Debate It: 2013 Big Ten rushing TD leader?

There used to be a time when the rushing touchdown leaderboard always came down to the elite running backs. These days, the running backs receive stiff competition from dual-threat quarterbacks. More specifically, in the Big Ten, Kain Colter, Taylor Martine and Braxton Miller. Will a signal-caller lead the Big Ten in rushing scores this fall? See Tom Dienhart and Brent Yarina’s picks in this post.

RUSHING TOUCHDOWNS
2012 leader: Montee Ball, Wisconsin – 22
2013 returning leader: Carlos Hyde, Ohio State – 16

Tom: Braxton Miller, Ohio State – First, know this: The Buckeyes will have one of the top offenses in the Big Ten—if not the nation. The points figure to come fast and furious for Ohio State. And Miller will be at the hub of the scoring activity. Last season, he tallied 13 rushing touchdowns. That number should soar this fall with a more veteran cast around a player who will be in the thick of the Heisman race. Yes, the staff wants Miller to pass more and rely less on his legs. But when the Buckeyes get down in the red zone—which will be often–Miller’s wondrous running skills will be amplified either in called plays or marvelous improvisations. The field is shorter, passing is more difficult and yards are tougher to come by. Miller can turn it into a backyard game and win because he’s usually the best player on the field. Oh, and you know there will be many occasions this fall when Miller just busts off a long scoring run vs. inferior foes. Add it all up, and the junior will be a rushing TD machine.
Dark horse: Taylor Martinez, Nebraska 

[ RELATED: View all of our preseason stat predictions ]

Brent: James White, Wisconsin – Consider this: White has averaged a touchdown every 13.2 carries in his first three seasons, including a career best 10.4 a season ago. Now, consider this: the highly underrated and undervalued speedster racked up his 32 career rushing scores while sharing a backfield with John Clay and Montee Ball as a freshman and the latter as a sophomore and junior. You’re right, White will lose carries to fellow burner Melvin Gordon, and he’s no longer in Bret Bielema’s system that yielded gaudy rushing statistics. Regardless, White’s role is certain to increase (10.6 carries per game in career), he’ll be running behind a perennially stout offensive line, and new coach Gary Andersen insists he isn’t going to mess with Wisconsin’s bread and butter on offense. The result? A lot of rushing touchdowns, both for White and Gordon.
Dark horse: Kain Colter, Northwestern

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Show Comments (11 Comments)
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huskerfanbb on 6/7/2013 @ 10:42am EDT Said:

This is another toughie. Miller and Martinez would both be good guesses, although I wonder how many planned carries either will get considering they REALLY need to stay healthy in order for these teams to get where they want to go.
White is a good pick, but I’m not sure Wisconsin’s offense is going to be particularly prolific, and Gordon will get some of White’s carries. White won’t get the carries that Ball was able to rack up the last couple of seasons.
A guy like Weisman from Iowa will get a lot of opportunites inside the 10 yard line–but that assumes Iowa’s offense can actually get down there–not a lock to do so very often by any means. I don’t see their new QB’s throwing it very much down there, though.

Bruce Cameron on 6/7/2013 @ 10:43am EDT Said:

Carlos Hyde

Reality check on 6/7/2013 @ 8:02pm EDT Said:

Not going to be a Spartan

Common sense on 6/7/2013 @ 8:06pm EDT Said:

Agee with you there boss, The wolverines have a pretty good ground game

common sense on 6/8/2013 @ 10:17am EDT Said:

Miller is a force but don’t sleep on the Michigan backs, it would not surprise me it they put on a show when Michigan beats Nebraska slicing through the Huskers front 7 like a hot knife through butter.

Doug on 6/8/2013 @ 6:50pm EDT Said:

mark and dhani talking to eachother about michigan’s running game, which is non existant, good luck HAHAHHAHH

Common Sense on 6/9/2013 @ 5:01pm EDT Said:

hey Doug, did you know that Dantonio is 1-2 against true Michigan men head coaches? that’s a troubling sign for MSU and him. Devin Gardner himself could probably rush for more than whatever makeshift RB you put in your backfield, and he’s not gonna even run much in the new offense we’ll have

Common sense on 6/9/2013 @ 6:57pm EDT Said:

MSu Doug is in denial, no question about it

Doug on 6/9/2013 @ 6:59pm EDT Said:

hey Mark, did you know the last time Gardner faced MSU he was eaten up and spit out, just like Denard was every time. Bring it on ! And just conveniently forget the 0-3 Rich Rod era, you’re the one that had him hired !

reality check on 6/9/2013 @ 8:48pm EDT Said:

Doug, I wanted Les Miles but there are things that happened between Miles and Gary Moeller that you don’t know about that prevented that from happening. I never supported Rich Rod Never and you cant prove that I did.

Doug on 6/10/2013 @ 12:36am EDT Said:

if you didn’t support rich rod, he would never have become coach. Dhani, keep working towards that degree, you can do it !

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