1991 during his final game as a Jayhawk, Sands set an FBS record when he rushed for 396 yards in a 53-29 win over Missouri in the Border War. The previous record of 386 yards was set by future NFL hall of fame member Marshall Faulk. Sands’ record would eventually be eclipsed in 1999 by another NFL hall of fame member, LaDainian Tomlinson, who rushed for 406 yards as a member of TCU.
Sands’ 396 yards still stands as a Kansas record for single-game rushing yards, and the four rushing touchdowns he scored that day are tied for the most in a single game in Kansas football history. Sands is also second in all-time rushing yards at Kansas and third in all-time rushing touchdowns.
Sands graduated after the 1991 season with his degree in exercise fitness. There’s no doubt that Sands is one of the best players Kansas football has ever had, yet, he wasn’t selected in the NFL Draft. Critics pointed to Sands’ height, which was five-foot-six.
After his playing days ended, Sands began training professional and collegiate athletes, with some of his clients being Michael Irvin, Gilbert Brown, and Nate Salley. He seems to have done well for himself despite not having a long pro career, and he’ll always be a Kansas football great.
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Tony Sands was the “baddest dude” on the football field, according to his best friend, Hall-of-Famer Michael Irvin.
He proved it by breaking NCAA single-game records for rushing yards and carries in 1991.
But after his career ended, Sands struggled with mental health.
He contemplated suicide and even mapped out how he would carry it out, but after opening up to his wife, Sands sought help.
Now, Sands is using his personal battle to help others who face similar struggles.
He’s written a book, “I was before my time,” and acts as a mentor to young athletes.
It’s a day football history buffs will never forget: November 23, 1991.
KU versus Missouri.
“I went in as a loser, and I came out as a winner,” KU running back Tony Sands said after the game. “What more could you ask for in a situation such as this?”
Five-foot-six, 175 lb. Sands rushed 58 times for 396 yards on his way to the NCAA history books. Both numbers were records at the time; his 58 carries still stands.