Hilltoppers vs. Chippewas Position Battle: Running Backs


We’ve reviewed the quarterbacks, now let’s take a look at the second back field position the running back.

Rolling out of the back field for WKU will be Leon Allen. Heading into this season, the running back spot was the most speculated position for the Hilltoppers. Western had just graduated Antonio Andrews, one of the nation’s top running backs after he replaced NFL caliber back Bobby Rainey. It took a few games, but doubts were put to test by the fleet of foot Allen. On the season, Leon has rushed for over 1400 yards and 12 touchdowns and is averaging close to six yards a carry. Oh yeah, he also has a small feat this season of setting a new Conference USA record for rushing yards in a game. For a Tops offense that favors the pass heavily, Allen still delivers.

Now for the Chippewas. Their offense is a different story; for their season, CMU has relied heavily on the run. The leading rusher for the Chips is a Michigan transfer in Thomas Rawls. Rawls contributed 10 touchdowns for 1100 yards and over five yards a carry himself. However, Rawls finds himself ineligible by CMU for academic issues.

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That being said the running back spot is up for grabs. Speculation is the spot will be given to either junior back

Saylor Lavalli

(80 carries, 290 yards, four touchdowns) or freshman

Devon Spalding

(65 carries, 359 yards, four touchdowns). The safest bet is the two, along with sophomore

Martez Walker

, will split the back field tomorrow, unless one shows up in a big big way. No matter who takes the spot, be it for a majority of the carries or in a platoon situation, Rawls’ shoes are large ones to fill.

With the sitting of Rawls, I now give the rushing edge to WKU. Allen is too big of a back with a burst of speed and nimbleness that he will give fits to who ever gets in his way.

Next: WKU vs. CMU Position Battle: Doughty vs. Rush