Buffalo’s Patterson ties FBS record with 8 rushing TDs

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Jaret Patterson ran for eight touchdowns to tie an FBS record and became the fourth major-college football player to have a 400-yard rushing game as Buffalo beat Kent State 70-41 on Saturday.

Patterson was wearing the No. 41 jersey instead of his usual 26, an honor in the Buffalo program. The number was worn by Solomon Jackson, a defensive end for the Bulls who died of a heart-related issue in March 2016 after collapsing during an offseason workout. In 2018, coach Lance Leipold started the tradition of rotating 41 through the team on a weekly basis, giving it to a player as a reward.

“As you know when someone gets that number they get superpowers,” Patterson said. “I just wanted to represent that number really well and I think I did that today.”

Patterson matched the single-game rushing TD mark set by Illinois running back Howard Griffith on Sept. 22, 1990, against Southern Illinois. Kalen Ballage of Arizona State is the only other player to score eight touchdowns in a major college game, getting seven rushing and one receiving in 2016 against Texas Tech.

Patterson, a junior, finished with 409 yards rushing, the second-best game in FBS history and 18 yards shy of Samaje Perine’s single-game record of 427 yards for Oklahoma against Kansas on Nov. 22, 2014.

The only other 400-yard rushing games in major college football belong to Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon (408 against Nebraska in 2014) and TCU’s LaDainian Tomlinson (406 against UTEP in 1999).

Patterson is the first Division I player to rush for more than 300 yards in consecutive games since Texas star Ricky Williams did it in 1996. Patterson ran for four touchdowns and 301 yards — a school record until Saturday — in a 42-17 win last week against Bowling Green.

Against Kent State, Patterson had 36 carries and touchdowns of 3, 31, 42, 49, 1, 7, 11 and 58 yards.

“Congratulations, big fella. Incredible performance by you today. Welcome to the eight touchdown club,” Griffith said in a video posted on Twitter.

A 5-foot-9, 200-pound junior, Patterson set the previous Mid-American Conference record of six rushing touchdowns in a win last year against Bowling Green.

“It’s just amazing how he can do what he does,” Buffalo offensive lineman Kayode Awosika said.

Patterson set up Buffalo (4-0, 4-0) with a 62-yard run on his first carry of the game to the Kent State 3. He scored on the next play, and the Bulls never trailed.

“Anybody can start strong but you have to finish strong and I pride myself on when guys get tired, I get stronger as the game goes,” Patterson said.

Patterson might have been able to do even more damage, but he shares carries with Kevin Marks, who ran 16 times for 97 yards and two scores.

“We’re a duo,” Patterson said. “We push each other everyday in practice, on and off the field.”

With a school-record 70 points, the Bulls are averaging 50.8 points a game. Twice they’ve scored 42 points, their lowest-scoring efforts this season.

Kent State (3-1, 3-1) was led by Dustin Crum with 343 yards passing and three scores.

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