Rodney Ferguson himself can’t even describe his running style.
The elusive back for the New Mexico Lobos has garnered a reputation for being one of the most physical runners in the Mountain West Conference.
But Ferguson also has breakaway speed, good hands for a back and a feel for the game that helped him lead the MWC in rushing last season as a sophomore.
“I can’t really put my finger on it,” Ferguson said of his style. “I think I run hard, I can catch . I can do a little bit of whatever you want. I’d say I’m an all-purpose back.”
When CSU (1-8, 1-5) travels to Albuquerque, N.M., to take on New Mexico (6-3, 3-2) Saturday (1 p.m., The Mtn.), the Rams will have their hands full with Ferguson.
The junior ranks second in the MWC in rush yards (901) and rushing touchdowns (11), as well as seventh in all-purpose yards per game (120.8).
Ferguson has 186 yards receiving this season as well, making him a threat outside the backfield too.
But despite Ferguson’s numbers, the Lobos rank second-to-last in the conference in rushing offense, averaging just 135.2 yards per game.
Ferguson said the team is expecting a determined CSU team Saturday, which ranks fourth in the conference in rush defense, allowing 156.3 yards per contest.
“Actually, (the CSU defense) has played really good this year,” said Ferguson. “Their record doesn’t show it, but they look like a team on film that hasn’t lost any games with how hard they’ve played.
“I see no difference between their defense and Wyoming’s or TCU’s. I really couldn’t tell you why they haven’t won more.”
One of the reasons the Rams haven’t won more is their defense’s tendency to give up the big play, something Ferguson, along with sophomore quarterback Donovan Porterie, have the propensity to do.
“It’s fun playing with Donovan,” Ferguson said of the quarterback, who ranks third in the MWC with 225.3 yards passing per game. “He’s so mature even though he’s so young. He helps us all out because he doesn’t make the rookie mistakes.”
Ferguson has five plays of 20-plus yards this season, including a 71-yard reception touchdown, Porterie’s longest pass play of the year.
The 6-3 Lobos have already fallen to MWC-leader BYU, making their goal of a league title an unlikely prospect, but Ferguson said the team still has high expectations.
“We still have a lot of goals,” he said. “I want to get to a bowl game and win a bowl game. And then continue to improve our team chemistry.”
Exactly what Ferguson adds to that chemistry maybe nobody knows, and don’t ask him to pinpoint it.
Sports writer Jeff Dillon can be reached at email@example.com.
Major: General Management
Hometown: Albuquerque, N.M.
By the Numbers:
1,234 – yards rushing in 2006, most in the MWC
2 – rank in MWC rushing this year with 901 yards
28 – total yards last Saturday against TCU, least in his collegiate career