1 record every SEC team could break in 2018 bowls
The number of bowls and the length of the college football season in general is about as inflated as it has ever been. And for the past decade plus, bowl numbers have counted toward a season’s statistical totals.
Add in the fact that college football’s offensive explosion keeps mushrooming, and it’s little wonder that bowl season is fertile ground for players and teams to set all kinds of records in the postseason.
Records can and usually will fall all over the place in the next few weeks. Here’s our look at 1 record each SEC team (or individual on that team) could break in the 2018 bowl season.
Tua Tagovailoa has 3,353 yards passing this season and needs just 135 yards against Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl to break Blake Sims’ Bama single-season record, set in 2014. It also would not be much of a surprise if Tagovailoa, who tied Alabama’s single-game record with 5 touchdown passes against Auburn last month, also tied or broke that record again vs. a porous Sooners defense.
He would need to have a whale of a game against Purdue in the Music City Bowl, but Jarrett Stidham is 37 completions from tying his single-season record for the Tigers. Stidham has 209 completions this season compared to 246 (which broke Dameyune Craig’s mark) in 2017. Stidham’s career high is 32 completions against Mercer in 2017.
Defensive lineman Jachai Polite was a first-team all-SEC selection by league coaches and the Associated Press this season, and with good reason. The junior leads the Gators with 11 sacks and has a realistic shot of breaking UF’s single-season record in the Peach Bowl against Michigan. Polite needs 2 sacks to tie and 2.5 to break Alex Brown’s mark of 13, set in 1999.
When the Bulldogs face Texas in the Sugar Bowl, it seems a safe bet that offensive fireworks will ensue. After all, Georgia and Oklahoma had a shootout in last year’s Rose Bowl, and this time UGA faces a Texas team that has allowed 500 yards five times this season. Don’t be shocked if the Bulldogs threaten the Sugar Bowl record of 659 total yards (Florida against Cincinnati, 2010).
Sonny Collins has held the Wildcats’ career rushing record for more than 40 years. Benny Snell could own it by the end of Kentucky’s Citrus Bowl date against Penn State. Snell, a junior, has 3,729 career rushing yards and needs 107 to rush past Collins for the record.
When the Tigers square off against Central Florida in the Fiesta Bowl, LSU figures to get into a track meet. That likely would work to LSU’s advantage with the Knights missing star quarterback McKenzie Milton. The most total points in an LSU bowl is 83, when the Tigers topped Texas Tech 56-27 in the 2015 Texas Bowl. That record might fall in Arizona.
Brent Smith owns the Bulldogs’ record for career field goal percentage at 80 percent, set in 2002-03. Sophomore Jace Christmann is at 77.8 percent (21-for-27). When the Bulldogs play Iowa in the Outback Bowl, Christmann could tie the mark by going 3-for-3 or break it with a 4-for-4 day. If not, Christmann still has time to set the mark in the next two seasons assuming he stays healthy.
Drew Lock has 96 career touchdown passes, 5 behind all-time Tigers leader Chase Daniel. Yes, it’s a big number, but Lock has had six career games with 5 or more TD passes. It’s worth noting that only one has come against a Power 5 foe (Arkansas) but Liberty Bowl opponent Oklahoma State does not have a great pass defense. And whereas some stars are sitting out to prepare for the NFL, Lock has said he wants to make a final statement.
Jake Bentley’s monster game against Clemson in the regular-season finale, though in a losing effort, put him within reach of a school record. His 5 touchdown passes against the Tigers gave Bentley 27 this season, just 3 from breaking Steve Taneyhill’s single-season Gamecocks mark set in 1995. Bentley gets his shot at owning the mark in the Belk Bowl against Virginia.
Running back Trayveon Williams has had a fine junior season, rushing for 100 yards in a game eight times on his way to a 1,524-yard regular season. He needs 169 yards in the Gator Bowl against N.C. State to break the Aggies’ single-season record of 1,692 set by Darren Lewis in 1988.
Jay Cutler’s career record for passing yards at Vanderbilt — 8,697 from 2002-05 — has not been threatened since. Until now. Kyle Shurmur has 8,579 passing yards for the Commodores and needs 119 in the Texas Bowl against Baylor to supplant Cutler in the school’s record book. If Shurmur passes for 335 yards against the Bears he’d also break Kurt Page’s single-season mark of 3,178 set in 1983. Shurmur already owns Vandy’s record for career TD passes (63 and growing), and he set Vandy’s single-season TD pass record last year with 26. He has 23 this season, so that could be updated as well.