Ja’Quan Gardner downplayed his latest accomplishment.
“It’s a great honor to be able to rush for that many yards,” the Humboldt State sophomore running back said. “But it’s onto the next week. A win will help our playoff chances.”
All Ja’Quan did was rumble for a program-record 305 yards during the Lumberjacks’ 34-16 Homecoming victory over two-time defending Great Northwest Athletic Conference champion Azusa Pacific on Saturday.
“After the game, I got to fire up the chainsaw,” Gardner said. “It was pretty cool. I just want to help my team win. That’s my main goal.”
"Ja'Quan is truly a special player,” Humboldt State head coach Rob Smith said. “Every opponent is game planning to shut him down, but he still goes out and gets the yards. Give credit to the offensive line and those blocking for him and give credit to Ja'Quan."
Gardner eclipsed Mitch Jones’ single-game mark of 266 yards, which was set in 2000, in front of more than 8,000 fans. Family members and friends were in attendance.
“Coach pulled me aside and asked me if I wanted to break it,” said Ja’Quan, who made history when he carried the ball for the 36th and final time. “I said yes. Our offensive line and receivers, as usual, did a great job blocking. I’m excited about the win. That was our main focus. It’s hard to beat a good team twice.”
Gardner was responsible for four of Humboldt State’s five touchdowns.
He scored on runs of 55, 5, and 14 yards.
Ja’Quan even had a 66-yard TD pass.
“It was a great play call,” he said. “We practiced it two to three weeks before.”
Gardner was named GNAC Offensive Player of the Week for the fourth time.
“It’s not individual recognition,” he said. “I couldn’t do it without my offensive line. They make my job easier. I’m just going out there and having fun.”
Humboldt State, ranked 10th in the nation, improved to 5-0 on the year and 3-0 in the GNAC.
The Lumberjacks will travel to Texas this Saturday to face No. 11 Midwestern State.
Gardner’s totaled 1,050 yards and 15 touchdowns on the ground through Humboldt State’s first five games.
“We have a great team,” he said. “We’re working hard for each other. We all got the same goal. We want to win conference championship rings.”