Just how fast is Kerryon Johnson scoring points for Auburn? So quickly that, by the numbers, it looks as if he might be playing the wrong sport.
The Tigers’ running back has scored 12 touchdowns this season in the four games he’s played for Auburn, including three in Saturday’s 44-23 victory against Mississippi.
Do the math: 12 touchdowns = 72 points = 18 points per game.
Just like basketball. And that kind of basketball-like rate of scoring is just about unknown in the SEC.
The conference record for single-season scoring in football belongs to Alabama running back Derrick Henry, who scored 168 points (on 28 touchdowns) in 15 games during his Heisman-winning season in 2015. Just behind are Auburn running back Tre Mason (150 points in 14 games in 2013) and LSU kicker Colt David (147 points in 14 games in 2007).
For Henry, that average works out to 11.2 points per game – really good, but not quite what Johnson is doing at Auburn.
On a per-game basis, the standard in modern times belongs to Shaun Alexander of Alabama, who scored 144 points in 1999 – 19 rushing touchdowns, four receiving scores and a 24th on a kickoff return. Put it all together and you come up with 13.1 points per game. Still no match for Johnson.
That’s where basketball comes in.
Last season, Auburn didn’t have a player on its basketball team who averaged 18 points per game. In fact, they’ve only had an 18-points-per-game man in four of the past 23 seasons.
If Johnson had scored 18 points per game playing basketball last season, he would have ranked fifth in the SEC, behind South Carolina’s Sindarius Thornwell (21.4), Kentucky’s Malik Monk (19.8), Georgia’s J.J. Frazier (18.8) and Georgia’s Yante Maten (18.2).
Johnson is tied for the national lead in TDs with San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny. But Penny has played six games. Florida Atlantic running back Devin Singletary has 11 TDs and Oregon running back Royce Freeman and Washington running back Myles Gaskin each have 10 — but all three have played six games.
The odds aren’t in favor of Johnson continuing that kind of streak – not with elite run defenses at Alabama and Georgia still on the schedule. But he’s still likely to end up high on the conference’s single-season scoring list.
Johnson can’t get back the two games he missed because of injury. But if Auburn wins out in the regular season (which would set up a trip to the SEC championship game), he could end up playing 12 or even 13 games this season – enough to make a serious run at conference scoring records.
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