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DWU running back Barnaud sets records, looking for more

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sports Mitchell,South Dakota 57301
The Daily Republic
DWU running back Barnaud sets records, looking for more
Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

Coming into the 2013 football season, breaking the single season rushing record was one of Francois Barnaud’s goals.

The Dakota Wesleyan University running back’s goal was accomplished Oct. 27 against Midland University as he rushed for 257 yards en route to setting the DWU single season rushing record at 1,377.

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Barnaud, who was humbled by his achievement, beat Josh Endres’ 2012 record of 1,302 yards.

“The offensive line has done great and the receivers have done a great job blocking well this year,” the junior Belle Fource native said. “It has been a great season for me, the offensive line and our offense in general, and we are still working to make the playoffs.”

Barnaud was so focused on beating Midland that he had no clue he set the record until after the game.

“After the game my running back coach told me I got it and it was like a weight lifted off,” he said. “It was nice to finally break it and now I can focus on helping the team win the next few games and hopefully get into the playoffs.”

Barnaud will have plenty of opportunities to expand on the record with three games remaining in the regular season. He leads the NAIA in rushing yards per game with 172.1 yards per game and leads the Great Plains Athletic Conference in rushing touchdowns with 11. Barnaud looks to rack up more yards today as the Tigers host Nebraska Wesleyan University at 1 p.m. at Joe Quintal Field.

“Being able to say he has the single season rushing record in eight games is pretty incredible in itself,” Dakota Wesleyan football coach Ross Cimpl said. “He does some great things rushing the ball for us, but I think it is really a group effort. He has really put himself in a good position to say he is one of the best backs to play at DWU, and he is not even done with this season.”

The 5-foot-9, 200-pound back said he is not concerned with where he ranks on DWU’s list of best running backs.

A man many would put atop the list is Endres, who holds the school’s all-time career rushing mark at 3,397 yards. Endres, who finished his career last season, still keeps up with the team and is proud of the job Barnaud has done.

“I have known Francois for three years, and I always knew he had the talent to do it,” said Endres, an Ethan native. “I knew once I moved on he would go out there and have a great career, and he would go on and prove it.”

This season, Barnaud has recorded 200 yards in three games and has tallied at least 100 yards in all but two games. His lowest rushing total of the season came two weeks ago against No. 1 Morningside College when he rushed for 14 yards on five carries. Cimpl said the entire offensive side of the ball, especially his offensive line, must be credited for Barnaud’s success.

“I think there are a lot of guys who are doing a great job like Kyle Hencke, Skyler Eriksen, Eric Witte and Jake Verry,” Cimpl said. “Our offensive line coach, Josh Kotecki, has done a great job with those guys. Francois has also done a good job of opening things up for Anthony Muilenburg and Jon Bane.”