Pooka Williams made his national television debut on Saturday night — and the legend of Pooka yet grows.
The Hahnville High alumnus and his Kansas Jayhawks traveled to No. 6 Oklahoma in a game broadcast nationally by FOX, and though Oklahoma prevailed in a 55-40 shootout, Williams nonetheless made the most of the spotlight, and did it in record setting fashion by rushing for 252 yards and two touchdown on just 15 carries, while also adding a 9-yard touchdown pass and 18 receiving yards to his total. All told, he accounted for 321 all-purpose yards.
The rushing total is an all-time record for a freshman at Kansas. He became the only FBS player since 2000 to rush for 250 yards or more on 15 carries or fewer against a top 25 ranked team, and he did so as a true freshman. He started this season with back-to-back big rushing days against Central Michigan (125 yards on 14 carries) and Rutgers (163 yards on 19 carries), both Jayhawks wins.
Kansas is just 3-8 on the season, but Williams has shined nonetheless throughout the season. He has rushed for 1,022 yards and six scores on 145 carries and has caught 32 passes for 277 yards and two touchdowns. He is tied for 30th in the nation in total rushing yards, despite missing a game, and is 12th in yards per carry (7.09) among all players with 100 or more attempts.
The Jayhawks have two games left, on Saturday at Iowa State and Nov. 30 at home against Baylor.
Williams will also have a new head coach next season, and one quite familiar to locals: Kansas came to terms with former LSU coach Les Miles to become the program’s next head football coach.