NCAA Football Report (Bowl Week 1)

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The bowl season is here and it means a chance for teams and players to step into the limelight without having to compete with the bigger programs.

That is especially true for the start of bowl week as the initial bowls on the schedule are full of smaller teams and smaller bowls.

It can often time be a last chance for great players caught on these small programs to show NFL scouts what they are all about.

Without the big names and the big schools taking focus all eyes for scouts are on these smaller bowls with smaller schools.

Teams and players can really step up and make a big impression in a bowl game in order to find their way to the NFL.

Other times it is just a chance for some of the best players in the game to actually come through when the lights are on.

There are countless numbers of these players who for any reason are not put into the spotlight during the season.

Most of them are just not on a team that gets to see big broadcasts and for that they are ignored.

There may be no better example of that as San Diego State running back Donnell Pumphrey this year.

Pumphrey did get some recognition through the year as he made an appearance on plenty of Heisman lists throughout the year.

It was for good reason as Pumphrey was quietly one of the best running backs in the history of the NCAA.

Most people wouldn’t even consider that though as backs like Leonard Fournette or Dalvin Cook got plenty more attention throughout the year.

Those backs were all on big programs that were regularly on TV and had plenty of ability to be talked about the entire season.

Pumphrey didn’t have that shot but while everyone was watching the other great big name backs he was putting up massive numbers.

Throughout his career, with the Aztecs, he amassed some great seasons and this week in the Las Vegas Bowl he took his spot among the top rushers in the history of the NCAA.

Pumphrey ran for 115 yards in the win for the Aztecs and those 115 yards gave him a total of 6,405 yards in his NCAA career.

That number puts him at the top of the list as Pumphrey became the leading rusher in a career.football-sidebar

He passed Ron Dayne in the bowl game as his performance was one of the top stories fo the first week of the 2016-17 bowl season.

If Pumphrey had done this at any point in time during the season it would have been a footnote after the performances of those big name backs and the big teams.

Doing it in the first week of the bowl season meant that the world of college football was watching and that Pumphrey took the headlines.

It also means that the scrutiny of the record also came down thanks to an odd NCAA rule from past years.

No bowl games prior to 2002 count towards the stats for any player in the NCAA despite there being no real reason for that.

It was simply a decision made by the league that the bowl games before that time wouldn’t count.

Any stats gained after that time though do count and so it somewhat leaves the past players at a disadvantage when it comes to records.

Pumphrey totalled 6,405 yards thanks to great regular seasons and a bowl game in every year he played at San Diego State.

That total beats all other backs but when put together with bowl stats Pumphrey sits fourth on the all-time list.

That is still impressive for the back as he is among names like Dayne, Tony Dorsett and Rickey Williams as a top-five rusher in the history of the NCAA.

Adding on these stats put Dayne as the only rusher above 7,000 yards in his career which makes Pumphrey’s record somewhat less impressive.

Still, though Pumphrey did just enter into a special group of players despite receiving little to no talk among the bigger names.

The Las Vegas Bowl was his chance to shine before he enters the NFL draft and his 115 yards and the record is sure to get some attention showing the advantage of these smaller bowls.

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