PROVO — Who would you take if the game depended upon it, Jamaal Williams or Harvey Unga?

Statistically, they are the top two rushers in BYU football history.

This is the pair you get to choose from. Not Doak Walker award-winner Luke Staley, one of the most prolific single-season rushers and scorers in school history. Not barreling Curtis Brown or long strider Jamal Willis. Not Pete Van Valkenburg, the NCAA rushing leader in 1972 despite nose-bashing programs like Oklahoma, USC and Ohio State, and not Eldon Forte, The Phantom, a remarkable star in the ’60s.

You have one must-win game and you must have a clutch runner.

This is a tough one because even Jackson Unga, father of Harvey, says his favorite ball carrier at BYU was Staley. All these players played on teams in different eras with myriad supporting casts.

Who was the better player at BYU, Danny Ainge or Jimmer Fredette?
Looking back: ‘Mangum’s Miracle’ at Memorial Stadium was one for the books but also bittersweet

Williams, nicknamed Swagdaddy, is BYU’s all-time rushing leader and current Green Bay Packer. He set BYU’s career record in 2016 when he finished with 3,901 yards and 35 touchdowns for an average of 5.4 yards per carry.

Unga broke the 2006 record of Curtis Brown in 2009 when he gained 3,455 yards and scored 30 touchdowns for an average 5 yards per tote.

There is a difference of 446 yards between the two.

Williams was an explosive, hard-running back with speed who ran and worked with great passion. His best game was a whopping 287-yard effort in a 55-53 win over Toledo, a school record.

Unga was 20 pounds bigger and a little shorter than Williams. While not as fast, he was stronger and a better-utilized target out of the backfield.

Williams had breakaway speed, but Unga was no slouch. Williams had that record-setting game and was impressive in a win at Michigan State. But Unga was a consistent workhorse who could produce a 100-yard game almost every time he played.

Williams took off a year during his career. Unga never played his senior season and was chosen in the supplemental draft the summer of 2010 when he withdrew from school for personal reasons. So, in essence, Williams had an extra year.

Unga was just named as running back coach at BYU, replacing AJ Steward, who left for Arizona. Unga had worked as a loyal graduate assistant coach. Williams is one of the most popular players on the Packers’ roster, known for his dance moves in warmups and connecting with fans.

Unga’s body pancake over a tackler for an 11-yard touchdown run helped seal a BYU win over the Utes at LaVell Edwards Stadium in 2007 on the Max Hall to Austin Collie fourth-and-18 drive. He had 143 yards on 23 carries.

Unga scored a touchdown in BYU’s last win over Utah in 2009, a 26-23 overtime affair. In that game he had 116 yards on 23 carries.

Williams never experienced a win over Utah, but he had 219 yards against Nevada in 2013, 183 yards against Texas, and 148 against Virginia in 2013.

Williams had a tremendous impact on his teammates because he was spirited and always emotionally plugged into the game and practices. In his own way, he was a leader because of the effort he gave on every down and series.

During Williams’ senior year, in a game at Boise State, he suited up but did not play by his own choice because he had been battling a sore ankle. On that night, Ty Detmer and Taysom Hill could have really used Williams in the lineup, a game the Cougars lost 28-27. Williams had been averaging almost 6 yards a carry that season and could have played, but his position coach, Reno Mahe, advised against it.

“He wanted to play and would have played,” said Mahe.

Unga dislocated his hip his true freshman year in a loss against Boston College. He only had four carries that season and was awarded a medical redshirt to repeat the season. He was behind Curtis Brown at the time. For the rest of his career, Unga nursed that hip, which a doctor told his family after the Boston College game looked like he’d been in a car wreck and needed surgery. A week after the injury, after his father prayed and blessed him, a reexamination showed surgery was not needed.

These are your candidates. They rank No. 1 and No. 2 in career rushing. 

Williams not only holds the school career rushing record, but single-game scoring mark (30 points, tied) and number of TDs (5, tied) during that Toledo game. 

Unga, with one less season, holds BYU’s career rushing attempts mark at 696, displaying his endurance. He also has the most consecutive seasons of rushing more than 1,000 yards with three. If Unga had played the fourth season, there is little doubt he would have made it four.

Who would you choose?