“[The team staff] came back in the fourth with the stats and said that he broken the [D2 football rushing] record, and I thought he had broken it,” Hutchinson said.
Unofficially, Lee, a senior from Capitol Heights, Md., finished the game with 442 yards, which appeared to break the previous D2 football single-game rushing mark of 418 yards set by Southern Connecticut’s Jaron Freeman.
When the final stats were released after the game, however, Lee’s rushing totals stood at 412 yards on 22 carries with three rushing touchdowns, just six yards shy of the record.
“Had I had known he was six yards short, I would’ve given him another carry at the end to make sure [he broke the record],” Hutchinson said.
Lee, however, had sensed that he was on his way to a special night.
“I didn’t really notice it until about the third quarter when I was on the sideline,” Lee said. “One of my teammates was saying that I had about 350 yards and I was like, ‘Oh, man. that’s a lot.’ I didn’t know I had that many yards.”
While Lee didn’t break the D2 record, he did set not only a Mountain East Conference for most rushing yards in a single game, he also shattered the school’s single-game record, previous held by Jerry Seymour (356 yards in a 2008 game against Concord) as well as Seymour’s school record for career rushing yards of 3,996.
“I’m just really excited about and it shows how much work I’ve put in and my teammates have put in from my freshman year to now,” Lee said.
Lee currently has 4,388 career rushing yards, which would place him 4th all-time in the former West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, from which the MEC was born out of in 2013. The 412 yards would have also set a single-game WVIAC record; Concord’s Robert Davidson ran for 403 yards against Fairmont State in 1998.
The only blemish on the night for Lee was a fumble at midfield in the third quarter with the Pioneers up 30-27.
“He was fighting for that extra yard. [WVWC defensive back Brandon Grayson] came up from behind and stripped him, punched it out of there,” Hutchinson said.
It was just a minor hiccup on the road to a historic night for Lee.
“My teammates kept me in the game, they kept my head up and they were saying ‘next play, you’ll make up for it,’” Lee said.
And, boy, did he ever make up for it.
On his very next touch, Lee took off on a 70 yard dash to the end zone to give the Pioneers a 37-27 lead with under 10 minutes left in the third.
“[The Bobcats] were right back in the game,” Hutchinson said. “He took it upon himself to make up for that fumble. He cut outside and was just gone.”
Winning the 100 meter dash at last spring’s MEC meet with a time of 10.87 seconds only emphasizes Lee’s quickness as one of his attributes.
“This is his fourth year starting at running back for us and he’s improved each year,” Hutchinson said. “He’s a guy that, when the touches the ball, he has a chance to take it the distance every time. He’s got great vision and he’s actually physical for a smaller guy. He can really scoot.”
Lee redshirted in his first year at Glenville, then rushed for 1,357 yards as a redshirt freshman in 2012, 1,407 yards in 2013 and 1,120 yards last season, earning him the WVIAC’s last Offensive Freshman of the Year in 2012 and three first-team all-conference selections (WVIAC in 2012, MEC in 2013 and 2014).
“Coming into camp, I wasn’t really one of the top guys on the depth chart,” Lee said. “It gave me time to work on my skills with the guys on the two-deep. I almost dropped my redshirt my freshman year, but I’m glad my coach made me wear my redshirt because I wasn’t ready to play at this level” in 2011.
Lee also benefits from running behind a veteran offensive line – left tackle Sal Temores, left guard Anthony Gantrell, center Jonathan Dupree, right guard Richard Sloan and right tackle Leon Hall – clearing lanes for Lee and senior Tevin Drake, who finished with 107 yards and three touchdowns for the Pioneers.
“All five of them have played a lot of ball at Glenville,” Hutchinson said. “They can made adjustments on the field. They really do a nice job together blocking for Rahmann and Tevin. You can see why they get excited to block for those guys.”
Lee certainly appreciates having that protection from a talented line which averages 304 pounds.
“A lot of them came in with me and have been playing for a long time,” Lee said. “It’s all coming together and it’s showing how close our offensive line and our rushing game can be.”
The Pioneers are off to their first 2-0 start since 1994 and will look for a big signature road win against BR-60 Charleston next week.
“We want to be there at the end,” Hutchinson said. “When you get to November, you want to play meaningful games and it’s been awhile since we’ve been able to.”
What better way for Lee to cap off a senior season than the Pioneers making their first NCAA playoff appearance since a 47-7 first round loss to New Haven in 1997?
“We want to show that we could compete with the best,” Lee said. “In the past, we’d get into close games and we’d lose by a touchdown or two. This year, our offense really wants to dominate from the beginning.”
With 49 points in a season opening shutout against Urbana and 64 points on Thursday night, it looks as though the Pioneers are dominating. And Rahmann Lee is a big part of that.