Carter sets new NCAA mark in Gophers’ win

David La

STATE COLLEGE, Penn. — On the way up Interstate 99 to State College, there are signs for a small city on the Pennsylvania map called Tyrone.
About 25 miles away at Beaver Stadium on Saturday, a 5-foot-9 strong safety named Tyrone Carter put himself on the college football map.
Registering eight tackles in the Penn State game, Carter became the Division I career leader in tackles by a defensive back with 483. Mike Staid of Tulane (1991-1994) previously held the mark with 481 tackles.
Carter also reset the Minnesota career mark of 482 tackles, owned by linebacker Peter Najarian (’82-’85).
Staid, who learned of his record only three weeks ago, said he admires Carter’s durability.
“For him to do what he did, I’m sure he has a good work ethic,” Staid said. “I have to say I did not have a joy for practice (like Carter), but I’d like to think I worked hard.”
Najarian saw the occasion as the result of a jinx put on him by former Gophers teammate Ray Hitchcock.
“A few years ago, Ray said to me, ‘Peter do you have any idea where you are on the tackle list?'” Najarian said. “I said, ‘No, I have no idea.’ He said, ‘Well, no one will ever touch it.'”
The Bronko Nagurski candidate is also one of the only two defensive backs among the top-10 leaders to have more than 300 solo stops.
“From watching him, the kid never, ever stops moving his legs,” Najarian said. “He’s always running, and that’s how you end up around the football.”
Earlier this week, coach Glen Mason said Carter’s fast-approaching milestone was an attitude as much as ability.
“The record is great but that’s not the story,” Mason said. “Tyrone Carter has been the heart and soul. Not only of the defense, but the program from the time he got here.
“One thing we thought we needed to do was instill some toughness and an attitude of lining up and playing as hard as you possibly can. That’s what he’s all about. Pound for pound he’s the toughest football player I’ve been around.”

David La Vaque covers football and welcomes comments at [email protected]