As the NFL Wildcard Weekend gets underway, USF football fans are about to experience something that they never have before: a star offensive player from the school on the NFL’s big stage.
That’s when the school’s all-time leading rusher, second-year running back Marlon Mack will start for the Colts in their AFC Wildcard showdown at the Texans Saturday afternoon.
Mack has come on strong in Indianapolisl stretch run, where they won nine of their final 10 games to make the playoffs. That included a tremendous Sunday night performance in their “winner-take-all game” at the Tennessee Titans. Mack finished with 25 carries 119 yards and a touchdown (above), as the Colts essentially won the head-to-head “de facto playoff game” to advance to the actual postseason this weekend.
And, it was the second time in three games were Mack had run for 100 yards in a contest, including going back to week 15 when he had 139 yards and two scores in the Colts 23 – 0 blowout of the Cowboys. All total, Mack has four 100-yard games on the year, comes in averaging 4.4 yards per carry and has scored nine rushing touchdowns in 2018.
Those numbers are nothing new for Bulls fans as they watched Mack in 2015 – 16 tear apart the American Athletic Conference. When it was all said and done finished his Bulls career with 3,609 yards, a gaudy 6.2 average, 20 career 100 yard or more rushing games and 33 career TDs. That’s good enough for the school rushing record and most 100 yard rushing games ever.
So, it’s not hyperbole to say that this is the biggest game to date in which a USF offensive football player will be showcased.
Now, N.C. State rookie running back Nyheim Hines has also seen some action in tandem with Mack running for 314 yards this sesaon, as well. And, it’s expected that he will get some carries in Houston Saturday, too.
And sure, the Colts fortunes will largely rise and fall on former number 1 pick quarterback Andrew Luck battling against JJ Watt Jadeveon Clowney and the Texans.
Still, Marlon Mack may very well factor in whether Indianapolis stays alive in the playoffs and there’s no disputing that’s a source of pride for Bulls fans in Tampa.
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