Sometimes, the further away from an event you get, the easier it is to look at it in perspective.

And yet more than a year after COVID-19 started ravaging the North American sports world, it can still be a challenge to encapsulate a 2020 Big Ten football season unlike any that we’ll — hopefully — ever see again.

Sure, the best teams were easy to identify. But with many squads playing differing numbers of games, the usual quantifiable success stories had to be thrown out the window.

Season rushing totals are one example. In a league known for great ground-game tradition, only one back — Minnesota’s Mohamed Ibrahim — topped 1,000 yards on the ground. But if you extrapolate per-game averages across a normal 12-game season, 4 running backs would’ve hit the mark.

What’s that mean for 2021? One more data point for “normalcy,” if all goes as planned. Here are the candidates to go over the 1,000-yard echelon this fall.

Mohamed Ibrahim, Minnesota

It was cause for celebration when the man they call “Mo” in Minnesota decided to come back for another season. It would’ve been hard to blame him for trying his hand in the NFL Draft after rushing for 1,076 yards (153.7 per game) in 7 contests. P.J. Fleck would like to see another ball carrier emerge to spell Ibrahim, who carried the ball 28 times per game last season, but another B1G running back of the year performance remains within reach.

Tyler Goodson, Iowa

It helps when you have one of the nation’s toughest offensive lines blocking in front of you. But Goodson is the real deal, as evidenced by his 95 yards per game in 2020. He also showed a knack for finding the end zone with 7 touchdowns.

Master Teague III, Ohio State

When Trey Sermon transferred from Oklahoma before last season, it was said that Teague’s time would come. That time is now. After showing well when Sermon needed a breather, Teague is in line to become the bell cow. His exploits become even more magnified as Ohio State breaks in a new quarterback.

Zander Horvath, Purdue

The workhorse label often gets thrown around ad nauseum when it comes to backs of Horvath’s stature. But that’s exactly what the Boilermakers’ 5th-year senior and Indiana native is. At 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds, he draws comparisons to Purdue legend Mike Alstott for good reason. But Alstott couldn’t tear away for big gains the same way Horvath can.

Jalen Berger, Wisconsin

You can’t leave off the dudes running behind the Badgers’ perennially stout offensive line. And no offense to 10th-year senior Garret Groshek (we kid), Berger is the most explosive option. Wisconsin’s by-committee approach to toting the rock might make 1,000 yards a long shot, but Berger has the best chance at it.

Donovan Edwards, Michigan (freshman)

Edwards hasn’t played a down of college football. But he comes highly recommended. The Wolverines continue to land top-of-the-class recruits despite Jim Harbaugh’s struggles, and guys like Edwards are part of the reason Michigan brass is playing the long game with the coach. Edwards is the 247Sports composite’s No. 3 running back in the 2021 class.