first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on September 14, 2010 at 12:00 pm Commentscenter_img Kendall Hunter couldn’t help but feel the irritation coming on. Unable to play, he had let the pain from his busted ankle get all the way to his head. Many had started to question the Oklahoma State running back’s talents as he struggled and played through the ankle injury last season. He started only two games and ran the ball just 89 times for less than 400 yards in for the Cowboys. But the worst part for Hunter, the Big 12’s leading rusher in 2008, was frustration that he couldn’t be out on the field doing what he loves. Playing time in every game was hit or miss week to week. The waiting became too much, mentally. ‘It was a waiting process,’ Hunter said. ‘It was just one of those nagging injuries that was like, ‘OK, I’ll be back next week.’ I kept thinking that, and then the more I was out, the more frustrated I was getting.’ But this year, it’s the opposing defenses that are getting frustrated with Hunter now 100 percent healthy. The soft-spoken senior has stormed into the 2010 season with 414 yards and six touchdowns through Oklahoma State’s (2-0) first two games this season. The disappointment from last year has all but disappeared as Hunter’s rushing total currently ranks second in the country.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text Now the love has crept back in. ‘I just love the game,’ Hunter said. ‘Love to be out there having fun. Love to have the ball in my hands.’ Hunter quelled any doubts about health in OSU’s first game against Washington State (1-1) by exploding for 208 yards and three touchdowns — in the first half. He tacked on another score early in the third before being pulled from the Cowboys’ 65-17 win. The senior followed that performance with a 157-yard, two-touchdown outburst in Oklahoma State’s 41-38 win over Troy (1-1) Saturday. He also took a kick return 100 yards for an apparent score against the Trojans, but it was called back on a penalty. Offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen said it’s the 5-foot-8, 200-pound Hunter’s deceptive strength that separates him from other running backs. ‘The kid’s strong,’ he said. ‘His strength is unbelievable. He’s got good quickness. He’s got good balance. He’s got good speed. But he’s stronger than people think he is.’ Holgorsen joined the Cowboys coaching staff this season after coaching at Texas Tech and Houston for the past nine years. The Red Raiders and the Cougars have been known to throw the ball 50 times per game and use screens and short passes as their running game. But with a back like Hunter, Holgorsen said he has no issue keeping the ball on the ground. The Cowboys did go to the air 39 times against Troy, but also ran the ball on 37 plays, with Hunter getting 28 of those carries. Those numbers did come as a small surprise to Holgorsen. But he added they were somewhat reflective of his senior running back’s character. In his mind, those 28 touches were a quiet 28 touches, just like most of the things Hunter does. ‘You forget he’s there because he doesn’t ever say anything,’ Holgorsen said. ‘Even (against Troy), he didn’t rip off very many long ones. I was surprised to hear that he carried it 28 times. He was just consistently getting five to eight to five to eight to five to eight and moving the chains a lot. ‘You got a guy as reliable as that, and it makes your job as a play-caller a lot easier.’ Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy is also pleased with the way Hunter has recovered this season. The Big 12 has seen some good numbers from its running backs this season. But Hunter is on top of that group once again. ‘There are several running backs, obviously, that are playing very well,’ Gundy said in the Big 12 coaches teleconference Monday. ‘We’re proud of what Kendall’s accomplished here.’ And for Hunter, this is his way of proving himself. He said this shows he is the running back who led the conference in rushing two years ago, not the one who was frustrated with an injury last year. The statistics thus far demonstrate that to the rest of the country. But he added it’s not about the numbers or individual accolades. It’s about doing what he loves. ‘I’m just out there having fun and doing what I can to help the team win,’ Hunter said. ‘It just feels real good to be back out there having fun and playing with my teammates.’ Big Man On Campus Denard Robinson Sophomore Quarterback Michigan Last Week’s Stats: 24-for-40, 244 passing yards, 1 TD, 258 rushing yards, 2 TDs In his first start as Michigan’s quarterback, Robinson set a school record in rushing yards for a quarterback and total offense while engineering the Wolverines’ 30-10 home win over Connecticut. In his second start Saturday at Notre Dame, Robinson shattered those marks, boosting Michigan into the Top 25 for the first time this season, and may have established himself as college football’s most exciting player. Against the Fighting Irish (1-1), Robinson scored on an 87-yard touchdown run and, with the Wolverines (2-0) down by three, drove the ball down the field before sealing the 28-24 win on a two-yard touchdown run with 27 seconds left. Through two games, Robinson has compiled an unheard of 855 yards of total offense by himself. He also leads the country in rushing (running backs included) with 455 yards on the ground. He’s also pushed himself to the top of many Heisman Trophy lists with his performance thus far. Team of the Week No. 7 Oklahoma (2-0) Last Week’s Result: W, 47-17 vs. Florida State (1-1) After barely squeezing past Utah State 31-24 in Week 1, Oklahoma looked like it may be in trouble with Atlantic Coast Conference power Florida State coming to Norman, Okla. And then came the first half. The Sooners stomped on Florida State early and jumped out to a 34-7 halftime lead. The defense kept Seminole quarterback Christian Ponder in check, holding him to 11-for-28 passing, 113 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. On the other side of the ball, OU’s Landry Jones threw for 380 yards and four touchdowns to power the Sooners’ offense. Sooners head coach Bob Stoops improved his record against ranked opponents at home to 14-0 with the win. [email protected]last_img