Buck Allen Out-Gaining Reggie Bush and LenDale White’s 2005 Numbers


On Saturday night in Tucson, USC got their biggest win of the season, in a 28-26 victory over the previously 10th ranked Arizona Wildcats. Redshirt junior running back Buck Allen led the way for the Trojans, with a career-high 205 rushing yards and a trio of touchdowns.

For Allen, it was yet another coming out party, despite the game kicking off past bedtime for east coasters. The Pac-12 leader in rushing now has 781 yards through six games.

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While that’s fewer than the 899 yards Bishop Sankey had for Steve Sarkisian at Washington last year at this time, it’s more than two prominent Trojans: Reggie Bush and LenDale White in 2005.

The ‘Thunder and Lightning’ running back tandem is one of the most iconic in college football history, as they combined to score 99 touchdowns in three seasons at USC.

For Allen to sniff their numbers, even when broken down as individuals, it’s a big deal for USC following years and years of having a running back by committee approach.

The guy that Lane Kiffin somehow never found use for has more yards through six games than any Trojan running back since Marcus Allen’s ridiculous 1981 season.

Here’s what the numbers are saying, including where Allen projects through 13 games including a bowl game:

Through 6 games

Through 13 games

While Allen’s yards per carry are considerably lower than Bush and White’s, he’s been the one focal point of the USC offense and the defensive game plan for the Trojans’ six opponents.

Bush and White were two of numerous options that the Trojans had in ’05, as Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian often opted to pass with Heisman-winning quarterback Matt Leinart to set up the run. And that was typically successful, given USC’s All-American caliber receivers Dwayne Jarret and Steve Smith, in addition to dynamic tight end Dominique Byrd.

The 2014 Trojans don’t necessarily have their luxury, given that the passing offense is predicated on short and intermediate routes that aren’t drawing safeties deep and forcing linebackers to drop back in zone coverage.

Furthermore, Allen’s yardage is coming with an offensive line that has started three true freshmen in all six games thus far. In 2005, the Trojans had one of the best assembled offensive lines in recent college football history, anchored by tackle Sam Baker, guard Deuce Lutui and center Ryan Kalil.

That line plus the incredible talents of Bush and White allowed for some obscene numbers, as the duo combined for over 3,000 rushing yards and 40 touchdowns.

In a pass-first offense.

With a Heisman trophy quarterback.

At the end of the day, Buck Allen isn’t Reggie Bush nor LenDale White. And he’s not going to win the Heisman Trophy, barring a huge second half that coincides with the Trojans unpredictably wedging themselves back into the College Football Playoff discussion.

But for a team that has struggled to have a face to the running game for 10 seasons now, the Trojans just might have finally found a consistent No. 1 tailback. And not having a partner in crime, with Tre Madden out injured, isn’t hurting that status.

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