A little over halfway through the season, I was wondering whether our rushing woes are due to the caliber of opponent defenses, or a function of our own ineptitude, or both.
I was surprised when I saw the cumulative rankings (our losses in bold, win in italics):
1 Boston College
5 Southern California
9 Penn St.
11 Georgia Tech
24 Michigan St.
62 Air Force
This pretty much confirms what I suspected, that our schedule has as much to do with our lack of success running the ball as our youth and inexperience. We've played the top rushing defense, 3 of the top ten, 4 of the top 12, and 5 of the top 25. Every team has been in the top half of the rankings. And this week, we face another top 5 rushing defense in USC.
I think that we will continue to struggle running the ball, but we were able to squeak out a win against one of those vaunted rush defenses despite our struggles.
And if anyone out there still doubts our ability to win the last four games on ou schedule, consider the fact that they can't stuff the run like our first 8 opponents, which should bring some balance to our offense. And this ranking list supports my previous contention that we should have beaten Purdue soundly, and our first half performance in that game was atrocious.
I'm not mentioning this to excuse our performance thus far, but to provide hope that we can win the last four games by establishing the running game early.
Which means that we have a good shot of going to a bowl game with a win this weekend.