From the archives: The day Tavian Banks ran for 314 yards and into Hawkeyes record books
Editor's note: This story by Register correspondent Chris Snider originally ran on Sept. 14, 1997, the day after Iowa senior Tavian Banks ran for a school record 314 yards against Tulsa, a mark that still stands.
Iowa City, Ia. — After hearing news his uncle's life was cut short, Iowa senior Tavian Banks turned in the performance of his life Saturday afternoon.
Banks rushed for an Iowa and Kinnick Stadium record 314 yards on 29 carries against Tulsa, in a game he dedicated to his uncle, Dino Banks of Rock Island. Dino, 30, died from complications of AIDS on the morning of Iowa's season-opening game against Northern Iowa.
Banks attended the funeral on Wednesday.
"We were real close," Banks said of his uncle. "He used to baby-sit me when I was little."
Ed Podolak, who now does radio broadcasts of Iowa games, set the Hawkeyes' record in 1968 when he rushed for 286 yards on 17 carries against Northwestern. LeShon Johnson of Northern Illinois, who ran for 306 yards on Nov. 6, 1993, had held the stadium record.
"He's the best back I've seen at this point in his career because of two things," said Podolak, who hugged Banks and congratulated him after the game. "First, he can make cuts in the open field without slowing down. The second thing is his acceleration when he sees a soft spot. I've never seen anything like it."
Tulsa Coach Dave Rader, in his 10th year of coaching, said Banks is the best running back he has seen since Barry Sanders, who now plays for Detroit of the National Football League.
"What did he not do today?" Rader asked. "He had the shakes. He had the acceleration and he broke the tackles."
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Banks, who jumped from 15th to eighth on the all-time Iowa rushing list with 1,803 yards, has 517 yards rushing on 47 carries in two games this season. Last season, playing behind Sedrick Shaw, he rushed for 629 yards on 144 carries.
Until this season, Banks had played his entire Iowa career in the shadows of Shaw — the leading rusher in Iowa football history.
"I've been waiting a long time to get to this position," said Banks, who gave credit to his offensive line and all of his teammates. "Things are just coming my way now."
Iowa Coach Hayden Fry said it was too early in the season to start comparing Banks to other great running backs he has coached. Fry neglected to mention Banks in his opening statements after the game, not talking about him until he was directly asked to.
"I thought 314 yards speaks for itself," Fry said. "It's just the same adjectives over and over again. He's a graceful, fluid runner with great, great vision."
Although he said he was told about the record when he started to get close to it, Banks said he did not realize what play he actually broke it on until after the game.
On the play, Banks ran around the right end, cut left to evade one Tulsa defender, cut back right to evade another and then trotted out of bounds 29 yards downfield in front of the Iowa student section .
The words "Congrats Tavian!" flashed in front of a picture of Banks on the Jumbotron and the record was announced, provoking a loud response from the crowd.
Above, in the radio booth, Podolak praised the man that broke his record.
"He had a couple of moves on that record-breaking run that weren't part of my repertoire," Podolak said on the air after Banks' historic run.
Podolak said he actually predicted early in the broadcast that Banks would eventually break the record. Podolak's partner, Gary Dolphin, said he might just do it Saturday.
"I think the public relations department at Iowa should think about two Heisman candidates," Podolak said, referring to Iowa's early season promotion of wide receiver Tim Dwight for the Heisman Trophy.
Dwight, who appears on Iowa's promotional poster with defensive end Jared DeVries, said he is more than willing to give the spotlight to Banks.
"Everybody better return all of those posters," Dwight said.