We can argue running back value if you want to, but Bucky Irving, not Bo Nix and not Troy Franklin, is the most important piece of this Oregon offense. The raw numbers are gaudy, 1,002 rushing yards, 6.7 yards per carry, 10 rushing touchdowns, 362 receiving yards, and one receiving TD. It’s impressive stuff from a dynamic running back. When you dig a little deeper, it’s frankly jaw-dropping.
As a runner, Irving has amassed 615 yards after contact this season, and averages 4.13 yards after contact per carry, which ranks 18th nationally, and of the players in front of him, only Omarion Hampton from UNC has more carries. Oregon’s scheme is a big reason that the Ducks are the No. 2 total offense, No. 2 in yards per play, and No. 3 in yards per rush, but Irving is producing after contact which means he’s getting yards beyond what the play-caller and offensive line opens up for him.
Then as a receiver, Irving is fifth among all running backs in yards after the catch at 416. You might remember that Irving only has 362 receiving yards this season. How is this possible? Well, the average depth of Irving’s targets is -1.3 yards, so over a yard behind the line of scrimmage, and he’s still gaining 8.8 yards per reception and 9.9 yards after the catch per reception.