Time and time again, fans have clamored for Texas Longhorns true freshman running back Keaontay Ingram to receive more touches, and we at Burnt Orange Nation have beat that same Big Bertha a time or two as well.
Throughout his first four outings, Ingram averaged only 8.5 carries per contest, yet seven of those 34 attempts went for at least 10 yards — more than Tre Watson and Daniel Young combined — which only validated the calls for him to see more carries.
Ask and you shall receive.
After missing the USC game with an MCL strain and a deep bone bruise and later suffering a hip pointer during his return against TCU, which limited him to about 70 percent health against Kansas State, Ingram has now set career highs in carries in back-to-back games against Oklahoma (13) and Baylor (19). Unsurprisingly, increased carries have led to new career-best yardage totals, as Ingram rushed for 86 yards against the Sooners and 110 yards against the Bears.
Ingram’s latest performance was more praiseworthy than any from a Texas running back since Chris Warren III scampered his way to 166 yards last season against San Jose State, as he became the first Longhorns freshman running back to surpass the 100-yard mark since Warren did so against Texas Tech in 2015.
However, despite what was, on paper and on film, the most impressive showing from any Longhorns ball carrier in recent memory, Ingram wasn’t exceptionally pleased with his performance.
“I’m hard on myself so I might say an F,” Ingram said after the Baylor game when asked to grade his performance, via The Daily Texan. “I feel like I could’ve done better with the opportunities I had, I need to take more advantage of it. On a couple of those runs, I feel like I could’ve had more yards, but that’s on me. I’ve just got to get better and better every week.”
VIDEO: Texas true freshman RB Keaontay Ingram recorded his first 100-yard game as a Longhorn. On why he loves the atmosphere Herman and company have created.— Jeff Barker (@JeffBarker_) October 14, 2018
"Here at the University of Texas, it's about brother love. Fighting for the brother right beside you." @keaontay_ingram pic.twitter.com/QywWWm0yn4
Given how the tide is beginning to turn, it’s safe to assume Ingram will enjoy many more opportunities to make the most of as he continues to garner more carries.
Despite seeing only 10 carries against Kansas State, Ingram enjoyed more opportunities than Watson (7) and Young (2) combined, and with those touches, chewed up 41 more yards than the two more experienced backs. Weeks ago in a Red River Showdown win over Oklahoma, Ingram’s 13 carries were more than double what Watson received (6), and justifiably so, as he netted 86 yards on a 6.6 yards per carry average, as opposed to Watson’s 19 yards on 3.1 yards per attempt.
Most recently, of course, Ingram shouldered the bulk of the ball-carrying workload, as his 19 attempts were the most of any Longhorns running back this season, despite Watson seeing the first eight carries of the game while Ingram observed throughout the first quarter.
After the game, Herman explained Ingram’s lack of first-quarter carries as an attempt to keep his true freshman running back fresh; a sentiment Ingram supported.
“I feel like that’s just good coaching,” Ingram said. “Coach Drayton and coach Herman, they know what they’re doing. They’re trying to make us last just a little bit longer. If we just keep playing our role and keep doing what we’re doing, we’ll keep winning.”
Keaontay Ingram said he’s not worried about getting more carries. That’s why he’s a player not a coach. He doesn’t make those decisions. pic.twitter.com/9WSHf1t43m— Stacy Slayden (@StacyS_KVUE) October 14, 2018
Although Ingram isn’t complaining about his carries, the workload is certainly beginning to shift in his favor, as many argued should have been the case as early as the Tulsa game.
Throughout the past three games, Ingram has received 16 more attempts than Watson, and with those touches, he’s amassed 180 more rushing yards on 3.1 more yards per carry than the senior.
In total, Ingram has netted 403 yards on his 66 carries, and 13 of those have gone for at least 10 yards, which essentially means that one out of every five touches Ingram receives would theoretically result in a first down. Only four of Watson’s carries have reached reached the same 10-yard distance this season, and despite having received 23 more attempts this season, Watson trails Ingram by 63 yards, so the shift in carries certainly isn’t a coincidence, and it should only continue going forward.