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Top 5 Running Back Performances of Week 14 College Football: Kimani Vidal, Ashton Jeanty, more

Week 14 of the college football season is over. There were some gutsy running back performances in this weekend's conference championship games, with some players who've been really good all season reminding us of just how good they were.

While just four running backs ran for over 100 yards and all four are listed below, we had eight backs run for multiple touchdowns. The two who ran for more than two are all below as well, but a quick shoutout to the players with two rushing scores who missed the list: Kanye Roberts (Appalachian State), Kendall Milton (Georgia), Rashad Amos (Miami (OH)), Blake Corum (Michigan), and Keilan Robinson (Texas).

Below are the top five running back performances from Week 14 of the college football season. These are judged through a combination of statistics, fantasy scoring, and game context, with consideration also given based on the team's offensive systems. Let's take a look at this week's top performances.

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5. Lawrance Toafili - Florida State

Florida State was playing without starting quarterback Jordan Travis in the ACC Championship Game, but the Seminoles pulled out a gutsy 16-6 win over Louisville. That win wasn't enough to send the Seminoles to the College Football Playoff though, as the team was left out despite being an undefeated Power 5 champion. That hasn't happened before in the CFP era, but the Travis injury really changed the math.

I could write a lot of thoughts here about the pros and cons of the CFP's decision, but that's not the purpose of this article. We're just here to celebrate some running backs, so let's talk about Lawrance Toafili.

For the first time this season, Toafili ran for over 100 yards, finishing with 10 carries for 118 yards and a touchdown. His previous best game was against Syracuse back on Oct. 14, with Toafili running for 93 yards and a score in that one. He finishes the season second on the Florida State team in rushing yards behind Trey Benson.


4. Quinton Cooley - Liberty

With a 49-35 win in the Conference USA Championship Game, Liberty completed a 13-0 season and now winds up as the Group of Five's New Year's Six bowl team. Of course, there's plenty of controversy about that as the Flames had the weakest strength of schedule in the country, but that's a conversation for another time and place.

While a lot of the credit for the win over New Mexico State belongs to quarterback Kaidon Salter's big showing, some of the credit also needs to go to running back Quinton Cooley, who ran the ball 11 times for 71 yards and three touchdowns in the victory. He also added one catch for 12 yards.

This was the second week in a row that Cooley has found the end zone three times. The former Wake Forest back has 213 carries for 1,322 yards and 16 touchdowns this season for the Flames. He leads CUSA in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns.


3. Ashton Jeanty - Boise State

Ashton Jeanty was a common sight on this list this year, making -- I believe -- three appearances during the year thanks to three games with 150-plus rushing yards, including a pair of 200-yard games.

And here's Jeanty again after his performance in the Mountain West Conference Championship Game, a 44-20 win over UNLV. Jeanty had 21 carries for 153 yards and a touchdown in the game, plus added two receptions for 15 yards. One of those receptions saw him hold on despite taking a HUGE hit.

For the season, Jeanty has 203 carries for 1,262 yards and 14 touchdowns, plus 39 receptions for 552 yards and five touchdowns. His 1,814 scrimmage yards lead the Mountain West and he also leads the conference in rushing attempts and rushing yards. It was a really good sophomore campaign for Jeanty.


2. Dillon Johnson - Washington

Quarterback Michael Penix Jr. only threw one touchdown for the Huskies on Friday, so the team needed someone else to get them into the end zone in the 34-31 win over Oregon, a victory that completed an undefeated season for Washington and earned the team the No. 2 seed in the College Football Playoff.

That person who stepped up was running back Dillon Johnson, who put together a pretty wild stat line. He had 28 carries for 152 yards and two touchdowns and one reception for seven yards and also, uhh...was 2-for-2 passing the ball for five yards and a touchdown.

That's right. Johnson threw a four-yard touchdown pass to Germie Bernard in the second quarter:

I mean, technically it's more of a flip, but the ball went forward through the air, so it counts as a pass attempt for Johnson and adds to the impressive numbers he put up in the victory over Oregon.


1. Kimani Vidal - Troy

Kimani Vidal has been one of the best running backs in college football all season. Before the Sun Belt Conference Championship Game, Vidal had six games with over 100 rushing yards, including two games with over 200 yards. The one thing he hadn't really done was find the end zone, as he had just two games with multiple touchdown runs.

Troy leaned heavily on Vidal on Saturday's 49-23 win over Appalachian State, with Vidal toting the rock 26 times. He finished with 233 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns. That includes three fourth-quarter touchdowns that helped put the game away for the Trojans.

Vidal has 280 carries for 1,582 yards and 14 touchdowns this season, plus another 198 receiving yards and a score. He's the FBS leader in rushing attempts and the Sun Belt leader in rushing yards and scrimmage yards. Vidal's been so much fun to watch all season and will have one more chance to showcase his skill on Dec. 23 when his team plays in the Birmingham Bowl.

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