Flashback: Highly Efficient Quarterback Play

On Monday, this site listed four dynamics that point to Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Jake Heaps having the best season of his college career in 2011. This flashback gives a fifth dynamic: It is part of the five year cycle. BYU football has developed a pattern of highly efficient quarterback play every five years. The third, fourth, and fifth most efficient seasons by BYU quarterbacks happened 20, 15, and 5 years ago. (The trivia question tomorrow will address quarterback efficiency from 10 years ago.)

Despite having a young team around him, Ty Detmer managed to post a 168.5 pass efficiency rating. This rating was good enough for second in the nation (just 0.5 behind Michigan QB Elvis Grbac), and currently this rating stands as the fifth best in BYU history. Detmer’s 1991 season was highlighted by a 214 pass efficiency rating versus Hawaii (14 of 20, 225 yards, 3 TD), a 218.6 rating versus Colorado State (23 of 28, 337 yards, 3 TD), and a 214.66 rating versus Utah (18 of 29, 378 yards, 5 TD, 2 Int). He averaged 10.0 yards per pass attempt on the season, and more than 10 yards per attempt in seven games.

Season stats: 249-403, 4031 yards, 35 TD, 12 Int., Pass Eff.: 168.5

Steve Sarkisian led the nation in pass efficiency with his stellar 173.6 rating (third highest in BYU history). Sark started the season with a bang by posting a 217.7 pass efficiency rating (33 of 44, 536 yards, 6 TD, 1 Int.) in the Pigskin Classic against Texas A&M. The momentum of that fabulous start carried him through the season. His efficiency in game two was 204.2 (16 of 23, 259 yards, 4 TD, 2 Int.). In addition to averaging over 10 yards per pass attempt in each of the first two games, Sarkisian averaged 10 yards or more six more times. He finished the season just under 10 yards per attempt. He also posted pass efficiency ratings above 200 against TCU (20 of 26, 313 yards, 3 TD, 1 Int., 208.4 rating) and Rice (10 of 13, 206 yards, 2 TD, 1 Int., 245.4 rating).

Season stats: 278-404, 4027 yards, 33 TD, 12 Int., Pass Eff.: 173.6

This was the year John Beck put BYU football back on the map. Beck was second in the nation in pass efficiency with his 169.1 rating (fourth best in BYU history). In the second game of the season against Tulsa, Beck was a very efficient 16 of 21 for 240 yards and 3 touchdowns, which translated to a 219.3 pass efficiency rating. He improved upon that against San Diego State with a 245.8 rating (16 of 21, 267 yards, 4 TD). Beck followed up the San Diego State game with a 218.3 rating versus UNLV (18 of 23, 250 yards, 4 TD, 1 Int.). Wyoming was the fourth team to yield a 200+ pass efficiency rating to Beck (203.4) as he completed 20 of 26 for 313 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Season stats: 289-417, 3885 yards, 33 TD, 8 Int., Pass Eff.: 169.1

Regardless of whatever else has been happening in the program, BYU has had something special happened at the quarterback position every five years for the last 20 years. It is time for Jake Heaps to continue the trend.

More flashbacks can be found on the Flashbacks page.

The Editor appreciates all feedback. He can be reached via email at bluecougarfootball@gmail.com