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The Top 10
Kelli Anderson
April 01, 2002
SI picks the most impressive college sports feats ever
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April 01, 2002

The Top 10

SI picks the most impressive college sports feats ever

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1. Jesse Owens's four-world-record day
In the span of 45 minutes at the Western Conference (now Big Ten) championships at Michigan on May 25, 1935, Owens, an Ohio State sophomore, set world marks in the 220-yard dash (20.3 seconds), the 220-yard low hurdles (22.6) and the long jump (26'8�") and tied the world mark in the 100-yard dash (9.4). Owens's day was so monumental that in some newspapers it trumped that day's other big sports story: Babe Ruth's 712th, 713th and 714th home runs.

2. Cael Sanderson's perfect wrestling record
Not only did Sanderson go 159-0 and win four national titles, but he was also named outstanding wrestler at the NCAA championships four times. During his senior season only four of his 40 matches lasted the full seven minutes.

3. Barry Sanders's 1988 season
After playing for two years behind future Pro Football Hall of Famer Thurman Thomas, Sanders, a junior, made the most of his only season as Oklahoma State's starting tailback. He set 13 NCAA records—all of which still stand-including single-season marks for rushing yards (2,628), touchdowns (39), rushing yards per game (238.9) and 300-yard games, and picked up the Heisman, He jumped to the NFL after the season.

4. Jim Brown's senior year
In 1956-57 Syracuse's multisport star put on a dazzling display. Against Colgate he scored six touchdowns and kicked seven PATs for 43 points. At a track meet against Army he won the high jump and discus and finished second in the javelin before running off to play lacrosse, the sport in which he really shined. ( Brown led Syracuse to a 10-0 season and scored 43 goals, tying for the most in the nation.) On NBA draft day the Syracuse Nationals selected him in the ninth round even though he had stopped playing basketball after his junior year.

5. Oscar Robertson's career double double
LSU's Pete Maravich may have poured in more points (44.2 a game over three seasons), but no hoopster was as well-rounded as the Big 0, a three-time national player of the year who twice led Cincinnati to the Final Four and averaged 33.8 points and 15.2 rebounds from 1957-58 to '59-60. During Robertson's last two seasons he also averaged 7.1 assists; that stat wasn't kept in his first season.

6. Tracy Caulkins's 12 swimming titles
Devastated by the U.S. boycott of the 1980 Olympics—where she had been expected to win five golds—Caulkins recovered to dominate the NCAA championships in her first three years at Florida. She won a record 12 individual titles, in six events, between 1982 and '84. Though she still had a year of college eligibility remaining, she retired from the sport after earning three golds at the '84 Olympics.

7. Robin Ventura's 58-game hitting streak
Coming out of high school Ventura got one scholarship offer, from Oklahoma State. He soon repaid the Cowboys for their faith in him. In the 12th game of his sophomore season, in 1987, Ventura started hitting and didn't stop. His streak surpassed the school record of 33 games, then the NCAA mark of 47 and finally Joe DiMaggio's big league standard of 56 before ending in a playoff game. "It just sort of happened," he said later, with typical modesty. "A few balls found some holes."

8. Red Grange's 1924 performance against Michigan
When the Wolverines visited Illinois on Oct. 18 of that year, the Illini's junior All-America halfback returned the opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown, then scored on first-quarter runs of 67, 56, and 44 yards—thus putting up as many touchdowns in 12 minutes as the heralded Michigan defense had allowed in the previous two seasons combined. Before the game was over, Grange ran II yards for a fifth touchdown and passed 20 yards for a sixth as Illinois won 39-14 to end the Wolverines' 20-game unbeaten streak.

9. Bill Walton's near-perfect NCAA final
On March 24,1973, in the first NCAA title game played in prime time, Walton, a UCLA senior, made 21 of 22 shots—not including four illegal dunks that were disallowed—for a championship-game record 44 points as the Bruins beat Memphis State 87-66. Walton also pulled down 13 rebounds in leading UCLA to its 75th straight victory and seventh consecutive NCAA title.

10. Ken Dryden's goaltending career
In his three seasons in net for Cornell (1966-67 to '68-69), Dryden proved himself the greatest college goalie ever. He allowed just 1.59 goals per game, put together a 76-4-1 record and led the Big Red to three Frozen Fours and one NCAA title. Said his coach, Ned Harkness, "It was pretty easy behind the bench when he was in goal."

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