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Who were the most explosive and efficient rushers in college football in 2014?

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This is your final week without 2015 team previews to read. Let's celebrate by -- how else??? -- diving into rushing stats.

Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

The optimist's way of looking for employment is to say you're "between jobs." Well, I'm "between measures" right now when it comes to college football rushing stats. I ditched the Adj. POE measure I used for a while because I just didn't like it enough, but I haven't replaced it with anything yet. So basically, I'm using two measures, unadjusted for opponent, to get at the heart of a running back's abilities/personality:

Opportunity Rate. This is the percentage of a runner's carries that gain at least five yards. Like, Success Rate, it is a decent measure of efficiency, though it is quite difficult to get at a runner's efficiency without in some way gauging the success and quality of the offensive line blocking for him.

Highlight Yards Per Opportunity. I use Opportunity Rate instead of Success Rate here because it meshes nicely with my explosiveness measure of choice: Highlight Yards Per Opportunity. Highlight Yards are the yards that aren't credited to the line per the Line Yardage formula; you divide that by highlight opportunities (i.e. the number of carries going at least five yards), and you get a pretty clean, easy way of looking at how big a runner's big plays are.

Combine these two measures, and you get a nice look at how frequently a runner was generating big-play opportunities and how big those big plays were. That's the essence of being a good running back, no? Granted, Success Rate would add an extra dimension to the discussion -- namely, how good someone is in shorter-yardage situations -- but we'll ride with this for now and in the 2015 previews.

To illustrate what these measures can tell us, let's swim around in 2014 data. Here is a list of all 176 FBS running backs who carried at least 100 times in 2014. They are listed in descending order according to their number of carries, and I'm providing quite a bit of info: height, weight, year, rushes & yards, highlight opps and yards, Highlight Yards Per Opp, Opportunity Rate, and, in an attempt to in some way get at how much credit the runner and line should receive for the Opportunity Rate at hand, Team Opportunity Rate, which looks at the OR for all of a team's running back carries.

As I've taken to doing recently, you can see the key columns shaded in what I hope is a pretty intuitive way -- the darker the green, the better, and the darker the red, the worse.

NOTE: You can download a file with all rushing data here. There are four tabs: QBs, RBs, Other, and All. The position and general data were pulled at the beginning of the season and might not be completely accurate. If there are any massive, glaring errors, feel free to pass them along.

Offense Player Position Ht Wt Class Rushes Yards Hlt Yds Hlt Opps Hlt Yds/Opp
Opp Rate Team Opp Rate
Boise State Jay Ajayi RB 6'0 216 JR 347 1823 731.4 126 5.80 36.3% 37.2%
Wisconsin Melvin Gordon RB 6'1 213 JR 345 2606 1430.1 154 9.29 44.6% 44.1%
Minnesota David Cobb RB 5'11 220 SR 315 1629 570.8 124 4.60 39.4% 37.1%
Western Michigan Jarvion Franklin RB 6'0 220 FR 307 1551 571.8 108 5.29 35.2% 35.7%
UAB Jordan Howard RB 6'1 228 SO 306 1587 583.2 117 4.98 38.2% 37.1%
Auburn Cameron Artis-Payne RB 5'11 210 SR 303 1608 582.1 127 4.58 41.9% 44.5%
Pittsburgh James Conner RB 6'2 250 SO 298 1765 674.0 137 4.92 46.0% 46.7%
Utah Devontae Booker RB 5'11 203 JR 292 1512 568.8 107 5.32 36.6% 37.3%
Buffalo Anthone Taylor RB 5'10 207 JR 282 1403 565.3 100 5.65 35.5% 36.8%
San Diego State Donnel Pumphrey RB 5'9 170 SO 277 1873 826.2 119 6.94 43.0% 41.1%
Michigan State Jeremy Langford RB 6'1 208 SR 276 1522 585.1 109 5.37 39.5% 39.7%
USC Javorius Allen TB 6'1 220 JR 276 1489 583.5 108 5.40 39.1% 38.7%
Ohio State Ezekiel Elliott RB 6'0 225 SO 273 1878 842.9 127 6.64 46.5% 47.3%
Western Kentucky Leon Allen RB 6'0 235 JR 272 1542 619.7 110 5.63 40.4% 39.7%
Indiana Tevin Coleman RB 6'1 210 JR 270 2036 1096.2 112 9.79 41.5% 39.8%
Nebraska Ameer Abdullah RB 5'9 195 SR 263 1618 725.3 108 6.72 41.1% 40.0%
Oklahoma Samaje Perine RB 5'11 243 FR 263 1713 773.9 108 7.17 41.1% 40.6%
Ball State Jahwan Edwards RB 5'10 219 SR 262 1252 443.1 95 4.66 36.3% 35.1%
Appalachian State Marcus Cox RB 5'10 200 SO 256 1415 566.0 105 5.39 41.0% 39.9%
Louisiana Tech Kenneth Dixon RB 5'10 212 JR 254 1299 575.8 94 6.13 37.0% 34.2%
Oregon Royce Freeman RB 6'0 229 FR 252 1365 463.4 106 4.37 42.1% 41.4%
Baylor Shock Linwood RB 5'9 200 SO 251 1252 420.7 100 4.21 39.8% 40.7%
UCLA Paul Perkins RB 5'11 198 SO 251 1575 679.1 109 6.23 43.4% 41.9%
Northwestern Justin Jackson RB 5'11 180 FR 245 1187 392.8 88 4.46 35.9% 33.5%
Rice Jowan Davis RB 5'7 200 SO 245 956 289.7 83 3.49 33.9% 34.7%
Miami-FL Duke Johnson RB 5'9 206 JR 242 1652 764.3 107 7.14 44.2% 42.9%
UTEP Aaron Jones RB 5'10 185 SO 241 1328 527.7 99 5.33 41.1% 39.0%
Arizona Nick Wilson RB 5'10 199 FR 236 1375 616.6 74 8.33 31.4% 32.8%
Fresno State Marteze Waller RB 5'11 209 JR 226 1368 625.3 89 7.03 39.4% 35.2%
Georgia Nick Chubb RB 5'10 228 FR 219 1547 792.4 100 7.92 45.7% 44.2%
Nevada Don Jackson RB 5'10 210 JR 216 957 320.7 68 4.72 31.5% 32.6%
Iowa Mark Weisman RB 6'0 240 SR 213 812 200.7 70 2.87 32.9% 33.7%
Vanderbilt Ralph Webb RB 5'10 196 FR 212 907 270.1 84 3.22 39.6% 38.5%
Arkansas Jonathan Williams RB 6'0 223 JR 211 1190 453.9 94 4.83 44.5% 43.1%
Boston College Jon Hilliman RB 6'0 215 FR 211 860 311.3 62 5.02 29.4% 33.2%
California Daniel Lasco RB 6'0 210 JR 210 1115 375.2 94 3.99 44.8% 41.8%
Central Michigan Thomas Rawls RB 5'10 217 SR 210 1103 398.5 89 4.48 42.4% 37.6%
Marshall Devon Johnson RB 6'1 243 JR 206 1767 937.1 105 8.92 51.0% 44.9%
Toledo Kareem Hunt RB 5'11 215 SO 205 1631 782.8 108 7.25 52.7% 50.1%
Missouri Russell Hansbrough TB 5'9 190 JR 205 1084 498.5 74 6.74 36.1% 38.4%
Air Force Jacobi Owens RB 5'11 190 SO 204 1054 367.6 73 5.04 35.8% 35.1%
Arkansas Alex Collins RB 5'11 215 SO 204 1100 446.3 86 5.19 42.2% 43.1%
Oklahoma State Desmond Roland RB 6'2 210 SR 203 770 192.3 62 3.10 30.5% 31.8%
South Florida Marlon Mack RB 6'0 195 FR 203 1041 477.3 65 7.34 32.0% 29.8%
South Carolina Mike Davis TB 5'9 223 JR 199 982 322.8 78 4.14 39.2% 41.3%
Arizona State D.J. Foster RB 5'11 205 JR 196 1081 468.7 77 6.09 39.3% 38.1%
Tulsa Zack Langer RB 6'0 215 JR 196 801 200.0 64 3.13 32.7% 34.9%
Memphis Brandon Hayes RB 5'8 198 SR 195 951 368.6 68 5.42 34.9% 39.0%
Alabama T.J. Yeldon RB 6'2 221 JR 194 979 309.1 89 3.47 45.9% 46.8%
Offense Player Position Ht Wt Class Rushes Yards Hlt Yds Hlt Opps Hlt Yds/Opp
Opp Rate Team Opp Rate
Colorado State Dee Hart RB 5'9 190 SR 194 1275 594.4 85 6.99 43.8% 41.4%
Northern Illinois Cameron Stingily TB 6'1 235 SR 194 971 303.2 74 4.10 38.1% 41.1%
Army Larry Dixon RB 5'11 239 SR 190 1102 456.1 73 6.25 38.4% 42.1%
Mississippi State Josh Robinson RB 5'9 215 JR 190 1203 534.0 85 6.28 44.7% 43.2%
Tennessee Jalen Hurd RB 6'3 227 FR 190 899 289.3 74 3.91 38.9% 33.8%
Central Florida William Stanback RB 6'1 225 SO 189 697 240.9 53 4.55 28.0% 29.2%
Virginia Kevin Parks TB 5'8 200 SR 189 745 214.2 55 3.89 29.1% 32.2%
Texas Tech DeAndre Washington RB 5'8 201 JR 188 1103 427.1 87 4.91 46.3% 44.6%
LSU Leonard Fournette RB 6'1 230 FR 187 1034 391.5 75 5.22 40.1% 40.6%
Houston Kenneth Farrow RB 5'10 218 JR 186 1037 452.8 74 6.12 39.8% 39.4%
New Mexico State Larry Rose III RB 5'11 180 FR 186 1102 570.1 71 8.03 38.2% 33.4%
Texas State Robert Lowe RB 5'10 195 JR 185 1091 397.9 89 4.47 48.1% 44.4%
Texas Malcolm Brown RB 5'11 222 SR 183 708 209.5 54 3.88 29.5% 31.6%
Bowling Green Travis Greene RB 5'10 183 JR 180 949 396.2 70 5.66 38.9% 34.5%
Missouri Marcus Murphy TB 5'9 195 SR 177 924 347.8 72 4.83 40.7% 38.4%
West Virginia Rushel Shell RB 5'10 215 SO 176 788 245.5 65 3.78 36.9% 39.0%
Notre Dame Tarean Folston RB 5'9 209 SO 175 889 265.4 75 3.54 42.9% 40.5%
Alabama Derrick Henry RB 6'3 241 SO 172 990 368.0 80 4.60 46.5% 46.8%
Purdue Akeem Hunt RB 5'10 183 SR 172 952 466.6 59 7.91 34.3% 34.1%
UL-Lafayette Alonzo Harris RB 6'1 238 SR 172 807 250.9 60 4.18 34.9% 40.6%
Georgia Southern Matt Breida RB 5'10 185 SO 171 1485 829.0 76 10.91 44.4% 45.0%
Georgia Tech Zach Laskey RB 6'1 218 SR 171 851 187.9 68 2.76 39.8% 48.3%
Florida State Dalvin Cook RB 6'0 200 FR 170 1008 450.3 67 6.72 39.4% 37.7%
Florida Matt Jones RB 6'2 235 JR 166 817 277.9 61 4.56 36.7% 34.7%
UAB D.J. Vinson RB 5'10 194 SR 166 670 212.8 60 3.55 36.1% 37.1%
UL-Lafayette Elijah McGuire RB 5'11 198 SO 166 1264 626.2 79 7.93 47.6% 40.6%
NC State Shadrach Thornton RB 6'1 206 JR 164 907 330.7 78 4.24 47.6% 44.0%
Clemson Wayne Gallman RB 6'1 205 FR 161 769 280.5 56 5.01 34.8% 34.2%
Ohio A.J. Ouellette RB N/A 0 FR 160 785 297.8 42 7.09 26.2% 29.2%
Arkansas State Michael Gordon RB 5'9 187 JR 159 1100 592.1 67 8.84 42.1% 39.6%
Hawaii Steven Lakalaka RB 5'10 215 SO 159 646 179.6 50 3.59 31.4% 30.6%
San Jose State Tyler Ervin RB/WR 5'10 178 JR 158 888 411.1 66 6.23 31.4% 31.4%
Georgia Tech Synjyn Days RB 6'2 231 SR 157 924 317.9 67 4.74 42.7% 48.3%
UL-Monroe Centarius Donald RB 6'1 223 SR 153 606 155.5 47 3.31 30.7% 32.0%
Florida State Karlos Williams RB 6'1 225 SR 151 689 227.3 53 4.29 35.1% 37.7%
Hawaii Joey Iosefa RB 6'0 245 SR 151 617 178.7 41 4.36 27.2% 30.6%
Kansas Corey Avery RB 5'10 195 FR 151 631 171.8 44 3.90 29.1% 33.2%
New Mexico Teriyon Gipson RB 5'8 176 SO 150 809 322.2 59 5.46 39.3% 41.6%
UTSA David Glasco II RB 5'10 205 SR 150 570 174.6 43 4.06 28.7% 29.6%
Georgia Southern Alfred Ramsby RB 5'11 210 FR 148 691 195.9 60 3.27 40.5% 45.0%
West Virginia Wendell Smallwood RB 5'11 200 SO 148 722 203.9 62 3.29 41.9% 39.0%
Iowa State Aaron Wimberly RB 5'9 177 SR 147 642 195.1 49 3.98 33.3% 30.5%
Penn State Akeel Lynch RB 6'0 215 SO 147 678 263.5 42 6.27 28.6% 29.6%
Wisconsin Corey Clement RB 5'11 217 SO 147 949 430.5 63 6.83 42.9% 44.1%
Texas Johnathan Gray RB 5'11 215 JR 146 636 266.8 50 5.34 34.2% 31.6%
Illinois Josh Ferguson RB 5'10 195 JR 145 741 367.8 51 7.21 35.2% 33.5%
North Texas Reggie Pegram RB 5'9 230 SR 145 529 162.7 44 3.70 30.3% 34.9%
Wyoming Brian Hill RB 6'1 204 FR 145 796 376.7 35 10.76 24.1% 28.0%
Louisville Brandon Radcliff RB 5'9 207 SO 144 737 242.8 61 3.98 42.4% 38.8%
Cincinnati Rod Moore RB 5'10 176 SR 143 618 203.2 51 3.98 35.7% 37.0%
Bowling Green Fred Coppet RB 5'9 189 SO 141 764 325.7 46 7.08 32.6% 34.5%
Offense Player Position Ht Wt Class Rushes Yards Hlt Yds Hlt Opps Hlt Yds/Opp
Opp Rate Team Opp Rate
Nevada James Butler RB 5'9 200 FR 141 639 216.1 46 4.70 32.6% 32.6%
San Diego State Chase Price RB 5'8 200 JR 141 674 213.6 52 4.11 36.9% 41.1%
Florida International Alex Gardner RB 5'9 192 FR 139 562 218.0 45 4.84 32.4% 34.4%
South Alabama Kendall Houston RB 5'10 230 SR 139 705 233.0 52 4.48 37.4% 42.2%
Idaho Elijhaa Penny RB 6'2 254 JR 138 590 135.2 45 3.00 32.6% 36.0%
Washington Lavon Coleman TB 5'11 217 FR 138 565 162.3 49 3.31 35.5% 34.7%
Southern Miss Ito Smith RB 5'9 182 FR 136 536 194.9 40 4.87 29.4% 29.8%
Stanford Remound Wright RB 5'9 204 SR 135 601 180.6 39 4.63 28.9% 31.9%
Duke Shaquille Powell RB 5'10 205 JR 134 618 114.3 56 2.04 41.8% 40.2%
East Carolina Breon Allen RB 5'8 190 SR 134 869 417.6 59 7.08 44.0% 45.3%
Fresno State Josh Quezada RB 5'11 217 SR 134 525 160.0 39 4.10 29.1% 35.2%
Old Dominion Ray Lawry RB 5'10 192 FR 134 947 481.2 54 8.91 40.3% 41.5%
Rice Darik Dillard RB 5'10 205 SO 134 652 200.6 51 3.93 38.1% 34.7%
Kansas State Charles Jones RB 5'10 197 SO 133 540 156.3 51 3.06 38.3% 35.2%
Oregon State Terron Ward RB 5'7 201 SR 133 696 274.6 49 5.60 36.8% 38.1%
Florida International Anthon Samuel RB 5'11 200 JR 132 582 183.4 49 3.74 37.1% 34.4%
Washington Dwayne Washington TB 6'2 219 SO 132 697 311.4 42 7.41 31.8% 34.7%
TCU Aaron Green TB 5'11 202 JR 130 922 451.5 58 7.78 44.6% 41.5%
USC Justin Davis TB 6'1 195 SO 129 595 205.0 49 4.18 38.0% 38.7%
Navy Noah Copeland FB 5'10 214 SR 129 952 474.8 49 9.69 38.0% 52.1%
Middle Tennessee Jordan Parker RB 6'1 218 JR 128 546 169.5 40 4.24 31.2% 39.3%
Syracuse Prince-Tyson Gulley RB 5'8 193 SR 128 614 273.1 43 6.35 33.6% 33.9%
Wyoming Shaun Wick RB 5'10 212 JR 127 753 374.3 41 9.13 32.3% 28.0%
Kent State Nick Holley RB 5'10 191 SO 125 516 206.2 40 5.16 32.0% 30.1%
Penn State Bill Belton RB 5'10 204 SR 125 526 259.3 37 7.01 29.6% 29.6%
Virginia Tech Marshawn Williams TB 5'11 229 FR 125 496 202.3 32 6.32 25.6% 32.8%
Texas A&M Tra Carson RB 6'0 235 JR 124 581 174.9 50 3.50 40.3% 42.7%
Massachusetts Shadrach Abrokwah RB 5'9 202 SO 123 573 187.0 51 3.67 41.5% 37.6%
Georgia Todd Gurley TB 6'1 226 JR 123 911 440.2 56 7.86 45.5% 44.2%
Arizona Terris Jones-Grigsby RB 5'7 195 SR 122 567 197.4 44 4.49 36.1% 32.8%
Florida Atlantic Jay Warren RB 6'0 195 SO 121 571 204.3 43 4.75 35.5% 36.4%
North Texas Antoinne Jimmerson RB 5'9 222 JR 121 589 224.3 43 5.22 35.5% 34.9%
Oregon State Storm Woods RB 6'0 212 JR 121 766 330.8 51 6.49 42.1% 38.1%
Tulane Sherman Badie RB 6'0 195 FR 121 688 374.7 41 9.14 33.9% 37.7%
North Carolina T.J. Logan TB 5'10 185 SO 119 582 164.9 50 3.30 42.0% 38.2%
UNLV Keith Whitely RB 5'9 185 SO 118 504 170.8 38 4.49 32.2% 30.7%
Utah State Joe Hill RB 5'11 190 SR 118 507 226.6 41 5.53 34.7% 34.7%
Idaho Jerrel Brown RB 6'0 219 SR 117 569 182.4 42 4.34 35.9% 36.0%
UNLV Shaquille Murray-Lawrence RB 5'8 200 SR 117 552 239.1 33 7.25 28.2% 30.7%
Florida Kelvin Taylor RB 5'10 210 SO 116 565 226.9 39 5.82 33.6% 34.7%
Rutgers Desmon Peoples RB 5'8 175 SO 115 447 119.4 39 3.06 33.9% 39.0%
Akron Jawon Chisholm RB 6'1 205 SR 114 620 240.7 48 5.01 42.1% 39.5%
Connecticut Ron Johnson RB 6'0 217 FR 114 429 126.2 35 3.61 30.7% 31.4%
New Mexico Jhurell Pressley RB 5'10 200 JR 114 1083 690.1 54 12.78 47.4% 41.6%
UTEP Nathan Jeffery RB 6'0 210 SR 114 531 147.8 40 3.70 35.1% 39.0%
Kansas State DeMarcus Robinson RB 5'7 209 SR 113 437 173.8 35 4.97 31.0% 35.2%
Middle Tennessee Reggie Whatley RB 5'7 179 SR 113 767 404.9 48 8.44 42.5% 39.3%
Oregon Thomas Tyner RB 5'11 215 SO 113 573 161.1 48 3.36 42.5% 41.4%
Toledo Terry Swanson RB 5'9 183 FR 113 732 293.8 57 5.15 50.4% 50.1%
Air Force Shayne Davern RB 5'11 245 SO 112 517 139.9 37 3.78 33.0% 35.1%
Appalachian State Terrence Upshaw RB 5'10 200 FR 112 573 232.7 41 5.68 36.6% 39.9%
Offense Player Position Ht Wt Class Rushes Yards Hlt Yds Hlt Opps Hlt Yds/Opp
Opp Rate Team Opp Rate
BYU Jamaal Williams RB 6'0 206 JR 112 517 143.6 41 3.50 36.6% 38.5%
Houston Ryan Jackson RB 5'10 190 JR 112 610 301.8 44 6.86 39.3% 39.4%
LSU Terrence Magee RB 5'9 217 SR 112 571 202.4 44 4.60 39.3% 40.6%
Troy Jordan Chunn RB 6'0 234 SO 111 505 142.8 41 3.48 36.9% 38.6%
Louisville Michael Dyer RB 5'9 212 SR 110 481 197.6 42 4.70 38.2% 38.8%
Utah State LaJuan Hunt RB 5'8 185 FR 110 545 211.8 36 5.88 32.7% 34.7%
Tulane Lazedrick Thompson RB 6'1 217 SO 109 533 183.7 45 4.08 41.3% 37.7%
Michigan De'Veon Smith RB 5'11 220 SO 108 519 200.4 37 5.42 34.3% 38.1%
Indiana D'Angelo Roberts RB 5'10 207 SR 107 493 169.5 36 4.71 33.6% 39.8%
Marshall Steward Butler RB 5'9 185 JR 107 798 385.2 48 8.03 44.9% 44.9%
Michigan State Nick Hill RB 5'8 196 SR 107 622 250.9 46 5.45 43.0% 39.7%
Texas State Terrence Franks RB 5'10 214 SR 107 712 375.3 40 9.38 37.4% 44.4%
Virginia Tech J.C. Coleman TB 5'7 194 JR 107 533 227.4 39 5.83 36.4% 32.8%
Ole Miss Jaylen Walton RB 5'8 166 JR 106 586 306.4 43 7.13 40.6% 37.2%
South Carolina Brandon Wilds TB 6'2 222 JR 106 570 232.6 48 4.85 45.3% 41.3%
NC State Matt Dayes RB 5'9 205 SO 105 573 237.1 42 5.65 40.0% 44.0%
New Mexico State Xavier Hall RB 5'8 182 SO 105 342 69.2 27 2.56 25.7% 33.4%
Navy Chris Swain FB 6'1 245 JR 104 693 232.5 54 4.31 51.9% 52.1%
Akron Conor Hundley RB 5'10 213 JR 104 540 189.3 39 4.85 37.5% 39.5%
Maryland Wes Brown RB 6'0 210 SO 103 356 93.9 31 3.03 30.1% 33.5%
Bowling Green Andre Givens RB 5'9 189 JR 102 479 192.2 30 6.41 29.4% 34.5%
Iowa Jordan Canzeri RB 5'9 192 JR 102 494 173.3 33 5.25 32.4% 33.7%
Massachusetts Lorenzo Woodley RB 6'0 212 SO 102 420 126.9 37 3.43 36.3% 37.6%
Tulsa James Flanders RB 5'10 190 SO 102 456 94.1 41 2.30 40.2% 34.9%
Cincinnati Mike Boone RB 5'10 205 FR 101 650 275.5 41 6.72 40.6% 37.0%
Baylor Johnny Jefferson RB 5'10 205 FR 100 524 133.5 36 3.71 36.0% 40.7%
Marshall Remi Watson RB 5'11 190 JR 100 546 222.0 36 6.17 36.0% 44.9%
Old Dominion Gerard Johnson RB 5'9 194 SO 100 493 184.2 40 4.61 40.0% 41.5%

Alright, so what does this tell us? Let's start with the basics:

Top 10 rushers according to Highlight Yards Per Opportunity (RBs)
1. Jhurell Pressley, New Mexico (12.8)
2. Matt Breida, Georgia Southern (10.9)
3. Brian Hill, Wyoming (10.8)
4. Tevin Coleman, Indiana (9.8)
5. Noah Copeland, Navy (9.7)
6. Terrence Franks, Texas State (9.4)
7. Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin (9.3)
8. Sherman Badie, Tulane (9.1)
9. Shaun Wick, Wyoming (9.1)
10. Devon Johnson, Marshall (8.9)

Hill, Badie, and Wick were all explosive players for bad offenses, so as you're probably assuming, they were pretty incredibly all-or-nothing, with great Highlight numbers and terrible Opportunity Rates.

Top 10 rushers according to Opportunity Rate (RBs)
1. Kareem Hunt, Toledo (52.7%)
2. Chris Swain, Navy (51.9%)
3. Devon Johnson, Marshall (51.0%)
4. Terry Swanson, Toledo (50.4%)
5. Robert Lowe, Texas State (48.1%)
6. Elijah McGuire, UL-Lafayette (47.6%)
7. Shadrach Thornton, NC State (47.4%)
8. Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State (46.5%)
9. Derrick Henry, Alabama (46.5%)
10. DeAndre Washington, Texas Tech (46.3%)

In an upset, the only power-conference running back more efficient than Zeke Elliott was Shadrach Thornton. I wouldn't have guessed that.

In the end, there were 176 running backs with at least 100 carries. Of those, 42 averaged at least 6.5 Highlight Yards per Opportunity. Of those, seven also had at least a 45.0 percent Opportunity Rate: Zeke Elliott, Nick Chubb, Todd Gurley, Devon Johnson, Kareem Hunt, Elijah McGuire, and Jhurell Pressley. Melvin Gordon just barely missed that mark.

What happens if we multiply a player's Highlight Yards/Opportunity by his Opportunity Rate? Does that give us a decent measure of quality (sans opponent adjustments)? I would say so.

Top 10 power-conference running backs according to Hlt/Opp * Opp Rate
1. Melvin Gordon (4.14)
2. Tevin Coleman (4.06)
3. Nick Chubb (3.72)
4. Todd Gurley (3.58)
5. Aaron Green, TCU (3.47)
6. Duke Johnson (3.16)
7. Ezekiel Elliott (3.09)
8. Samaje Perine (2.95)
9. Corey Clement (2.93)
10. Jaylen Walton (2.89)

That's a pretty good list.

Top 5 power-conference freshman RBs according to Hlt/Opp * Opp Rate
1. Chubb (3.72)
2. Perine (2.95)
3. Dalvin Cook (2.65)
4. Nick Wilson (2.62)
5. Leonard Fournette (2.09)

Yep, once I figure out a nice way to adjust for opponent, I think this will be the basis for a pretty strong rusher rating.

So what about quarterbacks? Here's a look at the 87 quarterbacks with at least 50 non-sack carries.

Offense Player Position Ht Wt Class Rushes Yards Hlt Yds Hlt Opps Hlt Yds/Opp Opp Rate
Navy Keenan Reynolds QB 5'11 195 JR 231 1311 606.3 96 6.32 41.6%
Mississippi State Dak Prescott QB 6'2 230 JR 189 1107 428.1 85 5.04 45.0%
Arkansas State Fredi Knighten QB 5'11 189 JR 182 969 482.7 74 6.52 40.7%
Army Angel Santiago QB 5'11 201 SR 180 882 380.6 63 6.04 35.0%
Georgia Tech Justin Thomas QB 5'11 189 SO 180 1143 586.0 83 7.06 46.1%
Georgia Southern Kevin Ellison QB 6'0 190 SO 167 1108 531.0 87 6.10 52.1%
North Carolina Marquise Williams QB 6'2 220 JR 167 989 419.9 82 5.12 49.1%
Air Force Kale Pearson QB 5'9 175 SR 161 765 283.2 63 4.50 39.1%
Boston College Tyler Murphy QB 6'2 213 SR 159 1332 747.2 85 8.79 53.5%
Nevada Cody Fajardo QB 6'2 215 SR 157 1194 569.9 81 7.04 51.6%
Ohio State J.T. Barrett QB 6'1 225 FR 148 1094 504.6 82 6.15 55.4%
Northern Illinois Drew Hare QB 6'1 215 SO 143 927 396.3 68 5.83 47.6%
Texas State Tyler Jones QB 6'2 205 SO 141 691 232.4 61 3.81 43.3%
Auburn Nick Marshall QB 6'1 210 SR 139 885 398.0 66 6.03 47.5%
TCU Trevone Boykin QB 6'2 205 JR 130 829 316.2 66 4.79 50.8%
Boise State Grant Hedrick QB 6'0 198 SR 129 767 298.6 59 5.06 45.7%
Maryland C.J. Brown QB 6'3 218 SR 125 755 342.2 56 6.11 44.8%
Nebraska Tommy Armstrong Jr. QB 6'1 220 SO 125 803 359.3 59 6.09 47.2%
Kansas State Jake Waters QB 6'1 210 SR 124 658 291.0 55 5.29 44.4%
UCLA Brett Hundley QB 6'3 226 JR 122 854 337.8 75 4.50 61.5%
UL-Lafayette Terrance Broadway QB 6'2 221 SR 122 785 270.4 70 3.86 57.4%
Miami-OH Andrew Hendrix QB 6'2 221 SR 114 637 224.5 55 4.08 48.2%
New Mexico Lamar Jordan QB 5'10 183 FR 114 653 315.0 55 5.73 48.2%
UNLV Blake Decker QB 6'2 205 JR 113 566 154.1 53 2.91 46.9%
Eastern Michigan Reginald Bell Jr QB 6'3 184 FR 111 723 340.3 48 7.09 43.2%
Kentucky Patrick Towles QB 6'5 238 SO 109 537 201.9 43 4.70 39.4%
Minnesota Mitch Leidner QB 6'4 237 SO 107 600 208.6 47 4.44 43.9%
Florida Atlantic Jaquez Johnson QB 6'1 225 JR 105 599 224.3 47 4.77 44.8%
Oregon Marcus Mariota QB 6'4 219 JR 105 959 454.4 69 6.59 65.7%
Arizona Anu Solomon QB 6'2 205 FR 101 543 216.5 43 5.03 42.6%
Iowa State Sam Richardson QB 6'2 221 JR 99 589 214.9 56 3.84 56.6%
Washington Cyler Miles QB 6'4 225 SO 99 484 158.0 52 3.04 52.5%
Memphis Paxton Lynch QB 6'7 230 SO 98 446 139.6 35 3.99 35.7%
Middle Tennessee Austin Grammer QB 6'2 204 SO 98 614 253.7 46 5.52 46.9%
NC State Jacoby Brissett QB 6'4 231 JR 96 740 337.8 56 6.03 58.3%
Rice Driphus Jackson QB 6'0 210 JR 94 556 233.4 45 5.19 47.9%
Utah Travis Wilson QB 6'7 233 JR 94 456 168.5 36 4.68 38.3%
Tennessee Joshua Dobbs QB 6'3 216 SO 92 551 229.2 50 4.58 54.3%
SMU Matt Davis QB 6'0 214 SO 89 721 320.1 53 6.04 59.6%
Pittsburgh Chad Voytik QB 6'1 205 SO 88 610 279.0 47 5.94 53.4%
Notre Dame Everett Golson QB N/A 200 SR 87 456 218.0 41 5.32 47.1%
Temple P.J. Walker QB 6'1 200 SO 87 451 177.9 37 4.81 42.5%
Central Florida Justin Holman QB 6'4 213 SO 86 362 104.3 44 2.37 51.2%
LSU Anthony Jennings QB 6'2 216 SO 86 456 189.3 38 4.98 44.2%
Ole Miss Bo Wallace QB 6'4 217 SR 86 355 125.6 24 5.23 27.9%
Missouri Maty Mauk QB 6'0 200 SO 85 546 219.6 47 4.67 55.3%
Texas Tyrone Swoopes QB 6'4 243 SO 82 467 193.9 39 4.97 47.6%
Duke Anthony Boone QB 6'0 225 SR 81 466 165.6 43 3.85 53.1%
Troy Brandon Silvers QB 6'2 208 FR 81 336 113.0 34 3.32 42.0%
Offense Player Position Ht Wt Class Rushes Yards Hlt Yds Hlt Opps Hlt Yds/Opp Opp Rate
UTEP Jameill Showers QB 6'2 230 SR 80 393 114.1 35 3.26 43.8%
South Alabama Brandon Bridge QB 6'5 235 SR 78 473 260.2 35 7.43 44.9%
Fresno State Brian Burrell QB 6'4 221 JR 76 552 266.6 37 7.21 48.7%
Illinois Reilly O'Toole QB 6'4 220 SR 74 400 139.4 37 3.77 50.0%
Marshall Rakeem Cato QB 6'1 176 SR 73 609 284.6 44 6.47 60.3%
Michigan Devin Gardner QB 6'4 216 SR 73 426 165.7 36 4.60 49.3%
BYU Taysom Hill QB 6'2 232 JR 72 535 195.9 49 4.00 68.1%
Hawaii Ikaika Woolsey QB 6'1 210 SO 72 444 191.2 34 5.62 47.2%
Ohio Derrius Vick QB 6'1 196 JR 71 463 168.3 43 3.91 60.6%
Stanford Kevin Hogan QB 6'4 225 SR 71 438 164.7 32 5.15 45.1%
Alabama Blake Sims QB 6'0 208 SR 70 438 191.2 42 4.55 60.0%
Appalachian State Taylor Lamb QB 6'2 200 FR 70 518 228.8 36 6.36 51.4%
Florida International Alex McGough QB 6'3 215 FR 69 300 89.4 23 3.89 33.3%
Florida Treon Harris QB 5'11 190 FR 68 364 139.7 32 4.37 47.1%
UAB Cody Clements QB 6'2 210 JR 68 282 76.7 33 2.32 48.5%
Ohio State Cardale Jones QB 6'5 250 SO 67 352 162.2 33 4.92 49.3%
UL-Monroe Pete Thomas QB 6'5 235 SR 66 240 46.8 24 1.95 36.4%
Arizona State Taylor Kelly QB 6'2 210 SR 65 443 206.1 35 5.89 53.8%
East Carolina Shane Carden QB 6'2 221 SR 64 308 96.5 28 3.45 43.8%
Wisconsin Tanner McEvoy QB 6'6 222 JR 63 591 302.0 43 7.02 68.3%
Oklahoma Trevor Knight QB 6'1 201 SO 62 407 168.3 38 4.43 61.3%
BYU Christian Stewart QB 6'2 208 SR 61 302 105.8 30 3.53 49.2%
Baylor Bryce Petty QB 6'3 230 SR 60 255 70.6 27 2.61 45.0%
New Mexico State Tyler Rogers QB 6'3 200 SO 60 260 103.3 32 3.23 53.3%
Florida Jeff Driskel QB 6'4 230 JR 59 249 68.9 25 2.76 42.4%
Western Michigan Zach Terrell QB 6'1 210 SO 56 395 159.8 35 4.57 62.5%
Clemson Deshaun Watson QB 6'2 205 FR 55 255 61.1 27 2.26 49.1%
Ohio JD Sprague QB 6'1 200 SO 54 360 141.6 32 4.43 59.3%
Tulsa Dane Evans QB 6'1 215 SO 53 208 55.3 23 2.40 43.4%
UTSA Austin Robinson QB 6'3 220 FR 53 321 168.7 17 9.92 32.1%
Cincinnati Gunner Kiel QB 6'4 208 SO 52 251 99.7 23 4.33 44.2%
Clemson Cole Stoudt QB 6'4 225 SR 52 213 58.8 21 2.80 40.4%
Old Dominion Taylor Heinicke QB 6'1 213 SR 52 371 157.5 30 5.25 57.7%
Colorado Sefo Liufau QB 6'4 230 SO 51 246 81.7 21 3.89 41.2%
Connecticut Chandler Whitmer QB 6'0 192 SR 51 222 76.9 23 3.34 45.1%
California Luke Rubenzer QB 6'0 185 FR 50 218 58.4 19 3.07 38.0%
Louisville Reggie Bonnafon QB 6'3 206 FR 50 316 123.8 23 5.38 46.0%
Virginia Tech Michael Brewer QB 6'0 200 JR 50 280 104.2 21 4.96 42.0%

For quarterbacks, the split between Hlt/Opp and Opportunity Rate gives us an interesting look at which quarterbacks aim for home runs and/or down-to-down success (Tyler Murphy, Justin Thomas) and which simply steal yards when the defense has its back turned (Marcus Mariota, Brett Hundley).

Top 10 rushers according to Highlight Yards per Opportunity (QBs)
1. Austin Robinson, UTSA (9.9)
2. Tyler Murphy, Boston College (8.8)
3. Brandon Bridge, South Alabama (7.4)
4. Brian Burrell, Fresno State (7.2)
5. Reginald Bell Jr., EMU (7.1)
6. Justin Thomas, Georgia Tech (7.1)
7. Cody Fajardo, Nevada (7.0)
8. Tanner McEvoy, Wisconsin (7.0)
9. Marcus Mariota, Oregon (6.6)
10. Fredi Knighten, Arkansas State (6.5)

Top 10 rushers according to Opportunity Rate (QBs)
1. Tanner McEvoy, Wisconsin (68.3%)
2. Taysom Hill, BYU (68.1%)
3. Marcus Mariota, Oregon (65.7%)
4. Zach Terrell, WMU (62.5%)
5. Brett Hundley, UCLA (61.5%)
6. Trevor Knight, Oklahoma (61.3%)
7. Derrius Vick, Ohio (60.6%)
8. Rakeem Cato, Marshall (60.3%)
9. Blake Sims, Alabama (60.0%)
10. Matt Davis, SMU (59.6%)

Top 5 power-conference rushing quarterbacks according to Hlt/Opp * Opp Rate
1. Tanner McEvoy, Wisconsin (4.80)
2. Tyler Murphy, Boston College (4.70)
3. Marcus Mariota, Oregon (4.33)
4. Jacoby Brissett, NC State (3.52)
5. J.T. Barrett, Ohio State (3.41)