Leonard Fournette’s season may be over, but the race to be the first SEC back in 66 years to lead the nation in rushing goes on.
The LSU sophomore’s 212 yards rushing Tuesday night in the Texas Bowl against Texas Tech gave him 1,953 yards for the season, an average of 162.8 yards per game in 12 games.
Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry of Alabama has 1,986 yards rushing in 13 games, an average of 152.8 yards per game. But since 1970, the NCAA has determined its rushing champion by yards per game and not total yards. In that regard, Henry has some work to do.
To pass Fournette, Henry would have to rush for 293 yards in Thursday night’s second College Football Playoff semifinal in the Cotton Bowl against Michigan State. That would put Henry at 162.79 yards per game, eclipsing Fournette’s 162.75 average.
If Alabama wins, Henry’s average could of course rise and fall depending on how he would do in the CFP National Championship Game, Jan. 11 in Glendale, Arizona.
The last SEC back to lead the NCAA in rushing was John “Kayo” Dottley of Ole Miss in 1949.