Top 20 Most Unbreakable Individual BYU Football Records

Jul 27, 2022, 5:08 PM
BYU Football, Ty Detmer, Tyler Allgeier, Reynaldo Brathwaite...
BYU football has produced some record-setting players over the years. (Photos courtesy of Deseret News)
(Photos courtesy of Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah – BYU football has a history of record-setting performers.

In all three phases of the game, BYU has had individuals who have rewritten the record books over the years.

Fresh off former BYU great and current Atlanta Falcon Tyler Allgeier setting the single-season rushing record last year, it got me thinking, what are the most unbreakable records in BYU football history?

Here are the 20 records I believe will be the toughest for a current or future BYU Cougar to break.

20. Punt return average in a BYU football career: 19.8 yards – James Dye (1995-96)

You punt, you “dye.” That message was for opposing teams that dared to punt the football to the electrifying James Dye.

During his two years at BYU, Dye was one of the top return specialists in college football.

19. Career rushing yards per carry: 6.41 – Tyler Allgeier (2018-21)

A model of consistency, whenever Tyler Allgeier touched the ball, he would get positive yards. Like his favorite running back growing up, Marshawn Lynch, Allgeier would wear down defenses over the course of a game.

18. Career receiving yards by a BYU football Tight End: 2,901 – Dennis Pitta (2004, 2007-09)

BYU has had some great tight ends in its history, and Dennis Pitta might be the best. Once a preferred walk-on from Moorpark, California, Pitta was a key passing target for quarterback Max Hall during a three-year stretch that produced 32 wins.

17. Most interceptions in a game: 7 – Jim Eccles vs. Utah (1948)

BYU had a quarterback with the last name Eccles and he tossed a record-setting number of interceptions against Utah. Fire up your conspiracy theories for Utah’s 30-0 thrashing of BYU in 1948.

16. Single-season rushing yards: 1,601 – Tyler Allgeier (2021)

There were many games last season where Tyler Allgeier single-handedly put BYU on his back and carried to the Cougars a victory. That was evident with a season that led to 1,601 yards, passing Luke Staley’s 20-year record.

15. Career tackles for loss: 61.5 – Kyle Van Noy (2010-13)

The tackles for loss data only go back to 2000 in BYU football’s record book. But it’s hard to picture anyone that was a better playmaker than Kyle Van Noy during his four years at BYU.

14. Most punt returns yards in a BYU football game: 219 – Golden Richards vs. North Texas (1971)

As the return game diminishes in football, Golden Richards’ record of 219 punt return yards against North Texas has lasted more than 50 years. Richards was a great athlete for his time. He didn’t finish his career at BYU as he transferred to Hawaii and then went on to play in the NFL.

13. Most punts in a game: 15 – Rich Adams vs. Iowa State (1969)

Future Big 12 foe Iowa State has never lost to BYU; here’s an example of why that’s the case.

12. Total non-passing TDs in a season: 28 – Luke Staley (2001)

The Doak Walker Award winner in 2001 recorded 28 total touchdowns and he did it in only 11 games. Luke Staley in Gary Crowton’s “Crow Ball” offense was dynamite.

11. 100-yard receiving games in a season: 11 – Austin Collie (2008)

The 2008 BYU football season often gets overlooked because they failed to deliver on their “Quest for Perfection.” But that year produced the best individual season ever from a BYU wide receiver. Austin Collie led the nation in receiving with 1,538 yards, edging out former Oklahoma State and Dallas Cowboy Dez Bryant.

10. Pass efficiency in a season: 196.44 – Zach Wilson (2020)

During the COVID-impacted 2020 season, Zach Wilson dazzled everyone with his off-platform throws, but his accuracy was uncanny. Wilson put together the best passing efficiency season at a school that prides itself on top-notch quarterback play.

9. Longest scoring run: 95 yards – Reynaldo Brathwaite vs. San Diego State (2003)

Rey Brathwaite is the man that holds the record for the longest touchdown run in BYU history. A simple handoff from John Beck up the middle saw the floodgates open wide and Brathwaite showcased his elite speed to make the 95-yard touchdown look easy.

8. Most TDs responsible for in a season: 53 – Jim McMahon (1980)

When Jim McMahon’s career at BYU concluded, he set 70 NCAA records. One of those records was touchdowns responsible for in a season. In 1980, McMahon accounted for 53 touchdowns as he led a high-powered BYU offense that will forever be remembered for its Miracle Bowl win over SMU.

Remember that 46-45 win against the Pony Express and all the stats from that game don’t count towards the 53 touchdowns total McMahon produced in ’80.

7. Consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons: 3 – Harvey Unga (2007-09)

In the era of the Transfer Portal, it’s hard to imagine another player producing three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. Harvey Unga emerged as the star in fall camp of the 2007 season and took off from there.

6. Receiving yards in a BYU football game: 263 – Jay Miller vs. New Mexico (1973)

You could point to this game as the breakthrough for LaVell Edwards’ famed passing attack. After starting the season with a 1-5 record, Edwards made a quarterback change naming Gary Sheide as the starter. Sheide, a former JUCO transfer, connected with wide receiver Jay Miller 22 times for 263 yards in a win over WAC rival New Mexico.

5. Combined return yards in a career: 2,470 – Chris Farasopoulos (1968-70)

In today’s college football, no specialist from BYU will ever come close to the numbers “The Galloping Greek” put up in his three years in the kick and punt return game.

4. Single-season tackles: 193 – Shad Hansen (1991)

BYU’s defenses were on the field a lot in the Ty Detmer era because the Cougar offense was able to score in such a quick manner. Guys like Shad Hansen benefitted by racking up 193 tackles in Detmer’s senior year in 1991. Out of the 193 tackles Hansen compiled 130 were assisted and 63 were solo tackles.

3. Single-season passing: 5,188 – Ty Detmer (1990)

The Heisman Trophy-winning season from Ty Detmer was the stuff of legends. Detmer put up 5,188 yards in only 12 games. A remarkable accomplishment that is likely never going to be touched.

2. Career passing touchdowns: 121 – Ty Detmer (1988-91)

To have a successful quarterback for four years and keep him healthy for most of that time is unheard of in today’s college football.

1. Career passing yards: 15,031 – Ty Detmer (1988-91)

What’s remarkable is that after all these years, and the passing game evolving as much as it has, Detmer’s career yardage production is still fifth in college football history. He would be fourth all-time if the NCAA counted bowl game stats before 2002. In four post-season games, Detmer passed for 1,175 yards, which would bump his career to 16,206.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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