San Diego State's Donnel Pumphrey becomes all-time leading rusher
Welcome to the record book, Donnel Pumphrey.
Three weeks ago, Western Michigan's Corey Davis became the all-time FBS receiving leader. Now, the career rushing record has fallen as well.
San Diego State senior Donnel Pumphrey broke Wisconsin great Ron Dayne's mark in the fourth quarter of the Las Vegas Bowl against Houston. Dayne's record had stood since 1999, when he topped the record that Texas back Ricky Williams had set a year prior. Pumphrey passed Williams in his previous game with 110 yards in the Mountain West Championship Game.
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Pumphrey, who stands at just 5-foot-9 but gets by with quickness and a fearless nature, put the bow on a tremendous senior year with the record. He finished tied for 10th in the Heisman Trophy voting and was named a second-team AP All-American. He is also the nation's leading rusher this season, passing Texas's D'Onta Foreman early in the game. With the Longhorns not participating in a bowl, Pumphrey will finish the year atop the leaderboards barring a historic performance by someone else. He and Foreman are the only two rushers to eclipse 2,000 yards this season.
Pumphrey was a solid contributor as a true freshman in 2013, playing backup to Adam Muema. He was handed the ball 125 times that season, picking up 752 yards and eight touchdowns.
Starting as a sophomore, Pumphrey really took off in 2014. He had a remarkable 6.8 yards per carry average by rushing for 1,867 yards on 276 attempts, including 261 yards against San Jose State in the regular-season finale. That resulted in Pumphrey receiving his first of three consecutive first-team All-Mountain West honors and set him on his way to stardom.
The 2015 season proved that the one prior was no fluke, as Pumphrey came close to his previous season total with 1,653 yards, albeit on 33 more attempts. He also became much more of a factor in the passing game with 416 yards, which helped him pick up Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year honors.
Then this year, he rounded out his college career with another award for the conference's top offensive player. He made headlines for putting up 200-yard performances in two consecutive games early on, including 281 in Week 2 against California. He also broke Marshall Faulk's San Diego State rushing record in the process of the win over the Golden Bears. Those ended up being two of his four 200-yard games for the regular season, not to mention a 198-yard performance. He was named a finalist for the Doak Walker Award, given to the country's best running back.
There has been a touch of controversy about the record, as Pumphrey's totals include the four bowl games the Aztecs have participated in during his time at school, whereas Dayne's do not. That is due to bowl stats not being included in career totals until 2002.
Regardless, Pumphrey becoming the official rushing king is a great end to a tremendous career, and one that should result in his No. 19 being hung up at Qualcomm Stadium next to Faulk's soon.