How Does Zach Wilson's 2020 Season Compare to Former BYU Greats?

Casey Lundquist

It's no secret, Zach Wilson is having a fantastic season thus far. He has led BYU to a 5-0 start for the first time since 2008 and a #12 ranking in the AP poll. His name is consistently included in Heisman discussions and he is on pace to have one of the best seasons in BYU football history. I sat down to answer one question: how does his season thus far compare to former BYU greats?

Before we answer that question, a few important notes:

  • These stats assume Zach Wilson's averages would remain the same for the rest of the season. Is that possible? Of course, never doubt Zach Wilson. Is it likely? Probably not, at least not at the gaudy levels BYU fans have seen so far. Zach is completing nearly 79% of his passes which would beat the previous BYU record by seven percentage points. That record goes back to 1983! A guy named Steve Young set that record, you might have heard of him.
  • These projections assume a 13 game schedule including one bowl game. BYU could play 13 games, but the Cougars currently have only 10 regular season games on the schedule.
  • Stats courtesy of

Completion percentage (minimum 100 attempts)

Like I mentioned above, Zach Wilson has completed just under 79% of his passes through five games. That would obliterate Steve Young's 1983 record of 71.3% and it would be only the second time in BYU history that a QB completed more than 70% of his passes during a season.

Yards per attempt

Zach Wilson is averaging 12.07 yards per attempt right now which would set a new BYU record. Ty Detmer holds the current record. He averaged 11.07 yards per attempt in 1989.

Passing yards

Zach Wilson is on pace to throw for 4,267 yards over a 13 game season. 4,267 would rank fifth most 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 is on pace to throw for 31 touchdown passes in 2020. That would ranked #11 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). Through five games, Wilson has thrown for 12 touchdowns (remember, Wilson also has six rushing touchdowns that are not included in this ratio) and only one interception. Should his current TD/Int ratio stand, it would shatter a BYU record that has been stood for 43 years.

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