1. Bobby Rainey — Western Kentucky vs. LA-Lafayette. With Marcus Lattimore sidelined, Rainey will contend for the second straight year to lead the NCAA in carries, where he currently ranks third nationally with 171 rushing attempts. He’s been Western Kentucky’s entire offense this season, accounting for 943 of the team’s 1,870 total yards and seven touchdowns, while going over 100 all-purpose yards in each of his first seven games. The Hilltoppers run a one-cut zone blocking scheme with an unbalanced 60:40 Run-to-Pass ratio…Louisiana-Lafayette (6-1) yields an average of 119.4 yards and 1.4 touchdowns to opposing running backs.
2. Bernard Pierce — Temple at Bowling Green. Coming off an impressive 34-0 shutout over Buffalo, Pierce set single-season records for rushing yards (844) and points (102), and currently holds Temple’s career record for touchdowns (44). There isn’t a more effective running back on a per-play basis in the MAC…Bowling Green allows an average of 407.7 total yards and 29.6 points per game on defense… Temple is 17-1 when Pierce carries the ball at least 18 times.
3. Trent Richardson — Alabama vs. Tennessee. As the SEC’s top offensive performer Richardson continues to make his case for Heisman consideration with 912 yards and 16 touchdowns. Alabama has an experienced offensive line that should have no problem handling the Tennessee front four which could open up running lanes for Richardson, who currently leads the SEC in 20-plus yard gains.
4. Orleans Darkwa — Tulane vs. Memphis. With QB Ryan Griffin expected to be less than 100 percent, Tulane will lean heavily on Orleans Darkwa, who should see enough touches to maintain his averages against a Memphis team that ranks bottom-third defensively against the run. The 6-0, 214-pound sophomore is a difference maker in both the running and receiving, where his 503 total yards place him fifth on the Conference USA leaderboard and in the top 20th percentile nationally at his position.
5. Giovanni Bernard — North Carolina at Clemson. The redshirt freshman outshined Miami’s Lamar Miller in a loss to the Hurricanes last week and has gone over 100 yards rushing in all but one game. Bernard ranks third in the ACC in total yards and leads all freshman running backs with his 109.6 yards per game this season.
Mid-to-Low End options
David Wilson — Virginia Tech vs. Boston College
Lamar Miller — Miami vs. Georgia Tech
Marcus Coker — Iowa vs. Indiana
Doug Martin — Boise State vs. Air Force
Dominique Whaley — Oklahoma vs. Texas Tech
Zach Line — SMU at Southern Mississippi
Kenjon Barner — Oregon at Colorado
Robert Turbin — Utah State vs. Louisiana Tech
Rex Burkhead — Nebraska at Minnesota
Christine Michael — Texas A&M at Iowa State
Charles Sims — Houston vs. Marshall
Perry Jones — Virginia vs. NC State
Henry Josey — Missouri vs. Oklahoma State
Montee Ball — Wisconsin at Michigan State
Dominique White — Eastern Michigan vs. Western Michigan
Brandon Oliver — Buffalo vs. Northern Illinois
Matthew Tucker — TCU vs. New Mexico
Jasmin Hopkins — Northern Illinois at Buffalo
Joe Banyard — Texas El Paso vs. Colorado State