10 unbreakable college football records
Seemingly every year there is a record that is threatened, or occasionally broken in college football.
Two years ago, it was Melvin Gordon’s 408-yard rushing performance for Wisconsin against Nebraska that only lasted a week before Oklahoma’s Samaje Perine went for 427 yards against Kansas.
Last year, Georgia quarterback Greyson Lambert set the NCAA record for completion percentage in a game by completing 24 of 25 passes (96 percent) for a career-high 330 yards and three touchdowns in a 52-20 win over South Carolina.
Which college football records are the safest as we look to 2016?
Here are 10 unbreakable ones:
Margin of victory, single game (222 points)
Who holds it: No. 1 Georgia Tech beat Cumberland Gap (Tenn.) 222-0 in 1916
Why it’s unbreakable: Despite the rising scoring averages, this margin won’t happen again. It was reported that Tech coach John Heisman kept the scoring onslaught because of a baseball loss the previous spring 22-0. The game almost didn’t happen at all after Cumberland Gap decided to not have a team that season, but there was a contract with a $3,000 cancellation fee. Instead, Cumberland Gap played for a $500 guarantee with only 13 players. There was one concession, though. The second half was shortened to 15 minutes.
Longest winning streak (47 games)
Who holds it: Oklahoma, 1953-57
Why it’s unbreakable: Bud Wilkinson’s team won two national championships in this period, and the streak is a feat only a few teams have hardly gotten a little past halfway since. USC and Miami each had 30-game winning streaks, while Florida State and Jameis Winton had 29 before a loss to Oregon in the first College Football Playoff semifinal. During Oklahoma’s streak, the Sooners outscored opponents an average of 34-6 per game. They held opponents to single digits in 35 games, and had 22 shutouts.
Interceptions thrown, single game (9)
Who holds it: John Reaves, Florida, 1969
Why it’s unbreakable: Most teams these days have a capable backup who would come in if things got out of hand with even four or five interceptions. Florida finished 9-1-1 that season and Reaves still had more TDs than interceptions 24-19. Despite that performance at Auburn when he passed 66 times, he went on to become a first-round draft pick for Philadelphia. Reaves led the SEC in passing yards and attempts in his three seasons at Florida, but also is second in SEC history with 59 interceptions.
Most seasons rushing for 1,500 yards (3)
Who holds it: Pitt’s Tony Dorsett (1973, 1975, 1976), Georgia’s Herschel Walker (1980-82), Miami of Ohio’s Travis Prentice (1997-99), Northern Illinois’ Garrett Wolfe (2004-2006), Oregon’s LaMichael James (2009-11)
Why it’s unbreakable: Given modern offenses, running back depth and the fact that it’s only happened once in the past decade, it’s difficult to see a running back staying for three or four years and not leaving to take that yardage to the NFL.
Rushing yards, career (7,125)
Who holds it: Wisconsin’s Ron Dayne, 1996-99
Why it’s unbreakable: Along the same thinking as running backs amassing 1,500 yards in three consecutive seasons, any back today who is on pace to break this will likely leave for the NFL after three seasons. Dayne won the 1999 Heisman Trophy, and topped 2,000 yards twice to finish with 1,220 carries. Even without injury, finding a backfield with a feature back for that long is a product of a past eras.
Passing yards, single game (734)
Who holds it: Connor Halliday, Washington State, 2014
Why it’s unbreakable: The previous record held by David Klinger of Houston (set in Tokyo) lasted for 24 years before Halliday’s record-breaking performance, which included six touchdowns. That yardage not only broke the FBS record, but also eclipsed the Division I mark held by Old Dominion’s Taylor Heinicke, which was 730. The record was broken on a would-be game-winning drive against Cal. But a 19-yard field goal attempt sailed wide, and Washington State fell 60-59. Halliday and Cal quarterback Jared Goff combined for 1,261 passing yards and 11 TDs.
Sacks, single season (27)
Who holds it: Derrick Thomas, Alabama, 1988
Why it’s unbreakable: The NCAA didn’t include defensive stats officially until 2000, but, for perspective, the national leader in sacks the past eight seasons hasn’t cracked 20. Thomas was a unanimous All-America selection and won the Butkus Award in 1988. He’s a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and Pro Football Hall of Fame. The 27 sacks were for a total loss of 204 yards, and it came after a junior season when he had 18 sacks. He was the defensive captain for the 1988 team and was part of Alabama’s Team of the Century and Defensive Player of the Decade of the 1980s. He still holds the SEC’s career record with 52.0 sacks.
Receiving yards, career (5,005)
Who holds it: Trevor Insley, Nevada, 1996-99
Why it’s unbreakable: Insley became the first receiver in NCAA history surpass 2,000 receiving yards in a season. After he had 36 catches as a freshman, Insley then nearly doubled that output with 59 receptions as a sophomore, 69 as a junior and an eye-popping 134 as a senior. A 1999 All-America selection by the Associated Press, he was three receptions short of breaking Jerry Rice’s all-divisions NCAA career receptions record.
Total offense, single game (1,021)
Who holds it: Houston, 1989
Why it’s unbreakable: One of the most memorable performances in the Astrodome, QB Andre Ware only played the first half in the 95-21 Southwest Conference drubbing of Southern Methodist. He passed for 517 yards, an NCAA record for a half. The junior quarterback completed 25 of 41 passes for 517 yards and six touchdowns. A single-quarter record five touchdowns were worth another single-quarter record 340 yards in the second quarter, when Houston scored 35 points and led 59-14 at halftime. It was lopsided because SMU was on its first season since the death penalty recruiting violation penalties. Houston Coach Jack Pardee did his best to keep it closer, not only by pulling Ware at the half, but the starting defense came out in the first quarter and Houston used three walk-on receivers. But 17 of SMU’s 22 starters were freshmen. Though the outcome wasn’t a total surprise — the pregame point spread was 59.5.
Touchdown responsibility (178; 155 pass, 23 rush)
Who holds it: Case Keenum, Houston, 2007-11
Why it’s unbreakable: If there’s a theme to the offensive records in the NCAA record book, it’s Houston quarterbacks. Keenum is the latest example as he blew past Hawaii’s Timmy Chang with 19,217 total yards. Keenum’s best season was in 2011 when he completed 71 percent of passes for 5,631 yards, 48 touchdowns and five interceptions. But before an injury-shortened 2010, he completed 70 percent of passes in 2009 for 5,671 yards, 44 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. The combination of that many attempts over four seasons, and recovering from injury to have your best season is difficult to see happening twice.