Zack Abron’s wait is finally over.
After four years of dealing with coaching changes, injuries and competition, Abron became Missouri’s all-time rushing leader against Iowa State on Saturday. Abron finished with 46 yards on 11 carries, passing Brock Olivo’s record of 3,027 yards. Abron has 3,061 yards and can extend the record in Missouri’s bowl game.
Abron, who has been mum about the record for most of the year, finally let his happiness out about his accomplishments.
“It feels pretty special,” Abron said. “I’m very happy that I got to do this.”
With 10:10 left in the first quarter, Abron lined up next to quarterback Brad Smith in the shotgun. Abron took the handoff and darted through a big hole on the left side for a 12-yard gain and the record.
Coach Gary Pinkel said he was happy Abron earned the record.
“I am just so proud of him,” Pinkel said. “To be able to break that record was great.”
Abron entered the game needing 13 yards to pass Olivo, a feat that seemed like a sure thing, barring an injury. That injury happened early in the first quarter, but Abron kept playing.
An Iowa State defender kicked Abron in the left calf on Missouri’s second play, a 1-yard gain on MU’s first possession. Abron got eight carries in the first half, but went to the sideline after the injury.
Abron came back in the second half, but carried the ball three more times. He was wearing a wrap on his calf as he left the field. He said he had a deep bruise after the game, but does not expect to miss any time.
Abron said there was no way he was going to let the injury keep him from the record.
“I just fought it through,” Abron said. “I think coach knew that it was hurt and he had the other tailbacks in there in the second half.”
The career rushing mark wasn’t the only history Abron made. For the first time in his four-year career, Abron passed the 1,000-yard milestone, reaching 1,018.
On fourth-and-2 from the Cyclones’ 17, Abron ran off the left tackle, stiff-armed defensive back JaMaine Billups and outran the Iowa State defense for a touchdown and the historic statistic.
He is the first Tiger running back to reach 1,000 yards since Devin West in 1998.
Abron and Brad Smith are MU’s first rushing duo to surpass 1,000 yards rushing in the same season. In addition to the yardage milestones, Abron extended the records he set against Texas A&M on Nov. 15.
Abron’s 17-yard touchdown run was his 41st of his career and his 13th this season.
Receiver Darius Outlaw said he knows Smith will probably break the record, but not many people deserve the record more than Abron.
“Finally,” Outlaw said. “It has been a long time and there is not a guy that deserves it more.”