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Swanson’s long scamper ignites UT

10/20/2016, 12:22am EDT
By By BRIAN BUCKEY BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Overall team yardage higher this season


UT’s Terry Swanson rushed 12 times for 112 yards, including a 63-yard touchdown, against the Falcons last Saturday. BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH

After a standout sophomore campaign, University of Toledo running back Terry Swanson has come out a bit slow statistically this season, but his 63-yard touchdown run in the Bowling Green game offered a glimpse of the big-play ability that he possesses.

In the fourth quarter of the game last Saturday, Swanson broke free through the middle and outran the Falcons second-level defenders on his way to the end zone. For the game, Swanson carried 12 times for 112 yards.

“It was a big game,” Swanson said. “I like to make big plays in big games and it doesn’t get better than that. It feels great, but I have to give credit to everyone who did their job on that play, because without them, that play doesn’t get started.”

Swanson, who has split carries with Kareem Hunt since he came to Toledo in 2014, rushed for 923 yards in 11 games as a sophomore and averaged 6.5 yards per carry.

This season, Swanson is down to 5.0 yards per carry and his yards per game have dropped from 83.9 last year to 55.8 so far this year. Despite the statistical dip, UT running backs coach Marquel Blackwell said Swanson is still performing at a high level.

“Overall, he’s been doing great,” Blackwell said. “A lot of things that you probably won’t see as a highlight that’s going on during a play, he’s doing a great job with. He is pass protecting, catching the ball and finally he got into a rhythm to run the ball and had a good game.”

Swanson is part of a three-back rotation that includes seniors Hunt and Damion Jones-Moore. Hunt, who flirted with entering the NFL draft this past year, returned this year and has received a bulk of the carries, but Swanson is still averaging a healthy 11.2 carries per game.

“I don’t have a problem with sharing,” Swanson said. “I’ve been sharing carries since high school. Kareem is a great back. He has come back for his senior year to leave his imprint in Toledo history. I believe I want to follow in his footsteps somehow. Him and Damion, they paved the way and I just want to follow in their footsteps.”

Off the field, Swanson and Hunt are roommates, and aside from the time on the field and in the film room together, they can often be found playing video games, catching a movie, or grabbing a bite to eat.

“Me and Terry have a strong relationship,” Hunt said. “We live together, we are roommates, and we’ve been real close since he first stepped on campus, because I knew he could be a really good guy and a really good running back for us.”

On the field, Hunt said he has taken pride in being able to mentor Swanson.

“My job has just been taking him under my wing, showing him how to do the right things and help put him in best position to succeed and he’s been doing nothing but that,” Hunt said. “I’m excited about him and I’m looking forward to his senior year next year, because this is my last year and I can’t wait to see what he does.”

So far this season, Toledo’s rushing yards per game have improved from 207.9 last season to 219.3 so far this season. Swanson still said the trio of Toledo running backs have yet to put it all together at the same time in the first six games of the season.

“We haven’t all played at our best at the same time,” Swanson said. “I believe down the road it’s going to come and when that comes it’s going to be hard to stop. All our times will come. When we are all clicking together, it’s going to be something good to see. You just have to stay patient.”

Blackwell, in his first year as UT running backs coach, said he has enjoyed working with Swanson so far this season.

“He’s a hard-nosed back,” Blackwell said. “He’s pretty good in all three phases of the game, running, blocking, and catching the ball. He’s consistent, solid, and just fun to coach and be around every day because of the way he goes about his business.”

Contact Brian Buckey at: bbuckey@theblade.com or 419-724-6110.

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Tag(s): College  Toledo