Starting running back didn’t have his best game for the Iowa football team Saturday, but we shouldn’t be ready to write him off yet. Here’s why.
Twitter was quite interesting Saturday after the game to say the least. There were plenty of doomsday Iowa football fans who acted as if this team had just lost their sixth straight game. Nope, they just lost on the road in one of the toughest environments in college football against a ranked team with a chip on its’ shoulder after a bad loss two weeks earlier.
Yes, the offense was absolutely dreadful, but let’s not write this team off, and more importantly, we shouldn’t be so quick to write off certain players who had bad performances, especially Mekhi Sargent.
Sargent’s story is pretty fantastic given that he was a JUCO transfer who worked his way up to the starting role by the end of last season despite being relatively unknown. Coming into this season, he earned the starting role and has looked pretty good through the first four games accumulating 299 yards on the ground on 54 carries for a healthy 5.5 yard per carry average.
Then Michigan happened.
Against an oddly stiff Michigan run defense, Sargent gained just 12 yards on 7 carries while also fumbling away the ball early in the first with Iowa close to their own goalline. That fumble led to a quick three points and the lead for Michigan.
The touches were sparse for Sargent the rest of the day as Toren Young received 8 carries and ran for 40 yards and freshman phenom ran for 15 yards on 6 carries while also leading the team in receiving with 5 catches for 62 yards.
After the game, there were quite a bit of fans wondering when would Goodson be the number one back and how come Mekhi Sargent is still the starter?
Now, I won’t call those overreactions because Goodson has been incredibly good so far and a case could even be made for Young to be the starter considering he has been the most successful downhill runner this season averaging 7.1 yards per carry. We shouldn’t, however, want the Iowa football team to completely abandon Mekhi Sargent or remove him from the game plan.
That’s just ridiculous.
One fumble doesn’t relegate you to the bench for the rest of the season, and as we have seen from the Iowa football team so far, they have done a nice job of rotating in three backs. The reason why they are rotating those backs in though, among other things, is because they each do something different.
Young is a great downhill runner who embraces contact, but he isn’t much of a pass-catching threat out of the backfield. Goodson has been incredible through five games and is quite possibly the Iowa football team’s best offensive weapon (already). But Sargent does the little things so well, and his patience and vision are great when he is running the ball. Where Goodson can make highlight play jukes, Sargent is making just a small cut here and there that can get him an extra yard or two while also falling forward.
Not to mention, Sargent’s pass-blocking is the best on the team, and as we saw Saturday, that is important.
I’m not advocating for Sargent to necessarily be the feature back, I am advocating for everyone to stop writing the guy off after one bad game. Yes, I want to see Goodson get more touches, but that can be done in a variety of ways. Mekhi Sargent is still an incredibly vital piece to this team, and if the Iowa football team wants to be successful they need to also involve him.