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Gore’s Sets Rushing Record to Earn MVP Honors

LendingTree Bowl

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Gore’s Sets Rushing Record to Earn MVP Honors

MOBILE – Frank Gore, Jr. has always followed in his father’s footsteps.

Frank Gore, Sr., was an All-American running back at the University of Miami, and then played 16 years (2005-2020) in the NFL with San Francisco, Indianapolis, Miami, Buffalo and New York and ran for 16,000 yards and 80 touchdowns in his illustrious career.

On Saturday night at the 2022 LendingTree Bowl, Gore did something that his father never did.

The sophomore running back from the University of Southern Mississippi smashed the NCAA bowl game, LendingTree Bowl and school single-game rushing record with 329 yards leading the Golden Eagles to a 38-24 come-from-behind win over Rice University at Hancock Whitney Stadium.

“I told him after the game, that I’m the best in the family,” Gore, Jr., said with a grin.

The 329 yards are the most in any bowl game in NCAA history, breaking the previous record of 318 yards set by Appalachian State running back Camerun Peoples against North Texas at the inaugural Myrtle Beach Bowl in 2020.

He also broke the LendingTree Bowl single-game rushing record of 275 yards held by Toledo’s Kareem Hunt against Arkansas State in 2014.

Gore is the second player in Southern Miss history to rush for 300 yards in a game. He topped the previous record of 304 yards held by Sam DeJarnette against Florida State in 1982.

For his efforts, Gore was named the 2022 LendingTree Bowl Most Valuable Player.

His father never had a 300-yard game in his NFL career.  His best effort was 212 yards against Seattle in 2019. He had two, 200-yard games in his career.

USM head coach Will Hall credits Gore’s work ethic and positive for his record-setting performance.

“He’s a special guy,” Hall said. “He’s really learned how to be a leader. He’s really learned how to handle the responsibility of being Frank Gore, Jr.  He’s embraced that. He’s really embraced the whole deal of to whom much is given, much is required.

“Everybody in life wants to be blessed, but not everybody wants the responsibility of being a blessing. He has accepted that responsibility. He has an infectious smile. It’s almost like a Magic Johnson type smile. He just lifts others up. He’s always intense and competitive. I am really proud that he was able to have a performance like this on the national stage where a lot of people could see him.”

Gore had three runs in the game of more than 50 yards.  He had a USM bowl record 64-yard TD run in the second quarter.  He added a 59-yard run in the third quarter that set up the go-ahead touchdown pass. He capped the scoring with a 56-yard run in the fourth quarter that gave him in the rushing record.

In addition, he threw a game-tying 15-yard TD pass to Brownlee in the third quarter. Gore is the first player to rush for 300 yards and throw a TD pass in the same game since Arkansas’ Darren McFadden in 2007.

“I see this every day at practice,” wide receiver Jason Brownlee said. “I see him every day at practice. I know what he is capable of doing. It is exciting to watch him do something like that. I saw him in the offseason putting in the work. I am proud of him and how far he has come and how far this team has come.”

Gore was more proud for what the team accomplished than his NCAA record-setting performance

“I am more proud of my teammates. We’ve been through a lot. We fought the last week of the year to just get six wins to get here. I wasn’t really worried about the stats. I was focused on winning the game and winning the trophy.”

He got more than a trophy, a lot more.