Absurd college football game is one of the wildest offensive games ever

On Thursday, in a game moved up by Hurricane Florence, FCS Davidson beat Division III Guilford, 91-61. The game appeared to set both of these records:

  • Most yards of offense in an FCS game by one team (964 for Davidson; record is 876 )
  • Most rushing yards by one team in an FCS game (685 for Davidson; record is 681)

The game couldn’t broken even more (and more substantial) records. The NCAA’s director of media coordination and statistics notes that combined single-game records don’t count unless both teams play on the same level.

Because Guilford is Division III, this game isn’t eligible for these:

  • Most points in an FCS game by both teams (152 in this game; FCS and DI record is 141)
  • Most yards of offense in an FCS game by both teams (1,662; FCS record is 1,549)
  • Most rushing yards in an FCS game by both teams (1,005; FCS record is 850)

The NCAA might yet say Davidson can’t get credit for the two records atop this post, for single-game total offense and rushing yards by one team.

The most points ever scored in a game that the NCAA lists in its record book for any game is 161, set when Division II Abilene Christian beat West Texas A&M 93-68 in 2008.

It’s not clear how many games in college football history might have beaten the FBS or FCS combined scoring record but aren’t counted in the record books. The combined scoring record in an all-FBS game is 137, well less than what Davidson and Guilford put up.

(The NCAA is really weird about how it calculates records. Then, that’s not entirely the NCAA’s fault, because college football is notoriously hard to track, and putting together full, accurate statistics that go back more than a few decades would probably be impossible. There are some easy-to-address blind spots the NCAA hasn’t addressed, but in general, it’s probably best to just call this game what we know it is: utterly bonkers, rather than necessarily the highest-scoring game in Division I history.)

We can kind of get a sense for how this game went just by watching some highlights, where tacklers appear to not be doing much to stop runners.

Like, here’s a Davidson running back going directly through the Guilford line and not being touched at all on a 40-yard touchdown run:

And here’s one where a guy gets barely touched, like just a little bit:

And here’s an 84-yard touchdown pass where a tight end catches the ball with no defender within approximately 25 acres of him, even though he hasn’t gone that deep yet:

Let’s enhance that just a little bit:


Here’s a Davidson ball-carrier who had Guilford defenders at least generally in his area but who did not actually get touched by one of them as he went 75 yards to the house:

Here is Davidson’s QB, who does not appear to be all that fast, going more than 60 yards untouched on a pretty simple option keeper right up the middle:

Here is another example of a Davidson player not having his body contacted by any players on the other team, despite going right up the middle:

This is one where the Davidson player was touched, but the defender was quickly reduced to a pile of ash while the Davidson dude kept running for a long time:

This kind of thing continued to occur:

Here is another Davidson player going — and this will shock you — untouched for a long TD:

And this was our final Davidson touchdown of the night, which also involved nobody in a white jersey making bodily contact with the guy with the ball in a red jersey:

What a gorgeous defensive mess.

Guilford put up a 61 spot itself, against a team two levels above it.

That’s a hell of an impressive show by the Quakers’ offense. Division III teams have zero players on athletic scholarships, and FCS teams are allowed up to 63. You could argue that Guilford should give up, if not 91 points, at least many points to Davidson. But there’s no way Guilford ever should’ve been able to score that much against the Wildcats, so good for Guilford. (The school is in Greensboro, N.C., if you were wondering.)

Whether the game counts toward NCAA record books is somewhat immaterial. It’s one of the most extreme fireworks shows you’ll ever see in this sport, and that’s cool.

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