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Running With Ramsey

By Matt Golden
SouthernPigskin.com
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VMI's Alex Ramsey has exploded onto the scene this year, shaping up for a historically great season, in which he’s already shattered the record books.

Nine weeks into the season, in the early stages of November, the Virginia Military Institute Keydets have a shot at finishing with a winning record for the first time since 1981.

To put that in perspective, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”, and films Rocky III, and E.T. were debuted a year later in 1982. Also, Ronald Reagan held the U.S. presidency. Nearing four decades of losing football, the Keydets have found some success this season. Entering week ten, VMI has an overall record of 4-5, and a record of 3-3 in the Southern Conference. The Keydets have established the second leading scoring offense in the SoCon, and average nearly 35 points per game. The VMI offense also features the conference’s leading passer, receiver, and rusher.

The Keydets have presented a high octane offense since their season low 17-point showing in week one against Marshall. VMI has scored more than 30 points in 5 of 9 games, including a 63, 51, and 48-point performance. While many aspects of the VMI offense have clicked this season, the running game and Alex Ramsey have stood out the most.

The Salem, Virginia native has exploded onto the scene this year, shaping up for a historically great season, in which he’s already shattered the record books. On October 12th, Ramsey broke VMI’s single game touchdown and rushing touchdown record with six against conference foe Samford. His six touchdown’s tied the Southern Conference single game rushing touchdown record, as well.

Outside of his historic six touchdown outing, he’s consistently played at a level that the rest of the FCS can only hope to keep up with. Here’s a breakdown of where Ramsey ranks among the FCS and SoCon in terms of rushing and all-purpose yardage.

His production on the ground is eye popping. In the last six weeks, Ramsey has rushed for over 125 yards five times, and registered a 207 yard showing in a loss to Wofford. In that same six-week span, he tallied 15 of his 20 total touchdowns. His most impressive trait is his nose for the endzone.

The tailback’s 20 total touchdowns ranks first in the FCS, and would also lead the FBS rankings, ahead of Jonathan Taylor (19) and Chubba Hubbard (18). Ramsey has excelled during short yardage and goal line situations. 15 of Ramsey’s total touchdowns have come from inside the three-yard line, while 17 of 20 have come from inside the six-yard line.

VMI’s work horse produces when the ball is in his hands and, subsequently, the Keydets offensive outlook hasn’t limited him to only the run game. Ramsey is a great option as a pass catcher out of the back field, ranking fourth in the SoCon in terms of receptions. He has yet to hit pay dirt through the air, but has been productive nonetheless. Ramsey averages just under five receptions per game, and has posted season highs of 11 receptions and 95 yards receiving.

Ramsey has undeniably been a huge part of VMI’s turnaround season, and the x-factor in their highly ranked offense. The program has won four games in a season for the first time in 11 years. Expect the Keydets to lean on Ramsey the rest of the way as the temperature drops and the season ticks on. With three games remaining, including a nationally televised matchup versus Army, the Keydets can lock up their first winning season in 38 years with just two more wins.