Armed Forces Bowl Breakdown: RBs

SMU and Army may have disparate offensive styles, but both teams do an excellent job of running the football. All-Conference RB Zach Line, only a sophomore, paces the ground attack of the Mustangs. Read further to get the breakdown of both teams' RB units in this continuing series. We're going to get you prepared for the Armed Forces Bowl.

Zach Line had one of the biggest breakout seasons in the college football world, leading Conference USA in rushing and it wasn't even close.

With 1,391 yards on the ground, Line easily surpassed Tulane's Orleans Darkwa, who clocked in with 925 yards.

At 6-foot-1, 235 pounds, Line brings a tremendous blend of power and underrated dexterity to the table. The sophomore from Oxford, Michigan, showcases the ability to barrel over and through a would-be tackler's grasp, in addition to a surprising (considering his size) amount of quickness that enables Line to nimbly evade defenders in the open field.

The Offensive MVP, Line was a workhorse (227 carries) who ran for 10 touchdowns and averaged a stout 6.1 yards per attempt. He riddled Marshall's defense for 202 yards in late November and topped the 100-yard plateau in six games.

Darryl Fields
Line doesn't get the call on many pass plays, but he's flashed good hands (15 catches, 158 yards) when given the opportunity.

Darryl Fields was named to the C-USA All-Freshman team as a kick returner, despite missing three games late in the year due to injury. Fields averaged 25 yards per return with a long of 92 yards.

Senior Chris Butler gained 182 yards (5.5 ypc) for the Mustangs. QB Kyle Padron was the second-leading rusher on the team with 254 yards.

Army, as expected in a triple option offense, spreads the football around. Fullback Jared Hassin, who began his career at Air Force, is the leading rusher with 931 yards. The bullish 6-foot-3, 235-pounder from Wisconsin has 9 TD runs and is averaging 5.4 yards per carry.

Senior slotback Pat Mealy (5-8, 205) has 413 yards with two touchdowns. Mealy will reach the 1,500-yard rushing mark for his career with 16 more yards. He saw some action at FB in previous years.

Pat Mealy
Six ballcarriers have a minimum of 200 yards on the ground for the Black Knights, who boast the nation's No. 10 ground game.

Hassin is an excellent athlete who is fourth on the team in receptions. He enjoyed a torrid four-game streak of 100-plus rushing yards, including a 25-carry, 144-yard, two-touchdown outing in a 41-23 win over Tulane.

QB Trent Steelman is Army's second-leading rusher. RBs Malcolm Brown, Brian Cobbs, and Raymond Maples have combined for more than 800 yards with nine TDs.

Brown's season-high was 71 yards vs. Temple. He also caught 2 passes for 33 yards in that game, a 42-35 loss.

Cobbs ran for 75 yards in a 24-0 victory over North Texas. Maples' best game came again Navy (13 carries, 66 yards).

-Josh Harvey-

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