. He also returned 17 kickoffs for 504 yards (29.6 yards/kick return) and 2 TDs. On the season, Murphy totaled 1921 all-purpose yards to finish his Missouri career with 5112 all-purpose yards, second on the school’s career list behind Jeremy Maclin. Murphy leaves Missouri as the school’s career leader in combined kick return yardage, and career combined kick returns for touchdowns.
Following the regular season, Murphy received Honorable Mention All-American recognition, and he was named First-Team All-SEC, as well the SEC Special Teams Player of the Year.
Murphy and Hansbrough each showed big-play ability, and they each ripped off some explosive, game-changing, big-yardage plays during the season. Throughout the season, Hansbrough and Murphy represented one of the more effective positions groups on the team.
True freshman Ish Witter played increasingly throughout the season. On the season, Witter rushed for 113 yards and 1 TD on 29 carries (3.9 yards/carry). He got better as the season went along, and late in the season, he became a semi-regular.
Tyler Hunt primarily saw action on special teams, although he did have 2 carries on the season for 9 yards. On special teams, he returned 4 kicks for 78 yards, and he made 8 total tackles, and recovered a fumble.
Here’s what the Depth Chart looked like during most of the 2014 season.
6 Marcus Murphy 5’9” 190 (S) OR 32 Russell Hansbrough 5’9” 195 (J) 29 Ish Witter 5’8” 195 (F) 35 Tyler Hunt 5’11” 215 (J) 20 Trevon Walters 5’10” 210 (F) 39 Miles Drummond 5’11” 215 (So) 34 Jordan Wade 5’9” 195 (S) 36 Morgan Steward 6’0” 210 (So) (injured)