Communist Football's Almanack of Broken Records - Purdue Edition
What a difference two weeks makes. Instead of talking about throwing Molotov cocktails at Schembechler Hall, the MGoCommune is talking about New Year's Day bowl games. Unfortunately, an evil capitalist conspiracy of rain, Ryan Kerrigan, and poor decision-making led Denard to his worst statistical day of the season. Four turnovers (two INTs, two fumbles) does not a Heisman candidacy make, and it's hard to imagine Denard getting back in the race this year unless we beat both Wisconsin and O State.
Let's hope the Purdue game really was about the weather and not about Purdue's DL: because we face two stout defensive lines to close out the regular season. A lot of the records that Denard seemed certain to break before Saturday are much closer calls now.
Prefatory Verbiage • New This Week • Week in Review • Record of the Week • QBs as Rushing Champions • QB Rushing, Game • QB Rushing, Season • QB Rushing, Career • Rushing (Any Position) • 200/200 Club • 1000/1000 Club • Total Offense • Total Offense Per Play • Passing Efficiency • Other M Passing • Other M Rushing • Team Offense • Miscellaneous Records • Standard Disclaimers • Acknowledgments • Comments
- Previous editions. Here are the links to the post-Illinois, post-PSU, bye week, post-Iowa, post-MSU, and post-Indiana editions of this Almanack.
- Suggestions are welcome. If you have found an interesting statistic or record that you think I should add to this list, please put it in the comments section and I'll add it to the original post (and give you credit).
- Review the disclaimers. Football has evolved considerably over its 141-year history, much more so than other major sports, and that is important to keep in mind when talking about all-time records. The existence of this diary is not meant to imply that individual achievement is more important than the achievement of the team.
New This Week
New to this week's Almanack is a "Miscellaneous Records" section to highlight records broken by other players this year, such as Roy Roundtree's single-game receiving mark set against Illinois. I also added a passage in the Disclaimers section about college football scoring conventions prior to 1912.
Week in Review: Denard Sets the Michigan Total Offense Season Record
Denard was 13 of 21 passing for 188 yards, 1 TD, and 2 interceptions, for a rating of 128.97, well below his averages. Even worse, he ran for only 68 yards on 22 carries, for a season-worst YPC of 3.09. Once again, the postgame commentary on the Purdue game failed to highlight what a remarkable season Comrade Denard is having. Unnoticed on Saturday was the fact that Denard set Michigan's single-season record for total offense, breaking John Navarre's 2003 mark of 3,240 yards.
Of the other prominant dual-threat QBs, Cam Newton ran for 151 yards and threw for 148 against Georgia to clinch the SEC West title (and a 14th game); Colin Kaepernick ran for 153 and threw for 171 in a comeback victory against Fresno State; and Taylor Martinez ran for 71 and threw for 167 in a 20-3 victory over Kansas. LaMichael James, Denard's leading rival for the FBS rushing title, moved into first place with 91 yards in a hard-fought win against Cal.
Records of the Week: NCAA Single-Season QB Rushing; 1500/2000 Club
Denard's season rushing total now stands at 1,417 yards, 77 yards short of Beau Morgan's FBS record of 1,494, set in 1996. If Denard gains 83 against Wisconsin, he will become the first major-college player in history to both rush and pass for 1,500 yards in a single season. If he passes for 10 yards against the Badgers, he will also become the first member of the 1500/2000 club.
Despite his relatively poor numbers against Illinois, Denard maintained possession of the Michigan career yards-per-carry record with a minimum of 200 attempts, with 6.5 YPC. The previous record had been held by 6.3 YPC by Jon Vaughn (from 1989-1990).
However, with his sloppy performance against Purdue, Denard lost possession of Michigan's single-season YPC record. Before Saturday, he was at 7.4 YPC for the year; today, he's at 6.0, well below Tyrone Wheatley's 7.3 mark set in 1992.
Denard continues to hold on to the Michigan career pass-efficiency record with a minimum of 200 attempts, at 149.1. The previous record was 148.1 by Elvis Grbac (from 1989-1992), and Elvis had the benefit of a Heisman Trophy-winning receiver. Denard's 149.1 mark is also on pace for third all-time in the Big Ten, though he needs 300 completions to qualify for that record (he currently has 145).
Quarterbacks as NCAA Rushing Champions
A quarterback has never led the NCAA FBS in rushing yards over a single season. In 1937, the first year in which the NCAA kept official football statistics, Colorado halfback Byron "Whizzer" White led the nation in rushing with 1,121 yards, along with 475 passing yards. (If that wasn't enough, White also went to Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship, played in the NFL for Pittsburgh and Detroit, served in World War II during which he was awarded two Bronze Stars, came back and graduated from Yale Law School, and was appointed by John F. Kennedy to the Supreme Court of the United States.)
This year, Denard could become the first quarterback in history to finish the season as the NCAA rushing champion (by yards gained). He currently has gained 1,417 yards on the ground. LaMichael James of Oregon is 5 yards ahead having played one less game. James has a bye next week, so Denard is likely to regain the lead, at least temporarily, against Wisconsin.
On a yards-per-game basis, James is in first place with 158.0 (Denard has fallen to third with 141.7, behind James and Connecticut's Jordan Todman). Personally, I find the YPG statistic to be arbitrary: should Denard be punished because the Bowling Green game was a rout, and LaMichael James be rewarded because he was suspended for one game for pleading guilty to harrassing his ex-girlfriend? FWIW, on a yards-per-carry basis, Denard is still ahead of James.
Note that Cam Newton will play in the SEC championship game, and thereby have an extra game to pad his stats. Newton, however, is 203 yards behind Denard, despite the extra tilt. Here are the top 5 rushers in the country, sorted by yards gained:
|Kendall Hunter||Oklahoma St.||226||1,356||6.00||10||135.6||16|
|Bobby Rainey||W. Kentucky||268||1,244||4.64||10||124.4||11|
* - LaMichael James was suspended for Oregon's first game against New Mexico for pleading guilty to a misdemeanor.
Rushing Yards by a QB, Single-Game
Denard currently holds the Michigan and Big Ten records for rushing yards by a quarterback in a single game: 258 vs. Notre Dame. The NCAA FBS record is 308, on 22 attempts, by Stacey Robinson of Northern Illinois, against Fresno State, on Oct. 6, 1990.
Rushing Yards by a QB, Single-Season
Denard currently has 1,417 rushing yards in 10 games. This projects to 1,842 over a 13-game schedule. He owns the Big Ten record, previously set by Antwaan Randle-El in 2000 with 1,270 yards, and has destroyed the previous Michigan record for QB rushing yards in a season: 674 by Steve Smith in 1981.
Before you get too overwhelmed by all the numbers in this diary, just stop and think about that for a minute. Denard Robinson, your starting Michigan quarterback, playing before your very eyes, has more than doubled a Michigan football record, with four games to go. And not just any record, but one that has stood for three decades. Even if you account for the fact that we're playing a very different style of football now—it's just incredible.
The NCAA FBS record is 1,494 by Beau Morgan of Air Force in 1996. This record is easily within reach. Denard only has to average 26 rushing yards a game over the rest of the season to break the NCAA FBS record.
Rushing Yards by a QB, Career
There's no point in projecting Denard's career rushing totals, since we don't even know how he'll do this year (or if his knee will hold up), nor if he will stay for his senior season. But here are the records:
Michigan's career record is held by Rick Leach (1975-1978) at 2,176 yards: a record Denard will break this year, at his current pace. Denard needs to average 136 rushing yards a game to take this title. (Guys like Leach and Steve Smith must salivate at what they could have done in the offense of Comrade Rodriguez.) The Big Ten record is Antwaan Randel El's (1998-2001) at 3,895 yards. The NCAA FBS record is held by Pat White (2005-2008) at 4,480 yards.
The NCAA FBS per-game career record is 109.1 yards by Stacey Robinson of Northern Illinois, achieved from 1988-1990 over 25 games.
Rushing Records (At Any Position)
For a single game, the Michigan record is 347 by Ron Johnson in 1968 against Wisconsin; the Big Ten record is 377 by Anthony Thompson of Indiana in 1989 against Wisconsin; the NCAA FBS record is 406 by LaDainian Tomlinson of TCU in 1999 against UTEP.
For a single season, the Michigan record is 1,818 yards (Tshimanga Biakabutuka, 1995); the Big Ten record is 2,087 yards (Larry Johnson, Penn St., 2002); the NCAA FBS record is 2,628 yards (Barry Sanders, Oklahoma State, 1988). Denard can break Touchdown Tim's Michigan record by averaging 117 yards per game over the rest of the season.
That Barry Sanders record will be around for a while, but remember that Denard is on pace for 1,842 with a 13-game schedule; he will need a couple of great games against Wisconsin and Ohio State to get within striking distance of Larry Johnson's Big Ten record.
For a career, the Michigan record is held by Mike Hart (5,040 yards, 2004-2007); the Big Ten record is held by Ron Dayne (7,125 yards, 1996-1999); the NCAA FBS record is also held by Ron Dayne, but they list it as 6,397 yards. (Herschel Walker of Georgia holds the record for a 3-year career at 5,259 yards, set from 1980-1982.)
The 200/200 Club
Much has been made of the fact that Denard is the only player in FBS history to gain 200 yards rushing and 200 yards passing twice in regular-season games. To me this is a silly distinction—who cares if it was done in the regular season or a bowl game? If anything, Vince Young's performance in the 2005 Rose Bowl against USC is even more remarkable, given that that USC team is considered one of the most dominant teams of the modern era. Wake me up when Denard gets his third 200/200 game. (He did go for 191/190 against Penn State.)
Anyway, here are the 200/200 games listed in the NCAA record book, sorted by total offense. You'll note that Denard is the only member of the 240/240 club, and Marques Tuiasosopo is the only member of the 200/300 club.
|Player||Team (Opponent)||Year||Rushing||Passing||Total Off.|
|Marques Tuiasosopo||Washington (Stanford)||1999||207||302||509|
|Vince Young||Texas (Oklahoma St.)||2005||267||239||506|
|Denard Robinson||MICH (Notre Dame)||2010||258||244||502|
|Denard Robinson||MICH (Indiana)||2010||217||277||494|
|Reds Bagnell||Penn (Dartmouth)||1950||214||276||490|
|Brad Smith||Missouri (Nebraska)||2005||246||234||480|
|Brian Mitchell||La.-Lafayette (Colo. St.)||1987||271||205||476|
|Antwaan Randle-El||Indiana (Minnesota)||2000||210||263||473|
|Vince Young||Texas (USC Rose Bowl)||2005||200||267||467|
|Patrick White||W. Va. (Pittsburgh)||2006||220||204||424|
|Steve Gage||Tulsa (New Mexico)||1986||212||209||421|
The 1000/1000 Club
There are 30 quarterbacks (and one halfback, Johnny Bright of Drake) in FBS who have run and thrown for 1000 yards in the same season. Of these, none have both run and passed for 1500 yards (the rushing record for QBs is 1,223).
Seven quarterbacks have achieved this milestone multiple times: Brad Smith (thrice), Colin Kaepernick (twice and counting), Vince Young (twice), Pat White (twice), Beau Morgan (twice), Joe Webb (twice), and Joshua Cribbs (twice). Only two people have joined the 1000/1000 club as freshmen: Brad Smith of Missouri, and Joshua Cribbs of Kent State. Air Force leads the overall list with five different QBs, in six different seasons, in the 1000/1000 club. (It is interesting that an instrument of American capitalist imperialism, the U.S. Air Force Academy, is the premier exponent of communist football.)
As noted above, Denard joined the 1000/1000 club on his first drive against Iowa. As noted above, he should easily become the first member of the 1500/1500 and 1500/2000 clubs. The list below of 1000/1000 members is sorted this list by rushing yards.
I've also added 2010 season totals for Cam Newton, Taylor Martinez, and Colin Kaepernick, three dual-threat quarterbacks who are likely to surpass 1000/1000 this year (Kaepernick already did so in 2008 and 2009, and Newton already has for 2010).
|Dilithium (on pace for)||MICH||2010||1,842||2,587||4,429|
|Newton (on pace for)||Auburn||2010||1,651||2,594||4,245|
|Beau Morgan||Air Force||1996||1,494||1,210||2,704|
|Patrick White||W. Virginia||2007||1,335||1,724||3,059|
|Dee Dowis||Air Force||1989||1,286||1,285||2,571|
|Beau Morgan||Air Force||1995||1,285||1,165||2,450|
|Antwaan Randle El*||Indiana||2000||1,270||1,783||3,053|
|Johnny Bright (HB)||Drake||1950||1,232||1,168||2,400|
|Chance Herridge||Air Force||2002||1,229||1,062||2,291|
|Patrick White||W. Virginia||2006||1,219||1,655||2,874|
|Keith Boyea||Air Force||2001||1,216||1,253||2,469|
|Dwight Dasher||Middle Tenn.||2009||1,154||2,789||3,943|
|Dan LeFevour||Central Mich.||2007||1,122||3,652||4,774|
|Joshua Cribbs||Kent State||2002||1,057||1,014||2,071|
|Josh Nesbitt||Ga. Tech||2009||1,037||1,701||2,738|
|Bart Weiss||Air Force||1985||1,032||1,449||2,481|
|Ell Roberson||Kansas St.||2002||1,032||1,580||2,612|
|Brad Smith (Fr.)||Missouri||2002||1,029||2,333||3,362|
|Joshua Cribbs (Fr.)||Kent State||2001||1,019||1,516||2,535|
|Reggie Collier||So. Miss.||1981||1,005||1,004||2,009|
* Previous Big Ten record for rushing yards by a quarterback
Denard already owns the Michigan single-game total offense record (502 yards against Notre Dame). In fact, Denard has broken the old Michigan single-game total offense record four times this year, with games of 502, 494, 383, and 381 yards. (The previous record was 368 by John Navarre against Iowa in 2003.) Against Illinois, Denard almost broke this record again, gaining 367: giving him five of the six highest totals in Michigan history.
|Denard Robinson||Notre Dame||2010||258||244||502|
|Denard Robinson||Penn State||2010||191||190||381|
As noted above, Denard is also on pace to annihilate John Navarre's single-season total offense record of 3,240 in 2003 (Denard has 3,407 as of today, and projects to an astounding 4,245 yards over 13 games).
The Big Ten single-game total offense record is 585 yards by Dave Wilson of Illinois, vs. Ohio State in 1980. The Big Ten single-season total offense record is 4,189 yards by Drew Brees of Purdue in 2000, which is well within Denard's reach. Denard has to average 261 yards of total offense in his remaining games to pass Brees; he is currently averaging 341.
The NCAA total offense records are dominated by prolific passers. Those records appear to be unattainable by Denard: 732 yards for a single game (David Klingler, Houston vs. Arizona State, 1990); 5,976 for a season (B.J. Symons, Texas Tech, 2003); 16,910 for a career (Timmy Chang, Hawaii, 2000-2004).
Total Offense Per Play
As with total offense records, these will be tough for Denard to keep pace with, and his performances against Big Ten opponents have left him further behind the pace. Through Saturday, Denard has 3,407 yards of total offense in 412 plays, for an average of 8.3.
Here are the NCAA FBS records for a single game: 14.3 by Jason Martin (La. Tech vs. Toledo, 1996) in 37 plays and 9.9 by David Klingler (Houston vs. TCU, 1990) in 63 plays. Denard came pretty close to Martin in the Indiana game, where in 35 plays he averaged 14.1 yards per play (which is almost certainly a Michigan and quite likely a Big Ten record):
|Denard Robinson||Attempts + Carries||Total Offense||Yards per Play|
|NCAA Records||Attempts + Carries||Total Offense||Yards per Play|
|Game: Jason Martin (La. Tech vs. Toledo, 1996)||37||529||14.30|
|Game: David Klingler (Houston vs. TCU, 1990)||63||625||9.92|
|Season: Colt Brennan (Hawaii, 2006)||645||5,915||9.17|
|Career: Sam Bradford (Oklahoma, 2007-09)||970||8,439||8.70|
As you can see in the table, for a single season (minimum 3,000 yards), the record is 9.2 by Colt Brennan (Hawaii, 2006). For a career (minimum 7,500 yards) it's 8.7 by Sam Bradford (Oklahoma, 2007-2009).
Passing efficiency is a statistic that rewards quarterbacks for yards, touchdowns, and completions per attempt, and punishes them for interceptions per attempt. The NCAA formula, which differs from the NFL one, is:
(8.4 * yards) + (330 * TDs) - (200 * INTs) + (100 * completions) ________________________________________________________________ attempts
Denard's 2010 passing efficiency is currently 157.7; his career efficiency (including last year) is 149.1, which would be a Michigan record if he keeps that pace. Here are Michigan's pass efficiency records:
- Highest efficiency rating, season (min. 100 attempts): 173.3 (Bob Chappuis, 1947) (Denard is at 157.7, good for 7th all-time)
- Highest efficiency rating, career (min. 200 attempts): 148.1 (Elvis Grbac, 1989-1992) (Denard is at 149.1 for his career, good for 1st all-time and on pace for 3rd all-time in the Big Ten)
Bob Chappuis' Michigan single-season mark is also the Big Ten single-season record. Ricky Stanzi and Terrelle Pryor are challenging that record this year, with ratings of 167.2 and 166.4, respectively, good for 3rd and 5th all-time. The NCAA FBS pass efficiency record belongs to Colt Brennan of Hawaii, who reached 186.0 in 2006: out of Denard's reach.
Other Michigan Passing Records
At the end of 2009, here were some of the other Michigan passing records. Denard could break some of the completion percentage records (Tate broke one as well):
- Highest completion percentage, game (min. 10 attempts): 92.3% (Jim Harbaugh, vs. Purdue, 1985, 13 attempts) (Broken by Tate Forcier, 100% in 12 attempts, vs. Bowling Green)
- Highest completion percentage, game (min. 20 attempts): 90.9% (Elvis Grbac, vs. Notre Dame, 1991, 22 attempts) (Denard is 2nd with 86.3% on 22 attempts vs. Connecticut)
- HIghest completion percentage, season (min. 100 attempts): 65.3% (Todd Collins, 1992) (Denard is at 63.3%, 8th all-time)
- Highest completion percentage, career (min. 200 attempts): 64.3% (Todd Collins, 1991-1994) (Denard is at 60.8% with 217 attempts, on pace for 5th all-time)
- Yards per completion, game (min. 5 completions): Rick Leach, 36.3 vs. Purdue, 1975 (Denard's best is 30.5 with 10 completions vs. Illinois, good for 3rd all-time)
- Yards per completion, game (min. 10 completions): Jim Harbaugh, 30.0 vs. Indiana, 1986 (Broken by Denard Robinson, 30.5 YPC vs. Illinois with 10 completions)
- Yards per completion, season (min. 60 completions): Bob Chappuis, 18.8, 1947 (Denard is at 15.2, on pace for 6th all-time)
- Yards per completion, career (min. 120 completions): Rick Leach, 17.1, 1975-1978 (Denard is at 15.0, tied for 6th all-time)
Other Michigan Rushing Records
At the end of 2009, here were the other relevant Michigan rushing records. On average yards per carry, he owns one of the single-game records Michigan tracks, but is surprisingly far from the other ones (not that that couldn't change in a hurry). The single-season and career records are within reach:
- Average gain per rush, single-game (min. 5 carries): 25.80, Denard Robinson vs. Bowling Green (previous record was Leroy Hoard, 18.28 ypc vs. Indiana, 1988)
- Average gain per rush, single-game (min. 10 carries): 18.00, Rob Lytle vs. MSU, 1976 (Denard: 11.42 vs. Indiana on 19 carries)
- Average gain per rush, single-game (min. 15 carries): 15.70, Tyrone Wheatley vs. Washington, 1993 Rose Bowl (Denard: 11.42 vs. Indiana on 19 carries)
- Average gain per rush, single-game (min. 20 carries): 11.19, Ron Johnson vs. Wisconsin, 1968 (Denard: 9.21 vs. Notre Dame on 28 carries)
- Average gain per rush, single-season (min. 75 carries): 7.34, Tyrone Wheatley, 1992 (Denard 2010: 6.00, outside of the top ten)
- Average gain per rush, career (min. 200 carries): 6.29, Jon Vaughn, 1989-1990 (Denard: 6.45 on 233 carries)
- 100-yard rushing games, season: 10, Jamie Morris, 1987 (Denard has 7)
- 150-yard rushing games, season: 6, Anthony Thomas, 2000 (Denard has 4)
- 200-yard rushing games, season: 3, Mike Hart, 2004 (Denard has 2)
Also, Denard is one of 5 quarterbacks in NCAA history to record 5 consecutive 100-yard rushing games (the others are Ricky Dobbs of Navy in 2009, Joe Webb of Alabama-Birmingham in 2009, Brian Madden of Navy in 1999, and Beau Morgan of Air Force in 1995). No one has done it 6 times in a row.
Did you know that Michigan is averaging 521.8 yards per game in total offense, higher than any other team in Big Ten history? (Second place belongs to Penn State's 1994 team, which averaged 512.7 yards per game.) Even if you take out the 72 extra yards Michigan gained in the three overtimes against Illinois, Michigan is averaging 514.7 yards per game.
This year's team is on pace to demolish the old Michigan total offense record of 466.9, set in 1992, when Gary Moeller roamed the sidelines, barking orders to Elvis Grbac, Desmond Howard, and Tyrone Wheatley.
|Big Ten All-Time Leaders||Year||YPG (Total Offense)|
|1. MICH (including overtime)||2010||521.8|
|1. MICH (regulation only)||2010||514.7|
|2. Penn State||1994||512.7|
|4. Ohio State||1998||497.6|
|5. Michigan State||2005||497.3|
|8. Ohio State||1974||493.2|
|9. Ohio State||1996||490.4|
|10. Michigan State||1978||481.3|
|11. Ohio State||1995||478.6|
|Michigan All-Time Leaders (QB/WR/RB)||Year||YPG (Total Offense)|
|1. Robinson / Roundtree / Smith (regulation)||2010||514.7|
|2. Grbac / Howard / Wheatley||1992||466.9|
|3. Navarre / Edwards / Perry||2003||446.7|
|4. Henson / Terrell / Thomas||2000||446.1|
|5. Grbac / Howard / Vaughn||1990||432.5|
In terms of scoring offense, Michigan is averaging 35.5 points per game in regulation (37.7 points per game including the overtime scoring), good for 9th all-time in Michigan history (7th if you count OT points). This is all the more remarkable given that our terrible placekicking and team defense give the offense poor field position and missed field goals.
* - Excludes points scored in overtime
The Fielding Yost "point-a-minute" teams averaged 50.5, 58.5, 47.1, 56.7, and 38.1 points per game from 1901 to 1905. Fritz Crisler's 1947 national championship team of Bob Chappuis and Bump Elliott, nicknamed the "Mad Magicians," averaged 39.4. (The official Michigan record book erroneously lists the 1947 average as second-highest in school history; it is missing the performances of 1901, 1903, 1904, and 1905.)
Dynamic offenses have been few and far between in the postwar era. The 1976 Bo Schembechler team, led by Rick Leach and Rob Lytle, scored 36.0 points per game, and owns the rushing season record with 345.3 yards per game. The aforementioned 1992 team averaged 35.9 points; and the 2003 team averaged 35.4.
Here are some other impressive stats:
- Michigan is averaging 7.1 yards per play, which is most all-time in Michigan history (the existing record is 6.4 yards, in 1992 and 1947).
- Michigan is averaging 266.3 rushing yards per game (inclusive of OT; 263.4 regulation-only). (The Big Ten record is 349.9 in 1974 by Ohio State; the Michigan record is 345.3 in 1976.)
- Michigan is averaging 5.9 yards per carry, as high as any team in Michigan history (the current record is 5.9 per carry in 1976).
- Michigan is averaging 255.5 passing yards per game (inclusive; 251.3 regulation-only), 3rd all-time in Michigan history. (The record is 270.8 in 2003.)
- Michigan is averaging 23.9 first downs per game (inclusive; 23.6 regulation-only), tied for highest in Michigan history. (The current record is 23.9 in 2003.) Over 13 games, this would be the fifth-highest total in Big Ten history (6th using regulation numbers).
As most of you know, against Illinois, Roy Roundtree destroyed a 44-year-old Michigan single-game receiving record, by gaining 246 yards (on 9 catches with 2 TDs). The old record was set in 1966, when Jack Clancy gained 197 yards against Oregon State. (Roundtree's mark wouldn't even make the top ten all-time in the Big Ten: the Big Ten record is 301 by Chris Daniels of Purdue against MSU in 1999; the NCAA record is 405 by Troy Edwards of Louisiana Tech against Nebraska in 1998.)
- Wins are more important than stats. The existence of this diary is not meant to imply that individual achievement is more important than the achievement of the team. It is, instead, to pay tribute to Denard's exceptional individual achievement within the context of a (hopefully) successful team. With a few minor exceptions, Denard's stats don't come at the expense of the team: when he rushes for 250 yards or has a QB rating of 270, the team is usually doing well. If you object to this point of view, you don't have to read further.
- Past performance is not a predictor of future results. To the degree I describe end-of-season projections for Denard, I do so simply, rather than Mathletically: (current total) * (12-game season) / (games played to date). Denard's numbers may come down against stronger defenses, but he played quite well against Iowa and Illinois, two statistically strong defenses, so we'll see.
- Projections are for a 13-game season. Beginning in 2002, the NCAA revised its single-season and career records to include postseason games. Michigan, with its defeat of the Illini, is set to go to a bowl game this year.
- The quarterback position has evolved significantly. The forward pass was only formally legalized in 1906. From the 1910s until the 1950s, the most common college football formation was Pop Warner's single-wing, in which the quarterback's role was primarily as a blocker, and most passes were thrown by a tailback or halfback. The idea of a quarterback as the primary passer began to take hold after World War II, when coaches such as Clark Shaughnessy at Chicago and Stanford and Paul Brown at Ohio State took advantage of a recently redesigned football that was easier to throw, and married the ancient T formation to the threat of longer passes downfield.
- The record books are murky from 1869 to 1937. Something to keep in mind is that the record books don't actually go back that far in time. At the national level, official statistics have only been recorded since 1937: a mere 52 percent of college football's history. It's not clear how rigorously school, conference, and national collegiate records were kept before then. (College football has been around since 1869.) One has to assume that Fielding Yost's point-a-minute teams would have harbored some record-producing players, though the game was quite different then, as noted above. So, to be as precise as possible, we should describe all of these records as modern-era, postwar records.
- Post-1978 records are for Division I-A only. Let me note that all the records here are for Division I-A (FBS), but do include all Division I records prior to the I-A / I-AA split in 1978. I don't really care about who did what in the other divisions, given the inferior level of competition. Personally, I would prefer to eliminate the non-automatically qualifying BCS conferences, but since the NCAA doesn't do that, I won't.
- Post-1996 overtime and pre-1912 scoring rules skew historical comparisons. The NCAA introduced overtime to I-A football in 1996, and soon after determined that points and yards gained in overtime would count toward NCAA records. Given that teams and players did not have the benefit of overtime prior to 1996, I try wherever possible to exclude overtime stats (or at least give both sets of numbers). The modern convention of TDs worth 6 points (+1 PAT) and FGs worth 3 began in 1912. From 1869 to 1882, touchdowns, extra points, and field goals were all worth one point each. From 1882-1883, TDs were worth 2, PATs 4, and FGs 5; from 1884-1897, TDs 4, PATs 2, FGs 5; from 1898-1903, TDs 5, PATs 1, FGs 5; from 1904-1908, TDs 5, PATs 1, FGs 4; from 1901-1911, TDs 5, PATs 1, FGs 3. The two-point conversion was introduced in 1958. I currently don't have the breakdown of TDs, PATs, and FGs for the Yost teams; if anyone else does, I would be pleased to adjust those numbers accordingly so as to make apples-to-apples comparisons with modern teams. The rules of college football evolved rapidly from 1879 to 1930, making strict comparisons difficult. For example, the goal posts were moved from the goal line to the end line (10 yards back of the goal line) only in 1927, which has a huge impact on field goal kicking, and the width of the uprights has varied significantly over time.
Thanks to tf (Michigan rushing single-game record) and danieljpaul (Denard's season totals) for corrections. H/T to tubauberalles and enlightenedbum for tracking down the FBS single-game QB rushing record. Raoul and UM in VA persuaded me to post the total offense numbers, and pointed out Denard's ridiculous per-play stats, which I also added to the diary. Trebor pointed out that we should keep an eye on the impressive seasons of Taylor Martinez and Cam Newton. U of M in TX helped identify a few updating errors. Raoul also suggested putting in the team offense stats. Hillhaus pointed out that I should discuss the pre-1912 scoring conventions.