BETHLEHEM, Pa. --- Moravian College continues its look back at the 2013-14 athletic campaign with Top 10 Stories from the past year including the No. 8 story – freshman running back Chris Negron becoming the third Greyhound in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season.
Negron completed his debut campaign with 1,052 yards on just 169 carries joining Jim Joseph '86 and Chris Jacoubs '06 as a member of the 1,000-yard club. Joseph was the first player to reach the milestone with 1,048 yards in his senior season in 1985 while Jacoubs ran for over 1,000 yards in each of his three years in a Greyhound uniform with 1,051 in 2003, a school-record 1,789 in 2004 and 1,014 in 2005.
"Moravian has been playing football for a very long time and to be just the third person in school history to rush over 1,000 is such an honor," explained Negron. "Also, I am extremely appreciative of my teammates who helped me accomplish the milestone."
When the year started, the Hounds were looking for a starting running back when preseason camp started, and Head Coach Jeff Pukszyn and his staff had brought in a number of freshmen to compete with the returning upperclassmen for the starting nod.
"The running back position was our deepest position and you could argue that it was the most talented group also," stated Coach Pukszyn. "Having said that, we expected a lot of competition among the players. All the players competed and each player got better from camp to the end of the season."
Negron earned the job out of camp but had a slow start to the season with just 29 yards on 11 attempts in the season opener at Ithaca College. Negron nearly eclipsed the century mark in the second week of the season with 96 yards on 20 carries and his first career touchdown at McDaniel College.
The next two weeks saw Negron limited again with 42 yards on seven attempts versus nationally-ranked Johns Hopkins University including 36 yards on one carry and 47 yards on 12 carries at Dickinson College.
In week five, Negron finally showed his full potential, running for 164 yards and a pair of touchdowns on just nine carries versus Ursinus College. One of his two touchdown runs was from midfield, and he also caught a 54-yard pass during the game. At the midpoint of the season, Negron stood at 378 yards on 59 carries.
"We knew Chris had the potential to be a very good running back in this conference from the first time I recruited him out of high school," commented Pukszyn. "Being a freshman, things take time. Chris started to get his feel for our offense by week five and he just kept getting better. He is a highly motivated player who practices extremely hard."
After the Hounds' bye week to rest and refresh, Negron ran for 22 yards on 12 attempts at Susquehanna University, making the 1,000-yard mark seem like a long shot as he still needed 600 yards.
When Moravian returned home to begin a three-game home stand, the new offense finally clicked, and the Hounds put 52 points on the scoreboard during a 52-42 Homecoming win over Franklin & Marshall College. Negron also had a breakout game as he ran for 218 yards, then the sixth-best game in school history, and a pair of touchdowns on 26 carries. He picked up 102 of those yards on just two carries with runs of 54 and 48 yards during the contest.
"When camp started, I was focusing on winning the battle to become the starting running back," Negron said." So I never gave thought about rushing for over 1,000 until later on in the season after we defeated Franklin & Marshall and I finished the game with 218 yards on the ground, making it 618 yards on the season with three games remaining. At that point in the season, I realized I had a chance to reach the milestone.
"The game that stands out in my mind is the game against F&M because they were highly favored in that game and one of the top powerhouses in the conference so to rush for over 200 yards against them was pretty sweet," continued Negron when recalling the game that stood out in his mind from 2013. "What made that game even sweeter was getting the first win and seeing how that one win brought the guys together."
The next week versus Gettysburg College, Negron put the 1,000-yard season within reach when he ran for 251 yards, the fourth-best game in school history, on 37 carries and he scored two more touchdowns. His long run of the contest was 29 yards; one of 10 carries of more than 20 yards by Negron last fall. In two weeks, Negron had raised his season total from 400 to 869 yards with a pair of games left to play.
"One run I look back at was a TD run against Gettysburg when I ducked under a defender before I crossed the end zone," Negron stated. "It was a move I'd never used before or even thought about using on a defender but it happened and I will never be able to forget that."
Negron closed out the home stand with 46 yards on 14 carries against Juniata College at Rocco Calvo Field sending him to the season finale with 915 yards.
In Moravian's annual rivalry game at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Negron was being limited to short yardage through the first 38 minutes of action still looking for the milestone. The Greyhounds took over at their own 10-yard line with 6:14 to play in the third quarter. Negron needed just one carry on the drive to reach 1,000 yards as he went up the middle and bounced to the right side for a 43-yard run and the milestone. He ended the game with 137 yards on 21 carries.
Negron's 1,052 yards were a freshman record in the Centennial Conference, and he garnered a spot on the Centennial All-Conference Second Team. He averaged 105.2 yards per game with four games over the century mark and a pair over 200 yards as he became just the eighth player in Centennial history to record back-to-back 200-yard games. Negron added four receptions for 61 yards, 10 kickoff returns for 181 yards and one punt return during the campaign.
Negron and his Moravian teammates are set to return to campus on August 14 to begin preseason camp.
"Chris has 10 games under his belt as a starter so we expect him to keep competing and take on more of a leadership role with the running backs," Pukszyn finished.
The Hounds will open the 2014 schedule on Saturday, September 6 when the Hounds welcome King's College to Rocco Calvo Field for a non-conference game kicking off at 1:00 p.m.
Top 10 Stories of 2013-14
#10 – Women's Basketball Leads DIII in Blocked Shots
#9 – Seven Hounds Earn All-America Honors
#8 – Negron Becomes 3rd Hound to Rush for 1,000 Yards in a Season
#7 – TBA
#6 – TBA
#5 – TBA
#4 – TBA
#3 – TBA
#2 – TBA
#1 – TBA