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Donnel Pumphrey now #3 all-time NCAA rusher, now trailing Foreman for season lead

Just 271 yards will allow Donnel Pumphrey to clinch Ron Dayne’s No. 1 all-time record.

“Sometimes you gotta hit ‘em with speed.”
Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

On Saturday afternoon in Laramie, Wyoming, the Aztecs were outplayed 33-34 in a nail-biter against Mountain West dark horse, University of Wyoming. The game came down to a gutsy yet ill-fated decision for SDSU to go for a two-point conversion with zero seconds at the end of the fourth quarter in an all-or-nothing drive to win or lose- instead of a near certain tie to go into overtime.

Many were impressed with Rocky Long’s serious guts at the end of the game, considering how much was on the line. Others called it an unnecessary gamble. Nevertheless, a failure to convert cost the Aztecs an FBS leading 17-game conference win streak, the possibility of two completed undefeated seasons in the Mountain West, and a potential Cotton Bowl appearance.

The win for Wyoming decreased odds for Boise State to clinch the Mountain Division, and another another Wyoming-SDSU match may be imminent. The Aztecs will probably not make the Cotton Bowl, but a consolation Pac-12 opponent in the Vegas Bowl is likely. One more victory against a Pac-12 opponent could boost San Diego State’s program.

Donnel Pumphrey was contained by the Cowboys, and held to a season low 76 yards. Viewers collectively noted that Pumphrey appeared heavily affected by the high 7,200’ altitude. He could be seen on the sidelines, with trainers, dealing with cramping. During play he was not his explosive self.

Nonetheless, he drove past Tony Dorsett, and now Donnel needs just 153 yards to pass #2 all time rusher Ricky Williams and 271 for #1 all time rusher Ron Dayne's record.

Until this past weekend, Pumphrey led the NCAA in rushing yardage, but after being held to 76 on Saturday, D’Onta Foreman, of Texas, who was given 51 carries (you read that right, fifty-one) for 250 yards managed to move a mere 8 yards ahead (1863) of Pumphrey (1855). Hopefully, Pumphrey will snap back next week.

Here is where the remaining all-time rushing leaders stand:

Rank Player Team (seasons) Total rushing yards

1 Ron Dayne, Wisconsin (1996–1999) 6,397

2 Ricky Williams, Texas (1995–1998) 6,279

3 Donnel Pumphrey, San Diego State (2013–) 6,127

Pumphrey is now within 14 yards of the SDSU single-season rushing record (1,867 yards) he set in 2014.

He is also 145 yards away from becoming the 27th player in NCAA history to gain 2,000 yards in a season.

San Diego State looks forward to one more regular season game against Colorado State. As the West Division champs, the Aztecs will appear in the Mountain West Championship, and will also appear in a yet-to-be-announced bowl game.

Stay tuned for additional updates.