Falaniko nets most D1 rushing yards by Alaskan since 2006
Ethan Falaniko of Anchorage made the most out of his limited playing time with the University of South Dakota football team and in the process accomplished some state history.
The freshman running back finished the final series of the fourth quarter and picked up two first downs to close out a 56-6 victory over Indiana State in Vermillion, South Dakota.
Falaniko, of Bartlett High fame, rushed for a career-high 26 yards on six consecutive carries inside the final six minutes.
To most college football fans his performance wasn’t anything special, but here in Alaska it represents a step in the right direction.
With no college or professional teams, the state struggles to gain respect on the national level.
Falaniko is hoping to change that.
He’s the first Alaskan in 11 years to play running back for an NCAA D1 school.
His 26 rushing yards were the most by an Alaska player at the D1 level since Nov 8, 2006, when former Dimond star Brett Denton of the Boise State ran for 125 yards against Utah State.
Inarguably the greatest college running back from Alaska was former Chugiak star Yohance Humphrey, who rushed for 4,070 yards during a Hall of Fame career at the University of Montana from 1998 to 2001.
Falaniko also rushed for 24 yards in his college debut against Drake on Sept 2. He also appeared in a game against North Dakota but did not carry the ball.
On the season, 5-foot-10, 230-pounder has amassed 50 yards on 10 carries. His longest runs are 11 and 9 yards.
By comparison, Denton logged 416 career yards and 4 TDs in 20 games at Boise State. He also made 7 receptions for 76 yards and a score.