This Day In Sports: The Jay-Train leaves the station

September 29, 2012, 10 years ago today:Jay Ajayi gets a formal introduction to Bronco Nation in Boise State’s 32-29 win at New Mexico. There was a buzz surrounding Ajayi before this game, but nothing like the one after.He had one carry for two yards in the previous game when he made his Boise State debut against BYU. Career carries number two through seven came in Albuquerque, and they were very interesting indeed for Ajayi. The redshirt freshman running back came into the game late in the second quarter and broke off a 71-yard scamper on his first attempt.

When it was all said and done (he didn’t have an attempt after halftime), Ajayi rushed for 118 yards and averaged 19.7 yards per carry. He also scored his first collegiate touchdown. And this all happened in two minutes and eight seconds of possession time. Oh, and how about this nugget? Ajayi’s 71-yard gain was the longest non-scoring run in Boise State history. He’d go on to become Boise State’s fourth-leading career rusher with 3,796 yards and would be known for his train whistle gesture after every touchdown and for drinking pickle juice on the sidelines on national TV to prevent cramps.

Let’s talk about the Jay-Train’s final year at Boise State—his junior year in 2014, as he left early for the NFL. He broke the school rushing record with 1,823 yards on a staggering 347 carries. Not only that, Ajayi pulled in 50 receptions and led the nation in touches with 397. He was also tops in the country with 32 total touchdowns and 2,358 all-purpose yards. Ajayi capped the season with 134 rushing yards and three TDs in the Broncos’ Fiesta Bowl win over Arizona.

Despite the explosive platitudes, NFL front offices had injury concerns with Ajayi, and he dropped all the way to the fifth round in the NFL Draft. He began his pro career with the Miami Dolphins. Ajayi’s second season was his best, with 1,272 rushing yards and a trio of 200-yard games. He was traded to Philadelphia midway through the 2017 season and contributed to the Eagles win over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 52 with nine carries for 57 yards. Injuries hampered him the following two years, and he ended up playing his final NFL game on December 9, 2019.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra. He also anchors four sports segments each weekday on 95.3 FM KTIK and one on News/Talk KBOI. His Scott Slant column runs every Wednesday.)

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