Ferris State quarterback Jason Vander Laan can now call himself the greatest running quarterback in the history of college football.
The humble, 6-foot-4-inch senior from Frankfort, Ill. would probably never say those words though. With a 53-yard touchdown run against Ohio Dominican last weekend, Vander Laan became the all-time leading rushing quarterback at any division of college football.
In an interview with ESPN, which aired on SportsCenter last Saturday night, Vander Laan said, “I’ve had a phenomenal offensive line all four years here and I’m just blessed to have that. With the system that we run and the O-line that we have up front along with the O-line coach, we’ve always been able to handle teams up front.”
With the run, Vander Laan surpassed Shawn Graves of Wofford College, who previously held the record with 5,128 rushing yards. The touchdown also put the Bulldogs up 14-7 in a game that they would eventually win 38-17.
Vander Laan ran for 161 yards in the game, bringing his grand total to 5,218 total yards rushing. The surprising thing about Vander Laan, though, is that he doesn’t do all of his work on the ground.
The FSU quarterback has also thrown for 7,137 yards in his time as a Bulldog. According to ESPN, he has accounted for seven miles of offense with 12,665 total yards.
The crazy thing about this record, is that Vander Laan still has so much time to distance himself between him and Graves as the Bulldogs still have four regular season games to go.
One might think that with the quarterback rushing for that much yardage that the running backs on the team might not be getting any carries. Although Vander Laan does receive most of the carries on the ground for Ferris State, he still values his running backs.
“Those guys are some of the most humble guys on our team, and with the quarterback running it’s kind of nice; I gain an extra blocker. So for them, it kind of stinks because it does take away from some of their carries, but those guys are all for the team and Coach Annese has done a great job of implementing a team atmosphere on our team. Everyone is humble and we all like blocking for each other,” said Vander Laan.
After Vander Laan’s historic touchdown run, the game was paused and Head Coach Tony Annese gave Vander Laan the game ball. Vander Laan held the ball up in the air, gave a nod to the crowd, then got right back to business.
“I wasn’t 100 percent sure that I got it on that run, but I was pretty certain. As soon as I turned around I had eight or nine guys running to congratulate me and all of the guys were jumping on top of me, so that was awesome,” said Vander Laan.
The FSU quarterback wasn’t the only person to enjoy the record, in a post-game press conference, senior wide receiver Jake Lampman said, “We love watching our teammates succeed. And for our quarterback, our leader, to get an award like that, I think it definitely sparks everyone.”
Vander Laan received a large amount of national attention before and following the game. He was mentioned on ESPN’s College GameDay before the game and was also featured on SportsCenter where he was interviewed over the phone by ESPN reporter Hakem Dermish and was featured on the scrolling ticker on ESPN.
Vander Laan set the record against an Ohio Dominican team that knocked the Bulldogs out of the playoffs last season. That was just one more game in a string of tough games for Ferris State.
Ferris State will take on the No. 17 ranked Michigan Tech Huskies at 12:04 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24 at Top Taggart Field in Big Rapids.