By: Jay Yeomans
Published: July 2, 2018
While much of the recognition that BYU has gained on the gridiron has been because of an excellent passing attack, the Cougars have also done plenty of great things in the running game as well.
There have been plenty of 1,000-yard rushers, all-conference selections (when that was a possibility), All-Americans and even a Doak Walker winner. Many of those special backs have delivered some of the most memorable performances in school history, busting off huge runs and carrying the Cougars to big wins.
And it’s not just the running backs who have had great rushing games either. In fact, some of the most magical games on the ground by the Cougars have come from the legs of a quarterback.
Here is a look at the best-of-the-best of those games, the most impressive and unforgettable rushing days in BYU history.
10. Squally Canada, Nov. 10, 2017, vs. UNLV
Canada delivered one of the bright spots in an otherwise dismal campaign as he gashed the Rebels for 179 second-half yards as the Cougars knocked of the Rebels 31-21. All told, he finished with a career-high 213 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries to lead BYU to its third win of the season.
9. Jeff Blanc, Oct. 25, 1975, vs. Wyoming
Blance carried a dominant Cougar rushing attack as he produced his best outing in a BYU uniform in a 33-20 win over the Cowboys. He totaled 215 yards rushing on 36 carries including three first-half touchdowns in the important conference win.
8. Curtis Brown, Oct. 4, 2002, vs. Utah State
Brown had one of his best days as a Cougar as BYU registered a 35-34 come-from-behind victory of the Aggies. He came through with 217 yards rushing yards and three scores (two in the third quarter) as BYU overcame a 27-point halftime deficit to come away with the one-point win.
T-6. Curtis Brown, Oct. 29, 2005, vs. Air Force
Brown had a fourth quarter for the ages as the Cougars beat the Falcons 62-41 in the high-scoring affair. He found pay dirt four times, including three times in the fourth quarter while running for a career-high 219 yards as BYU evened its record at 4-4.
T-6. Jamaal Williams, Nov. 30, 2013, vs. Nevada
Williams had one of his most dominating days in a BYU uniform as the Cougars overcame a slow start to outlast the Wolf Pack, 28-23. The school’s all-time leading rusher averaged 14.6 yards per carry on just 15 attempts to finish the day with 219 yards. His biggest play of the day came early in the third when he busted off a 66-yard touchdown run to put BYU on the board.
5. Pete Van Valkenburg, Oct. 7, 1972, vs. Long Beach State
“Fleet Pete” had his best rushing day as a Cougar as BYU overcome an early deficit to knock off Long Beach State, 38-27. Van Valkenburg carried the ball 19 times for 247 yards, including touchdown runs of 64, 73 and 3 yards to give coach LaVell Edwards the first road win of his career.
4. Ronney Jenkins, Oct. 24, 1998, vs. San Jose State
Jenkins went beast mode from start to finish as the Cougars held on to beat the Spartans, 46-43. He carried the ball 31 times for a then BYU running back record 250 yards while punching it into the end zone four times. He also registered a receiving touchdown to tie the school record for touchdowns in a game.
3. Taysom Hill, Sept. 7, 2013, vs. Texas
Hill picked apart Longhorns defense with his legs as the Cougars demolished Texas on the ground in a 40-21 win. Despite carrying the ball just 17 times, Hill managed 259 of BYU’s 550 yards rushing and busted off touchdowns runs of 68, 20 and 26 yards.
2. Eldon Fortie, Sept. 29, 1962, vs. George Washington
Fortie ran all over George Washington, setting a school rushing record that would last 54 years, in a 13-12 loss. “The Phantom” carried the ball 20 times for 272 yards and scored touchdowns of 6 and 75 yards, but a pair of missed extra points cost the Cougars dearly in the one-point loss.
1. Jamaal Williams, Sept. 30, 2016, vs. Toledo
Williams had the best rushing day in school history, and the Cougars needed every bit of it to outlast the Rockets, 55-53, in one of the most entertaining shootouts in recent memory. He carried the ball 30 times for 286 yards and scored touchdowns of 1, 2, 14, 48 and 62 yards before Rhett Almond sealed the deal with a 19-yard field goal.