We've all heard it by now. Daniel Thomas is one of the best running backs in the country. Daniel Thomas is a monster. Daniel Thomas can take Kansas State on his back and beat No. 6 Nebraska on a Thursday night. But is he really even that good? Let's take a true look at what Kansas State's "talented" running back has done.
All this hype and fascination with Daniel Thomas needs to stop. Has anyone ever sat down and looked at what he has done? It really isn't all that deserving of the accolades he receieves. Let me break it down for you.
Thomas has played in 16 games since he stepped on campus in Manhattan, Kan. Of those 16 games he has rushed for over 100 yards eight times. Let's look at those eight teams: In 2009, UMass (28th ranked rush defense in FCS), Louisiana-Lafayette (99th), Tennessee Tech (104th in FCS), Colorado (80th), Kansas (56th). Now 2010, UCLA (76th), Missouri State (54th in FCS), Iowa State (99th).
Now let's look at the defenses ranked within the top 40 that he has faced in the past two years: 49 yards against Texas Tech (38th in rushing defense), 88 yards against Oklahoma (8th), 79 yards against Missouri (26th), 99 yards against Nebraska (9th) and 76 yards against UCF (30th).
Anybody notice a trend here? Now I am not saying he's not a productive collegiate runng back, but one of the best in the country? You've got to be kidding me. I know it's difficult not having a decent passing attack to accompany your ground game, but for a supposed top ten back in the country you've got to carry the load a little more than that. Racking up yards against mediocre competition shouldn't deem you the best running back in the conference, let alone the nation.
Point being I don't see Daniel Thomas succeeding too much this Thursday night. Nebraska will clearly gameplan for him and we saw what UCF did to bottle up Thomas and the Wildcat offense. Let me reiterate, I don't think Daniel Thomas is a bad back, he has to be pretty good to rack up 1,200 yards in a season. But we need to focus on who he's getting these yards against and how he's getting them. He's not breaking off mind-blowing 50-yard runs...he just pounds these smaller defensive fronts for four yards a carry. When you get 25 carries a game it's easy to rush for 100 yards. What's not easy is breaking a game-changer, especially against a worthy defense.
What you will see Thursday night shouldn't shock you. Nebraska will be yet another example of Thomas' skewed past. He will get the carries, but not the yards. But don't worry...K State gets the Jayhawks next weekend so he should surely make up for the lack of yards this week. Will he lead the Big 12 in rushing again? Probably yes. (Maybe Kendall Hunter or DeMarco Murray) Will he show up for a big game at least a couple times before his time in Manhattan is up? That my friends is left to be decided.