Travis Etienne's numbers are bordering on legendary

by - Senior Writer -
Etienne is chasing numbers that put him among the all-time greats.
Etienne is chasing numbers that put him among the all-time greats.

We’ve written before that Clemson running back Travis Etienne is chasing history this season, but an inside look at some of the numbers gives an even greater appreciation for what the rising senior out of Louisiana has accomplished.

To recap, from the school website: Burst onto the scene as one of the nation’s most explosive running backs in 2017 and followed up with record-breaking 2018 and 2019 campaigns as a sophomore and junior … enters 2020 bowl season with 518 career carries for 4,038 yards (7.8 avg.) with a school- and ACC-record 56 rushing touchdowns plus 54 career receptions for 567 yards and six receiving touchdowns in 43 career games (40 starts) … enters 2020 as the Clemson and ACC career leader in rushing touchdowns (56), total touchdowns (60) and points by a non-kicker (372) and will open the 2020 season as the nation’s active leader in each category plus career rushing yards (4,038) … back-to-back ACC Player of the Year in 2018 and 2019 who became the first running back to win the award in consecutive years since Mike Voight in 1975-76 … is the only player in school history with multiple 1,500-yard rushing seasons and is one of only 16 Power Five players since 2000 to reach the 1,500-yard mark in multiple seasons, joining AJ Dillon, Ameer Abdullah, Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook, Darren McFadden, Ezekiel Elliott, Jonathan Taylor, Ka’Deem Carey, Kendall Hunter, Lamar Jackson, LaMichael James, Melvin Gordon, Montee Ball, Ray Rice and Steven Jackson … set single-season school records in 2018 in rushing yards (1,658), yards per carry (8.1), rushing touchdowns (24), total touchdowns (26) and points scored (156).

Since becoming Clemson’s starting running back entering the 2018 season, Etienne has accrued 3,272 rushing yards and a national-best 43 rushing touchdowns. In that time frame, Etienne has single-handedly outrushed 15 FBS programs, including six Power Five schools.

Etienne has outrushed entire programs since 2018

*Etienne enters 2020 as the nation’s active leader in career rushing yards (4,038), career rushing touchdowns (56) and career total touchdowns (62). He holds leads of 23 and 24 in rushing touchdowns and total touchdowns, respectively, over the next-closest active player.

*Etienne’s explosive 2019 season opener resulted in an average of 17.1 yards per carry against Georgia Tech, which at the time was the second-best single-game average of his career (19.1 vs. Louisville in 2018). Against Louisville in mid-October, he ripped off 192 yards on 14 carries for a 13.7-yard average, and in early November, he posted a career-best 23.6-yard average on nine carries for 212 yards against Wofford.

Etienne’s 12 games averaging double-digit yards per carry on at least five attempts has passed Colin Kaepernick for the most by any FBS player since 2000.

Etienne's numbers are staggering

*Etienne averaged at least 7.0 yards per carry in each of his first three seasons. Etienne is the only FBS back since 2000 to average 7.0 yards in three different seasons and joins Kaepernick (three years) as the only two FBS players at any position to accomplish the feat.

*Etienne had a career-high 98 receiving yards on three receptions and two touchdowns in Clemson’s Fiesta Bowl win in last year’s College Football Playoff. The 98 receiving yards were the most by a Clemson running back since C.J. Spiller recorded 104 receiving yards at Miami in 2009 in a 40-37 overtime win. It marked the first time a Clemson running back had two receiving touchdowns in a game since 2010 when Jamie Harper scored two at Auburn.

After entering the year with 17 career receptions for 135 yards and two touchdowns, Etienne was much more involved in the passing game in 2019, recording 37 receptions for 432 yards and four touchdowns. His 432 receiving yards in 2019 ranked as the third-most in a season for a running back in Clemson history, trailing only the 2008 and 2009 production of Clemson legend C.J. Spiller.

A similar performance in the passing game in 2020 could help Etienne join elite company in college football history. Only 11 players in FBS history have finished their careers with at least 4,000 rushing yards and at least 1,000 receiving yards. Etienne has already exceeded the 4,000-yard mark on the ground for his career and enters 2020 with 567 career receiving yards. With 433 receiving yards in 2020, Etienne would become the 12th FBS player all-time to join the 4,000/1,000 club.

A similar season in 2020 puts Etienne in elite company

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