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San Diego State Football: Should Donnel Pumphrey have been an All-American over Jay Ajayi?

Donnel Pumphrey was left off of USA Today's second-team All-American in favor of Boise State's Jay Ajayi, but stats may indicate that may have been the wrong choice.

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Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

USA Today came out with its first and second-team college football All-Americans on Thursday, and there may be a selection to the second-team that will not sit well with San Diego State Aztecs fans.

There was no discrepancy in who the first-team running backs should be; Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon and Indiana’s Tevin Coleman were the only two backs in the country to go over 2,000 yards, and they have consistently been the best all season.

However, the second-team was not as cut and dry.

The voters elected to go with Boise State’s Jay Ajayi and Pittsburgh’s James Connor, leaving out one very deserving Aztecs tailback, sophomore Donnel Pumphrey.

Looking at the numbers, it’s pretty remarkable that Pumphrey did not make the team over either of these players, especially Ayaji.

For starters, Pumphrey played in one less game than Ayaji did (because of the Mountain West title game) and still had 66 more yards.

There’s more.

Ayaji carried the ball a whopping 325 times to accumulate those yards, that's even more than Gordon.

Pumphrey only needed 255 carries to reach his yardage total, the lowest of the top five rushers in the country, and the second lowest in the top 10.

That gave Pumphrey an average of 6.9 yards-per-carry, which registered at No. 9 in the nation.

Ajayi’s average came in at 5.2 yards-per-carry. While that's still solid, that did not even come in the top 50 in the country.

Next on the stat brigade comes the rushing yards-per-game, where yet again Pumphrey trumps Ajayi with an average of 146.3 compared to 129.9.

There are some stats that point in the favor of Ajayi, though.

First off, Ajayi had six more rushing touchdowns than Pumphrey, and was second in the country with 25.

Ajayi also has Pumphrey in the receiving game, which he was much more involved in than Pumphrey was and had 418 more yards than Pumphrey did.

He also added four receiving touchdowns, while Pumphrey had none.

Yet, when you look at those particular stats, it seems as if the voters penalized Pumphrey for playing in a stagnant offense with a below-average quarterback.

Based on Pumphrey’s and Ajayi’s yards-per-carry average, it’s clear who had more chances to score from up close.

That may be because the Broncos averaged 39.8 points per game this season, compared to 25.8 for SDSU.

Or maybe it’s because the Broncos had 6,449 yards of total offense this season, while SDSU had just 4,801.

It seems as if Pumphrey’s snub is much similar to players who get left off of MVP ballots in the MLB, NFL and NBA, because their team as a whole was just not good enough.

Ajayi plays in one of the most high-powered offenses in the NCAA, and his team is heading to a BCS bowl game after winning the Mountain West title.

Pumphrey plays in one of the more boring offense in the NCAA, and his team is heading to the Poinsettia Bowl after underperforming all season.

Yes, it’s a little petty to argue about a second-team All-American roster, but when you had a season like SDSU these accolades can help ease the pain, and Pumphrey got straight robbed.