USF vs Oregon: Sun Bowl Runningback Breakdown

The Sun Bowl is less then two weeks away and while the Bulls are practicing for their third straight Bowl game. Take a look a closer look at the runningbacks that will play in El Paso. Only on

Scouting the Bulls running backs

This season the Bulls as a team rushed for over 2,300 yards with 30 touchdowns. Even though quarterback Matt Grothe accounted for 832 yards and 10 scores, the Bulls used a committee of running backs to gain the rest.



True freshman Mike Ford 6'2-225, led all backs with 637 yards on 132 carries with 12 rushing touchdowns and one receiving. Ford spent most of his freshman year waiting for an opportunity to show what he could do as a starter, and in the last three games of the year he got his opportunity.  Against Syracuse he ran for career-high 134 yards and two scores. Against Louisville, Ford rushed for 140 yards on 24 carries, two scores and was named the Big East Conference Offensive Player of the Week. In the Bulls final game of the regular season ford rushed for just 63 yards but scored two touchdowns at Pittsburgh. Over the last three games Ford rushed for over 330 yards and scored six times. Ford is the first back to in USF's history to run for 100 yards in back-to-back games, and isles then 100 yards away from breaking the USF freshman rushing record of 729 set by Rafael Williams in 1997.


Ford was a 4-star prospect and ranked the #18th best RB as a senior at Sarasota High in 2004 where he was the leading rusher in the state of Florida (2,836) with thirty seven touchdowns, and was named Class 5A Player of the Year while and had a state-record 11 consecutive 200-yard games




Junior Ben Williams 5'7-200 pounds, Was dependable and steady for the Bulls tallying 423 yards on 101 carries with six scores and added 240 yards receiving this season. Williams was the MVP of the bowl in 2006 where he scored twice and rushed for 63 yards. His best game this season was against FAU where he scored four times and rushed for 186 yards on 25 carries. Williams is adept at blocking and is a good option catching the ball out of the backfield.


Williams was a walk-on before given a scholarship from Lake Wales high school in FL, and was not ranked 




True Freshman Jamar Taylor 5'10-205 pounds, was very active for the Bulls, carrying the Ball 46 times for 140 yards with two scores and 71 yards receiving. His most active game was in a win over West Virginia where he carried the ball 15 times for 58 yards and a score. He also scored on a one-yard run against UNC, and in a loss at UCONN, took a hand off and ran 54 yards his longest of his career.


Taylor was a 3-star prospect coming out Lakeland HS. Rushing for 1,062 yards and 13 touchdowns when he shared the backfield with Chris Rainey, and was the Sun Sentinel Top 100 in the State of Florida, #9th Running Back, FSWA 3rd Team, and All-County First Team.



Redshirt Freshman Aston Samuels 5'10-180 pounds, is a speed back that had limited opportunities during the year, finishing with 167 yards on only 16 carries, and a whopping 9.67 avg. His most explosive game was against Syracuse where he lined up as flanker and racked up 101 yards on only two carries. Samuels wowed coaches during the spring with his speed and cat like reflexes, and can be dangerous from different spots on the field. 

Samuels was a two-star prospect coming out of Glades Central where he ran for 1,533 yards and 25 touchdowns.  



Scouting the Ducks running backs


Junior Jonathan Stewart, 5'11-230 pounds, is a mix of speed and power, and one to watch out for. He's amassed 1,479 yards with 10 scores and ranks seventh in the nation with 130.4 yards per game, and his 6.69 yards per-carry average is tops among the top 25 running backs. He ranks sixth in the country in rushing and all-purpose running, averaging 134.3 and 197.0 yards per game and is the Pac-10 leader. He's also caught 14 passes for 116 yards and a score. He also leads the league in kickoff returns for the third year in a row (29.9) and had 100 yards rushing against Michigan, California and USC. He was named offensive Pac-10 Player of the Week after he racked up career highs of 32 carries and 251 rushing yards, adding two touchdowns against Washington. And was a top 10 semifinalists for the Doak Walker Award as the nation's top running back


Stewart was a 5-star recruit out of Timberline HS, was ranked the #3 best RB by, and was the most celebrated recruit in Oregon history



Sophomore Andre Crenshaw 5'11-195 pounds, is a slashing style of running but not afraid to lower his shoulder to run over a defender. With the season-ending injury to Jeremiah Johnson, he took a more prominent role and during the season totaled 363 yards on 74 carries with 4 scores. His best game was at Washington where he had 115 yards on 15 carries with 2 scores


Stewart was a 3-star prospect coming out of Antelope Valley HS, CA in 2005



Junior Jeremiah Johnson 5'10-205 was the perfect compliment to Stewart rushing for 344 yards on 54 carries with five scores and also caught seven passes for 98 yards and a TD before he tore his ACL in his right knee and was lost for the season in October.


Stewart was a 3-star prospect coming out of Susan Miller Dorsey HS, CA in 2005



Freshman Remene Alston jr. 5'8-200, is a physical player for his size and doesn't shy away from contact, and utilizes his quickness to make it difficult for defenders to bring him down one-on-one, and is very good in the open field. In limited opportunities Alston totaled just 42 yards on 23 carries with a score. 


Alston was a 2-star prospect coming out of Page HS, NC in 2005


The running backs on the field at the Brute Sun Bowl in El Paso will feature two former standout high school stars from the class of 2004 in Stewart and Ford. 5-star Stewart was ranked the #3 best runningback by while 4-star Ford was ranked #18. Stewart is more experienced and has more carries, while Ford has really come into his own and finished the season strong with six touchdowns in the last three games.

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