Stat pack: Putting Tua Tagovailoa’s record-setting passer rating in perspective

T.G. Paschal/BamaCentral

Alabama quarterback on target to set the career NCAA mark as well

Even though Tua Tagovailoa didn’t win the Heisman Trophy last season, he still set the NCAA record for passer efficiency rating.

Tagovailoa’s final rating was 199.4, edging Kyler Murray of Oklahoma’s 199.2. Of course, there was a much wider gap after Alabama won the College Football Playoff meeting in the Orange Bowl, only to shrink again following the national championship game.

Regardless, the rating is considered one of the most reflective of a quarterback’s performance.

The formula is based on attempts, completions, yards, touchdowns, and interceptions.

It’s not perfect and doesn’t factor in rushing yards, fumbles, sacks or performance on key downs or location on the field, but is how the NCAA names its annual passing leader.

The numbers and ratings are also on the rise.

Although the rating dates back to 1956, the top 17 single-season ratings have all been recorded during the past 15 years.

Only five quarterbacks have topped 190.0 during a season, Tagovailoa (199.4), Murray, Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield twice (198.9 in 2017, and 196.4 in 2016), and Wisconsin’s Russell Wilson in 2001 (191.8).

The NCAA’s career record (minimum 325 completions) is 175.6, by Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford in 2007-09.

Tagovailoa is on pace to smash that mark, with a career rating of 195.1.

Although the Alabama record book does not include passer efficiency, AJ McCarron would have had the modern-era benchmark as his 175.3 rating in 2012 led the nation and helped him finish with a career mark of 162.5.

Recent Alabama career passer-efficiency ratings

AJ McCarron, 2010-13, 162.5

Greg McElroy, 2007-10, 155.4

Blake Sims, 2011-14, 155.2

Jalen Hurts, 2016-18, 148.8

Jake Coker, 2014-15, 146.6

Jay Barker, 1991-94, 131.9

Danny Woodson, 1990-91, 131.1*

Tyler Watts, 1999-2002, 131.0 


Brodie Croyle, 2002-05, 128.4 


John Parker Wilson, 2005-08, 120.6 


Andrew Zow, 1998-2001, 118.9 


Freddie Kitchens, 1993-97 113.9 


*Woodson only played in 14 games in 1990-91.

As for some of Alabama’s legendary quarterbacks, Harry Gilmer posted an amazing 193.09 rating in 1945 when he completed 57 of 88 passes for 905 yards, with 13 touchdowns and three interceptions.

However, he doesn’t have the minimum number of pass attempts to qualify for the NCAA records, which is 14 pass attempts per school game.

Here are some of the best single-season ratings for Alabama quarterbacks through the years:

1945: Harry Gilmer 193.09 


1961: Pat Trammell 138.6 


1964: Joe Namath 139.38 (139.06 in 1962)

1965: Steve Sloan 153.78 


1966: Kenny Stabler 152.64 


1969: Scott Hunter 132.27 


1975: Richard Todd 134.41 


1997: Jeff Rutledge 169.9

1982: Walter Lewis 145.7 


1985: Mike Shula 150.2

However, none of them had a career rating better than 150.0 as they couldn’t sustain those high numbers for more than a season or two.

For example, Gilmer had almost twice as many pass attempts in 1946, 160 compared to 88, with a difference of just 15 yards. Consequently, his rating in 1946 was just 89.8.

A little more recent, Rutledge followed his 169.9 season with a 133.18 rating as a senior in 1978. Shula’s final season in 1986 resulted in a 112.65 rating.

Career passer ratings

Harry Gilmer, 1945-47, 126.4

Joe Namath, 1962-64, 125.7

Pat Trammell, 1959-61, 122.5

Steve Sloan, 1963-65, 144.7

Ken Stabler, 1965-67, 128.0

Scott Hunter, 1968-70, 121.8

Richard Todd, 1973-75, 146.9

Jeff Rutledge, 1975-78, 145.6

Mike Shula, 1983-86, 122.9

Here are the game, season and career yards leaders for those playing when Nick Saban was the head coach at Toledo in 1990, Michigan State from 1995-99, LSU from 2000-04 and Alabama after 2007.

Nick Saban-coached passing leaders

Game

Yards, Name, School, Opponent, Season

528 Rohan Davey, LSU vs. Alabama, 2001

445 Blake Sims, Alabama vs. Florida, 2014 


444 Rohan Davey, LSU vs. Illinois, 2001 (2002 bowl game) 


400 Bill Burke, Michigan State vs. Michigan, 1999 


387 AJ McCarron, Alabama vs. Oklahoma, 2013

387 Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama Teas A&M, 2018

383 Rohan Davey, LSU vs. Kentucky, 2001 


377 Greg McElroy, Alabama vs. Auburn, 2010 


363 John Parker Wilson, Alabama vs. Tennessee, 2007 


359 Rohan Davey, LSU vs. Arkansas, 2001 


https://twitter.com/SECNetwork/status/1129406166554107904

Season

Name, School, Season, C-A, Yards

Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama, 2018, 245-355, 3,966

Blake Sims, Alabama, 2014, 252-391, 3,487

Rohan Davey, LSU, 2001, 217-367, 3,347 


Jake Coker, Alabama, 2015, 263-393, 3,110

AJ McCarron, Alabama, 2013, 226-336, 3,063

Greg McElroy, Alabama, 2010, 222-313, 2,987

AJ McCarron, Alabama, 2012, 211-314, 2,933


John Parker Wilson, Alabama, 2007, 255-372, 2,846 


Matt Mauck, LSU, 2003, 229-358, 2,825 


Jalen Hurts, Alabama, 2016, 240-382, 2,780

Career

Name, School, Seasons, C-A, Yards

AJ McCarron, Alabama, 2010-13, 686-1,026, 9,019

Greg McElroy, Alabama, 2007-9, 436-658, 5,691 


Jalen Hurts, Alabama, 2016-18, 445-707, 5,626

Bill Burke, Michigan State, 1996-99, 416-766, 5,463 


John Parker Wilson, Alabama, 2007-8, 442-785, 5,119 


Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama, 2017-8, 294-432, 4,602*

Todd Schultz, Michigan State, 1995-97, 359-591, 4,266 


Rohan Davey, LSU, 2000-1, 255-426, 3,924 


Matt Mauck, LSU, 2001-3, 310-529, 3,831 


Blake Sims, Alabama, 2011-14, 275-430, 3,731

*active

Nick Saban-coached passing leaders at Alabama

Game

Yards, Name, Opponent, Season

Blake Sims, Florida, 2014, 445

AJ McCarron, Oklahoma, 2013, 387

Tua Tagovailoa, Texas A&M, 2018, 387

Greg McElroy, Auburn, 2010, 377

John Parker Wilson, Tennessee, 2007, 363 


AJ McCarron, Kentucky, 2013, 359

Tua Tagovaila, Citadel, 2018, 340

Jake Coker, Clemson, 2015, 335

AJ McCarron, Texas A&M, 2013, 334

Tua Tagovailoa, Arkansas, 2018, 334

https://twitter.com/PFF_College/status/1135716053538017280

Season

Name, Season, C-A, Yards

Tua Tagovailoa, 2018, 245-355-6, 3,966

Blake Sims, 2014, 252-391-10, 3,487

Jake Coker, 2015, 263-393-8, 3,110

AJ McCarron, 2013, 226-336-7, 3,063

Greg McElroy, 2010, 222-313, 2,987 


AJ McCarron, 2012, 211-314-3, 2,933

John Parker Wilson, 2007, 255-372, 2,846 


Jalen Hurts, 2016, 240-382, 2,780

John Parker Wilson, 2006, 216-379, 2,707 


AJ McCarron, 2011, 219-328, 2,634 


Career

Name, Seasons, C-A, Yards

AJ McCarron, 2010-13, 686-1,022, 9,019 


Greg McElroy, 2007-9, 436-658, 5,691

Jalen Hurts, 2016-2018, 445-707, 5,626

John Parker Wilson, 2007-8, 442-785, 5,119 


Tua Tagovailoa, 2017-18, 294-432, 4,602*

Blake Sims, 2011-14, 275-430, 3,731

Jake Coker, 2014-15, 301-452, 3,513

Cooper Bateman, 2015-16, 49-66, 410

Blake Barnett, 2015-16, 11-19, 219

Phillip Sims, 2011, 18-28, 163 


The Stat Pack is an annual offseason series that explores the Crimson Tide in a variety of unique numerical ways. This is the fourth story:

Alabama's offense was that good in 2018, except in one key area

Alabama’s D was statistically its worst since Saban's first season

1,000-yard rushing seasons, 100-yard games becoming scarce

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