The University of ĀŅĀ×ÄŚÉäās 9-1 football team ranks among the top 11 in the nation in rushing yards with 225 per game.
There hasnāt been an exact secret recipe as to how the Golden Eagles have been able to run all over teams this season.
However, a key and vital piece to the rushing attack is redshirt sophomore running back Chavon Wright.
Wright, a Florida native, has recorded more than 1,300 yards on the ground this season ā a 200-yard increase from last year ā to rank eighth in NCAA Division II.
āHeās gotten in better shape,ā UC coach Quinn Sanders said. āHeās in much better shape this year than he was last year. Last year, he came into camp a little heavy and didnāt get rolling until probably Week 3 or 4. This year, he knew it was on the table and could see that. He came in shape and did what he had to do.ā
Wright also recognized that his physique last year wasnāt good enough.
He knew that to be more successful, change was necessary.
āI came in a bit out of shape,ā Wright said. ā[Assistant] coach [Marshall] Cooper made us put in that work during the offseason. I also put in the hard work throughout the summer on my own. That translated to this season.ā
Wright accounts for 51% of the Golden Eaglesā total rushing yards.
The redshirt sophomoreās gaudy numbers earned him Mountain East Conference Offensive Player of the Year honors.
He credits his physical running style and mentality from family members.
āThat started from growing up and watching my brother and cousin playing football and wanting to be out there,ā Wright said. āThatās a style of running that I have to have since Iām a bit undersized. Iām not the fastest, so I have something to separate me from the rest.ā
Wright also credits what heās accomplished this season to his teammates.
āI credit this team for jelling together,ā Wright said. āWe love each other. Nobodyās jealous. Thereās no animosity towards anybody. Thatās a fun team to play with and fun people to be around. All the credit should go to the [offensive] line and quarterbacks for alleviating the box and the line getting the job done.ā
Wright and UCās run offense will have a tough matchup Saturday at 1 p.m. at University of ĀŅĀ×ÄŚÉä Stadium. The Golden Eagles are the No. 2 seed in their region and will welcome the New Haven Chargers (8-2) for a spot in the second round of the NCAA Division II playoffs.
New Havenās run defense stacks up in the top 10 nationally in rush defense, holding teams to 100 yards per game.
āItāll take what weāve been doing all season, staying together,ā Wright said. āNew Haven does have a good run defense. I donāt think theyāve seen a team like us. We got to come out, out-physical them and play our game. We donāt need to try playing their game. When all else fails, we still got the pass game. We have great receivers outside.ā
Sanders has appreciated everything Wright has given to the Golden Eagles.
āHeās so unselfish,ā Sanders said. āHe was raised the right way. Heās got wonderful parents and family. Itās special to have a guy like that.ā