Mendenhall also leads 5 of the 6 guys ahead of him in receiving yards with 200, behind only Ringer (again). Maybe I should do another article on Ringer, and he and Mendenhall are clearly the best running backs in the Big 10. Sure, Mike Hart can carry the ball 40 yards a game, but is that truly an asset? I think I'd rather have a Mendenhall who can get over 120 yards on 20 carries, combined with a fresh set of legs of a back-up, ala Felix Jones in Arkansas. The 1 running back approach is rare, mostly due to workload problems. For every game Mike Hart rushed 30+ times, it's another game he's taking away from his possible NFL career.
Mendenhall has been hit with the typical "non-preseason hype" bug, which happens to teams and players every year. For instance, Erik Ainge is the #1 statistical QB in the SEC, but he rarely gets pub. Mendenhall is in the same boat. Because pundits (most of them) didn't tag him as a star in July and August, he gets overlooked. However, if someone had a gun to my head, forcing me to choose a running back in the Big 10 to start for my squad, Rashard Mendenhall is the guy.
Below, I have put together a table that shows Mendenhall's ypc versus the 6 D-1A opponents he's faced, and compares his ypc to the average allowed by those defenses in their other games. I think it speaks for itself, and ends this piece very well.
|Date||Opponent||Opp. YPCa||Rashard YPC||Change|