Inside the Numbers: Bryce Perkins fuels suddenly powerful UVA ground game

Bryce Perkins uva footballThe idea was that having Bryce Perkins running the read option would open things up for the UVA ground game.

We’re only one game in, but consider it a mission: accomplished, based on what we saw in the 42-13 win over Richmond.

Virginia ran for 333 yards on Saturday, which would represent nearly four games worth of production for the 2017 ‘Hoos, who gained 93.5 yards per game, and just 3.1 yards per carry.

The per carry on Saturday: 7.1 yards.

Jordan Ellis averaged 3.9 yards per carry in 2017. On Saturday, he ran for 141 yards on 18 carries, averaging 7.8 yards per tote.

Ellis had one 100-plus yard game in 2017: gaining 136 yards on 27 carries in the win at UNC, averaging 5.0 yards a carry.

Perkins is the prototypical read-option quarterback who makes defenses respect his ability to throw from the pocket, keep plays alive with his feet when under pressure, and in terms of the ground game, you have to account for him in addition to Ellis, or whoever is with him in the backfield.

That was quite evident on Saturday. Perkins’ first carry was a four-yard run to convert a third-and-one at midfield in the first quarter.

After a seven-yard gain, his next two runs would go for scores: 36 yards on a third-and-10, and 22 yards on a second-and-three.

All told, seven Perkins runs either converted first downs or scored touchdowns.

He finished with 104 yards on 12 attempts, which included two sacks, since sacks are counted as runs in the college game.

Column by Chris Graham

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