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Royce Watch: Freeman Climbing the Rankings

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Oregon’s lead back has six scores in two games already

Nebraska v Oregon Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images

A week after totaling exactly 200 yards and four touchdowns, Royce Freeman rushed for 153 yards and two more scores in a 42-35 win against Nebraska. The Imperial product is currently leading the country in rushing touchdowns (6) for 2017.

Welcome back to the second-year edition of Royce Watch! Each Tuesday during the season, we will give you a look at Freeman’s performance from the previous weekend, alongside a preview of his upcoming match-up. We’ll have quotes from everyone involved.

The Heisman Trophy committee continues to be notified:

COUNTDOWN TO OREGON’S TOP SPOT

#1 - LaMichael James (5,082 career rushing yards)

#2 - Royce Freeman (4,449 career rushing yards)

#3 - Kenjon Barner (3,623 career rushing yards)

Freeman is currently 634 yards from being Oregon’s No. 1 running back in program history

CHASING HISTORY: CAREER PAC-12 TOUCHDOWNS

#1 - Ken Simonton, 60 (Oregon State)

#2 - LaMichael James, 58 (Oregon)

#3 - LenDale White, 57 (USC)

#4 - Skip Hicks, 55 (UCLA)

#5 - Royce Freeman, 54 (Oregon)

#6 - Charles White, 53 (USC)

#7 - Ka’Deem Carey, 52 (Arizona)

#8 - Jaquizz Rodgers, 51 (OSU)

#9 - Kenjon Barner, 50 (Oregon)

Freeman is currently 7 TDs from being the Pac-12’s all-time scoring leader from scrimmage

FREEMAN’S SWAN SONG

  • 52 carries* (7th)
  • 303 rushing yards* (8th)
  • 5.8 yards per carry
  • 6 rushing touchdowns* (1st)
  • 5 catches
  • 59 receiving yards
  • 11.8 yards per reception

*Nationally Ranked

NEBRASKA’S FRONT SEVEN HUSKED BY ROLLS ROYCE

Freeman continued his torrid start to the 2017 season against Nebraska on Saturday. While the Cornhuskers didn’t present the greatest test in their program’s history, their front seven was nothing to ignore. Nevertheless, Freeman shredded them with 29 carries for 153 yards (5.2 YPC) and two scores. He caught one pass for nine yards.

The senior nearly escaped for the distance on a few occasions, finishing with a long of 28 yards. Yet, it’s not his totals that are the most impressive part of his performances. It’s the aggression and urgency he’s attacking the defense with this season that is making NFL executives drool. It’s the Freeman of old with a few new tricks.

He looks angry when the ball in his hands. It has only been two games, but Freeman is on a mission. Defenders have been hesitating to attack the gaps and struggle to bring him down without some assistance from their teammates.

Nebraska v Oregon
Royce Freeman stylishly brought back the Walter Payton “leap” over the goal line for the touchdown on Saturday vs Nebraska. Oregon’s senior star has six scores this season and 54 overall in his storied collegiate career.
Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Oregon’s workhorse made his first mistake of the young season on Saturday when he fumbled against the Cornhuskers. It was his first of the year after losing four in an injury-plagued 2016 campaign.

Regardless, Freeman made up for it with hard running down the stretch to seal the Duck victory. When Oregon needed him the most, he stepped up and kept the clock moving. No matter the opponent, Freeman is making everyone look a step slower.

“Our guys did a great job,” said head coach Willie Taggart. “Our o-line did a great job. Our guys took what they were giving us. I thought our guys did a great job of handling the adversity. That was a great team victory.”

WYOMING SNEAK PEEK

The Cowboys enter Saturday with deceiving peripherals. They possess the No. 12 overall ranked defense in the nation and have allowed just 458 total yards this season, including 229 per contest. The Mountain West unit is yielding 12.0 PPG. However, those matchups were with Iowa on the road and Gardner-Webb at home.

Wyoming’s glaring defensive weakness is their rushing competency. In two games, the Cowboys are surrendering 155.0 rush yards per contest (311 total rushing yards allowed). Nationally, Wyoming is ranked No. 82 overall in rush defense.

Freeman and the Oregon running game are vying for a spot in the AP Top 25 after their solid start (2-0) to the season. Josh Allen and Wyoming present the first road test of 2017, but Freeman and the Ducks’ offensive line should be ready to roll again. We will have a complete breakdown/preview of the game this week at ATQ.

Stay tuned, if you want to; Twitter @TheQuackFiend Gram @eugene_levys_eyebrows