PHILADELPHIA, PA – Former University at Buffalo standout James Starks starred for the Green Bay Packers on Sunday in their 21-16 NFL Wild Card upset over the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field.
Starks, a rookie sixth round draft pick, set a Packers rookie post-season record by rushing for a career-best 123 yards on 23 carries to lead Green Bay to victory. Starks, who was activated late in the season off of the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list, broke onto the scene in a big way with 73 yards on 18 carries in a win over San Francisco in his first NFL game.
However, the Bulls' all-time leading rusher saved his best performance for his first post-season game. On his first carry, Starks rushed for 27 yards to set up Green Bay's first touchdown and later had an eight-yard reception on the drive.
In the third quarter, Starks would add a 19-yard run on a drive that the Packers would score the eventual game-winning touchdown. He added a 12-yard run on the Packers final drive that would help leave the Eagles with less than two minutes for their final drive.
The Niagara Falls native, who finished his UB career as the school's all-time leader in both touchdowns (37) and rushing yards (3,140), had not rushed for over 100 yards in a game since the 2008 season after missing his final year at Buffalo before being drafted in the sixth round.
After the game head coach Mike McCarthy said, "James Starks is just a fine young man, a very talented young man who just hasn't played a lot of football the past two years. We had a couple of packages in the game plan today and he established the hot hand early and I rode it. I'm very proud of him individually and the way our offensive line played."
Said starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers, "the way that James Starks ran the ball tonight was maybe the most important factor in us winning….he ran great, I'm so happy for him, he's a great kid and has grown up a lot the last few weeks and he was big tonight."