Mallett's chase of SEC passing marks

August, 19, 2010
8/19/10
11:49
AM ET
Ryan Mallett had a record-breaking season a year ago in his first season as Arkansas’ starting quarterback.

He passed for 3,624 yards and 30 touchdowns on his way to setting or tying 16 school records.

Needless to say, he’s raised the bar when it comes to expectations in Fayetteville, both for him and the team.

I’ve had a lot of Arkansas fans ask if Mallett can get into the Heisman Trophy race this season, and whether he can make a run at some SEC passing records.

Both are doable, but won’t be easy – not against SEC defenses.

For Mallett to become a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate, the Hogs would have to win at least 10 games, and he would have to put up big numbers in high-profile games (Alabama, Auburn, Georgia and LSU).

If he makes a run at 4,000 yards this season, that would put him in exclusive company.

Only one other quarterback from this league has done it. Kentucky’s Tim Couch threw for 4,275 yards in 1998. Florida’s Rex Grossman is No. 2 on the list with 3,896 yards in 2001. Couch threw for 3,884 yards in 1997. Tennessee’s Peyton Manning passed for 3,819 yards in 1997, and Kentucky’s Andre Woodson threw for 3,709 yards in 2007.

The 3,624 yards that Mallett passed for last season ranks him No. 8 on the SEC’s single-season list for passing yards.

Only one SEC player has thrown 40 touchdown passes in a season. Woodson did it in 2007, breaking the mark held by former Florida Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel, who threw 39 touchdown passes in 1996.

Only 10 players in SEC history have thrown 30 or more touchdown passes in a season, although a couple of those players did it on multiple occasions.

The SEC record for most touchdown passes thrown in back-to-back seasons is 74, which was set by Wuerffel in 1995 and 1996. Mallett would need to throw 45 touchdown passes this season to break that record, which is one of those marks that might stand for a while.

Here’s a breakdown of the 30-touchdown club in the SEC:

40 – Andre Woodson, Kentucky, 2007

39 – Danny Wuerffel, Florida, 1996

37 – Tim Couch, Kentucky, 1997

36 – Peyton Manning, Tennessee, 1997

36 – Tim Couch, Kentucky, 1998

35 – Danny Wuerffel, Florida, 1995

34 – Rex Grossman, Florida, 2001

32 – Tim Tebow, Florida, 2007

31 – Eli Manning, Ole Miss, 2001

31 – Andre Woodson, Kentucky, 2006

31 – Erik Ainge, Tennessee, 2007

30 – Steve Taneyhill, South Carolina, 1995

30 – Tim Tebow, Florida, 2008

30 – Ryan Mallett, Arkansas, 2009

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