With Andrew Luck hogging all of the headlines in Palo Alto the past three years, running back Stepfan Taylor has gone virtually unnoticed. College football fans will probably learn Taylor's name this year, though, because he's about to rewrite the Stanford record book.
Career rushing yards
Record holder: 4,033, Darrin Nelson (1977-78, 80-81)
Record chaser: 2,770, Stepfan Taylor
The fact that few people outside of Pac-12 country know Taylor's name is almost a crime. And when we say crime, we're talking third-degree felony, not a wimpy misdemeanor. Taylor's been the unheralded star of the Stanford backfield for the past two seasons. The senior rushed for over 1,000 yards in both 2010 and 2011 and with a new QB under center for the Cardinal this season, it’s almost a guarantee that he’ll top 1,000 yards again in 2012. Taylor, a senior, needs 1,264 yards to break Nelson’s record. Taylor ran for 1,137 yards as a sophomore in 2010, and he topped that in 2011 with 1,330 yards.
Career 100-yard rushing games
Record holder: 20, Toby Gerhart (2006-09)
Record chaser: 13, Stepfan Taylor
If Taylor’s going to break this record, he’s going to have to do something he’s never done before: rush for 100 yards eight times in one season. Taylor broke the 100-yard barrier seven times in 2010 and six times in 2011, so eight isn’t impossible. If Taylor doesn’t break the record though, it’s because fate and Pac-12 statisticians are against him. Twice in his career Taylor has ended a game 1-yard shy of 100.
Career rushing attempts
Record holder: 703, Darrin Nelson (1977-78, 80-81)
Record chaser: 521, Stepfan Taylor
If you need to know how valuable Taylor is to Stanford, consider this: even with Andrew Luck as their quarterback, former Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh and current coach David Shaw still liked to give him the ball. Under Harbaugh in 2010, Taylor carried the ball 223 times, which is the sixth highest single-season total in school history. Under Shaw last year, Taylor had his number called 242 times, the third-highest single-season total in school history. Taylor only needs 183 carries to break Nelson’s record, and with the way Shaw likes to use him, Taylor could have it by the second quarter of Week 2. OK, maybe not that early, but his name should be at the top of the record book by the end of the season.
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