Sims scorches the Wave in breakout

Junior running back Charles Sims has scored a touchdown in seven consecutive games (nine rushing, three receiving). Sims scored two rushing touchdown against Tulane. He also rushed for a career-high of 207 yards on 10 carries, and caught five passes for 45 yards. | Jairo Razo/The Daily Cougar

Charles Sims makes defenders look like they are moving in slow motion.

The junior running back has enough speed to make most players envy him, and when he gets in top gear he is bound to pick up large chunks of yardage.

In the Cougars’ 73-17 win against Tulane, he reeled off touchdown runs of 52 and 72 yards. His final stat line was 10 rushing attempts for 207 yards, along with five receptions for 45 yards.

He shattered a school record, averaging 20.7 yards per carry — the previous mark was Don Hargove’s mark of 19.9 in 1953.

Sims is the latest benefactor on the Cougars’ running back carousel, as all three running backs have at one point led in rushing statistics. Senior Bryce Beall was the clear starter as the season began, and was the early leader in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns.

He missed three contests because of a lingering hamstring issue, making senior Michael Hayes the next in line to receive the bulk of the carries. He also temporarily led UH in rushing scores and yardage.

But it was Sims who shined brightest against the Green Wave. He emerged from the blowout victory as the new leader in yards with 658, and touchdowns with nine.

He now leads Hayes by 105 yards and two scores. If his explosive showing versus Tulane is any indicator, he is unlikely to lose the team rushing title as long he stays healthy.

Early in the season running backs coach Clarence McKinney described Beall and Hayes as the room clowns, and that Sims has a more quiet demeanor. Other players may be more vocal, but that is not his style.

Coaches take notice of his attention to detail and intensity.  He is described as a hard worker in practice that makes his teammates better.

Yet with all the sharing in the backfield, no one in the trio feels as if they are the featured back.

“It’s more like a three-headed monster,” Sims said. “We’re all playmakers. Once we get started it’s hard to stop us.”

His exciting play was sorely missed last year, as the NCAA ruled him ineligible for 2010 because of an academic issue. His time away from competing was used to his advantage as he bulked up.

He was forced to wait again and missed the second contest of the season after suffering an injury in the season opener against UCLA.

In the fifth game against UTEP Sims had his coming out party. A touchdown run of 40 yards, and a touchdown reception of 84 yards were key in the Cougars’ 49-42 victory Sept. 29 in El Paso.

Since then opportunities and his production have skyrocketed.

“It’s just been patience,” he said. “I’ve been patiently waiting. It feels great to come back, and be able to make plays in this offense.”

Sims spent his high school career at Westbury, an HISD school that is approximately 20 minutes away from UH. Finding such a promising talent so close to campus should be a priority for this program.

“I could picture myself going here,” Sims said. “I could picture myself in red and white.”

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