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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Football

UH football 2020 season grades: Running backs


Senior running back Kyle Porter carries the football and tries to power through the grip of a BYU defender during a game at TDECU Stadium in the 2020 season. | Courtesy of UH athletics

Senior running back Kyle Porter carries the football and tries to power through the grip of a BYU defender during a game at TDECU Stadium in the 2020 season. | Courtesy of UH athletics

With the 2020 football season having reached its end for Houston, there is no better time to take a look back at the season and examine how each position group performed.

Having looked at the quarterbacks last time, the focus now shifts to the running backs and how they fared this season:

Senior season leaders

This season’s running back group was led by seniors Kyle Porter and Mulbah Car, who combined for half of the Cougars’ 12 touchdowns on the ground. 

Porter carried the heavier load of the team’s ground game action this season, posting 105 carries for 424 yards and four touchdowns, while Car finished with 52 carries for 192 yards and two touchdowns.

However, neither ran for over 100 yards in any game this season, with Porter’s game-high reaching 94 yards in a loss against BYU, while Car could not manage to find the endzone twice in the Cougars’ season opening victory against Tulane. 

Porter also got involved as a receiver, catching 16 passes for 95 yards and one touchdown, making him the only running back to record a receiving touchdown this season for the Cougars.

Outside of Porter and Car, the supporting cast in senior Chandler Smith, sophomore Kelan Walker and redshirt freshman James Fullbright III saw the field in spurts, yet never reached the numbers or impact that Porter and Car had, combining for 50 carries, 262 rushing yards and one touchdown.

2019 vs. 2020 season

Porter and Car’s 2020 rushing numbers went down compared to the 2019 season in which the duo, along with Cougar running back Patrick Carr, combined to run for 1,370 yards and 10 touchdowns.

A big reason for the major decrease in rushing statistics this season is due to the fact of having Clayton Tune start every game as a quarterback for UH.

In 2019, former UH quarterback D’Eriq King sat out midway through the season, which forced then-sophomore quarterback Clayton Tune to step in right away and take the starting spot with little to no first-team reps. This turned the Cougars’ offense run-dominant for most of the remainder of the season.

Now that Tune got a full offseason to develop and get comfortable as the No. 1 quarterback for the Cougars, the run was not as prominent and powerful as it was in 2019.

Performance grade

Although statistics dropped for running backs in comparison to last season, they played useful roles during certain moments in games.

Overall, the run was not as impactful in the Cougars offense this season as it was in 2019, and while it proved to be a reliable source of offensive production in games where the air attack was not working well, it was not completely game-changing by any means. 

Effective in some cases, but inconsistent could be used to define the running back group this 2020 season. 

Overall Grade: C-

For more of The Cougar’s 2020 UH football offseason grades, click here

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