Tennessee Volunteers running back Rajion Neal (20) is chased by North Carolina State Wolfpack safety Brandan Bishop. (30) Paul Abell-US PRESSWIRE
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Tennessee tailback Rajion Neal's preseason goal to lead the Southeastern Conference in rushing suddenly doesn't seem so unrealistic.
Five weeks into the season, Neal ranks second in the SEC in total rushing yards (460) and fourth in rushing yards per game (92.0). He has exceeded 100 yards in two straight games, including a 104-yard effort last week in a 51-44 loss to No. 5 Georgia.
That represents a remarkable turn of events.
Neal rushed for 134 yards on only 27 carries last year while alternating between running back and receiver. Tennessee averaged 2.8 yards per carry last season and compiled 1,081 yards rushing, their lowest total since 1964.
Tennessee (3-2, 0-2 SEC) has this week off before returning to action Oct. 13 at No. 20 Mississippi State.