It’s almost hump day of game week. Which means just 4 days remaining until the season kicks off. Today we’re looking at who is going to lead the Huskies in non-passing touchdowns. That means rushing, receiving, or return scores. I guess also technically defensive TDs as well. Although if a defender leads the team in touchdowns it either is really, really good or really, really bad. More likely the latter. It would be a very Iowa thing in advance of the move to the Big Ten.
Last year, it was a pair of running backs that led the team in touchdowns as the Huskies liked to run the ball near the goal line. Cam Davis had 13 total TDs as the primary goal-line back and starter Wayne Taulapapa finished narrowly behind him with 12 (11 rushing, 1 receiving). Johnson was listed first on the depth chart that came out yesterday despite getting back to full strength following an offseason injury. It seems likely that he’s going to be the most likely option near the end zone given that he has a little bit more size than the next name on this list at 6’0 and 218 lbs. Johnson had 3 TDs with Mississippi State last year and a career high 5 back in 2021 but will need more than that to lead this Husky offense in that particular stat.
Nixon is currently 2nd on the running back depth chart which is the position that won this last season. However, Nixon is a converted wide receiver while Cam Davis was a little more natural goal-line option as a power back. Nixon though is only an inch shorter and 10 pounds lighter than Davis was last year so it’s not impossible. You would think that if Nixon were to prevail in this category it would also include a few misdirection passes where he’s maybe used in 2-back sets and can leak out to the end zone. Last year though both of Nixon’s touchdowns were on the ground.
It doesn’t exactly seem like a bad thing to expect your preseason All-American receiver to lead the team in touchdowns. So far in his career though Odunze hasn’t been the ultimate scoring option. He had 78 touches last season and found the end zone on 8 of them. That’s a solid rate but not quite All-American level even though he wracked up plenty of yards along the way. Part of that was because of DeBoer/Grubb’s preference (even stubbornly so) to run the ball once they got close to the end zone. We’ll see if that happens again or if with Davis/Taulapapa unavailable they’ll be willing to draw up more plays from Rome to find paydirt.
McMillan may have finished just short of Rome in total receiving yards last year but Jalen bested him in TDs by one with 9. His sure hands made him a steady option once in the red zone and McMillan also was able to run away from the defense for long scores several times. That included an 84-yard score which was the longest play from scrimmage for the Huskies last season.
Jalen McMillan what a grab pic.twitter.com/BSkmeqUwPa— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) December 30, 2022
Richard Newton (closest thing to a power back on the roster may be able to find goal line work)
Ja’Lynn Polk (maybe too much attention paid to Odunze/McMillan leaves him open)
Who Will Lead the Huskies in TDs?
This poll is closed
RB Dillon Johnson
RB Will Nixon
WR Rome Odunze
WR Jalen McMillan