In the days leading up to the Collegiate Bowl, we will profile several of the players committed to play in the sixth annual showcase. Today’s feature is on New Mexico running back Teriyon Gipson.
When Teriyon Gipson came to New Mexico as a freshman tailback, it was immediately made clear just why he was there. At 5-foot-7, he wasn’t meant to be a power back or a bulldozer nor was he meant to stay back and help protect the passer. No, his job was to get the ball and run as fast as he could. Too simple? Maybe, but it led Gipson to becoming one of the nation’s most dangerous weapons while playing for the Lobos.
Despite limited reps as a freshman, Gipson had strong showings as an underclassman. His final game of his first year saw him register season highs in carries and yards with 10 and 76, respectively, along with his fifth touchdown of the year.
His sophomore year saw him get more carries, and in New Mexico’s first game, he had 13 of them for 72 yards and a score. But after missing the Fresno State game, Gipson would have some trouble gaining traction–that is, until the Lobos went to Air Force and he put up 87 yards against them.
The following week had him at 80 yards and a key touchdown in the Lobos’ 31-28 victory over UNLV, but his coming out party came against then-No. 16 Boise State. Gipson had always flashed his speed, but the Broncos witnessed what happened when he got the ball consistently. With a career-high 24 carries, Gipson churned out 205 yards and a hat trick of rushing touchdowns, gaining an absurd 8.5 yards per carry. Though the Lobos couldn’t come away with a win, they knew they had a remarkable weapon on their squad, and he finished his sophomore campaign with 809 yards and 8 touchdowns.
Gipson’s junior year was remarkable as well for the sheer fact that even with defenses well aware of his ability to go the distance on any play, he still produced big games. His first game came against Tulsa, where he scored two of the Lobos’ three touchdowns that day on just 9 carries.
A few weeks later versus in-state rivals New Mexico State, he rushed for 142 yards on under 20 carries and a score, the only time he would go past the century mark that season. Not for lack of trying, however, as just a few weeks later, he put up 99 yards on San Jose State with just nine carries, registering a score then as well. He even chipped in with a career-long 44-yard reception. With a steady diet of carries, Gipson rushed for 850 yards on a robust 5.78 average per carry and six touchdowns to boot.
Even with all that said, Gipson managed to surpass any and all expectations in his final year of eligibility. The signs were there when he rushed for 181 yards on eight carries against South Dakota to kick off the season, scoring two touchdowns in each of his first two games. After missing the Rutgers game, he returned with a vengeance against San Jose State, logging 11 carries and converting them into a whopping 156 yards and a score during a 48-41 win.
Two weeks later, he kept adding to his yards per carry average with 140 on fewer than ten totes, cashing one of them in for a score in the Lobos’ 45-40 win over Air Force. After a pair of games where he was limited to 84 yards and 73 yards and a score each, Gipson provided perhaps his most consistent collegiate effort with a 20-carry, 121-yard game against Nevada. Though he didn’t reach the end zone that game, his steady ability to gain yardage on the ground gave the Lobos time of possession they desperately needed in holding on for a 35-26 win. The scores would be there for Gipson a week later, as he scored two of them in a 24-21 victory at Utah State.
In their final regular season matchup, Gipson saved the best for last with a massive 217-yard output on only 13 carries, good for nearly 17 yards a run. He also managed to get into the end zone twice, and following up with a solid performance against UTSA, Gipson had himself a fine senior year.
Despite logging fewer carries than he did in his junior or sophomore season, No. 7 had 1,269 yards rushing (more than 400 above his previous season high) and 13 touchdowns (as many as he registered in his first two seasons combined). Yet is breaking down Gipson’s game into statistics too simple? Maybe. But if you blink while you try to follow him on the football field, well, that blur might be all you really need to know.
– David Chough
NFLPA Collegiate Bowl Analyst