Sproles: The record book is his


Darren Sproles never seemed swifter — blur-like through green-laned avenues of turf seemingly multiple lanes wide.

He zipped for huge chunks of yardage; zigged-and-zagged for just as many more.

"The guy is just incredible," said Kansas State running back coach Michael Smith. "He is the best ... ever."

He pinballed off would-be tacklers; bulled over 250-pound want-to-be arresters; he 360-ed around others, leaving Tigers grasping at nothing but the chilly Saturday night air.

Smith's response?

"I'm self-promoting him, but the kid is a Heisman Trophy candidate," Smith said. "He showed me he's one of the best in the country."

Heck, he even faked defensive lineman Russ Bell out of his right shoe on one run, helping to a record-setting night of 43 rushing attempts for 273 yards, or 6.3 yards per carry.

"If there's a critic out there of Darren Sproles, they're sick," said Smith. "The kid is great; the kid is great."

Simply put, in No. 18 Kansas State's 24-14 victory over the Missouri Tigers Saturday, this Wildcat had never been as dominating since his prep days at Olathe North, where he racked up 5,230 yards and 79 touchdowns. That included a single-game high of 319 yards against Lawrence Free State.

Sproles' 273-yard night included 10 runs of at least 10 yards, but none over 22.

As he said, "I just felt in a zone. I'm just running ... I don't hear anything."

Of the night, coach Bill Snyder said, "I thought his performance was excellent and the offensive line played great and Victor Mann (fullback) was super."

Leaving the KSU Stadium turf Saturday night, the Tigers were impressed. That was particularily true for defensive lineman Russ Bell, who was the Tiger literally faked out of his shoe on one Sproles' run.

"Damn good," Bell said of Sproles. "There's track speed and thre's football speed. He was able to change directions in one step; go from zero to 60 in one step. The guy's a good running back."

Bell later added, "Tey ran and we souldn't stop it. He pretty much had his way with us."
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