List of NCAA major college football yearly passing leaders

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"Slingin" Sammy Baugh

The list of college football yearly passing and total offense leaders identifies the major college passing leaders for each season from 1937 to the present. It includes yearly leaders in three statistical categories: (1) passing yardage; (2) passing touchdowns; and (3) passer rating.

Overview[edit]

The NCAA record for passing yards in a single season has been broken nine times since 1937: by Davey O'Brien in 1938 with 1,457 yards; by Stan Heath in 1948 with 2,005 yards; by Don Trull in 1963 with 2,157 yards; by Jerry Rhome in 1964 with 2,870 yards; by Billy Anderson in 1965 with 3,464 yards; by Jim McMahon in 1980 with 4,571 yards; by Andre Ware in 1989 with 4,699 yards; by Ty Detmer in 1990 with 5,188 yards; and by B. J. Symons in 2003 with 5,833 yards.

Only seven players have led the NCAA in passing yardage in multiple seasons. They are: Case Keenum in 2009 and 2011; Graham Harrell in 2007 and 2008; Colt Brennan in 2005 and 2006; Tim Rattay in 1998 and 1999; Ty Detmer in 1990 and 1991; and Robbie Bosco in 1984 and 1985.

Four programs in the post-1936 "modern era" have had different players lead major-college football in passing yardage in consecutive seasons. The first was Texas with Al Dekdebrun in 1940 and Bobby Layne in 1941. Tulsa followed in 1964 and 1965, respectively with Jerry Rhome and Billy Anderson. BYU has accomplished the feat twice—first with Marc Wilson in 1979 and Jim McMahon in 1980, and then with Steve Young in 1983 and Bosco the following two seasons. The most recent, Texas Tech, is the only program to have had three different players lead in consecutive seasons, doing so from 2002–2004 with Kliff Kingsbury, B. J. Symons, and Sonny Cumbie.

Leading programs[edit]

Case Keenum

Programs with multiple passing leaders (in any of the three categories) include:

Passing leaders[edit]

Key
= Winner of that year's Heisman Trophy
* = Winner of that year's Sammy Baugh Trophy as the nation's top college passer
# = Winner of that year's Davey O'Brien Award as the best NCAA quarterback
Bold = Figure established an NCAA major college record

Year Name Passing yards Name Passing TDs Name Passer rating
1937 Billy Patterson[2]
(Baylor)
1109
1938 Davey O'Brien[3]
(TCU)
1457 Davey O'Brien 19[4]
1939 Kay Eakin[5]
(Arkansas)
962
1940 Johnny Supulski[6]
(Manhattan)
1190 Paul Christman
(Missouri)
13
1941 Bud Schwenk[7]
(Wash. U.-MO)
1457
1942 Paul Governali[8]
(Columbia)
1442
1943 R. Hoernschemeyer[9]
(Indiana)
1133
1944 Paul Rickards[10]
(Pittsburgh)
997
1945 Al Dekdebrun[11]
(Texas)
1227
1946 Bobby Layne[12]
(Texas)
1122 Bill Mackrides[12]
(Nevada)
17 Bill Mackrides[13] 176.9
1947[14] Fred Enke
(Arizona)
1406 Charlie Conerly
(Ole Miss)
18 Bobby Layne[13]
(Texas)
138.9
1948[15] Stan Heath
(Nevada)
2005 Stan Heath 22 Stan Heath 157.2
1949[16] Tom O'Malley
(Cincinnati)
1617 Buddy Lox
(Wm. & Mary)
18 Bob Williams[13]
(Notre Dame)
159.1
1950[17] Don Heinrich
(Washington)
1846 Babe Parilli
(Kentucky)
23 Claude Arnold[13]
(Oklahoma)
157.3
1951[18] Don Klosterman
(Loyola-LA)
1843 Babe Parilli
(Kentucky)
19 Dick Kazmaier[13]
(Princeton)
155.3
1952[19] Zeke Bratkowski
(Georgia)
1824 Johnny Borton
(Ohio State)
15 Ron Morris[13]
(Tulsa)
177.4
1953[20] Bobby Garrett
(Stanford)
1637 Bobby Garrett 17 Bobby Garrett[13] 142.2
1954[21] Paul Larson
(California)
1537 Len Dawson
(Purdue)
15 Pete Vann[13]
(Army)
166.5
1955 George Welsh
(Navy)[22]
1319 Tie 8 George Welsh[13] 146.1
1956[23] John Brodie
(Stanford)
1633 John Brodie 12 Tom Flores[13]
(Pacific)
147.5
1957[24] Lee Grosscup
(Utah)
1398 Ken Ford
(Hardin-Simmons)
14 Lee Grosscup[13] 175.5
1958[25] Randy Duncan
(Iowa)
1397 Randy Duncan 12 John Hangartner[13]
(Arizona St.)
150.1
1959[26] Dick Norman*
(Stanford)
1963 Charley Johnson
(New Mexico St.)
18 Charley Johnson[13] 135.7
1960[27] Norm Snead
(Wake Forest)
1676 Charley Johnson
(New Mexico St.)
13 Eddie Wilson[13]
(Arizona)
140.8
1961[28] Ron Miller
(Wisconsin)
1487 Chon Gallegos
(San Jose St.)
14 Ron DiGravio[13]
(Purdue)
140.1
1962[29] George Mira
(Miami-FL)
1893 Tie 15 John Jacobs[13]
(Arizona St.)
153.9
1963[30] Don Trull*
(Baylor)
2157 Tie 16 Bob Berry[13]
(Oregon)
164.0
1964[31] Jerry Rhome*
(Tulsa)
2870 Jerry Rhome 32 Jerry Rhome[13] 172.6
1965[32] Billy Anderson
(Tulsa)
3464 Bill Anderson 30 Steve Sloan*[33]
(Alabama)
153.8
1966[34] Mark Reed
(Arizona)
2368 Bo Burris
(Houston)
22 Dewey Warren[33]
(Tennessee)
142.2
1967[35] Sal Olivas
(New Mexico St.)
2225 Steve Ramsey
(N. Texas)
21 Bill Andrejko[33][36]
(Villanova)
140.6
1968[37] Greg Cook
(Cincinnati)
3272 Greg Cook 25 Brian Dowling[33]
(Yale)
165.8
1969[38] Dennis Shaw
(San Diego St.)
3185 Dennis Shaw 39 Dennis Shaw[33] 162.2
1970[39] Jim Plunkett
(Stanford)
2980 Brian Sipe
(San Diego St.)
23 Jerry Tagge[33]
(Nebraska)
149.0
1971[40] Gary Huff
(Florida St.)
2736 Gary Huff 23 Jerry Tagge
(Nebraska)
150.9
1972[41] Don Strock*
(Va. Tech)
3243 Gary Huff
(Florida St.)
25 John Hufnagel[33]
(Penn St.)
148.0
1973[42] Jesse Freitas*
(San Diego St.)
2993 Danny White
(Ariz. St.)
23 Danny White[33] 157.4
1974[43] Steve Bartkowski
(California)
2580 Tie 23 Steve Joachim[33]
(Temple)
150.1
1975[44] Craig Penrose
(San Diego St.)
2660 Steve Myer
(New Mexico)
21 Jim Kubacki[33]
(Harvard)
147.6
1976[45] Gifford Nielsen
(BYU)
3401 Gifford Nielsen 30 Steve Haynes[33]
(La. Tech)
146.9
1977[46] Doug Williams
(Grambling)
3286 Doug Williams 38 Dave Wilson[33]
(Ball St.)
164.2
1978[47] Mike Ford
(SMU)
3007 Steve Dils*
(Stanford)
22 Paul McDonald[33]
(USC)
152.8
1979[48] Marc Wilson*
(BYU)
3720 Marc Wilson 29 Turk Schonert[49]
(Stanford)
163.0
1980[50] Jim McMahon
(BYU)
4571 Jim McMahon 47 Jim McMahon[49] 176.9
1981[51] Sam King
(UNLV)
3778 Dan Marino
(Pittsburgh)
37 Jim McMahon*#[49]
(BYU)
155.0
1982[52] Todd Dillon
(Long Beach St.)
3517 John Elway*
(Stanford)
Jeff Tedford
(Fresno St.)
24 Tom Ramsey[49]
(UCLA)
153.5
1983[53] Steve Young*#
(BYU)
3902 Steve Young 33 Steve Young[49] 168.5
1984[54] Robbie Bosco*
(BYU)
3875 Robbie Bosco 33 Doug Flutie[49]
(Boston College)
152.9
1985[55] Robbie Bosco
(BYU)
4273 Robbie Bosco 30 Jim Harbaugh[49]
(Michigan)
163.7
1986[56] Mike Perez
(San Jose St.)
3225 Vinny Testaverde*#
(Miami-FL)
26 Vinny Testaverde[49] 165.8
1987[57] Todd Santos
(San Diego St.)
3932 Todd Santos 26 Don McPherson*#[49]
(Syracuse)
164.3
1988[58] Scott Mitchell
(Utah)
4322 Scott Mitchell
Steve Walsh*
(Miami-FL)
29 Timm Rosenbach
(Washington St.)
162.0
1989[59] Andre Ware#
(Houston)
4699 Andre Ware 46 Ty Detmer[49]
(BYU)
175.6
1990[60] Ty Detmer#
(BYU)
5188 David Klingler*
(Houston)
54 Shawn Moore[49]
(Virginia)
160.7
1991[61] Ty Detmer*#
(BYU)
4031 Troy Kopp
(Pacific)
37 Elvis Grbac[49]
(Michigan)
169.0
1992[62] Jimmy Klingler
(Houston)
3818 Jimmy Klingler 32 Elvis Grbac*[49]
(Michigan)
154.2
1993[63] Chris Vargas
(Nevada)
4265 Chris Vargas 34 Trent Dilfer*[49]
(Fresno St.)
173.1
1994[64] John Walsh
(BYU)
3712 John Walsh
Mike Maxwell
29 Kerry Collins*#[49]
(Penn St.)
172.9
1995[65] Mike Maxwell
(Nevada)
3611 Danny Wuerffel*#
(Florida)
35 Danny Wuerffel[49]
(Florida)
178.4
1996[66] Josh Wallwork
(Wyoming)
4090 Danny Wuerffel#
(Florida)
39 Steve Sarkisian*[49]
(BYU)
173.6
1997[67] Ryan Leaf*
(Wash. St.)
3868 Chad Pennington
(Marshall)
42 Cade McNown[49]
(UCLA)
168.6
1998[68] Tim Rattay
(La. Tech)
4943 Tim Rattay 46 Shaun King
Tulane
183.3
1999[69] Tim Rattay
(La. Tech)
3922 Chad Pennington*
(Marshall)
37 Michael Vick[49]
(Virginia Tech)
180.4
2000[70] Chris Weinke*#
(Florida St.)
4167 Chris Weinke 35 Bart Hendricks[49]
(Boise St.)
170.6
2001[71] David Carr*
(Fresno St.)
4839 David Carr 46 Rex Grossman[49]
(Florida)
170.8
2002[72] Kliff Kingsbury*
(Texas Tech)
5017 Kliff Kingsbury 45 Brad Banks[49]
(Iowa)
157.1
2003[73] B. J. Symons*
(Texas Tech)
5833 B. J. Symons 52 Philip Rivers[49]
(NC State)
170.5
2004[74] Sonny Cumbie
(Texas Tech)
4742 Omar Jacobs
(Bowling Green)
41 Stefan LeFors*[49]
(Louisville)
181.7
2005[75] Colt Brennan
(Hawaii)
4301 Colt Brennan 35 Rudy Carpenter[49]
(Arizona St.)
175.0
2006[76] Colt Brennan*
(Hawaii)
5549 Colt Brennan 58 Colt Brennan[49] 186.0
2007[77] Graham Harrell*
(Texas Tech)
5705 Graham Harrell 48 Sam Bradford[49]
(Oklahoma)
176.5
2008[78] Graham Harrell
(Texas Tech)
5111 Sam Bradford*#
(Oklahoma)
50 Sam Bradford[49] 180.8
2009[79] Case Keenum*
(Houston)
5671 Case Keenum 44 Tim Tebow[49]
(Florida)
164.2
2010[80] Bryant Moniz
(Hawaii)
5040 Bryant Moniz 49 Kellen Moore[49]
(Boise St.)
182.6
2011[81] Case Keenum*
(Houston)
5631 Case Keenum 48 Russell Wilson[49]
(Wisconsin)
191.8
2012[82] Nick Florence
(Baylor)
4309 Geno Smith
(West Virginia)
42 AJ McCarron[49]
(Alabama)
175.3
2013[83] Derek Carr*
(Fresno St.)
5083 Derek Carr 50 Jameis Winston#[49]
(Florida St.)
184.8
2014[84] Brandon Doughty*
(Western Kentucky)
4830 Brandon Doughty
(Western Kentucky)
49 Marcus Mariota#[49]
Oregon
181.7
2015[85] Brandon Doughty
(Western Kentucky)
5055 Brandon Doughty
(Western Kentucky)
48 Seth Russell[49]
Baylor
189.7
2016[86] Patrick Mahomes*
(Texas Tech)
5052 Logan Woodside
(Toledo)
45 Baker Mayfield
(Oklahoma)
196.4
2017[87] Mason Rudolph*
(Oklahoma State)
4904 Drew Lock
(Missouri)
44 Baker Mayfield#
(Oklahoma)
198.9

Pre-1937 unofficial data[edit]

Before 1937 the NCAA did not compile official statistics. This chart reflects unofficial passing statistics compiled by historians mostly from newspapers accounts.

Year Name Passing yards Name Passing TDs Name Passer rating
1936 Sammy Baugh[88]
(TCU)
1261
1935 Sammy Baugh[88][89]
(TCU)
1241 Sammy Baugh 18
1934
1933 Doug Nott[88]
(Detroit)
1092
1932
1931
1930 Ray Forsberg[90]
(Utah)
11
1929
1928 Lloyd Brazil[88]
(Detroit)
997
1927 Bill Spears[91][92][93]
(Vanderbilt)
1207 Bill Spears 9
1926 Benny Friedman
(Michigan)
562 Benny Friedman 9
1925 Benny Friedman
(Michigan)
760 Swede Oberlander[94][95]
(Dartmouth)
14
1924
1923
1922
1921 John Mohardt[88][96]
(Notre Dame)
995 John Mohardt 9
1920 George Gipp[88][96]
(Notre Dame)
709
1919 George Gipp[88][92]
(Notre Dame)
727 Ira Rodgers
(West Virginia)
11
1918
1917
1916 Pudge Wyman
(Minnesota)
1915 Pudge Wyman
(Minnesota)
1914
1913 Gus Dorais[97]
(Notre Dame)
510+
1912
1911
1910
1909
1908
1907
1906

References[edit]

  1. ^ All eight BYU passing leaders were during LaVell Edwards' tenure as head coach. Edwards' quarterbacks led the NCAA in one or more passing categories for a record 12 seasons: Sarkisian in 1996; Walsh in 1994; Detmer in 1989, 1990 and 1991; Bosco in 1984 and 1985; Young in 1983; McMahon in 1980 and 1981; Wilson in 1979, and Nielsen in 1976
  2. ^ ESPN College Football Encyclopedia, p. 1172.
  3. ^ ESPN College Football Encyclopedia, p. 1175.
  4. ^ https://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/players/davey-obrien-1.html
  5. ^ ESPN College Football Encyclopedia, p. 1179.
  6. ^ ESPN College Football Encyclopedia, p. 1182.
  7. ^ ESPN College Football Encyclopedia, p. 1185.
  8. ^ ESPN College Football Encyclopedia, p. 1189.
  9. ^ ESPN College Football Encyclopedia, p. 1193.
  10. ^ ESPN College Football Encyclopedia, p. 1197.
  11. ^ ESPN College Football Encyclopedia, p. 1201.
  12. ^ a b ESPN College Football Encyclopedia, p. 1205.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r "Football Bowl Subdivision Records" (PDF). NCAA. 2015. p. 46. (ratings for years 1946-1964 require minimum 11 attempts per game; a lower threshold was applied for these years because only a handful of passers attempted 15 or more passes per game during these years)
  14. ^ ESPN College Football Encyclopedia, p. 1209.
  15. ^ ESPN College Football Encyclopedia, p. 1213.
  16. ^ ESPN College Football Encyclopedia, p. 1217.
  17. ^ ESPN College Football Encyclopedia, p. 1221.
  18. ^ ESPN College Football Encyclopedia, p. 1225.
  19. ^ ESPN College Football Encyclopedia, p. 1229.
  20. ^ ESPN College Football Encyclopedia, p. 1233.
  21. ^ ESPN College Football Encyclopedia, p. 1237.
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  54. ^ "1984 Passing Stats". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved October 22, 2015. 
  55. ^ "1985 Passing Stats". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved October 22, 2015. 
  56. ^ "1986 Passing Stats". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved October 22, 2015. 
  57. ^ "1987 Passing Stats". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved October 22, 2015. 
  58. ^ "1988 Passing Stats". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved October 22, 2015. 
  59. ^ "1989 Passing Stats". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved October 22, 2015. 
  60. ^ "1990 Passing Stats". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved October 22, 2015. 
  61. ^ "1991 Passing Stats". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved October 22, 2015. 
  62. ^ "1992 Passing Stats". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved October 22, 2015. 
  63. ^ "1993 Passing Stats". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved October 22, 2015. 
  64. ^ "1994 Passing Stats". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved October 22, 2015. 
  65. ^ "1995 Passing Stats". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved October 22, 2015. 
  66. ^ "1996 Passing Stats". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved October 22, 2015. 
  67. ^ "1997 Passing Stats". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved October 22, 2015. 
  68. ^ "1998 Passing Stats". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved October 22, 2015. 
  69. ^ "1999 Passing Stats". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved October 22, 2015. 
  70. ^ "2000 Passing Stats". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved October 22, 2015. 
  71. ^ "2001 Passing Stats". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved October 22, 2015. 
  72. ^ "2002 Passing Stats". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved October 22, 2015. 
  73. ^ "2003 Passing Stats". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved October 22, 2015. 
  74. ^ "2004 Passing Stats". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved October 22, 2015. 
  75. ^ "2005 Passing Stats". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved October 22, 2015. 
  76. ^ "2006 Passing Stats". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved October 22, 2015. 
  77. ^ "2007 Passing Stats". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved October 22, 2015. 
  78. ^ "2008 Passing Stats". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved October 22, 2015. 
  79. ^ "2009 Passing Stats". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved October 22, 2015. 
  80. ^ "2010 Passing Stats". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved October 22, 2015. 
  81. ^ "2011 Passing Stats". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved October 22, 2015. 
  82. ^ "2012 Passing Stats". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved October 22, 2015. 
  83. ^ "2013 Passing Stats". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved October 22, 2015. 
  84. ^ "2014 Passing Stats". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved October 22, 2015. 
  85. ^ "2015 Passing Stats". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved January 12, 2016. 
  86. ^ "2016 Passing Stats". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved March 16, 2017. 
  87. ^ "2017 Passing Stats". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved January 30, 2018. 
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  95. ^ http://library.la84.org/SportsLibrary/CFHSN/CFHSNv03/CFHSNv03n4h.pdf
  96. ^ a b Grantland Rice (December 3, 1921). "Where The West Got The Jump: In Addition To Developing Strong Defense and Good Running Game, Has Built Up Forward Pass" (PDF). American Golfer. 
  97. ^ "Texans Fail To Withstand Irish". The Indianapolis Star. November 28, 1913. p. 10. Retrieved October 28, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read