Just two games into the season Purdue has already managed to answer one of its major questions. Last year Akeem Hunt and Raheem Mostert combined to run for almost 1,500 yards and nine touchdowns. Their production was a huge leap from the disastrous 2013 season, but both were off to the NFL. Mostert is now with the Dolphins, and Hunt is still chasing his dream after being cut by the Giants in the preseason.
Purdue needed a new perfect combination, and it has come in the form of D.J. Knox and Markell Jones. Neither player had a collegiate carry before this season. Knox was playing on special teams in 2014 while Jones was tearing up high school offenses on his way to the best rushing season in Indiana history. They were both expected to bring more toughness to the position, and so far they have not disappointed.
Knox started off strong with 102 yards and a touchdown on the ground in the season opening loss to Marshall. He had a pair of fumbles against Indiana State, leading to a spot on the bench briefly, but he is still Purdue's leading rusher with 193 yards.
Jones is already beginning an assault on the record books. He had a 36 yard TD run against Marshall and a big day against Indiana State has him up to 139 yards and now two rushing TDs. Both players have been active in catching passes out of the backfield as well. Knox is tied with Danny Anthrop as the team's leading receiver by receptions with 8 for 48 yards. Jones has four for 32 yards, but added a touchdown through the air against Indiana State.
With Knox back on kick returns the duo leads Purdue in all-purpose yards. Knox has 267 and Jones has 171. They have combined for four of Purdue's nine touchdowns on the season. Best of all, they are both young players. They could be quite the backfield duo for the next three seasons and Knox is a sophomore and Jones is a true freshman.