In honor of the upcoming Tampa Bay - Kansas City Super Bowl, CBS Sports gave us our bizarre sports nugget of the day on a lovely (if a bit brisk up in the Northeast) Saturday morning. Bruce Arians, currently 61-years-old and coaching the Bucs, somehow ran for more touchdowns at Virginia Tech than Michael Vick.
Let me take you back, reader. The year was 1974. Watergate was the talk of the town. Arians was a young quarterback with an absolutely flowing head of hair, as can be seen above. He was named starter for his final season at Virginia Tech, who were named the Gobblers back then. A surprise to me and probably a surprise to you. He threw for 953 yards and three touchdowns with a cool seven interceptions, completing a whopping 44 percent of his pass attempts. They went 4-7. A different era, truly.
Arians also ran for 11 touchdowns! The man was a weapon on the ground. Kind of. He gained a total of 243 yards on the ground that season. Not too bad, considering what the game looked like back then. He did this on 112 attempts for an average of about two yards per rush. That is a real stat. You want to talk about the definition of insanity. Not a single coach thought, "Hey, we should maybe try something else" after Arians ran the ball fifty freaking times and gained a hundred yards for his efforts.
Anyway! As CBS points out, that 11-touchdown mark is somehow more than any single season mark by Michael Vick during his time at the university, which had adopted the Hokies nickname by the time he showed up in 1999. Vick, unsurprisingly, put up gaudier numbers in a more modern era. And as a significantly better athlete than Arians, which is not a knock on Arians as much as it is a reminder that young Michael Vick might've been the best athlete to step onto a football field. Dude was sick.
In Vick's one full season as starter, he only mustered nine touchdowns on the ground. He did manage to move the ball far more efficiently than his predecessor 25 years previously, running for 682 yards on 131 attempts.
A bit of a rabbit hole. Maybe a Gobbler hole. Or a Hokie hole. Either way, you're informed when this is inevitably brought up during Super Bowl pregame shows.