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The NT Passing Record Book Will Be Under Assault

If you talk with long time North Texas fans, they usually will agree that Scott Hall was a great UNT quarterback. His statistics are not jaw-dropping but his contributions are well known and oft-cited. Derek Thompson stirs some controversy. He played in an era of ridiculous QB numbers, but his numbers are pedestrian compared to CUSA or Sun Belt peers. Still he managed to finish his career as a top-8 career passer at North Texas. He will mostly be praised for his 2013 season in which he put up his best numbers and started on the HOD Bowl winning team.

Barring a miracle season, Alec Morris will not likely compete for a CUSA championship, nor a bowl game. 1 If he wants to pen his name in the hearts and minds of North Texas fandom he can probably do so by putting up gaudy passing numbers.

Luckily the offense Seth Littrell and Graham Harrell are implementing is very conducive to such a thing. While challenging school career numbers in one season is not usually a possibility, the 100th greatest passing season in NCAA history (Ryan Leaf’s 3968 in 1997) would place just under 7th on the North Texas career list.

NT Career Passing List via the NT Fact Book

Player Years Yards
1. Mitch Maher 1991-94 8,519
2. Derek Thompson 2009-13 7,447
3. Steve Ramsey 1967-69 7,076
4. Scott Davis 1987-90 6,923
5. Scott Hall 2000-04 5,975
6. Giovanni Vizza 2007-08 5,146
7. Jason Mills 1994-97 3,981
8. Vidal Carlin 1965-66 3,233
9. Riley Dodge 2008-10 3,187
10. Ken Washington 1974-77 3,040

If Morris puts up a pedestrian Air Raid type season he easily break some of the passing records here. Since we are just trying to get an idea, and not performing a study, I’m going to list some random first or early Air Raid schools passing numbers.

Player Year Cmp Att Pct Yds TDs Ints Notes
Chase Clement 2007 300 508 59.1 3377 29 16 First year as full time starter in system
Jared Goff 2013 320 530 60.4 3508 18 10 Soph year
Trevone Boykin 2014 301 492 61.2 3901 33 10 Jr Year was first in system
Rakeem Cato 2011 182 304 59.9 2059 15 11 FR year
Rakeem Cato 2012 406 584 69.5 4201 37 11 Ridiculous improvement

These are some good quarterbacks off the top of my head who had first years, or transition years as starters in a new system. Chase Clement’s situation is especially crazy, as Rice was a primarily running team during his career. Trevone Boykin’s TCU switched to Doug Meacham’s Air Raid in the middle of his career. Rakeem Cato’s situation was less dramatic, as they had a passing friendly system before. Note the transition from freshman to sophomore. Sure, he was a great talent but so is Morris, according to the coaches.

Rick Gosselin’s article suggests that Littrell and Harrell expect big numbers from Alec Morris. They think he can put up a Jeff Driskel-like season — 4K passing, 27 TDs in 2015.

Given what we’ve seen, his talent, and the coaching staff, I can see him getting something like

300 / 490, 3500 yards, 28 Tds, 9 Ints.

That would be a nice, solid Air Raid season for a SR QB. Nothing eye-popping but good-to-great numbers.

For perspective, on the single-season NT list that would put him 2nd all time in passing attempts (493 Vizza, 2008), second in completions (309 Vizza, 2008), 1st in TDs (26 Maher, 1994), and first in passing yards (3,103 Maher, 1994).

On a 3500 yard pace he would pass Thompson’s 2,896 season (in 13 games) sometime in the fourth quarter of the WKU game in November. That would be with two games remaining.

NT Single-Season Passing List via the NT Fact Book

Player Years Yards
1. Mitch Maher 1994 3,103
2. Derek Thompson 2013 2,896
3. Steve Ramsey 1969 2,828
4. Giovanni Vizza 2008 2,758
5. Derek Thompson 2012 2,649
6. Mitch Maher 1993 2,595
7. Steve Ramsey 1968 2,516
8. Scott Davis 1988 2,409
9. Giovanni Vizza 2007 2,388
10. Mitch Maher 1992 2,090

If NT doesn’t shock the world and pull out a bowl season in 2016, watching Morris tear up the record book should be fun as a consolation.

  1. I’m the only crazy person who predicted a greater-than-four win season in the preview. 

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