On October 4, 2003, SMU defensive back and return specialist Jonas Rutledge entered the UTEP game needing 103 kickoff return yards to surpass former SMU standout Arthur Whittington (1,649) for first place on the all-time kickoff return yardage list. Not only did Rutledge pass Whittington on that October evening, the Mustang senior set the single game kickoff return yardage mark as well. Rutledge's performance comes in at No. 89 as we continue our countdown of the 90 Greatest Moments in SMU Football History.
The Gainesville, Fla. Native began his record-breaking night with an 83-yard return on the opening kickoff, setting up SMU's first score of the night. Now needing just 21 yards to break the career return mark, Rutledge did just that midway through the second quarter, gaining exactly 21 yards on his second return to put his name atop the record books. He kept going with 17 yards on a late second quarter return.
With one record in his grasp, Rutledge set record No. 2 early in the third quarter when he returned a Miner kick 69 yards to set a new single game kickoff return yardage mark of 190 yards. Rutledge's 69-yard scamper was his last return of the night, ending his historical day with a 47.5 yards per return average.
Rutledge went on to finish his career with 2,154 career kickoff return yards. His record-setting day against UTEP cemented Rutledge's place in SMU record books and earned him spot in our countdown of the 90 Greatest Moments in SMU Football History.