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Syracuse football: What’s Sean Tucker on pace for at the mid-season mark?

The Orange running back could be headed for a historic season at Syracuse.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 09 Wake Forest at Syracuse Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

As you know, Syracuse Orange running back Sean Tucker is putting up numbers at a torrid pace during the 2021 season so far.

He’s already rushed for 791 yards (second in the country), has the fourth-most rushing scores with nine, and leads the FBS in yards from scrimmage with 995. And of course, all of this comes in just six games. Provided Tucker stays healthy — knocks on every piece of wood within reach — he’s clearly on pace for a pretty historic season at Syracuse.

The conversation around giving him 44 is part of this, too. But specifically for this year, Tucker’s looking at numbers that have rarely if ever been hit. That’s impressive for any position or at any school. But especially so for a running back at Syracuse, where there’s a long history of highly successful (and hall of fame) players at the position.

So if he keeps up this pace, where would Tucker rank across various categories in Orange(men) history?

Rushing yards: On pace for 1,582 yards

Tucker’s continued to rack up 100-yard games even as ACC play has started. And if he can the nearly 132 yards-per-game he’s currently at, it would give him the top rushing season of all-time at Syracuse. Even if he falls short of that per-game average, he could hit 115 yards per game the rest of the way and still best Joe Morris’s high-water mark of 1,372 yards in a single season — even without a bowl.

If he rushes for 100 yards in each game for the rest of 2021, he’d also have 14 on his career, which would tie him with Walter Reyes for third in school history (Morris leads there with 22 all-time). Tucker would tie for the most in a single season, though, if he gets just two more 100-yard games in 2021.

Rushing touchdowns: On pace for 18 TDs

With nine touchdowns on the ground already, doubling that would give Tucker the second-highest single-season total in school history (Reyes had 20 in 2003). Of course, we have to also consider that four of Tucker’s scores were against Albany, so TBD if he can truly keep up the same pace over the final six games. If he only runs it in eight more times this year, he’d tie Reyes’s 2002 season for second in school history. Scoring six times would put him in a tie for third with Eric Dungey’s 2018 campaign.

While this is a piece about Tucker, it’s also interesting to note that Garrett Shrader already has eight rushing scores in basically four games. If he keeps up the two-TD-per-game pace, he’d tie Reyes’s mark of 20.

Total touchdowns: On pace for 22 TDs

On a similar note to the above, Reyes’s 2003 season saw him in the end zone 21 times (20 on the ground, one through the air). With 11 scores already, Tucker’s on pace to beat that mark by one — pre-bowl game. Considering he did manage three touchdowns last week against a top-25 Wake Forest squad, it’s not necessarily a stretch to think he could pull this off. Even scoring just eight more total TDs ties him with Floyd Little for second all-time.

Total offensive yards: On pace for 1,990 yards

With 995 total yards already, Tucker’s on pace to tie Floyd Little’s 1965 mark of 1,990 all-purpose yards in a single season, which is pretty incredible, especially since a lot of Little’s yardage came through returns. Meanwhile, all of Tucker’s would be through rushing and receiving yards.

Even “only” picking up 920 yards over the course of the final six games would put him pretty close to Kevin Johnson in second place (1,834 in 1998). But again, return yards were a big factor for him too.


So yeah, Tucker’s season is already looking pretty special, and it might just wind up among the best in Syracuse history. In conclusion: Give the man 44 immediately.