Friday, November 27, 1998 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Ricky Williams Breaks NCAA Rushing Record


AUSTIN, Texas - Ricky Williams of Texas became the leading rusher in Division I-A history today, breaking the record set by Tony Dorsett 22 years ago.

After moving within 11 yards of the record, Williams ripped off a 60-yard touchdown run with 1:45 left in the first quarter that gave him 6,132 yards, topping the old mark of 6,082 by Dorsett for Pittsburgh from 1973-76.

That TD gave the Longhorns a 10-0 lead over Texas A&M, and Williams finished with 259 yards on 44 carries for a career total of 6,279 yards in a 26-24 victory over the sixth-ranked Aggies.

Williams started the day needing 63 yards to break Dorsett's mark.

Dorsett, who was on the sidelines, congratulated him. Officials presented Williams with the game ball.

Williams was mobbed by his teammates on the sideline, as he pumped his fist in the air.

Williams reached the mark on his 14th carry of the game and 981st of his career, 93 fewer than Dorsett (1,074).

"I just congratulated him," Dorsett said. "We just embraced each other. I feel almost like this is my child, being able to witness something like this. This is history."

This was the last chance for Williams to break the record because bowl games do not count as part of career stats.

He gained his 29th yard on Texas' third possession of the game, breaking the school record of 1,893 yards he set last year.

Not only has Williams rushed for the most yards, he's also been the most productive runner. He came into the game averaging 6.23 yards per carry, well ahead of the Division I-A record of 6.13 set by Archie Griffin of Ohio State from 1972-75.

By breaking the marks of Dorsett and Griffin, Williams owns 12 NCAA records. Other major feats include most career touchdowns and points.

Williams had been aiming at the 1,928 yards needed to be No. 1 since announcing in January he was returning for his senior year. He began the year 37th on the all-time list.

He zoomed past the first 35, an elite group that included eight Heisman winners, in seven games. It took four more games to finish the climb.

Williams is the 14th major-college rushing leader since the NCAA began keeping statistics in 1937. Dorsett's 22-year reign, which began about six months before Williams was born, was a decade longer than any of his predecessors.

Copyright (c) 1998 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.


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