It was assumed heading into this season that RS sophomore running back Giovani Bernard would put up some ridiculous rushing numbers. Unfortunately, a knee injury has limited Bernard to doing less during the first 4-5 games of the season than he may have otherwise. That makes his current rushing total and what he may end up with all the more stunning. After eight games here is what Bernard's rushing stats look like.
|Games||Att||Yards||YPC||YPG||TDs||ACC Rank||NCAA Rank|
Bernard has almost 800 yards in only six games played which is nothing short of incredible. When you stop to consider that in the season opener versus Elon, Bernard had only nine carries for 93 yards and did not play beyond the second quarter. In the game against Idaho, Bernard had two(!) carries for 70 yards. So in two games Bernard really could have padded his stats he wasn't able to either due to injury or Larry Fedora not wanting to drop 80 points on the Vandals.
In the other four games against "better" competition, Bernard has gone for 158 yards per contest which includes a rather paltry 50 yards on 18 carries against ECU. In three ACC games, Bernard has rushed for 194 yards per game. The next closest player to Bernard in conference only rushing is Florida State's Chris Thompson at 111 ypg. Bernard is first in ACC play in all-purpose yards with 246 ypg and 9th in total offense with only his rushing numbers counting towards that stat. In all games played, Bernard is 33.5 yards on average ahead of the next best rusher in the ACC and averaging 33 yards more than the next best ACC player in all-purpose yards. In six games played, Bernard has accumulated 1194 all-purpose yards. Maryland's Stefan Diggs is second with 1162 yards in seven games.
In terms of UNC records, Bernard already has broken one for yards per carry with 11.4 ypc against Virginia Tech. He had come close but not quite broken some other game combination records.
|2 gms(Don McCauley, 1970)||463||439|
|3 gms(Mike Voight, 1976)||612||582|
|4 gms(Mike Voight, 1975)||740||Needs 159|
|5 gms(Mike Voight, 1975)||909||Needs 164 ypg|
Getting the four and five game rushing marks is certainly doable though it should be noted the next two opponents, NC State and Georgia Tech only give up 127 and 144 ypg respectively. In fact, the remaining four teams on UNC's schedule are 2nd, 4th, 5th and 6th in the ACC in rushing defense. The good news however is three of the next four games are at home. In addition to those marks, Bernard has a chance to join Mike Voight, Amos Lawrence, Kelvin Bryant, Derrick Fenner and Natrone Means as the only Tar Heels to post two 200-yard rushing games in the same season. The career record for 200-yard games is three held by Voight, Lawrence and Means.
In case you were wondering, the UNC single game rushing record is 328 yards by Derrick Fenner against Virginia in 1986. It is not reasonable to expect Bernard to break that mark. That sort of epic performance just happens in many cases. That being said, it would be fun if it happened on Saturday.