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Wisconsin's Jonathan Taylor breaks Adrian Peterson's NCAA freshman rushing record

Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor (23) runs the ball during the first half of the Orange Bowl NCAA college football game against Miami, Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor now has the best freshman rushing season in FBS history.

It took an extra game, but Taylor moved past the total Oklahoma legend Adrian Peterson put up in 2004 — 1,925 yards — on a run in the second quarter of the Orange Bowl against Miami.

Taylor entered the game, Wisconsin’s 14th of the season, with 1,847 yards on 273 carries, meaning he needed 79 yards Saturday night against to leapfrog Peterson. He did so with a six-yard run at the 11:41 mark of the second quarter — his 10th carry of the night and 283rd of the season. Peterson put up his total on 339 carries over the course of 13 games for the Sooners.

Taylor finished with 26 carries for 130 yards in Wisconsin’s 34-24 win. 

Of course, Wisconsin fans will argue that Ron Dayne is the true holder of the freshman rushing record. In 1996, Dayne put up 2,109 yards on 325 carries. However, the NCAA did not recognize bowl stats — Dayne rushed for 246 yards in the Copper Bowl — in the record books at that point in time, so Dayne is in the books at No. 3 with 1,863 yards.


Taylor ended the first half Saturday night with 85 yards on 16 carries, bringing his total to 1,932 on the year. That’s still 177 yards away from Dayne.

Taylor, a four-star recruit from New Jersey, quickly established himself as the Badgers’ top running back as they embarked on their undefeated regular season. He rushed nine times for 87 yards in Week 1 before exploding for 223 yards in UW’s second game. From there, he put up eight more 100-yard efforts, including two more games over the 200-yard mark.

Entering the Orange Bowl, Taylor’s season high was 249 yards in an Oct. 7 win over Nebraska. He has also rushed for 13 touchdowns along the way.

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Sam Cooper is a writer for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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