Page challenges NCAA receptions recordWritten by Zach Davis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
After an 11-catch effort against Eastern Michigan on Oct. 8, Eric Page put himself in the history books as Toledo’s all-time leading receiver. The junior from Springfield has amassed 235 catches through his first 31 games, passing former teammate Stephen Williams’ (2006-09) mark of 229.
“There was never a thought of me accomplishing this [as a freshman],” Page said. “At the time, I was just worried about playing and learning the offense at a new position. It’s exciting just to know that I have had great people that have wanted to help me. No way have I done this myself; I have had tons of people to give me advice and to help me along the way. I think it’s great for everyone around me.”
With the school record in the books, Page has now set his sights on the NCAA record held by Purdue wideout Taylor Stubblefield, who amassed 317 catches between 2001-04. Sitting just 82 catches behind the record with a season and a half still to play, Page is well on his way to passing Stubblefield’s mark.
Unfortunately for Page, there is another player he will likely have to chase instead of Stubblefield. Oklahoma wide receiver Ryan Broyles returned for his senior season with hopes of winning a championship as well as surpassing Stubblefield’s record. Barring injury, Broyles should extend the record; he has 313 career receptions, four behind the all-time mark.
“I met Ryan Broyles last year when I went to the [Walter Camp Awards Weekend] in Connecticut and he is a real good guy,” Page said. “He is really cool, laid-back and a down-to-earth guy. I hope the best for him during the season. He has had a great career at Oklahoma.”
Including one bowl game, Broyles will have seven games to try and extend the record beyond Page’s reach.
If Broyles maintains his career receptions average of 7.11 per game, the Oklahoma University wideout would finish his career with nearly 363 catches. If he can keep up his torrid pace of 9.4 catches per game in 2011, however, Broyles could extend the record to as high as almost 379.
Although UT head coach Tim Beckman saw how good Page was right from the beginning in two-a-days, even he was surprised to see the career receptions record fall so quickly, not even halfway through Page’s junior season.
“I knew Eric could be a special football player,” Beckman said. “He has been able to take his game to a whole other level. The credit has to go to Eric and how he prepares.”
Assuming the Rockets play 12 games next season, as they typically do, Page will have at a minimum 18 games to catch Broyles. Toledo also has the possibility of playing in four additional games, including two possible conference championships and two bowl games. If Page continues to grab his career average of 7.58 receptions per contest, he would rack up more than 371 catches in the minimum 18 games and, potentially, up to nearly 402 receptions if UT made two MAC Championships and bowl games.
If Page continues the career-high nine receptions per game pace he has had in 2011, the numbers are even more staggering. With Page keeping up this year’s pace for the next 18 games at minimum, Page would rack up 397 catches. If the Rockets were to make two bowl games and two conference championships during that time, Page could rack up as many as 433 catches — 120 more than previous record holder Taylor Stubblefield.