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LSU Football

Joining a special group on Nick Brossette’s mind

December 21, 2018
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It has been six seasons since LSU has not produced a 1,000-yard rusher.

In the previous five years, the Tigers had three backs eclipse the 1,000-yard mark – Jeremy Hill (2013), Leonard Fournette (2014-15) and Derrius Guice (2016-17).

Most observers felt that streak would end in 2018. LSU entered the season with not one back on the roster having rushed for a touchdown. The top returning rusher was Nick Brossette, who had gained only 311 yards in the previous three years.

However, that streak may stay alive for another year. Entering the Tigers’ Fiesta Bowl matchup with Central Florida, Brossette is just 72 yards away from gaining 1,000 yards on the ground for the season. Brossette admitted that he knows that he is close to reaching that coveted number.

“Getting 1,000 yards will be on my mind,” Brossette said. “Really, I just want to get a win for the program. That loss to Texas A&M is the only motivation we need. We should’ve won that game. We will have the intensity for the Fiesta Bowl.”

Twelve LSU backs have rushed for 1,000 yards in a season. That group is a who’s who of Tigers running backs. The five players who rushed for at least 1,000 yards multiple times are Kevin Faulk, Charles Alexander, Fournette, Guice and Dalton Hilliard.

The other 1,000-yard rushers are Jacob Hester, Hill, Stevan Ridley, Terry Robiskie, Charles Scott, Justin Vincent and Harvey Williams. Brossette is the most unlikely individual to crack the 1,000-yard barrier. Many observers felt that Brossette would not be the No. 1 back in 2018.

When preseason practice began, Brossette displayed a sense of urgency. He was determined to beat out sophomore Clyde Edwards-Helaire for the starting job. In August, Brossette talked out following the same path as former LSU linebackers Deion Jones and Duke Riley.

Jones was primarily a special teams player from 2012-14. In those three years, Jones registered 64 tackles, including 7½ behind the line of scrimmage. Jones had no sacks. In his senior season, Jones made 100 tackles, including 13½ for losses. Jones was credited with five sacks.

Riley joined the Tigers program one year after Jones. Like Jones, Riley was mainly a special teams player for three years. In those seasons, Riley accounted for 51 tackles. He had a half tackle-for-loss and no sacks. As a senior, Riley made 93 tackles – 9½ behind the line of scrimmage – and had 1½ sacks.

Brossette had just 46 carries for those 311 yards in his first three years. A season ago, he hardly played after losing a fumble on the first offensive play of LSU’s game against Troy. That turnover set the tone for what ended up being a Tigers defeat.

Besides coming close to the 1,000-yard mark, Brossette has rushed for 14 touchdowns this season. Only nine other LSU backs have reached that number of rushing touchdowns. Just two touchdowns on the ground against UCF would give him a tie for the fifth most in a season for a Tigers back.

As one would imagine, Brossette’s career has been far from smooth. A hometown kid, Brossette ran for more than 9,000 yards and 163 touchdowns in five seasons at University High School. His production at LSU was minimal until this year.

“I’m proud of myself for sticking it out at LSU,” Brossette said. “I was on the edge of transferring after my sophomore year. I had a talk with coach (Ed) O(rgeron). He wasn’t going to let me leave. To be honest with you, most of my class transferred. Only a few stuck it out. I’m glad I stuck it out and stayed.”

Now, Brossette has just one game remaining in a LSU uniform. He is looking forward to the contest with Central Florida, which has a 25-game winning streak.

“UCF is a good football team,” Brossette said. “Their defense is pretty good. Their defensive line has surprised me. We just need to execute our game plan. We want to play for ourselves and coach O and have fun. UCF wants to make a statement. I can’t wait to play them.”

 

Here are LSU’s 1,000-yard rushers.

Leonard Fournette, 2015: 300 carries, 1,953 yards

Charles Alexander, 1977: 311 carries, 1,686 yards

Jeremy Hill, 2013: 203 carries, 1,401 yards

Derrius Guice, 2016: 183 carries, 1,387 yards

Kevin Faulk, 1996: 248 carries, 1,282 yards

Kevin Faulk, 1998: 229 carries, 1,279 yards

Dalton Hilliard, 1984: 254 carries, 1,268 yards

Derrius Guice, 2017: 237 carries, 1,251 yards

Charles Scott, 2008: 217 carries, 1,174 yards

Charles Alexander, 1978: 281 carries, 1,172 yards

Stevan Ridley, 249 carries, 1,147 yards

Kevin Faulk, 1997: 205 carries, 1,144 yards

Dalton Hilliard, 1985: 258 carries, 1,134 yards

Terry Robiskie, 1976: 224 carries, 1,117 yards

Jacob Hester, 2007: 225 carries, 1,103 yards

Leonard Fournette, 2014: 187 carries, 1,034 yards

Justin Vincent, 2003: 154 carries, 1,001 yards

Harvey Williams, 1987: 154 carries, 1,001 yards

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