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Minnesota Football: Darrell Thompson Sets Gopher Rushing Record vs Indiana State #TBT

In the Gophers 1989 victory over the Sycamores Darrell Thompson set the schools career touchdown record (a record that still stands today).

The immortal Darrell Thompson
U of M

Just a quick note: Darrell finished his Gopher career with 40 touchdowns.

From the Star Tribune, October 1, 1989.

After record-setting effort, Thompson gets curtain call

Linebacker Ron Goetz peeked through the curtain that shielded half of the Gophers dressing room from visitors Saturday night after a 34-14 victory over IndianaState.

"This is like the Tonight Show," said Goetz, parting the curtain. "When he's ready, I'll stand here and say, `Heeeeeeere's Darrell!' "

Darrell Thompson was still behind the curtain. He was taking his time, waiting for the right moment. He's been working on timing - timing his moves on the field better than he did a week earlier against Nebraska.

He did that. Thompson, a senior from Rochester, Minn., rewrote several chapters of the Gophers record book. His three touchdowns gave him 38 for his career, 35 rushing, both records. His 231 yards, on 37 carries, raised his career total to a record 3,716.

"I'm plenty tired," Thompson said when he finally made his curtain call. "But that's the way the game goes. If I have to carry the ball 50 times, I'll do it. My body'll do what I want it to do, but I am physically drained." Said quarterback Scott Schaffner: "He's in great shape. He may have felt tired, but I didn't see him slow down a bit." Here's a summary of Thompson's memorable night:# In the first quarter Thompson went 19 yards for a touchdown to make the score 10-0. On those first two Gophers possessions, Thompson carried eight times for 66 yards. The touchdown was his 36th, breaking Marion Barber's Gophers career record (set in 1977-80). # In the second quarter, after Indiana State had closed to 10-7, Thompson got the call on fourth-and-1 at the Sycamores 27. He burst clear on the right and went all the way for his 37th career touchdown, also his 34th rushing touchdown, again breaking Barber's record. # By halftime, Thompson had 23 carries for 162 yards, the ninth time he had surpassed 150 yards. # In the third quarter, Thompson led a 73-yard drive by carrying six times for 43 yards. The final 8 yards produced the touchdown, his third of the game, his 38th career touchdown, and the 35th rushing. # When Thompson hurdled into the end zone on that run, he also surpassed 200 yards for the third time in his career and equaled his 205-yard high, in 1986 against Bowling Green. That was Thompson's first game as a freshman. # On the next Gophers series, Thompson tied his career high with his 30th carry of the game. Before the third quarter ended, Thompson had a personal record 37 carries for a personal record 231 yards. # His last maneuver was being a successful decoy on the fourth Gophers touchdown. Schaffner faked a handoff to Thompson slanting right out of the wishbone before Schaffner ran a sprintout to the left for a 5-yard touchdown. "He's a weapon in that way, too," said Schaffner. "I came out of that fake and there were only two guys left on my side, and they were both back in pass coverage."

Thompson insisted he was unaware of any records within his grasp. "I don't really worry about records," he said. "They're fun, but I'm sure somebody will come along and break 'em. "I didn't think this was my best game. I've got to improve my reads. If you make the right reads and the line blocks, you get your openings."

Similarly, Thompson said he didn't think his 45-yard game in the 48-0 loss to Nebraska last week was his worst. "Last week I was not running the way Darrell Thompson should," he said. "I've got to run like a machine. Last week, I was trying to do some things too hard - things I can't do."

Then he amended that: " . . . or shouldn't do."

It was another bit of good timing, because after last night, it didn't seem there was anything Thompson couldn't do. Sycamores coach Dennis Raetz said: "Thompson can play. He's very strong, tough, has good speed and vision, and he keeps coming at you." Sycamores linebacker Jeff Propst, who made 18 tackles, added: "Thompson is a great running back, very strong and fast. . . . What makes him good, he's so strong and he runs consistently hard. He runs hard on every play. He's a great competitor, also. Never once did he use his mouth. He even compliments you on a good tackle."