Iowa State junior running back Breece Hall breaks the tackle of TCU safety Nook Bradford en route to the end zone for a touchdown in the second quarter on Friday, Nov. 26, 2021, at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames. © Bryon Houlgrave/The Register / USA TODAY NETWORK
AMES — Breece Hall didn’t enter Friday’s regular season finale against TCU thinking about breaking an NCAA record.
It was almost inevitable anyway.
Iowa State’s star tailback scored four touchdowns in the 48-14 Senior Day win over TCU — and the initial one made him the first back in FBS history to rush for a score in 24 consecutive games.
After he celebrated with teammates, he took the football, sauntered toward the sideline stands and handed it to his mother.
She cried. Later, he cried. There were tears of joy flowing from many Cyclones after they closed an up-and-down regular season with a 7-5 overall record and 5-4 mark in conference play.
“I really came in not even focused on (the record),” Hall said after the win while sporting a still noticeable ring of his mom’s lipstick on his cheek. “I just wanted to play hard for the seniors, send the seniors out right, and whatever, everything that happened, it was like a fairy tale ending for us.”
Hall churned up a career-best 242 yards on 18 carries. He tied the Big 12 record for games with multiple touchdowns (20) in a career and totaled a career-best 281 yards rushing and receiving.
If it was — as it very well could be — his last and best game as a Cyclone, he went out with more than a bang.
Hall unleashed a career-long 80-yard touchdown run and climbed past the great Darren Davis to second on ISU’s all-time rushing yards list (3.941).
He may or may not choose to go pro after this season, but adding to his lengthy slate of personal accolades meant a lot to him on Senior Day — even as a junior.
“I’ve always looked up to them,” Hall said of the ISU senior class. “I started out as a young 17-year-old kid not really knowing what was going on, (or) who to look up to. Those guys were always there, guys like Brock (Purdy), Mike (Rose), Charlie (Kolar), Chase (Allen), always leading me in the right direction. Keeping me humble, keeping me level. THey’ve all done a lot for me. … They’ve literally been here to see me come from a childish 17-year-old kid to a less childish 20-year-old young man, I guess.”
Hall is one of three Doak Walker Award finalists for the second straight season. He set single-game career highs in total touchdowns (4) and rushing touchdowns (3). And in some ways, he’s just getting started. As for whether or not he’ll choose to go pro after this season, he said he hasn’t fully decided.
“Sometime in the next week or so we’ll probably see, but for right now, I’m just trying to enjoy tonight,” Hall said. “Enjoy the rest of the season with my teammates and enjoy the last month of the semester. Really just be around my team and enjoy everybody.”
ISU head coach Matt Campbell said he hoped fans enjoyed all the moments Hall provided to them. He certainly does.
“He’s as special as they come and if this is it for Breece Hall (at Iowa State), then this is one heck of a way to go out,” Campbell said. “I’m really proud of him.”