GALESBURG — Sam Durley was so busy trying to win the inaugural Abraham Lincoln Bowl on Saturday, the Eureka College quarterback lost sight of just how well his day was going.
Not until he had tossed the winning touchdown pass with 20 seconds remaining did the senior from Roanoke learn he had broken the NCAA single-game passing record with 736 yards.
Durley threw for five touchdowns in the 62-55 victory over Knox, breaking the NCAA mark of 731 yards by Zamir Amin of Menlo College in a 2000 game against Cal Lutheran.
“I thought maybe high 300s,” Durley said of his yardage total. “We were so focused on driving down the field and getting the win. They told me afterward and I was pretty speechless. It’s definitely something that’s pretty cool.”
The former Eureka High School star completed 34 of 52 passes, with two receivers surpassing 200 yards. Jordan Kindred, a basketball standout who was playing in his first organized football game, caught 13 passes for 238 yards. Jake Bane had seven receptions for 207, including the 13-yard game-winner with 20 seconds left.
A 13-yarder to Bane with 1:44 to go had tied the season opener. The defense got a stop and gave Durley the ball back with just over a minute to play.
“We were getting ready for the offense to go out and I smiled at Sam and said, ‘It’s your show, go get it,’ ” Eureka College coach Kurt Barth said. “I wasn’t about to change what he was doing. I pulled my headset off and just said, ‘Let Sam go to work.’ ”
Durley drove his team 72 yards in 51 seconds, needing five plays. He also threw TD passes of 36 and 29 yards to Matt Dawson and an 86-yarder in the second quarter to Bane, a former Fieldcrest star who is Durley’s roommate.
The Red Devils had six players catch passes, with five totaling 79 or more yards.
“The fact we have more depth at receiver this year was big,” Durley said. “Every coverage they gave us we found the openings and the receivers made plays.
“The corners bailed a lot and left the flats open. All of our receivers are so athletic. Everyone can make a play. I would throw a seven-yard hitch and they would break a tackle and get down the field.
“The whole thing today was the receivers playing great and the line gave me plenty of time to throw.”
The Red Devils spent the second half in their two-minute, hurry-up offense. Barth, who also coached Durley at Eureka High School, put the offense in Durley’s hands.
“He was calling everything on his own,” Barth said. “He did a fantastic job of seeing the field and reading the defense. I’ve been with Sam for eight years and it was by far the best game he’s played.
“He was just crystal clear on his reads and he stayed within himself. I’ve talked to him about taking advantage of stuff underneath and just moving the ball around to our receivers and letting them do a little bit of the work.”
Durley also broke Eureka College career records for passing yards, attempts and touchdowns. He now has 6,095 yards, 792 attempts and 48 touchdowns.
The Red Devils’ 821 yards of total offense also set a school record, besting the previous high of 744 against Crown on Nov. 7, 2009.