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CATCH UP ON THE COUNTDOWN BY VISITING: ARIZONA’S TOP 100 INDIVIDUAL RECORDS
Only 13 days separate us from the start of Rich Rodriguez’s fifth season, when the Arizona Wildcats football team plays Brigham Young on Sept. 3 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.
As is customary on this Web site, we will count down the days with an interesting element associated with each day. This year the topic is the top 100 individual records in Arizona’s storied football past.
In past years, we have counted down the top games and highlighted players and some of the top plays in Arizona Wildcats football history. A couple of years ago in our top 100 countdown, we showcased the 1914 team that was responsible for Arizona becoming the “Wildcats”.
Back to this year’s countdown of the top 100 individual records in the 117 years of Arizona football:
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Nick Foles is the only passer in Arizona Wildcats history to throw for more than 4,000 yards in a season with 4,334 as a senior in 2011.
ARIZONA MOST SEASON PASSING YARDS
Most Passing Yards, Season: 4,334, Nick Foles, 2011 (12 games)
Pac-12 record: 4,714, Jared Goff, California, 2015 (13 games)
NCAA record: 5,833, B.J. Symons, Texas Tech, 2003 (13 games)
Nick Foles rates as the No. 7 passer in Pac-12 history in terms of passing yards in a season with his production in 2011.
Remember when Tom “Terrific” Tunnicliffe held the Arizona record for passing yards in a season for 20 years?
From when Tunnicliffe passed for 2,520 yards in 1982 until the year 2002 his name stayed atop the record book. Arizona coaches Larry Smith and Dick Tomey mostly utilized running quarterbacks in that 20-year span — the exception pocket-passer Dan White at the height of the Desert Swarm defense era.
White was more of a quarterback who tried not to make mistakes and allowed Tomey’s running backs the ability to eat up yards and give the Desert Swarm room to work with. His most passing yards in a season was 2,181 in 1994.
Jason Johnson, one of the lone bright spots of the John Mackovic era, connected with Bobby Wade often during the 2002 season to top Tunnicliffe’s mark and become the first Arizona quarterback with more than 3,000 yards in a season at 3,327.
Since Johnson, six times has an Arizona surpassed 3,000 yards passing in a season, including Anu Solomon’s 3,793 as a redshirt freshman in 2014.
Nick Foles is the only one with more than 4,000 yards, compiling a school-record 4,334 as a senior in 2011. That record seems to be untouchable, at least for a while, inasmuch as Foles needed to average 361.2 yards a game (also a school record) to achieve that mark. Passing for that many yards in a 13-game span (if Arizona goes to a bowl) is difficult to comprehend.
But then again, all of Rich Rodriguez’s quarterbacks have reached the top 10 in Arizona passing yards in a season: Solomon’s mark in 2014 that rates behind Foles’ record, Matt Scott’s 3,620 in 2012, B.J. Denker (yes, Denker, a running quarterback, is in the top 10) with 2,516 in 2013, and Solomon’s 2,655 in an injury-marred season last year.
With the way Rodriguez likes competition at the quarterback spot — despite Solomon being a two-year starter — the splitting of roles may get in the way of Solomon (or Brandon Dawkins for that matter) reaching the 4,000-yard mark and threatening Foles. A development to follow.
Previous Foles records at Arizona listed in this countdown:
39. Consecutive Games Throwing Touchdown Pass, 17, from Nov. 6, 2010, to Nov. 26, 2011
44. Most Passing Yards, Career: 10,011, 2009-2011 (933 of 1396, 33 INTs, 67 TDs)
48. Most Touchdown Passes, Season: 28, 2011, tied with Willie Tuitama, 2007, and Anu Solomon, 2014
51. Most Touchdown Passes, Career: 67, 2009-11 (35 games) tied with Willie Tuitama, 2005-08 (40 games)
56. Highest Completion Percentage, Career (Min. 500 att): 66.8, 2009-11 (933 of 1396)
71. Highest Completion Percentage Season, More than 200 attempts: 69.1, 2011 (387 of 560)
77. Most Passes Completed, Season: 387, 2011 (12 games, 560 attempts)
81. Highest Completion Percentage, Game: 78.4, vs. Stanford, Oct. 17, 2009 (40 of 51)
82. Fewest Passes Had Intercepted (Pct. of Attempts), Career (500 att): 2.36 percent, 2009-11 (33 in 1,396 attempts)
91. Most Pass Completions, career: 933, 2009-11
97. Total Offense in Career: 9,712 yards, 2009-11 (10,111 passing/-290 rushing/-9 receiving)
ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.