It had only been a week. Sooners running back Samaje Perine learned late in the game against Kansas that he was approaching the FBS single-game rushing record set by Melvin Gordon the Saturday before.
But rather than gunning for stats, the freshman did the unthinkable: He told his coach that he didn't want to necessarily go back in.
"You can put one of the other guys in," the first-year player said to running backs coach Cale Gundy, according to ESPN. "The record is not important."
Thank goodness greedier minds prevailed, because Perine returned to the field early in the fourth quarter after the offensive line intervened and said they wanted to be a part of history. And on the second play of the final frame, Perine took the ball and pulled off a 42-yard scamper right into the record books.
"It's still so real," Perine said. "I'm not really feeling special in any type of way. I was just looking to do what I had to do to help this team win."
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Here's a side-by-side comparison of two record-setting backs.
Player 1: 34 rushes for 427 yards (12.6 average), five touchdowns against Kansas.
Player 2: 25 rushes for 408 yards (16.3 average), four touchdowns against Nebraska.
The first is Perine. The second is Wisconsin's Gordon. The former a relatively unknown freshman on the national scene, the latter a Heisman contender considered one of the best players in college football.
How do you choose between the two?
For instance, do you give Perine the better performance simply because of his greater rushing total? But he also had nine more carries. Plus there is a pretty huge difference between playing unranked Kansas (3-8, 1-7 Big 12) then facing then-No. 16 Nebraska (8-2, 4-2 Big Ten). The Cornhuskers were actually one of the better rush defenses last year and have a tradition of stout line play, unlike the hapless Jayhawks.
Then again, one thing not mentioned on Gordon's stat line is the two first half fumbles the star junior accumulated — not that those mattered by the end of the blowout win last week.
Whichever you decide was the more impressive performance, the fact remains that college football fans have been treated to two fantastic running games in the last two weeks.
Other records broken
The true freshman didn't just break the all-time rushing record: He also set a new mark for a first-year player, hopping over San Diego State's Marshall Faulk's performance against the University of the Pacific in 1991.
The fascinating thing is that senior Keith Ford actually was the starter for Saturday's game against Kansas. But Ford had three rushes for 10 yards in Oklahoma's first series, while Perine quickly racked up turf on his way to 222 yards at the half.
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