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Louisiana Tech’s Jaylon Ferguson overcame scoring and reffing drama to break DI’s sack record at the Hawaii Bowl

A sketchy facemask call nullified one sack, and a scoring error briefly cost him part of another. But Ferguson got the sacks he needed to break Terrell Suggs’ career record.

NCAA Football: Hawaii Bowl-Louisiana Tech vs Hawaii Steven Erler-USA TODAY Sports

Louisiana Tech defensive end Jaylon Ferguson entered Saturday night’s Hawaii Bowl against Hawaii needing 1.5 sacks to match Terrell Suggs for the Division I career record. It doesn’t break the overall NCAA record, 56 by Marcus Martin of DII Slippery Rock.

Suggs notched 44 during a three-year career at Arizona State from 2000-02. Ferguson, a senior for the Bulldogs, had 42.5 entering this final game of his career.

Ferguson got one sack quickly enough. On a third-and-13 on the last play of the first quarter, he hauled down Hawaii QB Chevan Cordeiro.

Ferguson’s a speed guy by trade, and he showcased it on No. 1 of the night. He beat Hawaii’s left tackle cleanly and then ran across the formation to nab Cordeiro.

That was a start.

Ferguson’s next whole sack was going to break the record. He appeared to get it in the second quarter, but a ref flagged him for facemasking.

I have watched this clip a dozen times now. I don’t think Ferguson grabbed Cordeiro’s facemask here. I think he grabbed a fistful of jersey and nothing else, but I’m not certain:

The episode kicked off a bunch of bad feelings, which led to some Hawaii penalties and the Rainbow Warriors facing a first-and-40 a few moments later.

But Ferguson was still without the half sack he needed to tie Suggs. If you think the zebras cost him the record right here, that’s not a ridiculous opinion.

Ferguson appeared to tie Suggs’ record with a half-sack in the third quarter, but the official scorer initially didn’t give him credit for it.

It’s clear Ferguson and teammate Jacorion Andrews did this one together:

For several minutes, Andrews was credited with the whole sack. But the scorer later adjusted it to a split sack between the two of them, which got Ferguson to his even 44 career sacks. Tech’s social media person quickly blasted a video into the world:

That left Ferguson needing just any shred of a sack in the last quarter and change to break the record. He did it two snaps later.

The next play was a Tech interception. When the Bulldogs were back on the field, Ferguson got after Cordeiro and sacked him on the first play — a whole sack.

That’s 45, and that’s a record.

Congratulations to Mr. Ferguson.

The NCAA doesn’t count postseason stats from before 2002, meaning Suggs and others from his time and before it might be sold short in the record books. In my household, we think that’s a bad policy that doesn’t do much to achieve consistency. (For instance, we know Barry Sanders was better than the NCAA books give him credit for.)

That’s not really what this is about, though. This is about Ferguson’s incredible achievement. He’s one of the greatest college pass-rushers ever, and that’s the story here.