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Jamaal Williams historic play has BYU football running

Williams isn’t just playing his opponents, he’s taking on the record books.

BYU v Michigan State Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

One of the best parts of following sports has happened at BYU this season. The chase and witnessing of all-time greatness.

Jamaal Williams came to BYU as a 17-year-old freshman. The first game that Williams was featured in was in 2012 against Hawaii in Provo. Jamaal crushed it. He had 15 carries for 155 yards and 2 touchdowns. It was a debut that showcased that this kid from Fontana, California could bring something different and rarely seen at BYU. A game-breaking running back.

Williams, now a senior, has taken his game to a special level. Almost nobody is able to access these heights. Jamaal has earned the key card that unlocks the elevator buttons at the top.

It is potential fulfilled. It has been an absolute thrill to spectate.

A couple weeks ago, I wrote that BYU needed to be Jamaal’s team. Questions about the QB, WRs, and OL aside, BYU knew the answer at RB. Jamaal has taken over. The 2016 Cougars are his team. He’s carrying them. For the Cougars party, Jamaal is at the top of the ticket.

Over the past 3 weeks Ty Detmer’s offense is having Jamaal Williams take on more work than any player over the course of 3 weeks in BYU history. Jamaal has had the ball handed off to him 84 times in the last 3 weeks. Lakei Heimuli holds the record for most carries in 3 consecutive games with 89, but he had a bye week mixed in. Taysom Hill had 81 carries in 3 consecutive games in 2013, but had the layoff before the San Francisco Bowl. Luke Staley’s career high had 76 carries. Harvey Unga highest workrate was 69 carries in 3 weeks. Curtis Brown - 68.

Jamaal isn’t just 2nd in the nation with 866 total rushing yards, he’s also 2nd in the nation with 139 rushing attempts. Williams’ 139 rushes over 6 games? Also a BYU record — 10 more than Luke Staley’s 129 attempts from game 6 to game 11 in 2001.

More mind numbing numbers? Jamaal has had three games this season where his rush yards per attempt total has exceeded BYU’s pass yards per attempt.

Over the past 3 games, Jamaal Williams had had 84 rushes for 618 yards (7.4 yards per carry) with 9 TDs. What Jamaal has done over the last 3 weeks is simply unmatched by ANYONE in BYU football history. Here is a table with everyone that had at least 375 yards or more over a 3-game stretch in their career.

Player Carries Yards Yards per carry TDs Opponents
Jamaal Williams 84 618 7.4 9 2016: vs. West Virginia, Toledo, @ Michigan State
Luke Staley 70 537 7.7 10 2001: CSU, @ Wyoming, Utah
Taysom Hill 55 523 9.5 5 2013: Texas, Utah, Middle Tennessee State
Jamal Willis 54 473 8.8 6 1992: New Mexico, @ Air Force, @ Utah
Lakei Heimuli 89 454 5.1 1 1986: @ Wyoming, UTEP, @ Hawaii
Brian McKenzie 73 433 5.9 6 1997: Tulsa, @ New Mexico, Utah
Ronney Jenkins 68 420 6.2 2 1998: @ UTEP, @ Utah, vs. Air Force
Harvey Unga 69 412 6 6 2007: @ Wyoming, Utah, @ San Diego State
Curtis Brown 63 393 6.2 2 2004: Wyoming, @ Air Force, San Diego State

Jamaal is the only BYU player in history to rush over 400 yards in a 2-game stretch. The only player to rush over 600 yards in a 3-game stretch. Williams joins Luke Staley as the only people that have had a 6 game stretch with over 800 yards.

Oh, and by the way, Jamaal Williams did it against the nation’s 7th most difficult strength of schedule. Not a gamut of Wyoming and Colorado State.

The point is that Jamaal Williams is simply doing things that are unprecedented. He has played the game in a way that has never been seen before from a player with a Y on the side of their helmet. He’s not only playing against his opponents, but the record books. Over the next 6 games, Jamaal Williams can cement his legacy as the greatest running back in BYU history. Not just in terms of a career, but also within a single season. Jamaal Williams’ 2016 could potentially put Luke Staley’s 2001 Doak Walker season in his rear view mirror! Think about how bonkers that is!

Williams will likely become BYU’s all-time rushing leader on Friday night. He’s 63 yards away from passing Harvey Unga. This record has been on everyone’s radar since 2014. It will be a tremendous accomplishment. It will confirm his place as the best career by a running back ever. But what is next?

Lets look at a few more records that Jamaal can go after.

What is the 4-game rushing record? 702 yards by Luke Staley. Jamaal has 618 over his last 3-games. He needs 84 yards to match it against Mississippi State.

I love a good streak. So, here’s one to follow.

Jamaal Williams has had 3 consecutive games with 100+ yards rushing. There are only 11 players in BYU history who have had 3 straight games with 100+ rushing yards. Pete Van Valkenburg, Lakei Heimuli, Ronney Jenkins, Jamal Willis, Brian McKenzie, Luke Staley, Marcus Whalen, Curtis Brown, Harvey Unga, Taysom Hill, and Jamaal Williams.

Amazingly, only two players have reached 4 consecutive games with 100 yards rushing. Curtis Brown and Luke Staley. Curtis Brown had 4 straight games. Luke Staley had 7 in 2001. I would love to see Jamaal take a run at the record here. He could potentially break it on November 19th against Massachusetts for his 8th straight. The exciting and difficult part of this record is that Jamaal has no room for error. He simply can’t have a sub-100 yard game again if he is going to dethrone 2001 Staley’s 7-in-a-row streak.

Jamaal needs 9 more rushing TDs to hold the career rushing TD record. Staley holds the record at 41 rush TDs. That’s on average 1.5 TDs per game over the rest of the regular season.

The total touchdown record is held by Luke Staley. He had 48 total TDs. Jamaal needs 15 TDs to pass that mark. That’s on average 2.5 TDs per game over the rest of the regular season.

The single season rush TD record is in play. Staley had 24 TDs. Jamaal has 10 TDs thus far.

Jamaal could potentially best Staley’s 1,582 yards in a single season record. He’s on pace to beat it. For style points, Jamaal should try to pass the mark in game 11. Staley only played 11 games for the Y in his record-setting year.

Jamaal could chase 4,000 career rushing yards — and be the 1st BYU player to ever reach that plateau. He’s 608 yards away.

Here is perhaps the craziest record that is in play. Jamaal Williams could finish as #1 in All-Purpose Yards at BYU — without ever returning a kickoff or a punt. Jamaal is 1,056 yards away from Cody Hoffman’s career 5,015 all-purpose yards. It is a stretch for Jamaal, but I don’t think it is technically out of reach.

Whatever the outcome and the final career totals for Jamaal, the fact remains — in 2016, the Cougars can’t have a big day unless Jamaal Williams takes them there. He’s the chicken in chicken soup.

Fortunately, Jamaal has answered the call with the best stretch of football ever played by a running back in the history of the program.