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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Da'Rel Scott - Best Back in the ACC

When the season started, more than a few questions were raised about how the Terps running game would go on without the tag team of Keon Lattimore and Lance Ball that basically carried the Maryland offense on their shoulders in 2007.

Da'Rel Scott, a sophomore with blazing speed, had been a hero against Boston College the year before, but would he be able to do it with a full load of carries?

Although it was not a foolish question given the lack of evidence, it does seem rather foolish now: Da'Rel Scott is the ACC's leading rusher at week three. And he's leading by a lot.

Scott is averaging 135 yards per game. That's almost 50 YPG more than the guy behind him, Josh Nesbitt of Georgia Tech (who's the quarterback in a triple-option offense). Actually, he's the fifth-leading rusher in the country in YPG so far.

As a result, Maryland is fourth in the ACC in rushing, just six yards behind Virginia Tech's season total. That's fairly impressive considering that quarterback Chris Turner is immobile and Scott's backup is a true freshman.

Also, you have to consider that he only ran in half of last week's matchup against the Golden Bears. He had already had accrued 87 yards and two touchdowns. If Davin Meggett still went on to gain 82 yards in Scott's absence by running at defenders, imagine what Scott could've done with his speed and agility running around defenders. It's hard to doubt he would've easily gone over the century mark for the third week in a row.

This week against Eastern Michigan, Scott is questionable because of his shoulder injury (from the Cal game), but his running ability will be needed to set up the passing routes in James Franklin's offense. Meggett is serviceble, but no one confuses him for the guy that could take it to the house on any given hand off. Scott gets that kind of respect - he's the best back in the ACC (for now).

Photos by Adam Fried