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Anthony Chiusano | | December 10, 2022

7 of the most unbreakable records in FCS football history

North Dakota State's football dynasty

Records are meant to be broken. But the ones below may last a while.

We scanned all 92 pages of the official NCAA Football Championship Subdivision record book for the most impressive single-game and single-season milestones. Upon review, here are seven of the most unbreakable (we think) records in FCS football history.

NCAA RECORDS: 16 of college sports' most unbreakable records

Arnold Mickens' 8 straight 200-yard rushing games | 1994

Former Butler running back Arnold Mickens (1994-95) has his name littered across the FCS record book for his extraordinary two-year run with the Bulldogs. Among Mickens' FCS single-season and career records are: single-game carries (56), most consecutive carries by the same player (26) and career rushing yards per game (190.7). 

But Mickens' most unbreakable record might be his streak of eight consecutive games with at least 200 yards rushing in 1994. The run started with a 218-yard, three-touchdown day against Xavier and was bookended by a 244-yard, three-score performance against Evansville. In between, Mickens had a school-record 295-yard outing on 56 carries against Valparaiso.

Here are Mickens' game-by-game stats from that dominating eight-week span:

Xavier 218 3
Georgetown 233 0
UW-Stevens Point 288 3
Drake 293 3
Valparaiso 295 2
Dayton 203 2
San Diego 263 2
Evansville 244 3

Mickens' eight 200+-yard games also represent the single-season record in FCS history. The career record is 13, owned by Sacramento State's Charles Roberts (1997-2000).

FCS HISTORY: Counting down the 9 winningest FCS schools in college football history

Jeremy Moses' 85 passing attempts in a single game | Nov. 1, 2008

Even with today's pass-heavy offenses, it'll be hard to surpass Stephen F. Austin's Jeremy Moses' 85 passing attempts against Sam Houston State back on Nov. 1, 2008.

To make his busy day more unbelievable, Moses threw each of those passes in just four quarters of play — no overtime needed. SHSU defeated SFA 34-31 in the game that saw 961 combined yards of offense. In addition to most pass attempts, Moses also set new FCS records that day in passes completed (57) and most plays rushing and passing (93).

Moses' final stat line in the loss: 57-of-85 passing with 449 yards and two touchdowns. He finished 2008 with a whopping 598 pass attempts, an FCS single-season record.

Behind Moses on this list is former Old Dominion gunslinger Taylor Heinicke, who dropped back for 79 passes on Sept. 22, 2012 against New Hampshire. Here are the single-game attempts record holders in each level of football, for further context:

NFL Drew Bledsoe, Patriots 70 Vikings Nov. 13, 1994
FBS Connor Halliday, Washington State 89 Oregon Oct. 19, 2013
FCS Jeremy Moses, Stephen F. Austin 85 Sam Houston State Nov. 1, 2008
DII J.J. Harp, Eastern N.M. 94 Southeastern Oklahoma Sept. 12, 2009
DIII Foote McCallum, Middlebury 84 Amherst Oct. 5, 2013

Quinn Epperly's 29 consecutive passing completions to start a game | Nov. 2, 2013

Moving on from pure quantity to amazing accuracy, Princeton quarterback Quinn Epperly got off to a tremendous start against Cornell in 2013, completing each of his first 29 passing attempts. That stands as the record for most consecutive completions at any point in a single game.

Epperly finished the game 32-of-35 for a 91.4 completion percentage — best in FCS history with a minimum of 30 attempts — with 325 yards, three passing touchdowns and three rushing scores. Princeton won the Ivy League matchup 53-20.

The then-junior finished a perfect first half 18-of-18 and rattled off 11 more to start the second half before finally missing his target. His 29 straight completions were one better than previous record-holder Richie Williams of Appalachian State (28 in 2004).

Epperly finished his Princeton career as one of the most accurate passers in school history, with the second-highest completion percentage (62 percent) and the best interception rate (1.6 percent). 

FCS HISTORY: Schools with the most FCS championships | Complete FCS championship history

Portland State's 105 points scored in a single game | Nov. 8, 1980

The Portland State Vikings had a game to remember in 1980, defeating Delaware State 105-0. It's not quite Georgia Tech's 222-0 blowout against Cumberland in 1916, but it's a mind-boggling total nonetheless.

Portland State scored all 105 points on 15 touchdowns. As you might expect, the point total wasn't the only record broken that day. Here are some additional FCS milestones that were set:

  • Most touchdown passes in a quarter: 7 (Neil Lomax)
  • Most touchdown passes in a half: 7 (Lomax)
  • Most touchdowns responsible for (single game): 9 (Lomax)
  • Most touchdowns scored: 15
  • Most touchdowns scored by rushing and passing: 14
  • Most extra points made (single game): 15 (John Kincheloe)
  • Most points scored in a first quarter: 49
  • Most points scored in a third quarter: 35
  • Most forced fumbles (single game): 16 (six recovered)

Portland State has not only been involved in the biggest FCS blowout, but also the highest-scoring game in FCS history. Twenty-seven years after its 105-point rout, PSU was on the short end of a 73-68 loss to Weber State in 2007. Its 68 points is the most scored by a losing team and the 141 total points still stand as the most combined points in a single FCS game.

ABSURD SCORES: The highest scoring college football games across FBS, FCS, DII and DIII

Montana's 39 fourth-quarter points to win a game | Sept. 4, 1993

Montana trailed South Dakota State 38-13 entering the fourth quarter on Sept. 4, 1993. The Grizzlies won the game 52-48.

Montana's 39 fourth-quarter points are the most ever scored in a comeback win. The historic rally was punctuated by sophomore Dave Dickenson's go-ahead 42-yard touchdown pass to Scott Gurnsey with 21 seconds left in the game on a fourth-and-one play. Dickenson finished with four touchdowns and 401 passing yards in his first-ever collegiate start.

Here's a snapshot of how the Grizzlies' late scoring outburst, thanks to a box score from a Sept. 5, 1993 article by The Montana Standard:

Nicholls' 13-point margin of victory — in overtime | Oct. 26, 1996

In college football, each overtime period is a two-possession series with each team playing one possession on offense and one on defense, starting at the 25-yard line. If both teams score or fail to score in a period, the game continues with another round of possessions. After two overtime periods, each team is forced to attempt a two-point conversion on any touchdown.

For this reason, most overtime games logically end as one-possession games. One defensive stop with the lead, and the game ends right there. But Nicholls and Texas State somehow broke the mold in 1996.

Nicholls won the rivalry game 49-36 in five overtimes. After a Terrence Spears 1-yard touchdown run to give Nicholls a 43-36 lead on the front end of the fifth extra period, Quincy Sorrell picked off a Texas State pass on the second play of the ensuing possession, returning it 82 yards the other way to clinch the win. The final six points were just a cherry on top.

A 13-point winning margin in overtime could conceivably be topped, however unlikely. In order to achieve this feat, the winning team would need to score a touchdown to start an overtime period, successfully convert a two-point try, then force a turnover on defense and opt to return it for an essentially unnecessary touchdown. A not-so-simple recipe for a most unconventional 14-point victory. 

KNOW THE RULES: How college football overtime works

James Madison's 1 punt return allowed in 2012

James Madison punted just 34 times in 2012. Impressive. Even more astounding? The Dukes allowed just one of those punts to be returned.

On Oct. 6, 2012, Towson's Leon Kinnard fielded a David Skahn punt at his own 29-yard line and returned it for three yards. That would be the only punt return yardage recorded in 11 games against JMU.

For reference, Davidson and Samford each allowed a nation-best four punt returns in 2018. Harvard, in 2014, has come the closest this decade to matching 2012 James Madison with just two punt returns allowed in 10 games.

Believe it or not, James Madison's three punt return yards allowed is not a single-season record. In 2016, North Dakota State gave up zero punt return yards in just three total attempts. That record, by definition, is truly unbreakable.

Butler men's basketball upsets No. 13 Xavier

Butler defeated No. 13 Xavier, 69-67 to even its record at .500 in front of a sold-out Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

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