It comes with an asterisk, but it's a big achievement anyway: According to the NCAA, Donnel Pumphrey is now the all-time leading rusher in major college football history.
Pumphrey broke* Ron Dayne's record in the fourth quarter of his final college game, San Diego State's 34-10 win over Houston in Saturday's Las Vegas Bowl. With the Aztecs up 10, Pumphrey took a pitch to the right, juked and found a crease to turn the corner up the field for 15 yards.
Pumphrey finished the game with 19 carries for 115 yards and one touchdown, putting him eight yards ahead of the mark Dayne set at Wisconsin from 1996-99, a career that ended with a Heisman Trophy. In the NCAA record books, Pumphrey will stand at 6,405 yards; Dayne has 6,397.
There is a catch. The NCAA did not begin counting bowl statistics until 2002. When the rule change was made, it did not retroactively count pre-2002 bowl stats. Some schools have added bowl stats to their own totals, though: Dayne is listed by Wisconsin as having 7,125 yards thanks to the 728 yards he rushed for in four bowl appearances, putting him far ahead of Pumphrey's total. It is especially a strange record when Pumphrey reached the mark in a bowl game, while Dayne's aren't counted.
Dayne himself took note of the inconsistency on Twitter after Pumphrey's record-setting run.
Congratulations young man #GOAT #7125- Ron Dayne (@Ron33Dayne) December 17, 2016
With all bowl stats included, Pumphrey is actually still behind both Dayne and Tony Dorsett.
But regardless of the official record scrutiny, Pumphrey has capped a remarkable career with an impressive bowl performance against a Houston team that spent much of the season in the top 25 and entered Saturday ranked No. 3 nationally in run defense.
Houston's defense overwhelmed San Diego State early, holding Pumphrey to -1 rushing yard in the first quarter. The Aztecs adjusted, though, and ran away with the game with the help of an excellent defense that shut down Houston's ground attack. After building a 10-0 lead, Houston failed to score in the final three quarters, as Pumphrey found a groove and Ron Smith broke the game open with a 54-yard interception return touchdown.
With the win, San Diego State has finished 11-3 with the Mountain West championship in back-to-back seasons, while Houston fell to 9-4 in the first game of the Major Applewhite era after Tom Herman's departure for Texas.
It was a fitting farewell for Pumphrey, who ends his senior season with 2,133 yards and 17 touchdowns. A three-star recruit ranked No. 1,691 overall by the 247Sports composite rankings in 2013, Pumphrey began his career with 752 yards as a true freshman, then jumped to 1,867 yards as a sophomore and 1,653 yards as a junior before finishing with a 2,000-yard season. Listed at only 5-foot-9, 180 pounds, Pumphrey received 1,059 carries in his college career in a conventional, run-heavy offense, plus 99 catches for over 1,000 yards.
Before Saturday, Dayne had rushed for more yards than anyone else in FBS history. After Saturday, that's still technically true. No matter how you view the record, Pumphrey has earned his place in history and joined rare company.