All-Time Single-Game Rushing Leaders

All-Time Single-Game Rushing Leaders


March 14, 2019
Ron Johnson (image via 247 Sports)

Last week I posted the all-time season rushing leaders (LINK), so this week is the top 25 single-game rushing leaders.

  1. 347 – Ron Johnson (vs. Wisconsin, 1968)
  2. 313 – Tshimanga Biakabutuka (vs. Ohio State, 1995)
  3. 288 – Jon Vaughn (vs. UCLA, 1990)
  4. 270 – Ron Johnson (vs. Navy, 1967)
  5. 258 – Denard Robinson (vs. Notre Dame, 2010)
  6. 253 – Butch Woolfolk (vs. Michigan State, 1981)
  7. 235 – Tyrone Wheatley (vs. Washington, 1992)
  8. 235 – Denard Robinson (vs. Purdue, 2012)
  9. 234 – Jamie Morris (vs. Alabama, 1987)
  10. 234 – Mike Hart (vs. Illinois, 2004)
  11. 232 – Chris Perry (vs. Central Michigan, 2003)
  12. 228 – Anthony Thomas (vs. Illinois, 2000)
  13. 225 – Billy Taylor (vs. Iowa, 1969)
  14. 224 – Tyrone Wheatley (vs. Iowa, 1992)
  15. 224 – Mike Hart (vs. Michigan State, 2004)
  16. 219 – Chris Perry (vs. Michigan State, 2003)
  17. 218 – Ted Kress (vs. Michigan State, 1952)
  18. 218 – Mike Hart (vs. Michigan State, 2005)
  19. 218 – Denard Robinson (vs. Air Force, 2012)
  20. 217 – Denard Robinson (vs. Indiana, 2010)
  21. 215 – Mike Hart (vs. Eastern Michigan, 2007)
  22. 213 – Tony Boles (vs. Wake Forest, 1988)
  23. 210 – Gordon Bell (vs. Wisconsin, 1975)
  24. 210 – Jamie Morris (vs. Ohio State, 1986)
  25. 206 – Mike Hart (vs. Purdue, 2004)

I was inspired by user Lanknows to post footage of Ron Johnson’s 347-yard game:

7 comments

  1. Lanknows
    Comments: 4288
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Mar 14, 2019 at 12:55 PM

    The 347 yard game was an NCAA record at the time.

    Ron Johnson played before I was born and I didn’t know much or really anything about him. I’m sure many others already know but I found it interesting to check his wiki page and learn a few things.

    Johnson appears to be the best Michigan RB in modern history if not all time. Team MVP, Conference POY, All American, CFB HOF, NFL All Pro.

    Other things to note:

    -Detroit native
    -first African-American captain at Michigan
    -went on to have a successful career after football
    -brother was a MLB batting champion

    His NYT obituary was an interesting read:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/10/obituaries/ron-johnson-dead-giants.html

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 4288
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Mar 14, 2019 at 12:57 PM

      Found these quotes interesting:

      Johnson himself credited his ability to find an opening as his main asset: “Picking the hole is what I think I do best. It’s more instinct than anything else. You either have it or you don’t. When the play is called in the huddle I start thinking about where the hole is supposed to be.”

      Late in the 1970 season, Giants quarterback Fran Tarkenton said of Johnson: “Johnson is the best halfback in football today … period! He’s just a devastating football player.”

    • Thunder
      Comments: 2812
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Mar 14, 2019 at 7:43 PM

      I posted some footage of that game in the post above, just in case anyone missed it.

  2. 17years
    Comments: 55
    Joined: 2/6/2018
    17years
    Mar 14, 2019 at 6:57 PM

    It’s crazy that this kind of play didn’t transmit into the pros with any of them.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 2812
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Mar 14, 2019 at 7:41 PM

      Yeah, Michigan’s lack of even one star running back is somewhat befuddling. Virtually every school seems to produce a stud running back at some point, and all the blue-bloods have done it (USC several times, Ohio State with Eddie George/Ezekiel Elliott, Texas with Ricky Williams/Earl Campbell, Florida with Emmitt Smith, etc.), along with a bunch of lower-level schools, but Michigan can’t quite seem to figure it out.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 4288
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Mar 15, 2019 at 12:00 PM

      It did with Johnson! He was an all-pro with a pretty long career for a NFL RB.

  3. Avatar
    Comments: 525
    Joined: 9/13/2015
    michymich
    Mar 16, 2019 at 12:42 AM

    How about those empty stands? No wonder they made a coaching change.

    Hey LK, I did post some Speight links for ‘our’ internet bragging bet. Here is just one link. Look under the UM pro day post.

    https://www.nfldraftgeek.com/2019-nfl-draft-quarterback-rankings/

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