He has the best seat in the house.
When Marshall University quarterback Isaiah Green hands off to star running back Brenden Knox, nobody has a better view of the mayhem that’s about to ensue.
“It’s exciting,” said Green. “You see somebody coming to meet him in the hole one-on-one and you just know that he’s not about to make that tackle one-on-one. I get to see it literally from right behind him.”
What a sight.
It particularly was the case for Green during the Thundering Herd’s 36-31 victory over Florida Atlantic last Friday in Boca Raton, Florida.
That’s because the 6-foot, 220-pound Knox ran over, around and through the Owls for 220 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries.
And although Green wasn’t sitting, he was indeed standing there in the proverbial catbird seat.
“It’s exciting to watch him run through tackles and keep his legs moving,” said the redshirt sophomore quarterback. “Honestly, I’ve never seen anyone do what he does. Not like that. I’ve never witnessed anyone run the ball as hard as he does and make as many people miss and the yards after contact that he produces. I’ve never seen that.”
Ah, yes, the yards after contact statistical category, otherwise known as YAC. If the NCAA kept track of this statistic along with its other myriad categories, Knox just might be leading the nation.
Not at all.
According to statistics supplied by MU’s coaching staff after breaking down the MU-FAU game film, Knox accumulated 163 of his 220 yards after would-be tacklers had made contact with him.
It means 74.1 percent of Knox’s yardage was produced by broken tackles.
That is a stunning statistic.
“He had over 100 yards after contact,” said Green, shaking his head. “That speaks volumes. It’s amazing. That’s all you can really say about it.”
Well, there is something else.
It speaks to a pair of points, actually. No. 1, how hard Knox has worked in the weight room. No. 2, Knox’s desire and will-power.
That’s why the sophomore from Columbus, Ohio, has rushed for 719 yards on 118 carries (6.1 yards per carry) with seven touchdowns. Knox has lost only 6 yards in seven games and his 102.7 yards per game average leads Conference USA.
Besides that, Knox ranks No. 4 in the nation for rushing yardage in the month of October, No. 7 for runs of 10 or more yards (24), No. 16 in the nation in overall rushing yardage and No. 18 in rushing yards per game.
That leads to a dynamic matchup between Marshall and Western Kentucky at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in Joan C. Edwards Stadium. WKU’s rushing defense is ranked No. 22 in the nation, allowing only 3.0 yards per rush and 110.3 yards per game.
What a duel.
Knox and his powerful, churning legs breaking bad and breaking tackles vs. the Hilltoppers’ highly ranked defense.
Who will win?
Green believes he knows.
“At the end of the day,” said MU’s quarterback thoughtfully, “I feel like he thinks that nobody can stop him. You can tell that when he runs the ball. I feel like he’s a great leader. And his will to achieve is just unlike anybody else’s.”
Desire is a tricky emotion to defend against.
Don’t be surprised if Knox proves that ... again.