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After dazzling the MAC in 2008, injuries kept Starks sidelined for two years. When he returned to the field, he helped propel the Green Bay Packers to the Super Bowl. While the nation scrambled to find out who he was and what he was capable of, Buffalo fans already knew.
Hindsight has a way of skewing memories. If you talk about the Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers season, the memories of the high-flying 15-1 2011 team flash in your head. That Packers team did not win the Super Bowl. It was the 10-6 Wildcard team that clinched a playoff birth in the season's final week that won the Super Bowl.
The team was successful, losing 6 games by a combined score of 20 points. However their downfall was a lack of run game to complement Aaron Rodgers. 5 different runners were the leading rusher for the Packers in 2010, 3 games Rodgers was the leading rusher, and only once all season did they have a 100-yard runner.
In week 13, rookie Running Back James Starks led the Packers in rushing, with 73 yards on 18 carries, but he was benched for lack of effort in practice. He finished the regular season with 101 yards on 29 carries. Barely a blip on the NFL radar, and then...
January 9, 2011: James Starks Trends After Running for 123 Yards In an Upset of the Eagles.
In Starks' first trip to Lincoln Financial Field in 2007, he made a name for himself in the MAC, gaining 109 all-purpose yards and leading the Bulls to a 42-7 win over Temple. Four years later, Starks made a name for himself nationwide, running for 123 yards and propelling the Packers to an upset victory over the Eagles.
On his first carry of the game, Starks broke a 27-yard run. On the drive he carried four times for 36 yards and caught two passes for 9 yards propelling the Packers to their first score. Starks was responsible for 45 of the 68 yards gained on the drive.
In the second quarter, Starks ran four times for 15 yards and Green Bay scored again. In the third quarter, Starks ran 5 more times for 32 yards during an 80-yard Green Bay touchdown drive. Finally, up five points in the 4th Quarter, Starks gained 30 tough yards to help Green Bay grind the clock down and secure the victory.
After the win, America wondered: Who is James Starks? Where did he come from? Would he really be good enough to get the Packers to the Super Bowl? Of course Buffalo fans knew where he was from, we knew he was good enough and we were proven right as Starks continued to perform admirably, gaining 192 yards and scoring a touchdown in the next three playoff games, and in the process, winning Super Bowl XLV.