Pullquote:”If I can’t get 13 yards in a game, then I need to retire.” Joel Sambursky on breaking the all-time yardage record.
After the final whistle sounded to No. 1-ranked SIU football team’s victory over No. 4 Western Kentucky 38-10 Saturday, Joel Sambursky walked off the field as the Salukis’ all-time leader in total yardage.
This time it was for real.
A week after a stat-keeping gaffe led some to prematurely anoint Sambursky as the all-time yardage leader, the junior quarterback recorded 214 yards of total offense to overtake Sherard Poteete.
The record was shattered on a mundane 13-yard pass to Brent Little, Sambursky’s go-to receiver since last season, on the first drive in the game, which would result in nothing of the fantastic, just a field goal wide right.
“If I can’t get 13 yards in a game, then I need to retire,” Sambursky said. “I wasn’t that worried about the record. There [would be] nothing worse in the world if I had gotten the record and we had lost. I am ultimately going to be judged by wins and losses.”
Sambursky, whose efficiency rating of 171.4 leads all other quarterbacks in the Gateway Conference by 27.4 points, finished his record-breaking performance by throwing for 163 yards with two touchdowns and an interception and rushing for an additional 51 yards.
There was never any mention of the record being broken over the loud speakers during the game even after it appeared the Salukis had the victory safely sealed.
“The only time I thought about the record was when I was hoping they wouldn’t stop the game because of it,” Sambursky said.
When Sambursky was asked about the record at the post-game press conference, he replied, “What record?” – perhaps in an attempt to downplay the accomplishment.
Sambursky said he wasn’t aware he was near breaking the record until the gaffe last week exposed just how close he was. Furthermore, he said he wasn’t aware such a record existed.
But with the record in clear sight and with just a few yards separating Sambursky and Poteete, his father Gary Sambursky was in attendance.
Sambursky, who four years ago was only recruited by the Salukis and a number of D-II schools out of Liberty (Mo.) High School, finds himself in the midst of his best collegiate season statistically, projecting to throw for around 2,000 yards and 16 touchdowns in the regular season. More records will likely crumble to Sambursky in his remaining year and a half of eligibility.
“It just shows that for one, God is real,” Sambursky said. “And two, my teammates are awesome.”