WKU’s ‘Mr. Everything’ shooting for record


Lucas Aulbach

It’s hard to believe Antonio Andrews was fighting for a starting job at the beginning of the season.

After a phenomenal junior year, the running back is just 274 yards away from breaking Barry Sanders’ NCAA record for most all-purpose yards in a season.

Andrews, who was named Sun Belt Conference Offensive Player of the Week Monday for the third time this year, started the season splitting carries with junior Keshawn Simpson after backing up Bobby Rainey for the past two years.

When Simpson hurt his knee in the season opener against Austin Peay, Andrews took over the starting role.

It’s safe to say he’s earned the title to this point. Andrews rushed for 1,614 yards in the 2012 regular season and compiled a total of 2,977 all-purpose yards. That figure is currently good for No. 3 all-time in NCAA history.

If the Toppers play a postseason game, he’ll have a good shot at breaking Barry Sanders’ record of 3,250 all-purpose yards in a year, set in 1988.

“If we go to a bowl game, I’m going to most definitely go out there and try to set the bar for it,” Andrews said last week. “In the back of my mind, it’s there.”

All-purpose yards are measured by adding up all the yards a player collects through rushing, receiving, kick returns and punt returns.

Through 12 games this year, Andrews has picked up 1,614 rushing yards, 411 receiving yards, 727 kick return yards and 230 yards off of punt returns — an average of 248.5 all-purpose yards per game.

The fact that Andrews has picked up so many yards in so many different ways caused senior tight end Jack Doyle to refer to the running back as “Mr. Everything.”

“He’s the man,” Doyle said. “We give him the ball all sorts of ways, and it doesn’t seem like the guy gets tired.”

Andrews, the 2009 Kentucky Mr. Football recipient as a quarterback at Fort Campbell High School, has earned high praise from coach Willie Taggart as well.

Taggart said it’s been exciting watching Andrews out-do himself week after week.

“The kid wasn’t the Kentucky Mr. Football for no reason — he can play football and he can play at the highest level, and I think he’s a kid that could play or start anywhere in the country,” Taggart said.