Running back Rueben Mayes rushed a record 357 yards to lead Washington State over Oregon, 50-41, in a Pacific-10 game today.
Mayes, a 6-foot, 208-pound junior from North Battleford, Saskatchewan, broke the NCAA record of 356 set by Eddie Lee Ivery of Georgia Tech against Air Force in 1978.
Mayes carried 39 times and scored from 2, 69 and 12 yards, increasing his season rushing total to 1,218 yards.
He said he "had no idea" he had set a record until the public address system announced it after a four-yard run with 1:12 to play.
"The last I knew of any yardage was when I had 255," he said. "Then I lost track. We knew Oregon had a good defense, and I still think it is good. But our option play was working well and that opened up things for me.
"I didn't get tired. None of us was tired. We're in good physical shape."
Oregon Coach Rich Brooks faulted his team's tackling. "Rueben Mayes had a great game," he said. "He's a fine back and made cuts at the right time, but there's still no excuse for our shoddy tackling.
"He's a helluva back, but we made him look a little bit better than he is. The funny thing is, we knew he was going to carry the ball and some of our defenses were keyed to that. But obviously, we did an awful job of executing."
"I had no idea Rueben was closing in on a record," WSU's coach, Jim Walden, said. "He got what he got (on the last series) because that's where we happened to stop.
"Really and truly, there's not one thing I can say, except that I am proud of him. It's just a proud moment for him. He's a super football player, and people are finding that out.
"That's the second week I've been in a 91-point game," Walden said. (Last week, WSU scored 35 second-half points to beat Stanford, 49-42). "Doggone, I guess I'm just going to get through this thing. We're not going to win by very much of a margin. It was a great spectator game. We didn't have to come from behind. I appreciate that."
Mayes broke the Pac-10 record of 347 yards, set by Southern Cal's Ricky Bell against the Cougars in 1976.
Oregon moved the ball consistently, but couldn't overcome a 21-6 first-quarter deficit.
Mayes, who rushed for 216 yards in last week's victory over Stanford, had 197 at halftime against the Ducks, who last week held top-ranked Washington to 109 yards offense.
Oregon managed several comebacks during the rainy afternoon. The last threat came when the Ducks closed to 47-41 on Tony Cherry's one-yard scoring run with 5:24 to play.
WSU, 2-2 in the Pac-10 and 4-4 overall, clinched it on John Traut's 39-yard field goal with 56 seconds to play.
Lew Barnes caught two touchdown passes and Cherry returned six kickoffs for 226 yards but Oregon (4-4 and 1-4) lost its fourth straight.