Top 5 Single-Game Rushing Performances in FBS History

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon broke the NCAA Division I-A/Football Bowl Subdivision single-game rushing yardage record in the Badgers’ 59-24 blowout win over Nebraska this past Saturday. His 408-yard performance eclipsed the previous record of 406 yards that was held by former TCU Horned Frog and future Pro Football Hall of Famer Ladanian Tomlinson.

It’s hard to imagine a single player rushing for 408 yards in a single game; Gordon did so in only three quarters of work. He broke the record on a 26-yard touchdown run to close out the third quarter, and he spent the entire fourth quarter dancing and celebrating on the Badgers’ sideline. How does Gordon’s record performance stack up against the single-game rushing yardage records set in lower divisions of college football?

  • FCS: 437 yards – Maurice Hicks, North Carolina A&T
  • Division-II: 418 yards – Jarom Freeman, Southern Connecticut State
  • Division-III: 465 yards – Cartel Brooks, Heidelberg

Not to take anything away from Hicks, Freeman or Brooks, but it’s simply not fair to compare Gordon’s performance to any of theirs. He broke his record in three quarters against a one-loss Nebraska team that was ranked in the top 15 teams in college football’s highest division. Records are made to be broken, but Gordon’s will likely not be broken anytime soon. Here is a look at the top five single-game rushing performances in FBS history.

Update: Looks like we spoke too soon, as Samaje Perine did what we thought was impossible and broke Gordon’s record — rushing for 427 yards in a 44-7 rout. We’ve updated the list accordingly.

Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Steve Dykes/Getty Images

5. Troy Davis, Iowa State

Yards: 378

Year: 1996

Opponent: Missouri

Mike Powell/Getty Images

Mike Powell/Getty Images

4. Marshall Faulk, San Diego State

Yards: 386

Year: 1991

Opponent: Pacific

Brett Deering/Getty Images

Brett Deering/Getty Images

3. Tony Sands, Kansas

Yards: 396

Year: 1991

Opponent: Missouri

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

2. Ladainian Tomlinson, TCU

Yards: 406

Year: 1999

Opponent: UTEP

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

(the former) 1.  Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin 

Yards: 408

Year: 2014

Opponent: Nebraska


Brett Deering/Getty Images

(the current)1. Samje Perine, Oklahoma

Yards: 427

Year: 2014

Opponent: Kansas