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Purdue Football Season Grades: Running Backs

How did our running backs during this strange regular season?

NCAA Football: Rutgers at Purdue Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Running Backs: C

Season Highlights: The opening game of the year, where Zander beat up on a stout Iowa Defense. This is where his iconic hurdle started.

Season Rushing Stats: 144 Carries, 501 Yards, 3.47 YPC, 4 Total Touchdowns

Who is leaving: No one

What is coming back in 2021:

  • Zander Horvath, 89 carries, 442 yards, 2 touchdowns (Senior)
  • King Doerue, 17 carries, 64 yards (Junior)
  • Da’Joun Hewitt (Sophomore)
  • Tirek Murphy ( RS-Fr)
  • Alfred Armour (Junior)
  • Henry Lewis (Sophomore)

2021 Thoughts:

There is no hiding it, 2020 was a disappointing season when it comes to running the ball.

First, Tirek Murphy gets in trouble with the law, many believed he could have helped, but was placed immediately in the dog house.

King Doerue was hurt for half of the season.

Then headed into Nebraska week, every back but Zander, King and Lewis opted out for the remaining part of the season.

Good news, barring transfers, they all return in 2021.

Zander should get the nod as the lead back in 2021. He has proven his worth to the offense. But, will the play calling stay loyal to Zander? It happened time and time again this year.

Zander averaged 5 yards per carry, and to go with his 400+ rushing yards, he also had over 300+ receiving yards. But, it was also in the 2nd half, we chose to ignore one of our better players.

In fact, in games where Zander rushed over 100 yards, we won both games. When under, we lost, that is how important Zander is.

Not only that, he will have an experienced back up, with King and a talented RS Freshman, Tirek Murphy.

The running back group is far from polished, but they have to continue to get better to get this train back on track.