Name: Zach Smith
Position: Running Back
Hometown: Kissimmee, Florida
High School: Gateway HS
WSU football running back Zach Smith is this week’s Signpost Student-Athlete of the Week after rushing for a career-high 156 yards and a touchdown on 16 attempts in the Wildcats’ homecoming loss to Cal Poly.
“I criticize myself really, really hard. I mean, we lost the game so obviously I didn’t play well enough for our team to come out with the ‘W,’” Smith said. “And I feel if I think like that, there’s no way to get worse, you only get better and better week in and week out.”
Smith’s 156-yard performance was the fourth time this season he has rushed for 125 or more yards. The majority of his yardage came on a 70-yard touchdown run that came late in the second quarter. On first-and-10 at the Wildcats’ 30-yard line, Smith rushed up the middle of the field and broke to his left, where it appeared he was brought down by three Mustangs defenders. Smith managed to instead roll over the top of the three Mustangs and land on his feet, where he was able to then run down the left sideline untouched for the score.
“We ran a counter, I hit the lane pretty well and I pretty much had one guy to beat,” Smith said. “He made the tackle but somehow I landed on his stomach, and I knew from the point that he hit me to the point where I was actually back up on my feet, that neither my knees or any other part of my body touched the ground, so I just took off. Honestly I was waiting for the whistle to blow and call the play dead, but I never heard one so I just kept running.”
The 70-yard run was a new career-long for Smith, eclipsing his 60-yard touchdown run against Arizona State earlier this year.
Smith is currently second in the Big Sky Conference, averaging 102.2 yards rushing per game, and is one of three players in the conference to average at least 100 yards per game. He is currently on pace to rush for over 1,200 yards this year, which would make him the first Wildcat to rush for 1,000 or more yards since Trevyn Smith in 2009.
Smith and the Wildcats (0-6, 0-2 conference) will be on the road this weekend, as they head to Bozeman, Montana to play against the Montana State Bobcats (5-2, 3-0 conference).
“I think if the running backs and the offensive line watch enough film, and really understand (Montana State’s) blitzing schemes, and then the defense does what they do like they did last week, then we have a real shot at winning this game,” Smith said.