Run-BYU: Tyler Allgeier, Jamaal Williams become first former Cougars to eclipse 1,000 season rushing yards
Over the past century of BYU football, the Cougars had never produced a 1,000-yard rusher in the NFL.
On Sunday, that changed— twice.
Tyler Allgeier became the first BYU alum to rush for more than 1,000 yards in an NFL season Sunday afternoon, with fellow former Cougar star Jamaal Williams joining the prestigious club just hours later.
Allgeier — a fifth round draft selection by the Atlanta Falcons this past April — ran for 1,035 yards this season to set Atlanta’s all-time franchise rookie rushing mark just a year after breaking BYU’s single-season rushing record.
“He runs hard. You guys can see that,” Falcons veteran guard Chris Lindstrom said following Sunday’s win over Tampa Bay. “Something that you really appreciate for Tyler as an offensive lineman is the tracks and the one-cuts that he does. That’s really an art and skill and he’s excellent.”
Allgeier finished his debut campaign with 4.9 yards per carry and four total touchdowns, gradually becoming the face of the Falcons as the year progressed and leading Atlanta in ground yardage despite logging just 37.5% of the team’s carries.
“There’s a reason we drafted him,” Falcons head coach Arthur Smith said. “We had a lot of confidence when we took him out of BYU.”
Williams earned his thousandth yard in the second quarter against Green Bay Sunday night, which he then followed with a pair of end zone trips to pass hall of famer Barry Sanders for the most single season touchdowns in Detroit Lions history.
“Everybody’s happy for Jamaal,” Lions head coach Dan Campbell said Sunday evening. “The fact that he got 1,000 yards and surpassed Barry’s record, it means a lot to the offensive line and everybody involved in that run game.”
Six years after becoming BYU’s all-time leading rusher, the veteran Williams set career-highs in rushing attempts (262), yards (1,066) and touchdowns, with his 17 scores leading the league by a considerable margin.
Williams — widely known as one of the NFL’s most colorful personalities — took a serious turn in his postgame interview with NBC following Detroit’s win over the Packers, dedicating his record-setting performance to his recently deceased great-grandfather.
“I’m just grateful to do this for him,” Williams tearfully told NBC Sports. “I’m just grateful for him to be in my life and I’m grateful to be able to play football and do this for him. Lot of memories, lots of emotions happening right now, but I’m just grateful to be able to play this game for my great-grandfather and I’m glad that he’s looking down on me and I know I’m making him proud.”