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Comparing Zach Wilson's Season to Former BYU Greats

How does Zach Wilson's 2020 campaign compare to prior BYU greats?

Zach Wilson capped off a historic 2020 season on Tuesday night in what could have been his last game in a BYU uniform. I sat down to answer one question: how does his 2020 campaign compare to former BYU greats?

These stats are courtesy of cougarstats.com

Completion percentage (minimum 100 attempts)

Zach Wilson broke a BYU record for completion percentage in 2020 - he completed 73.4% of his passes. Steve Young held the previous record of 71.3% for 37 years. Wilson was only the second quarterback in BYU's illustrious QB history to complete more than 70% of his passes during a season.

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Yards per attempt (minimum 100 attempts)

Zach Wilson averaged 11 yards per attempt. That ranks second behind only Ty Detmer in 1989 who averaged 11.1 yards per attempt. Think about that for a minute - Zach Wilson nearly broke the record for highest completion percentage and most yards per attempt in the same season. For comparison, Ty Detmer completed 64% of his passes in 1989 when he averaged 11.1 yards per attempt. 

If you put those two numbers together, Zach Wilson just completed the most efficient season of any quarterback in BYU history. His QB efficiency rating was 196.9. Jim McMahon held the previous record of 176.87 for 30 years. Zach Wilson's new record surpassed the previous record by such a large margin that it might never broken.

Passing yards

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Zach Wilson threw for 3,692 yards in 2020, that ranks #16 in BYU history. Ty Detmer holds the current record - 5,188 yards in 1990 - a record that will likely never be broken.

Touchdown passes

Wilson threw 33 touchdowns in 2020 which is tied for fifth in single-season BYU history.

TD/Int Ratio

Gifford Nielsen set the BYU TD/Int ratio in 1977 when he threw for 30 touchdowns and 7 interceptions (5.33 TD/Int). Zach Wilson shattered Nielsen's record that stood for 43 years. Wilson threw for 33 touchdowns and 3 interceptions for a TD/Int ratio of 11. Wilson lapped a 43 year old record.

In a world of uncertainty amidst a global pandemic, Wilson was astoundingly consistent. When discussing the greatest seasons by BYU quarterbacks, Wilson's 2020 season is right at the top. 

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