First, there was the World Series championship. Now, Dante Pettis has something else to celebrate. He’s officially in the NCAA record books.
The Washington senior star receiver scored on a 64-yard punt return Saturday, giving him the all-time record for most career punt returns for a touchdown. Pettis recorded his ninth return for a touchdown against Oregon at Husky Stadium. His touchdown was one of two the Huskies scored in the second quarter. UW took a 17-3 lead going into halftime before Pettis caught a 47-yard touchdown with 13:42 left in the third quarter for a 24-3 lead.
Pettis, as he’s done so many times, was able to make a few defenders miss before finding an open lane to take it the distance with 10:05 left in half.
Now the single owner of the record, Pettis previously shared the accolade with former Oklahoma defensive back Antonio Perkins and former Texas Tech star receiver Wes Welker.
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Pettis now has 412 punt return yards and four touchdowns this season. He has more yards and touchdowns than any other team in the nation.
His first touchdown of the season came on a 61-yard return at Rutgers. Pettis would then return a punt for a score in consecutive games against Montana and Fresno state.
With one more touchdown return, Pettis would tie the NCAA single-season mark. The record is held by Hawaii’s Chad Owens and North Carolina’s Ryan Switzer with five. Owens set the record in 2004 while Switzer achieved the accolade in 2013.
Getting the NCAA record adds to what’s been an eventful last few days for Pettis and his family. His father, Gary, is a third base coach for the Houston Astros which captured the World Series over the Los Angeles Dodgers earlier in the week.
Ryan S. Clark: @ryan_s_clark