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BYU football: Jamaal Williams, teaming with Taysom Hill, on pace to shatter Cougar rushing record

Published: Tuesday, July 28 2015 12:19 p.m. MDT

BYU running back Jamaal Williams (21) turns his run back toward the field on a long run as BYU and Texas played Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013, at LaVell Edwards Stadium. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News) BYU running back Jamaal Williams (21) turns his run back toward the field on a long run as BYU and Texas played Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013, at LaVell Edwards Stadium. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

Taysom Hill has been grabbing the headlines the past few days with his 259-yard, three-touchdown rushing effort in BYU's 40-21 victory over then-No. 15 Texas.

Don't forget about his Cougar backfield mate Jamaal Williams, though.

Williams is currently ranked second in the nation with 326 rushing yards; Hill is not far behind, tied for fifth with 301 yards on the ground.

Behind their effort, BYU is ranked fourth nationally in rushing yards per game with 368.5. Two future opponents on the Cougars' schedule, Wisconsin and Georgia Tech, rank third (390 yards per game) and fifth (368), respectively.

When you compare both players' numbers to another BYU quarterback-running back rushing duo, Williams and Hill have the leg up thus far.

Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Taysom Hill (4) fights to get free of Texas Longhorns linebacker Jordan Hicks (3) as BYU and Texas play Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013 at LaVell Edwards stadium. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News) Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Taysom Hill (4) fights to get free of Texas Longhorns linebacker Jordan Hicks (3) as BYU and Texas play Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013 at LaVell Edwards stadium. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

In 2001, Luke Staley broke the Cougar program's single-season rushing record with a 1,582-yard year that earned him the Doak Walker Award, annually given to the nation's top college running back.

Staley teamed with quarterback Brandon Doman to power a rushing attack that averaged 177 yards per game that season. Throw in fellow running back Brian McDonald, and the trio combined for 2,289 yards that season on the ground.

Williams is currently on pace to surpass Staley's rushing record, and by a wide margin. If Williams were to keep up his current 163 yards-per-game rushing average, he would wind up with more than 2,100 yards this season, counting the postseason if BYU becomes bowl eligible.

To reach 1,000 rushing yards on the year, which only eight Cougars have done, Williams would need to average just 61.3 yards per contest, again including a bowl game.

Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Taysom Hill (4) celebrate his touchdown against the Texas Longhorns in Provo Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Taysom Hill (4) celebrate his touchdown against the Texas Longhorns in Provo Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

Hill was complimentary of his backfield teammate and the offensive line play the Cougars relied on in the victory over Texas.

"You start to factor in the game that Jamaal had against Virginia and how hard he runs. You add in the focus, that a team needs to focus in on a guy like Jamaal, and then you start talking about how our O-line blocked and came off the ball (against Texas)," Hill told BYUtv Sports. "Man, I had the easy part."

The sophomore already has 63 carries this season, averaging more than 30 per game. Could Williams keep up this torrid pace?

BYU offensive coordinator Robert Anae was the offensive line coach at Arizona last season, and one of his backs, Ka'Deem Carey, led the country with 1,929 rushing yards in 2012, on 303 carries. That averages out to 23.3 carries per game.

Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Taysom Hill (4) looks back as he runs for a touchdown against the Texas Longhorns in Provo Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Taysom Hill (4) looks back as he runs for a touchdown against the Texas Longhorns in Provo Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

Through two games last year, Carey had 273 rushing yards on 46 carries, with four touchdowns. Williams' two-game numbers top those, except the touchdown total.

One area where Williams is coming up short of Staley's record-setting season so far is touchdown production. While Staley ran for a school-record 24 TDs in the 2001 season, Williams has yet to find the end zone in 2013.

Staley also had a better per-carry average. The former Cougar averaged 8.1 yards per carry, while Williams is averaging 5.1.

Hill, meanwhile, is already well on his way to surpassing the top BYU quarterback rushing numbers.

His 259 yards against Texas was the best in a single game by a Cougar quarterback. With 340 more rushing yards, he would break Virgil Carter's single-season rushing record for a BYU QB, according to cougarstats.com. With 589 more, Hill would become the Cougars' all-time leading rusher among quarterbacks.

Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Taysom Hill (4) runs for 259 yards against Texas Longhorns in Provo Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013. BYU won 40-21. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Taysom Hill (4) runs for 259 yards against Texas Longhorns in Provo Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013. BYU won 40-21. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

Hill is also just 155 rushing yards away from matching Doman's 2001 effort, the second-best quarterback rushing season in BYU history, according to cougarstats.com.

Instead of comparing Hill to Doman, one former Cougar sees a similarity between BYU's current quarterback and the bruising back Staley. Brandon Ogletree, who played linebacker at BYU from 2008-2012, called Hill a "power runner with phenomenal speed."

"Forget the Steve Young comparisons; he is an inch taller and 10 pounds heavier than former Doak Walker award winner Luke Staley, with the same type of wheels," Ogletree wrote on his ogletreefootball.com blog in his analysis of the Cougars' victory over the Longhorns.

"If he gets hurt, he gets hurt. But it’s going to be a fun ride and he’ll probably hurt a few other people in the process."

BYU quarterback Taysom Hill (4) runs away from Texas Longhorns linebacker Steve Edmond (33). BYU and Texas played Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013, at LaVell Edwards Stadium. BYU won 40-21. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News) BYU quarterback Taysom Hill (4) runs away from Texas Longhorns linebacker Steve Edmond (33). BYU and Texas played Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013, at LaVell Edwards Stadium. BYU won 40-21. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

Email: bjudd@deseretnews.com; Twitter: @brandonljudd

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