Brigham Young Cougars wide receiver Cody Hoffman is looking for his first 1,000 yard receiving season in 2012 after he came up just short last year. Twenty years ago, Eric Drage became the first BYU wide receiver to have back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons.
Early in 1991, Drage didn’t appear destined to be the next great BYU wide out. Cougar coaches moved Drage to running back during spring practices. However, when the season started, Drage was back to playing receiver. He had a modest start to the season accumulating 61 yards against the #1 ranked Florida State Seminoles. After that, Drage blended in with the rest of the receivers. It wasn’t until game six that Drage separated himself.
In the Homecoming game versus UTEP, Drage went over 100 yards for the first time in his career. Highlighted by a 38-yard touchdown catch that he tipped five times, Drage racked up 126 yards. Two weeks later, he really made a name for himself by posting the sixth highest single-game receiving total in school history. Drage scorched New Mexico for 230 yards on only nine receptions. In the legendary 52-52 tie against San Diego State, Drage had only four receptions, but he made them count and finished with 117 yards.
Going into the season finale, Drage still needed 170 yards to reach 1,000 for the season. To put it bluntly, his chances were slim. That all changed when he caught a Ty Detmer pass and raced 97-yards for a touchdown in the first quarter. Drage had 188 yards receiving on the day to finish with 1,018 yards for the season (seventh most in the nation).
Drage joined Jay Miller, Mark Bellini, Chuck Cutler, and Andy Boyce as the only other wide receivers to eclipse 1,000 yards in a season. Going into his junior year in 1992, Drage looked to join tight end Chris Smith as the only two BYU players to have back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons.
The 1992 season started at UTEP, the team Drage had his breakout game against the year before. BYU was breaking in a new quarterback, and he looked to Drage for help. Drage finished the night with a team-high 99 yards receiving. He doubled that figure the next game with 198 yards against San Diego State. Following a series of injuries to quarterbacks the next two games, Drage nearly replicated his performance against San Diego State when he amassed 196 yards against Utah State.
At this point, Drage led the nation in receiving yards per game. A 130-yard receiving game against Fresno State, and 135 yards against Wyoming helped keep Drage there.
Penn State came to Provo for the ninth game of the season. With 55-yards on three receptions, Drage went over 1,000 yards for the season. When the season ended, Drage had 1,093 yards. It was the sixth most receiving yards in a season in BYU history, and fourth most by a wide receiver.
The 1,093 yard total was the ninth best in the nation. Drage did it in 56 receptions. Seven of the eight players ahead of him had at least 68 receptions (Charles Johnson, Colorado, had 1,149 yards on 57 receptions).
Drage was poised to go over 1,000 yards yet again as a senior in 1993, but an injury caused him to miss over two games. He finished with 867 yards.
Should Hoffman reach 1,000 yards in 2012, he could join Drage and Smith in the back-to-back club with another 1,000 yard campaign as a senior in 2013.
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