Solid Performance In First College Start

For two years he was Ray Rice’s understudy and spent most of last year on the sideline after a season-ending knee injury. On Monday, junior Kordell Young became the go-to-guy and while known as a speed back, he showed he was capable of being the workhorse Rice was.

The impression coming into the Fresno State game was Young would split the running back duties with sophomore Mason Robinson. What wound up happening, the all-purpose back from West Deptford High School became the No. 1 back and set a career high with 26 attempts, and another personal best with 96 yards.

“I didn’t even know I had that many carries or yards,” Young said. “I wasn’t expecting to get 26 carries; I didn’t even realize I had that many carries. I was expecting to split time a lot. I didn’t know exactly how it was going to go.”

Young came very close to posting his first 100-yard rushing day, in his first career start. He lost a few carries towards the end of the game when the Bulldogs started to distance themselves from the Knights in the fourth quarter, forcing them to have to pass more. There were also seven attempts where he was held to either zero or negative yards. Head Coach Greg Schiano said mishaps on the offensive line caused those, but overall, he ran well.

“I thought Kordell ran extremely hard,” Schiano said. “I thought there were times when we messed up on the front line a bit and he had to dodge people in the backfield, which is hard to do. But I thought he played tough.”

The highlight of the day for Young came in the fourth quarter, when he punched it in from Fresno State’s 1-yard line to cut the deficit to three. Two plays earlier, Rutgers thought it was on the board with its first touchdown of the season, but senior Tiquan Underwood was ruled down at the 1.

When Young was stopped on first and goal, fans were starting to worry because Robinson couldn’t cross the goal line on four carries in the first quarter. On the second try, he was able to rumble through the left side for his first touchdown since October 14, 2006.

“It felt great to get the first touchdown,” Young said, “but I really wanted Ti to score. They caught him down so I knew I had to get in there to make up for that missed touchdown.”

Underwood appreciated Young taking it in for six and said that just capped off a great day for the West Deptford, N.J., native.

“Kordell ran very hard and got the tough yards for us,” Underwood said. “That touchdown was a great run. I really think he played well for us today.”

There was a brief period when Young had to sit out because he “twisted his knee a little”, but everything is OK he said. In the three games he played last year, he had 29 carries for 138 yards. At this rate, he will shatter those numbers by next week.

The thought would be that a player would be fatigued handling 26 carries after being away from the game for almost a year. For Young, it’s the exact opposite.

“I feel great right now,” Young said. “I can go out there and play again. I took every play for what it was worth and every play just one step at a time and just took that approach. It felt great to be back on the field, just to be back out there with my teammates and the fans out there supporting us. It was great feeling to be back out there.”

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