Pitt RB Abanikanda “Honored” to Break Dorsett’s Rushing Record
PITTSBURGH — Pitt junior running back Israel Abanikanda played one of the greatest games in program history in the 45-29 victory over Virginia Tech Saturday.
He rushed 36 times for 320 yards and six touchdowns. His 320 rushing yards are the most in a single game in Panthers’ history and his six rushing touchdowns tie him for the most in a single game. Quarterback Norman Bill Budd ran for six touchdowns himself in a 71-0 victory over Ohio at Forbes Field in 1910.
Abanikanda broke the previous single game rushing record of Heisman winning running back Tony Dorsett. Dorsett ran for 303 yards in a 34-20 victory over then ranked No. 9 Notre Dame at Pitt Stadium in 1975.
Virginia Tech told Abanikanda’s high school coach that they didn’t believe he was good enough to recruit to their team. After his performance, he said that he knew his potential as a rusher since he began playing football at four years old.
Breaking Dorsett’s record for him is an entirely different story, and he thanked his entire team for helping him achieve the feat against the Hokies.
“Oh no, that’s amazing,” Abanikanda said after the game about breaking Dorsett’s record. “I was real happy. I was honored. I wanna thank my O-Line. First I wanna thank God first and my family and my O-Line, my whole team. Running backs, quarterback, defense too for getting their offense off the field. My coaches, I thank everybody. Just thankful.”
Those six rushing touchdowns are also the most that Virginia Tech allowed since Miami running back Willis McGahee ran for the same amount on them in 2002.
It is also the first time an ACC player ran for six touchdowns since Kelvin Bryant did so against East Carolina in 1981.
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He is also the first Panther to run for over 200 yards since teammate, senior running back Vincent Davis, rushed for 247 yards against Georgia Tech in 2020.
Abanikanda has rushed 129 times for 830 yards and 12 touchdowns this season. With the his sole receiving touchdown against WVU in the season opener, Abanikanda has 13 of the 24 offensive touchdowns Pitt’s scored this season.
If he continues to stay healthy and put up this astounding numbers on the ground, national recognition will soon come his way.