Leading Alabama, 44-16, with eight minutes remaining in the 2019 College Football Playoff National Championship, Clemson faced 3rd-and-1 from their 10-yard-line. The game was effectively over, but another first down would keep the clock running and push Clemson at least a few minutes closer to their second title in three seasons.
Sophomore running back Travis Etienne found a hole and scampered for a seven-yard gain. That seven-yard rush, longer than the average rush for any FBS team in the last four seasons (and double the average rush for 20 teams last season), lowered his season yards-per-carry average. Only slightly — 8.0 to 7.99 — but still, a seven-yard rush in his 15th game lowered his season-long average.
Etienne set the Clemson record for single-season rushing yards (1,658) on only 204 carries, averaging 8.1 yards per carry in becoming the fifth player in FBS history to average eight yards on at least 200 carries.
- Darrell Henderson (Memphis): 8.9 in 2018
- Reggie Bush (USC): 8.7 yards in 2005
- Devon Johnson (Marshall): 8.5 yards in 2014
- Bryce Love (Stanford): 8.1 yards in 2017
- Kareem Hunt (Toledo): 8 yards in 2014
Bush departed for the NFL after his 2005 Heisman season (as did Henderson after last season), but Johnson, Love and Hunt returned for at least one more year. None of them did it again:
- Johnson: 6.3 yards (94 carries in 2015).
- Love: 4.5 yards (166 carries) in 2018
- Hunt: 5.5 yards (178 carries) in 2015, 5.6 yards in 2016
If Travis Etienne matches his 2018 numbers, he'd be the first-ever FBS player to average at least eight yards per carry in multiple seasons. If he falls short of his 2018 numbers and averages only seven yards per carry, he'd be the first-ever FBS player to average at least seven yards per carry in multiple seasons.