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Nation’s worst run defense (Eastern Michigan) faces nation’s top running back (Leonard Fournette)

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After playing run-heavy Army yesterday, Eastern Michigan has now allowed a nation-worst 1,493 rushing yards and 18 rushing touchdowns through just four games. Brace yourselves Eastern Michigan, because this week that swiss cheese run defense heads to Baton Rouge to take on the Heisman Trophy front-runner, Leonard Fournette of LSU.

Fournette has the nation’s top rushing average with 210.33 yards per game in three games. That is about 42 yards more per game than Indiana’s Jordan Howard, who is second in the nation in rushing average. Four weeks into the season there are four running backs with at least 600 rushing yards; Howard of Indiana (675 yards) , Tyler Ervin of San Jose State (641 yards), Fournette (631 yards) and C.J. Prosise of Notre Dame (600). Howard, Ervin and Prosise have accumulated 600 rushing yards in four games, while Fournette has done so in just three. Fournette became the first player in LSU history to rush for 200 yards in back-to-back games this weekend. With Eastern Michigan on deck he has as an excellent chance to become the first back-to-back-to-back 200-yard rusher in school history.

On paper, Fournette against Eastern Michigan’s run defense is about as big of a mismatch as you may see. This is a great spot to pad the stats a bit for Fournette if LSU head coach Les Miles chooses to do so. Do not be surprised if Fournette’s rushing total against the Eagles is lower than expected though. With the calendar flipping from September to October this week, LSU finds itself in the thick of the playoff race and looks to be a strong contender in the SEC. Having Fournette healthy for conference play will be vital for LSU’s chances later on, and LSU should be able to put aside Eastern Michigan without him. It would not be a shock to see Fournette get an early rest in this one, so he may have to pile up the rushing yards in the first half while he can. There should be no reason for Fournette to be playing in the fourth quarter, or most of the third quarter.

College football fans are already sending their best wishes to the Eastern Michigan Eagles this week.

I discussed Fournette and the Heisman Trophy in a podcast last week with Zac Ellis of Sports Illustrated.

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This post was originally published on College Football Talk.

About the Author

Kevin McGuire
Contributor to College Football Talk on NBCSports.com. Also a contributor to Athlon Sports and The Comeback. Member of Football Writers Association of America and National Football Foundation. Follow on Twitter @KevinOnCFB.
1 comments
KyleGoodrich
KyleGoodrich

Wow. He has a chance for 1000 yards after 4 games.