Hill passed the 1982 Young total with on his second carry of the night--a 12-yard touchdown run. His total was now 414. Early in the second quarter, Hill was about to pass Young's 444 yard total as he tried to run the ball for a second touchdown from three yards away. After picking up just one yard, Hill fumbled. That one yard tied him with Young's 1983 season.
The next time BYU got the ball, Hill separated himself from Young, passed Doman, and leapfrogged Carter all in one play. After completing a 14-yard pass to Skyler Ridley on the first play of the drive, Hill bust loose for 41-yards on the ground. The simple math of 444 + 41 = Taysom Hill the most rushing yards in a season by a BYU quarterback.
His 565 yards in four games is a 141.25 yards per game average. If Hill continues this pace, then he will finish with 1,695 yards after the Cougars play Nevada in the regular season finale. Throw in a bowl game, and that number becomes 1,836. Both totals would eclipse Luke Staley's school record of 1,582 yards in 2001.
How reasonable is it to think that Hill could continue this pace and break the Doak Walker Award winner's record? More reasonable than you may think.
Yes, Hill had 259 yards rushing against Texas, which is a statistical outlier for anybody, or, in other words, we can't expect Hill to have another game like that. However, this four game sample also includes a 42 yard outing at Virginia in the pouring rain. It seems that game is an outlier in the other direction, so, in a way, it balances out.
In 2001, Staley's total for the first four games was 390 yards, or 175 less than Hill. Staley had to rush for 207 and 196 yards later in the year to improve his total. Hill doesn't need any more outrageous rushing games to break Staley's mark. While Hill is averaging 141.25 yards, he only needs to average 127.2 yards per game in the regular season, or 113 yards per game including a bowl, to break Staley's mark. Hill has shown he is capable of that.
One reason Staley was able to rush for so many yards was a superb yards per carry average (8.1). Hill is currently averaging 8.6 YPC.
There are two other scenarios to consider.
1. BYU starts throwing the ball more.
Maybe that should read "throwing the ball better," but I think you understand. The Cougar offense has done its damage almost exclusively on the ground in games one through four. You have to expect that at certain point this will change, and become more 50/50. When that does happen, it will mean fewer opportunities for Hill to pick up yards running the ball.
2. Opposing defenses start keying on stopping Hill.
Opponents are going to game plan to stop Hill. They will feel that the way to beat BYU is to stop Hill. This is what happened against Utah when Hill had 99 rushing yards on 20 carries. When good defenses do this, Hill might have just 60 yards in the game. He can't afford too many sub-100 yard games and still expect to break Staley's record. What will help prevent this defensive strategy is if Jamaal Williams returns and continues to demand attention.
Clearly, it is still too early to tell, but it will be fun watching how it turns out.
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