Christian McCaffrey, running back for playoff misser-outer Stanford, had himself one hell of a game last night. He ran for a touchdown, caught a touchdown, and even threw one to his quarterback Kevin Hogan. McCaffrey rushed for over 200 yards and accrued 461 total yards in the Cardinal’s 41-22 win over rich kid’s club USC in the Pac-12 championship game.
McCaffrey broke Barry Sanders’ 27-year-old NCAA total yardage record of 3,250 in the second quarter on a two-yard run. It took McCaffrey 13 games to set his record, where Sanders only had 11, and he’ll have a bowl game to further it.
Naturally, this puts the sophomore in the running for the Heisman trophy. He likely won’t win it, on account of Alabama running back Derrick Henry’s bruising consistency and/or DeShaun Watson’s steady dominance, but nobody else in college football is like McCaffrey.
It’s not that he is the best player in the country, but Stanford’s offense is built around him to a unparalleled degree. He touched the ball 44 times last night, and the Cardinal move him all around the field. On this play, he’ll be in the backfield. On the next, he’ll be in the slot, or in the wildcat.
Next year, the team will lose longtime starter Kevin Hogan, but McCaffrey will be back. With a first-time starter at the helm, McCaffrey will get a clear shot to break his own record. Now that traditional powers Oregon and USC are heavily in transition, next year is a critical year in the Pac-12, and if McCaffrey can improve, Stanford could go a long way in establishing themselves for the rest of the decade.
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