He may have missed two games due to an undisclosed lower leg injury, but Royce Freeman made up for lost time on Saturday with 138 rushing yards and three touchdowns against Washington State.
Following his big game, Freeman slid up to No. 2 on the Oregon all-time rushing list. The All-American moved past former Duck and current Philadelphia Eagle, Kenjon Barner. In his time with Oregon from 2009-12, Barner rushed for an eye-popping 3,623 yards.
So far in 2016, Freeman has rushed for 463 yards on just 56 carries. The Heisman hopeful has a remarkable 8.3 yard per carry average, as well. Not to mention, in three games played, Freeman has scored seven times already. Currently, Freeman has rushed for 3,664 yards during his highly-underrated Duck career.
His 207-yard rushing performance against Virginia in week No. 2 stood out as his high water mark for the season, and certainly helped gain footing on LaMichael James’ record.
James was the greatest Duck “skill player” in program history, in my opinion. James rushed for an astounding 5,082 yards during his ridiculous three-year collegiate career, before heading off for “greener” pastures in the NFL. With that said, Freeman is only 1,418 rushing yards away from him.
Of course, that is a ton of yards to attain in the final seven Duck games, maybe eight if they can grab hold of a bowl appearance and they should. Freeman would have to average 177 yards per game the rest of the way, including the bowl game. Obviously that is tough to accomplish, but nobody is doubting that Freeman has the ability to break the record amidst his swan song season with Oregon.
The Ducks are enduring their worst losing streak since 2007, losing three straight games. If the Ducks want to get back on track, Freeman will need to do all the heavy lifting after continual quarterback and offensive line issues have derailed the offense.
The undefeated No. 5 Washington (5-0) Huskies come to Autzen Stadium this weekend and boast the best defense in the Pac-12. This contest is sure to be the stiffest test of the season for both Oregon, and their lead back.
Should the Duck workhorse put together a game like he did against the Cavaliers, the praise for this unheralded superstar is sure to grow. In the meantime, Oregon needs to find more ways to get him the ball. Only LaMichael James stands in his way now.
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