Player Spotlight: Javonti Greene

Story posted September 24, 2011 in Sports, CommRadio by Jared Abbott

How can a team throwing for less than 70 passing yards a game win two of its first three? In the case of Eastern Michigan, the answer is Javonti Greene.

The 5-foot, 10-inch, 188 pound sophomore running back leads the Eagles’ dynamic rushing attack into Happy Valley this weekend.

The West Palm Beach native has ascended quickly through Eastern Michigan’s depth chart and is now the lead back after just 50 carries last season. Through just three games this season, Greene already has eclipsed his rushing attempts total from his freshman campaign. He has rushed 57 times this season, totaling 346 yards for an average of 6.1 yards per carry.

Despite losing to Michigan 31-3 last week, Greene was able to rush for 80 yards on the ground. In the two games prior against Howard and Alabama State, Greene rushed for 120 yards and 146 yards, respectively.

Even though Greene’s 100-yard game streak was halted at two, he still has helped Eastern Michigan dominate on the ground. The Nittany Lion defense will have its hands full trying to halt the 6th ranked rushing attack in the nation.

Coming into Saturday’s game Eastern Michigan is averaging 289.7 yards per game on the ground. The number one reason for their early success this season has been the rapid development of Greene.

After an uneventful 2010 campaign in which he rushed for 277 yards and averaged 5.5 yards per carry, Greene has found a new gear this season. The starting running back is ranked 15th in the nation in rushing yards, one place behind Temple’s Bernard Pierce and two behind Michigan’s duel-threat QB Denard Robinson.

Pierce is a very familiar opponent of the Nittany Lions, as they faced off last weekend at Lincoln Financial Field. The Nittany Lions defense held Pierce to 50 yards on 17 carries and most importantly avoided giving up the big play. Pierce’s longest run of the afternoon totaled just 13 yards.

Penn State hopes to have the same success this weekend against a smaller, quicker running back in Greene. He may be a small back, but he has a terrific motor. Greene will rely on his offensive linemen to hide him as he looks for small holes to burst through for large gains.

In the first quarter of games so far this season Greene has 118 rushing yards on 21 attempts for an average of 5.6 yards per carry. In the second quarter he is averaging just 3.0 yards per carry on 15 attempts. However, his only rushing touchdown so far this season came in the second quarter.

The second half is a completely different story for Greene. The sophomore running back is averaging 9.4 yards per carry on 10 touches in the third quarter. In the final quarter of games this year Greene has 89 yards on 11 attempts for an average of 8.1 yards per carry. Eastern Michigan will rely on Greene’s strong second half abilities to keep them in the game against a favored Penn State squad.

Saturday’s contest will be broadcasted on ESPN2 for a nationwide audience. This will give Greene his first shot to showcase his talent on a national stage.

Coming into Beaver Stadium as an underdog is no easy task, but Greene hopes he can help Eastern Michigan control the clock and take the boisterous crowd out of the game.

Greene will be featured against Penn State’s stud running back, Silas Redd. Both teams rely on their rushing attack and stout defense to win games.

Greene, who had 14 carries against Howard, 22 carries against Alabama State, and 21 carries against Michigan, will be heavily relied on this week as well. Can he carry the Eastern Michigan Eagles to an upset in Happy Valley on Saturday? The odds are against him, but a big-time performance would likely catapult Greene into the national conversation for top running backs in college football.

 

Jared Abbott is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism and psychology. To contact him, email: jda5104@psu.edu.