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Chart Party: Melvin Gordon broke the all-time rushing record in 3 quarters

Saturday, Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon ran for nearly a quarter-mile and busted the record for most rushing yards in NCAA FBS history. It was bonkers. To the charts!

No. 20 Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon rushed for an NCAA FBS-record 408 yards in a 59-24 win against No. 16 Nebraska. And then he sat down for the entire fourth quarter. He didn't even need an entire game.

It was an all-or-nothing sort of deal for Mr. Gordon.


Once he busted through the Nebraska secondary, he was just gone. Consider that he had:

  • one run between 10 and 19 yards
  • one run between 20 and 29 yards
  • one run between 30 and 39 yards
  • five runs of 40 yards or longer

In hindsight, that kind of makes sense, because you can't really set the all-time rushing mark in three quarters without blowing the doors off the opposing defense every 20 minutes. But we've never seen a game like this from a running back at this level of football.

A running back's performance, of course, is completely inseparable from that of his opposing defense. How much of this was Gordon cranked up to 100, and how much of it was owed to Nebraska's defense having a spectacularly cruddy day? I'm not sure, but keep in mind: Nebraska has been pretty good against the run this season.


A game like this is not supposed to happen against the 19th-best total run defense in the nation. It's supposed to happen against, say, 1999 UTEP, a mediocre team with a poor defense, which previous record-holder LaDainian Tomlinson torched for 406 yards.

So, to sweep all this up again: Melvin Gordon rushed for more FBS yards in a day than any man who has ever lived, and he did it against a run defense that had been effective, and he did it in only three quarters.

In all, Wisconsin rushed for an incredible 581 yards (versus only 46 passing yards). Let's put 'em sideways, as first suggested on Twitter by our pal Ryan Nanni.


So close. Wisconsin rushed for 1,743 feet, just 33 shy of the height of One World Trade Center.

One more note: Gordon was on pace to rush for 544 yards, had he played in the fourth quarter and kept getting the same amount of touches. That is nearly a third of a mile.