Paul Perkins finishes regular season as Pac-12’s rushing leader

UCLA's Paul Perkins ran for 116 yards in a 31-10 loss to Stanford on Nov. 28, 2014.  (Will Lester/Staff)

UCLA’s Paul Perkins ran for 116 yards in a 31-10 loss to Stanford on Nov. 28, 2014. (Will Lester/Staff)

Paul Perkins wasn’t UCLA’s starting running back to start the year, but he has ended the regular season as the Pac-12’s leading rusher.

The redshirt sophomore has run for 1,381 yards in 12 games, putting him on top of the conference’s tightest rushing race in years. However, the Pac-12’s record book also factors in postseason games, including the Pac-12 Championship this Friday.

Where the league’s top backs currently stand:
Paul Perkins — 1,381 yards, 231 carries, 12 games
Devontae Booker — 1,350 yards, 266 carries, 12 games
Buck Allen — 1,337 yards, 250 carries, 12 games
Nick Wilson — 1,263 yards, 204 carries, 11 games
Royce Freeman — 1,185 yards, 209 carries, 12 games

Perkins, Booker and Allen are separated by just 44 yards, and each will have a bowl game to tack onto their total. Wilson, who missed a game in October due to injury, is only 118 yards behind Perkins and will get a shot to make up that difference when Arizona faces Oregon for the Pac-12 title. Freeman can do the same, but is likely too far behind even if Oregon makes it all the way to the national title game.

UCLA has not had a conference rushing champion since DeShaun Foster in 2001.

Perkins currently has the sixth-best single-season rushing total in UCLA history, and has a great chance to pass Gaston Green (1,405) for third. If Perkins has a career day in the bowl game, he could even top Karim Abdul-Jabbar (1,571) for second. The 5-foot-11, 198-pound back has rushed for at least 73 yards in every single game, including 80 in the Bruins’ season opener behind then-starter Jordon James.