The Arizona Wildcats may have gone 1-8 in conference play, and they may have used four different starting running backs, but that didn’t stop them from leading the Pac-12 in team rushing yards in 2016.
Arizona finishes regular season as Pac-12 rushing champ (middle column is FBS rank), ending UO's decade-long hold on that distinction. pic.twitter.com/n3RQ4Pajl7— Andrew Greif (@AndrewGreif) November 27, 2016
Of course, a school-record 511 yards on the ground in the season finale against ASU helped this a lot, but given the circumstances, it’s kind of impressive that Arizona was able to pull this off.
The team finished the year with 2,820 net rushing yards. Brandon Dawkins led the way, posting 944 yards in just ten games.
If anyone had the No. 2 name on the list finishing there before the season, you’re out of your mind. Samajie Grant, after his 176 yards on Friday, ended up with 461 yards, and averaged 6.2 yards per carry.
Rounding out the top five for Arizona are: Zach Green (372 yards), Nick Wilson (320), and J.J. Taylor (261). Wilson moved up to 10th on Arizona’s all-time rushing list before sustaining a season-ending injury.
If you’re trying to find positives from this year, it’s that the rushing game was still productive despite all the injuries (and arrest) to the two positions that actually run the ball. Is it because Dawkins isn’t a great thrower? Sure. But at least he found ways to gain yardage.