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Most Unbreakable Records in College Football

Brian LeighFeatured ColumnistMarch 28, 2014

Most Unbreakable Records in College Football

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    Earl Shugars/Associated Press

    In looking for the most unbreakable college football records, it is important to acknowledge the sport for what it is. The rules of the game make certain marks more beatable than others.

    Specifically, things like single-game volume numbers, which may at first seem unsurpassable, might actually be broken, thanks to college overtime. Dave Klinger's 11 touchdown passes in one game is ridiculous, but who's to say it will stay a record forever?

    The most unbreakable records belong to a different time. As the game of college football has evolved, its evolution has made certain things less possible than they used to be. Those who hold the records currently might never have to see them broken.

    Unless, of course, the sport sees even more radical changes.

     

    Note: All records courtesy of the official FBS record book. Georgia Tech's famed 222-0 win over Cumberland, for example, was not acknowledged in the record book and has thus been omitted from this list.

Most Interceptions Thrown in One Game

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    Record Holder: John Reaves, Florida

    Record Amount: Nine

     

    John Reaves is a member of the University of Florida's athletic hall of fame—and a deserving one at that. He was an All-American in 1971 and represented the Gators well in a long-tenured NFL career.

    Though his time in Gainesville is overall remembered fondly, there is, unfortunately, one moment fans and Reaves alike would love to forget: The 1969 meeting with Auburn.

    In that game, Reaves threw the ball 66 times and was intercepted nine. While a quarterback could, theoretically, have just as bad of a game in the forthcoming years, it is foolish to think his coach would not pull him after the seventh or eighth INT.

    In the Twitter age, unlike the antique bliss of 1969, a coach could not get away with hanging a QB out to dry like that. He would be skewered if he didn't pull the plug and dial up the backup.

    And thus, this will never be replicated.

Most Rushing Yards by Two Brothers in a Season

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    Ed Bailey/Associated Press

    Record Holder: Barry and Byron Sanders

    Record Amount 3,690 (1988)

     

    Good luck with this one, FBS-running back brothers.

    Barry Sanders' own record from 1988—rushing for 2,682 yards in a single season—is hard enough to beat and still stands in 2014. But he wasn't the only member of the Sanders clan to thrive that season.

    While Barry was busy posting Heisman numbers at Oklahoma State, Byron was posting an 1,000-yard season up at Northwestern. Together, the result was a total that flirted with 4,000 aggregate rushing yards.

    Which is ridiculous.

Most Consecutive Games Intercepting a Pass

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    Record Holder: Al Brosky

    Record Amount: 15 (1950-52)

     

    Starting against Iowa on Nov. 11, 1950, Al Brosky of Illinois intercepted a pass in 15 consecutive games, finally seeing his streak come to an end against Minnesota on Oct. 18, 1952.

    His 29 career interceptions are still an FBS record—though that one is actually breakable—and remarkable for having taken place over just 27 games. To wit, Brosky averaged more than one interception per game during his college football career.

    As for the 15-game streak: This would never be allowed to happen in modern football. After the first six or seven, a Brosky-type corner would become like Darrelle Revis during his prime with the New York Jets—a guy you avoid targeting at all costs.

    Fifteen will stand as an all-time record.

Fewest Combined Plays in a Game

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    Mike Leach would laugh at his former school's punt-filled performance in 1939.
    Mike Leach would laugh at his former school's punt-filled performance in 1939.Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Record Holder: Texas Tech vs. Centenary (LA)

    Record Amount: 33

     

    Obviously, this total is an anachronism. Even at the time it was ridiculous. The game, which was played in a heavy downpour in Shreveport, La., in 1939, also featured an FBS-record 77 punts—67 of which occurred on first down—and ended in a scoreless tie.

    Yuck.

    Gus Malzahn could run 33 plays in a quarter if he wanted to, and so could a number of other coaches who run uptempo schemes. As the rulebook currently stands, no one will ever come close to breaking this total. If crazy Nick Saban and Bret Bielema get their way with the 10-second run-off rule, however...

    Just kidding.

    This is still locked in stone.

     

Most Consecutive Regular-Season Shutouts

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    Horace Cort/Associated Press

    Record Holder: Tennessee

    Record Amount: 17 (1938-40)

     

    There's a reason it's called Neyland Stadium.

    In the years before and after the second World War, head coach Robert Neyland led, by far, the most successful era of Tennessee football. Between 1938 and 1940, his team held 17 consecutive regular-season opponents to zero points—a feat qualified only by a 14-0 loss to USC in the 1939 national championship game.

    For obvious reasons, such an accomplishment would not be possible in 2014. Barring rule changes that make the sport unrecognizable, it will not be possible in any future year, either. It was something unique to the era, to the teams Neyland fielded each season.

    I doubt another team will even reach 10.

Longest Punt

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    Prior to this flub in 2013, Nevada's punt team had seen better days.
    Prior to this flub in 2013, Nevada's punt team had seen better days.Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

    Record Holder: Pat Brady

    Record Amount: 99 Yards

     

    Six of eight entries on this list are records that can, but won't, be broken. This and the one that follows are literally unbreakable. At best they can only be tied.

    Pat Brady was Nevada's quarterback and punter in 1950. In October of that year, he booted a 99-yard punt from his own end zone to the 1-yard line of the Wolf Pack's opponent, Loyola Marymount. There is no way to record a longer kick.

    According to Nevada's official website, the kick travelled 70 yards in the air before taking the favorable bounce and rolling to a stop in the perfect place. We've seen our share of awesome punts the last few years, but nothing will ever surpass Brady's.

    Or, for that matter, probably ever tie it.

Most Possession Time in a Quarter

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    MARY ANN CHASTAIN/Associated Press

    Record Holder: Auburn

    Record Amount: 15:00 (2006)

     

    Auburn entered Williams-Brice Stadium ranked No. 2 in the country in 2006, tasked with beating a scrappy band of upstart Gamecocks in Steve Spurrier's second year at South Carolina.

    The Tigers led 14-10 at halftime and started the first possession of the third quarter on their own 7-yard line. In 17 plays and 8:26 of game time, they drove down the field and stalled at the South Carolina 7-yard line, scoring on a 25-yard field goal.

    Head coach Tommy Tuberville was not content with a mere seven-point lead, so he drew up an onside kick that Auburn recovered at its own 48-yard line, with 6:13 left in the quarter. It would drive on 12 plays to the South Carolina goal line and be stuffed on third down, successfully having run every single play in the frame.

    (Kenny Irons punched in a touchdown on 4th-and-goal on the first play of the fourth quarter, helping Auburn win the game, 24-17.)

Most Consecutive Victories

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    Earl Shugars/Associated Press

    Record Holder: Oklahoma

    Record Amount: 47 (1953-57)

     

    Of all the records on this list, I suppose this is the most breakable. Unlike most of the others, it is not rooted in anachronism—in the regular evolution of the game. It could theoretically be broken if the right team with the right schedule happens to come along.

    I would just be shocked if that were the case.

    Oklahoma's 47-game win streak is the football equivalent of UCLA's 88-game win streak in basketball. It spanned five seasons between 1953 and 1957, starting with a 19-14 win over rival Texas and ending with a 7-0 loss to Notre Dame in Norman.

    No other purely FBS streak since the start of the 1900s has exceeded 35 games, and none in the past 10 years has exceeded 24. As the popularity and exposure of college football goes up, so too does the cross-nation parity. How could anyone, anywhere, at any time, be expected to win 48 straight games?

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