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Knights Under Lights: Isiah Pacheco

In the third edition of Knights Under Lights, The Daily Targum highlights Isiah Pacheco, a NFL champion and former Rutgers football player. – Photo by Ice You

In Knights Under Lights, The Daily Targum looks at how players who distinguished themselves during their time on the Banks are currently performing in their respective professional leagues.

Isiah Pacheco played four seasons as a running back for the Rutgers football team and was named a team captain for the 2020-21 campaign. He was an iron man for the Scarlet Knights throughout his four-season career, as he started in 34 games and only missed two games.

After racking up 910 all-purpose yards as a true freshman, Pacheco cemented himself as an every-week starter. He followed his freshman season’s 551 rushing yard effort with 729 rushing yards as a sophomore and then 515 rushing yards as a junior.

In his fourth year of eligibility, Pacheco rushed for 647 yards and 5 touchdowns. He was selected to the 2021 Academic All-Big Ten team and was named an honorable mention to the All-Big Ten team.

Pacheco finished his collegiate career as one of the most prolific running backs in Rutgers history. He ranks sixth in program history with 536 carries, seventh in rushing yards with 2,442 and 11th in all-purpose yards with 3,039.

Pacheco was invited to the 2022 NFL Combine, where his 4.37 official 40-yard dash time was tied for the best time among running backs. He was selected by the Kansas City Chiefs with the 251st pick in the seventh round of the 2022 NFL Draft.

Pacheco has become a three-down back in the NFL, evidenced by his 14 starts at running back for the Chiefs (14-3, 9-3) in both the regular season and the playoffs.

As a rookie, Pacheco carried the ball 170 times for 830 yards which was good for fifth in rushing yards among first-year running backs and 25th in the NFL. His 4.9 yards per carry also ranks 15th among rushers with more than 100 attempts.

Pacheco had been a key cog in Kansas City Chiefs' offense throughout the NFL Postseason. In the postseason, he had 37 carries for 197 yards and a touchdown. He also caught six balls for 65 yards, leaving him with 262 all-purpose yards in three career playoff games.

In the January 29 AFC Conference Championship game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Pacheco rushed for 26 yards on 10 carries and caught five passes for 59 yards en route to a 23-20 victory. A crucial six-yard rush in the game’s final drive brought Kansas City within range to kick a game-winning field goal.

Pacheco continued his clutch play in Super Bowl LVII against the NFC Champion Philadelphia Eagles. He carried the ball 15 times for 76 yards on the sport’s biggest stage. Pacheco scored his first career playoff touchdown on a one-yard rush in the third quarter, kick-starting the Chiefs' comeback efforts and eventually winning 38-35.

It was a historic day for Pachecho and the Kansas City Chiefs but an equally historic day for Rutgers. Pacheco and fellow Scarlet Knights alum Michael Burton are the 25th and 26th former Rutgers players to appear in the Super Bowl and just the 17th and 18th to win. 

At the Super Bowl parade, Pacheco wore a sweatshirt with the big block Skarlet Knight R on it. Fans should look for him to continue starring in the Chiefs' backfield next season.

For more updates on the Rutgers football team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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