Michigan State Football: Can Elijah Collins reach 1,000 yards in 2020?

Elijah Collins, Michigan State football (Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images)
Elijah Collins, Michigan State football (Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images) /

Before the shortened season was announced, it looked like 1,000 yards was almost a lock for Michigan State football’s Elijah Collins.

Heading into the offseason after posting 988 yards and shortly after a new coaching staff was hired, led by Mel Tucker, it seemed like a 1,000-yard season was a lock for one Elijah Collins.

If he took over the starting job a couple of weeks into the season and proved he can break out with a competent offensive line and still almost reached 1,000 yards, it was a no-brainer that he would reach that mark in 2020.

And then COVID-19 hit.

The Big Ten cancelled spring ball and then decided to postpone the 2020 season until the spring of 2021. All hope for fall football was out the window until the Big 12, ACC and SEC showed that everything can move forward without much of a hitch with advanced testing and protocols in place to deal with student athletes who contracted the virus.

The Big Ten decided to return this fall on Oct. 24, shortening the season from the normal 12-game slate to just eight with an extra crossover to guarantee nine contests for each team.

So that would mean Collins would have to average at least 125 yards per game and probably make a bowl. If he averages 125 yards per game in the regular season, he’d hit that 1,000-yard mark after eight games, assuming he remains healthy. He could average between 100-125 and the Spartans would need to make the postseason and he could also get there.

Do I believe he will become the first Spartan running back to reach 1,000 since Jeremy Langford in 2014? Yes, and I think that it will come this season.

The main reason for that is the improved offensive line thanks to new coach Chris Kapilovic who has been considered one of the best in the business. The line will weed out the weak links and we may see a younger, more capable unit in 2020 than we saw in 2019.

And if Collins can run for 988 yards and five touchdowns behind one of the worst offensive lines in the Big Ten in 2019, don’t be shocked if he puts up monster numbers in 2020.

Fans will be pleasantly surprised with this offensive line which will lead to a more effective offense and the first 1,000-yard rusher since 2014.

Next. MSU football: Game-by-game predictions for 2020. dark