Texas RB Keaontay Ingram still unsatisfied after eclipsing 100-yard mark for first time in college career

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AUSTIN — It had been 399 days and 18 games since a Longhorn running back rushed for at least 100 yards in a game.

Amazingly, the last Texas back to accomplish the feat was a guy by the name of Chris Warren III — a once-promising ball carrier for the Longhorns who was mitigated to playing tight end late in the season last year. Warren tallied 166 rushing yards and two touchdowns against lowly San Jose State during Texas’ second game of the 2017 season.

But on Saturday against Baylor — on a day when Texas honored former running back Ricky Williams for the 20th anniversary of winning the Heisman Trophy — maybe it was only fitting that a Longhorn back once again eclipsed the 100-yard mark.

Freshman Keaontay Ingram, who had shown loads of promise already prior to Saturday, ran it 19 times for 110 yards, leading the way on the ground as the No. 9 Longhorns held off Baylor, 23-17, at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. 

“To me, you know, it’s just another day in the office,” Ingram said. “My job is to run it and trust my offensive line and gap-to-gap and just play my role.”

Ingram did more than just play his role on Saturday in his first 100-yard collegiate game — he relished in it. And considering he’s already battled a few injuries just seven games into his collegiate career, he’s had to fight for it, too.

Ingram suffered a sprained MCL and bone bruise during Texas’ home-opening win over Tulsa, which forced him to miss the following week’s win over USC. He also suffered a hip pointer the next week during the win over TCU.

Since then, Ingram still hasn’t been full throttle. Texas coach Tom Herman said after Saturday’s win over Baylor that Ingram was still only operating at “90 percent.”

“He’s probably got a few things that are lingering,” Herman said, “but none that would keep him out of the game.”

They sure haven’t kept Ingram out of games the past four weeks, and he’s often been called upon in crucial moments. Take the final offensive drive in Manhattan a few weeks ago that helped seal a 19-14 win over Kansas State, or last week’s upset of then-No. 7 Oklahoma when Ingram had 86 yards on just 13 carries. 

Or take Saturday afternoon against Baylor, when Texas’ starting quarterback, Sam Ehlinger went down on the first drive of the game and the Longhorns were facing the possibility of a letdown loss after five consecutive wins. There was Ingram, just a true freshman, to help steady the running game and, thus, the Texas offense.

“It was tough (battling injuries), but I play running back. That’s my job — play with injuries,” Ingram said. “Mental and physical toughness, that’s what we preach in this program. Just going through that stuff, that’s just another obstacle I got to go over.”

Ingram, who’s averaging 6.2 yards per carry on the season, said afterward that he’s getting closer health-wise back to where he was at the start of the season.

“I’m feeling pretty good right now,” Ingram said. “I’m starting to feel like my old self.”

He also didn’t shy away from critiquing himself following the win. 

Ingram still wasn’t pleased with his performance, nor has he been all season. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound back, who hails from state 4A powerhouse Carthage High School, astoundingly gave himself an “F” when asked to grade the start to his college career.

“I feel like I could’ve did better with the opportunities I had,” Ingram said. “I need to take more advantage of it. On a couple of those runs, I feel like I could’ve had more yards, but that’s on me. I just got to get better and better every day.”

Ingram will surely get more and more opportunities as the season progresses. He and Cal graduate transfer Tre Watson are clearly the leaders in Texas’ backfield right now. 

But there’s no question Texas’ future lies with Ingram, whose shiftiness and playmaking have turned heads. Yet his self-criticism has now reminded everyone that we’re only seeing the beginning of the caliber of player Ingram could one day be.

“I can see that unsatisfaction — that drive to always push himself to be better in how he practices,” senior right guard Elijah Rodriguez said of Ingram. “He always practices super hard and pays attention to detail and strives to get better each and every day, and that’s the kind of guys you want on your team, you want contributing to your culture.”

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Source : https://sportsday.dallasnews.com/college-sports/texaslonghorns/2018/10/13/texas-rb-keaontay-ingram-still-unsatisfied-after-eclipsing-100-yard-mark-first-time-college-career