October 6, 2011

Sweeney Takes Over National Rushing Lead

Claremont, Calif. - Junior running back Luke Sweeney (Broken Arrow, Okla.) is now the leading rusher in all of college football (all divisions) after his 185 yards last week against Chapman.

Sweeney currently averages 182.7 yards per game on the ground, a comfortable 13.7 yards per game lead in the NCAA Division III leaders (over Jeremy Murray of Mt. Union). The second leading rusher in all of college football is Jonas Randoph of Mars Hill at the NCAA Division II level, who averages 180.0 yards per game.

Sweeney has been remarkably consistent in the early going this season, rushing for 176 yards in the opener against Whitworth, then 187 yards against Lewis & Clark (with four touchdowns) and 185 yards against Chapman. Those are the second, third, and fourth highest rushing totals of his career, as he had a personal-best 220 yards last year against Occidental.

Sweeney has also reached his lofty totals efficiently this season, as his longest run from scrimmage through the first three games has been only 25 yards. Only five other running backs in all of NCAA Division III average over 150 yards per game, giving him a comfortable lead over most of the competition heading into a difficult road test at nationally ranked Redlands this weekend.

In addition to his high ranking in rushing, Sweeney is also second in the country in Division III in all-purpose yardage at 238.3 per game, trailing only Trey Fairchild of Otterbein, a wide receiver/kick returner.

The offensive line that has paved the way for Sweeney's big numbers this season has included left tackle Tim Stapenhorst (Fremont, Calif.), left guard Kevin Ludlum (Mission Viejo, Calif.), center Jack Horstmann (Fresno, Calif.), right guard James Lambert (Mercer Island, Wash.), and right tackle Garret Bell (Fullerton, Calif.), along with tight end Peter Ferrin (Salt Lake City, Utah) and fullback Zack Tannous (Millbrae, Calif.). Not only did that unit block effectively for Sweeney last weekend, they also prevented quarterback Luke Ferguson (Silverton, Ore.) from being sacked a single time in 38 pass attempts.

The Pomona-Pitzer game at Redlands will take place at 7 p.m., before the Sagehens return home the following weekend for a 7 p.m. game against Occidental.