Before last weekend, TCU legend Ladainian Tomlinson was the only FBS running back who had ever rushed for over 400 yards in a single game. His 406 yards on 43 carries in a 52-24 win over UTEP November 20, 1999 were the most an FBS running back had ever gained in a single game, breaking the previous record of 396 set by Kansas RB Tony Sands November 23, 1991.
Nearly 15 years to the day after Tomlinson set the record, Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon broke it. The junior running back carried the ball 25 times for 408 yards and four touchdowns in a win over Nebraska last weekend. Gordon’s performance was especially impressive considering his coach pulled him out of the game after just three quarters. Both the contest and record were wrapped up with Gordon’s final touchdown at the end of the third, so no one could blame Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen for giving his star running back the rest of the day off. After this weekend, Gordon probably wishes he would have played that final quarter.
That’s because his brand new record, the one that stood for nearly 15 years before he broke it last weekend, was broken this weekend by Oklahoma running back Samaje Perine who ran for 427 yards on 34 carries in a 44-7 win over Kansas.
Perine’s record, like Gordon’s before it, is made even more impressive by the fact that he didn’t play the whole game. In fact, he didn’t even start the game. Sophomore Keith Ford got the start for Sooners and gained a total of nine yards on his first three carries, forcing Oklahoma into a three-and out. Perine got his first touch of the day on the first play of the Sooners’ next possession, and promptly carried it 49 yards for a touchdown. Ford got another chance on the next Oklahoma drive, but fumbled the ball away on the second play. After that, it was pretty much all Perine.
The freshman from Pflugerville, Texas would score four more touchdowns on the day to finish with scores of 49, 33, 34, 66, and 27 yards. He broke the record on his final carry — a 42-yard scamper with over 12 minutes left in the game.
Petine nearly doubled his career-yardage total in a single game. In the first ten games of his career, Perine carried the ball 146 times for 574 yards and 10 TDs. After his eleventh, he’s sitting at 180 carries for 1,001 yards and 15 TDs.
Two weeks ago, LT was the only FBS running back who had ever run for over 400 yards in a game. Today, he’s one of three.
Hopefully Perine will be able to hold onto the record for longer than the previous record holder. We’ll find out next weekend.