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August 4, 2009

Kerwin's Infamous Feat

In my last post, I stated Florida quarterback Kerwin Bell's (photo) 408-yard passing performance against Georgia in 1985 is likely the only time in SEC and perhaps NCAA football history a player threw for 400 yards or more in a single game but yet his team did not score a single touchdown. I even went so far as speculating such in two of my books, although I did not have definite proof.
As much as I am a writer, admittedly, I am more so a research and stat geek. I decided to investigate if the 400+ passing yards/no touchdowns feat had ever been done before or after in the SEC since accomplished by the Gators and Bell, mustache and all, against the Bulldogs.
There have been fifty-nine 400-yard passing games from 31 different quarterbacks in SEC history and no other time has Bell's dubious achievement occurred. In fact, never has less than two touchdowns been scored by an SEC offense quarterbacked by a 400-yard passer. Of these passing performances, next to Florida's three points against Georgia in '85, the second-lowest point total is 14 scored by Mississippi State against Alabama in 1978. In the game, Mississippi State's Dave Marler passed for 429 yards in a 35-14 loss to the eventual national champions. More "enchanting" facts regarding the 400-yard individual passing games in SEC history:

  • Georgia Bulldogs achieved the first and latest of these performances: 1963 Larry Rakestraw (407) vs. Miami (Fla) and 2008 Matthew Stafford (407) vs. Georgia Tech.

  • Kentucky quarterbacks have passed for 400+ yards the most (15) followed by Georgia (12) and Florida (10). Of the fifty-nine 400-yard passing performances in SEC history, nearly 63% of the time it has been accomplished by a quarterback from one of these three schools.

  • The average points per game scored by an SEC squad with a 400-yard passer is 36.6. However, these quarterbacks have a losing 28-31 record in games they pass for 400+ yards.

  • SEC quarterbacks with three or more 400-yard passing games: Seven by Eric Zeier (GA) and Tim Couch (UK), four by Danny Wuerffel (UF), and three by Jared Lorenzen (UK), Andre Woodson (UK), Steve Taneyhill (SC), and Peyton Manning (UT).

  • Arkansas is the only SEC team to not have a 400-yard passer. Although the Hogs have only been in the conference since 1992, no Arkansas quarterback has accomplished the feat in their entire history. Alabama and Auburn quarterbacks have each produced just one 400-yard game.

Georgia's 400-yard passing performances:

  • Besides Zeier's seven, and two from Cory Phillips, three Bulldogs have each thrown for 400 yards in a game on one occasion: Rakestraw, Stafford, and 1997 Mike Bobo (415) vs. Georgia Tech.

  • Georgia has a 7-5 record in its 400-yard games while seven of these performances have come against SEC schools.

  • Six times an SEC quarterback has thrown for 400 yards AGAINST Georgia. Four of these came in just a 25-game stretch from 1999-2001: 1999 Dusty Bonner (UK), 1999 Ben Leard (AU), 2000 Jared Lorenzen (UK), and 2001 Rex Grossman (UF).

In conclusion, mystery solved; Bell's infamous 400+ passing yards/no-touchdown feat against the Dawgs in '85 is the only one of its kind in SEC history. Now, if anyone is dying to know if it has ever occurred any other time in the history of college football, you're going to have to do the research yourself. I'm tired of being the research/stat geek for the time being...

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