Talk about making up for lost time.
Patterson, a junior from Glendale, Maryland, tied the FBS record for rushing touchdowns in a game and had the second highest single-game rushing total with 409 yards and eight scores in a 70-41 victory over Kent State on Saturday.
Patterson tied former Illinois star Howard Griffith’s FBS record of eight rushing touchdowns, set against Southern Illinois in 1990.
“Obviously, he’s very special,” Buffalo coach Lance Leipold said. “Some of those big plays, it’s the patience. It’s the vision once he sees it. Today, even more so, I think there were some broken tackles for either first downs or ones that ended up being huge gains or even touchdowns. Now you start adding his speed, quickness and balance, that’s what makes him one of the best in the country.”
Leipold said he was unaware of how close Patterson was to breaking the single-game rushing yardage and touchdown records until after the game. Paterson came out of the game for the Bulls’ final two offensive snaps; tailback Kevin Marks Jr. scored on a 15-yard touchdown with 1:16 remaining.
“I didn’t even know he had eight touchdowns,” Leipold said. “I wish I would have known a little bit.”
Said Patterson: “When they took me out, they told me [about the records]. My mindset was to run out the clock, so we could get in the locker room and celebrate this win. I wasn’t really thinking, ‘Hey, I need nine.'”
In Patterson’s previous game on Nov. 17, he had 301 yards with four touchdowns in a 42-17 win at Bowling Green. His two-game rushing total of 710 yards is the most in FBS history, breaking Texas star Ricky Williams’ previous mark of 668 set in 1998. Patterson and Williams are the only players in college football history with back-to-back 300-yard rushing games.
Patterson also set an FBS mark with 12 rushing touchdowns in two games.
“It’s honestly shocking,” said Buffalo offensive tackle Kayode Awosika. “It amazes me how much he turns it up as the game goes on. As other guys get tired, he turns it up and up in intensity.”
Through only four games, Patterson is just 80 yards shy of his third straight 1,000-yard season. He became the first Buffalo freshman with more than 1,000 rushing yards in 2018 and set a school record with 1,799 yards last season.
The Bulls (4-0) play at Ohio next week.