Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon broke the NCAA Division I-A/Football Bowl Subdivision single-game rushing yardage record in the Badgers’ 59-24 blowout win over Nebraska this past Saturday. His 408-yard performance eclipsed the previous record of 406 yards that was held by former TCU Horned Frog and future Pro Football Hall of Famer Ladanian Tomlinson.
It’s hard to imagine a single player rushing for 408 yards in a single game; Gordon did so in only three quarters of work. He broke the record on a 26-yard touchdown run to close out the third quarter, and he spent the entire fourth quarter dancing and celebrating on the Badgers’ sideline. How does Gordon’s record performance stack up against the single-game rushing yardage records set in lower divisions of college football?
- FCS: 437 yards – Maurice Hicks, North Carolina A&T
- Division-II: 418 yards – Jarom Freeman, Southern Connecticut State
- Division-III: 465 yards – Cartel Brooks, Heidelberg
Not to take anything away from Hicks, Freeman or Brooks, but it’s simply not fair to compare Gordon’s performance to any of theirs. He broke his record in three quarters against a one-loss Nebraska team that was ranked in the top 15 teams in college football’s highest division. Records are made to be broken, but Gordon’s will likely not be broken anytime soon. Here is a look at the top five single-game rushing performances in FBS history.
Update: Looks like we spoke too soon, as Samaje Perine did what we thought was impossible and broke Gordon’s record — rushing for 427 yards in a 44-7 rout. We’ve updated the list accordingly.
5. Troy Davis, Iowa State
4. Marshall Faulk, San Diego State
3. Tony Sands, Kansas
2. Ladainian Tomlinson, TCU
(the former) 1. Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin
(the current)1. Samje Perine, Oklahoma