Meet the members of the SEC's 500-yard passing club
Tim Couch is crying on his … OK, I’ll stay away from the terrible pun. But the former Kentucky standout must’ve been slightly frustrated in 1998, when he threw for 499, 498 and 492 yards in separate games.
Couch deserves mention, though, as he’s the only other player on the SEC’s all-time Top 10 list. Peyton Manning (492 yards) and Eric Zeier (485 yards) appear on that list twice.
Alas, this story is about the conference’s 500-yard club. Just six players ever have broken that threshold as a passer in a single game. That’s a feat recent Heisman winners Tim Tebow, Cam Newton and Johnny Manziel never achieved.
Wildcats fans can’t be too upset, though. There’s one
big large humongous reason for UK to celebrate this list.
ERIC ZEIER, GEORGIA
Opponent: Southern Miss
Date: Oct. 9, 1993
Zeier may be fifth in SEC history in terms of career passing yards, but no SEC quarterback has thrown for more yards in a single game.
On the heels of run-first teams led by Herschel Walker, Tim Worley, Rodney Hampton and Garrison Hurst, former UGA quarterback and then-head coach Ray Goff turned Zeier loose during the 1993 season.
The statistical pinnacle came against Southern Miss in a 54-24 win, but Goff had shattered the single-season school passing records after just eight games. The team also scored 52, 54 and 41 points in its first three wins.
JARED LORENZEN, KENTUCKY
Date: Oct. 21, 2000
Listed at 6-foot-4 and 285 pounds, Lorenzen introduced himself to the SEC and the nation in a big way in a 34-30 loss to Georgia.
Nursing a sprained thumb, Lorenzen found 11 different receivers, including touchdown passes of 86 and 75 yards as well as a completion of 89 yards.
“I always knew that Tim (Couch) never threw for over 500 yards, but I didn’t know I was even close until the end of the game when our stat guy told me,” Lorenzen said, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. “It’s neat that now I kind of have something up on Tim.”
By the end of the game, Kentucky’s eighth of the season, Lorenzen claimed the SEC freshman passing record, but not a win against the Bulldogs.
ROHAN DAVEY, LSU
Date: Nov. 3, 2001
Davey enjoyed one of the greatest passing days in LSU history in a 35-21 win in Tuscaloosa, and his performance almost was an afterthought.
With the Tigers languishing at 4-3 and then-coach Nick Saban taking a lot of heat, LSU turned to receivers Josh Reed and Michael Clayton to carry the team.
Reed caught an unseemly 19 passes for 293 yards, while Clayton added seven catches for 126 yards, outdoing any single-game performance from the program’s recent duo of Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry.
LSU’s offense wracked up 611 yards and cruised to a win despite three turnovers, including a bad interception by Davey near the goal line and a strip on a near-score by Reed that turned into a Bama strip from behind.
PEYTON MANNING, TENNESSEE
Date: Nov. 22, 1997
This game featured huge offensive totals, as Kentucky’s Couch threw for 476 yards in the loss and set the SEC’s single-season record for passing yards.
But the Vols won, 59-31, as Manning topped 500 yards on just 35 passes, boosting what would become a failed Heisman Trophy campaign.
Manning completed all 11 of his passes in the second half, throwing for five touchdowns (of 50, 59, 66, 31 and 17 yards).
TYLER WILSON, ARKANSAS
Opponent: Texas A&M
Date: Oct. 1, 2011
Ah, 2011. The height of the Bobby Petrino era at Arkansas, the Razorbacks finished ranked No. 5 in the country. But not without a wild comeback against Texas A&M on the first day of October.
Down 18 points at halftime, Wilson and receiver Jarius Wright chipped away at the lead before the Razorbacks set off wild cries of “Woo Pig Sooie!”
Wright caught 13 passes for a school-record 281 yards in the game. Although Wilson did connect with Wright on a 68-yard throw, unlike the other SEC quarterbacks in this club, Wilson gained membership with a lot of intermediate passes, chipping away with one 18-yard completion at a time.
The next several seasons were demoralizing for Arkansas fans, but the game against A&M and the wild ’11 season created memories that will last for years.
TYLER BRAY, TENNESSEE
Date: Nov. 3, 2012
Tyler Bray’s 500-yard performance wasn’t listed among the SEC’s 500-yard club in the official SEC media guide, but we’re adding it. Tennessee won 55-48, and Bray had a five-touchdown performance to lead the Vols’ offense.
Bray had touchdown throws of 14, 21, 40, 23 and 46. Justin Hunter caught three of those scores, while the electrifying Cordarrelle Patterson caught one.
Bray threw for 313 yards in the first half alone, and the Vols reached the end zone in their first four possessions. However, Bray was spectacular in the fourth quarter, throwing two touchdowns and leading the Vols on the go-ahead touchdown drive that featured a nine-yard run by Marlin Lane.