Jarvis proving he belongs with the nation’s elite

Jonas Fortune

College football features many great running backs this season who could be considered as the best in the nation.

Michigan’s Michael Hart.

Arkansas’ Darren McFadden.

West Virginia’s Steve Slaton.

Ohio State’s Chris Wells.

Kent State’s Eugene Jarvis?

Yes, that name belongs on that list with the nation’s top running backs. In fact, Jarvis currently sits on top of all of them as the nation’s leading rusher. And he seems to do it so effortlessly.

By the time the dust settled after a quarter of play Saturday inside Peden Stadium, Jarvis had already juked, dashed and hammered his way to 113 yards — a smooth 10.3 average yards per rush — and a touchdown. Three quarters later it became an easy 230 yards, two touchdowns and just a 7.7 average. All in a day’s work.

The career-best day shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has watched the pint-sized runner from Pittsburgh play.

So far he has run for more than 100 yards in all five games this season. He is averaging 153.8 yards a game. Do you know when the last time a Kent State running back rushed for 100 yards or more in five consecutive games?

You might have to ask your dad, or maybe even your grandpa. The year was 1966 and Don Fitzgerald ran over the first five opponents of the season.

A running back hasn’t performed as well as Jarvis has since former Flash Eric Wilkerson dominated the MAC in 1987. But Jarvis is dwarfing his numbers right now.

Currently Jarvis has 769 rushing yards on the season. That’s eight more than Heisman-hopeful Michael Hart of Michigan, who is second in the nation, and just 29 yards behind Jarvis’ total from a season ago.

Suddenly Wilkerson’s 1987 Kent State season record of 1,325 rushing yards doesn’t look to be broken: It may be shattered.

Jarvis is currently on pace to rush for 1,846 yards and 17 touchdowns this season. He could also have 29 catches for 391 yards and five receiving touchdowns if all goes to plan —numbers typically reserved for players chasing a Heisman Trophy.

According to rotoworld.com, Jarvis is currently the top-rated fantasy running back in college football.

Saturday’s two touchdowns gave Jarvis four-straight multiple touchdown games. He now has nine touchdowns overall this season, tripling last season’s output.

With a humungous offensive line in front of him, and tremendous vision and guile, Jarvis truly is putting together a masterful season that is unheard of at Kent State.

If his success continues, it won’t be long before his name is on the tips of the tongues of ESPN College football gurus Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit. It could even happen this week after Saturday’s performance.

Contact sports editor Jonas Fortune at [email protected].