Robert Heller’s pursuit of the all-time rushing record, D-III or otherwise, got off to a great start in 2007 when he ran for 2,176 yards as a freshman at Waynesburg.
It got off to a much less impressive start this past week at Wooster, when he was held to a career-low 104 yards.
And, as it turns out, his pursuit will be slowed even further this week, when the high ankle sprain he suffered will keep him on the sidelines against Hanover.
“I got my ankle rolled on,” Heller told me this afternoon. “I had a high ankle sprain (in prep school) and tweaked it again on the second play of the game. I played the rest of the game on one foot and I shouldn’t have.”
Heller, who certainly has the potential to catch R.J. Bowers’ record of 7,353 yards (or, as it may become this year, Nate Kmic’s record), has 5,073 yards and a lot of games to go before he can challenge that record, or the 7,871 that Chadron State’s Danny Woodhead compiled over the past four years to set the all-divisions record. If Heller plays the minimum 28 games between now and graduation, he’d have to average 181.2 yards per game to pass Bowers, more if the bar gets set higher, but fewer if he plays in a playoff game.
Heller, who wears No. 3, the same as Woodhead, watched a Woodhead highlight video before every game last season.
Billy Becker will get the start for Waynesburg in the Yellowjackets’ game against Hanover. As for Heller, he said he’s “probably going to get a cast for the short term” to help the ankle heal in hopes of playing in the conference opener against Thomas More.