San Diego State running back Donnel Pumphrey is on pace to break the NCAA all-time career rushing record, but should he be?
Speaking on the Wisconsin State Journal’s “The Red Zone” podcast, current record holder Ron Dayne made the case that Pumphrey’s record would be deceiving.
“He’s gonna have (an asterisk) by his name if he breaks the record anyway,” said Dayne, who starred at Wisconsin from 1996-1999. “They didn’t use none of my bowl games.”
He makes a valid point. The NCAA began counting bowl games toward regular season and career statistical totals in 2002, but it did not go back and add bowl totals for players who played before 2002.
Dayne’s record is 6,397 yards. Pumphrey currently has 6,051 yards with two regular season games and a bowl remaining.
But what if you added Dayne’s bowl games, some of which were among the best in his career?
He rushed for 246 yards in the 1996 Copper Bowl, 36 yards in the 1998 Outback Bowl, 246 yards in the 1999 Rose Bowl and 200 yards in the 2000 Rose Bowl.
Add those totals up, and he’d be at 7,125 for his career. Pumphrey wouldn’t even be close.
Dayne also pointed out that his record isn’t the only one affected by the omission of bowl stats, and said the NCAA should reconsider.
“I think it’s just gonna be something that they’re gonna have to change or have the guy next to him,” he said. “Like for the touchdown record, Barry Sanders would probably still have that if they count his bowl games.”
That isn’t to say Dayne is taking credit away from Pumphrey or even hoping the Aztecs star falls short. He’s simply pointing out that he rushed for more yards than the NCAA gave him credit for.
“Records are made to be broken,” Dayne said. “Good luck to him, and I wish him the best.”