To help you and me get through the drudgery of August, I will present in this space a daily scoop of MSU football-ness, as inspired by a certain ice cream chain. August has 31 days, so I’ll let you work it out from there. Here is today’s flavor.
It’s a well-known fact, and one you won’t see MSU’s marketing department touting: The Bulldogs have a mostly forgettable quarterback history. One glance at the record book will tell you that.
Not that there hasn’t been some good QBs roll through Starkville. John Bond, Don Smith, Dave Marler and Wayne Madkin all did some really good things for MSU. But most of those guys could run better than they could pass, and an elite passer is something this program hasn’t seen, or at least hasn’t seen flourish.
You look at the school passing records, both career and season, and it’s not impressive. But Tyler Russell has a chance to change that. The junior is a pocket passer without enough mobility to avoid trouble and occasionally run, and his talent level makes one think that the Bulldogs could be putting up some big passing numbers the next two seasons.
Russell could wind up breaking all sorts of records if he does as well as I think he will. Let’s look at some MSU career passing marks and where Russell currently stands in those categories.
• Yards: 6,336 (Madkin); Russell: 1,669
• Attempts: 887 (Madkin); Russell: 194
• Completions: 462 (Madkin); Russell: 108
• Comp. %: 58.8 (Tyson Lee); Russell: 55.7
• TDs: 38 (Derrick Taite); Russell: 13
• 300-yard games: 4 (Kevin Fant); Russell: 0
• 200-yard games: 11 (Tommy Pharr, Madkin, Fant); Russell: 1
All those numbers are reachable for Russell if he stays healthy the next two seasons. To surpass Madkin’s yardage total, he’ll need to average 2,334 yards a season. To eclipse Taite’s touchdown number, Russell will need to average 13 TDs. He’s put up OK numbers the past two years as a part-timer, and full-time duty ought to agree with him and help him bloom.
As for season records, all of the below seem quite attainable:
• Yards: 2,422 (Marler, 1978)
• Yards/game: 220.2 (Marler, 1978)
• Attempts: 351 (Fant, 2003)
• Completions: 186 (Fant, 2003)
• Comp. %: 60.0 (Chris Relf, 2011)
• TDs: 16 (Taite, 1995)
So while MSU won’t be mistaken for Quarterback U. any time soon, Russell can at least start changing the perception. In fact, there are a couple of career records he currently holds: pass efficiency (139.74 rating) and yards per attempt (8.603). He’s off to a good start.