When it comes to single-season scoring in the Southeastern Conference, the Alabama Crimson Tide now has no peer.
With one and possibly two games remaining in this season, the Tide has already amassed 623 points, making it the highest-scoring offense in SEC history. With its output in a 35-28 win over Georgia in the SEC Championship game, Alabama surged past the 2008 Florida Gators, who held the previous record of 611 points.
The Tide’s 47.9 points per game average also currently betters the previous record of 46.6 ppg posted by the 1996 Florida Gators over 12 games. Rounding out the Top 5 in that category were the 1995 Florida Gators and 2012 Texas A&M Aggies, who each averaged 44.5 ppg, and the 2013 Texas A&M squad that averaged 44.2 ppg.
The Tide’s offensive success this season has been highlighted by the play of sophomore quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who was named SEC Offensive Player of the Year.
Tagovailoa has thrown for 3,353 yards and a school-record 37 touchdowns with just four interceptions on 199 of 294 passing (67.7 percent) this season. He is tied for second on the UA career touchdown pass list with 48 and has thrown for 300 or more yards an Alabama-record five times this season. His 42 combined passing and rushing touchdowns are also a UA single-season record. His six total touchdowns (five passing, one rushing) against Auburn on Nov. 24 is also a school single-game record.
Here’s a look at the rest of the Top 5, and you’ll quickly notice all have one thing in common—stellar quarterback play.
2008 FLORIDA GATORS (611)
Led by junior quarterback Tim Tebow, the Gators (13-1) won the second of two national championships under Urban Meyer in three years.
In the passing department, Tebow was 192 of 298 for 2,746 yards and 30 TDs with only four interceptions thrown. He also led the Gators in rushing with 673 yards on 173 carries and 12 TDs. Despite accounting for 42 touchdowns on the season, Tebow did not win his second straight Heisman as the award went to Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford.
2016 ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE (582)
True freshman Jalen Hurts allayed any fears Tide fans had about the quarterback position after the loss of Jake Coker from the 2015-16 national championship squad with a performance that earned him SEC Offensive Player of the Year selections by the league’s coaches and the Associated Press. Hurts also won SEC Freshman of the Year honors by the coaches and SEC Newcomer of the Year honors by AP.
Taking over early in a season-opening beatdown of Southern Cal in AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Hurts went on to throw for 2,780 yards and 23 TDs on 240 of 382 passing with nine INTs. He was also second on the team in rushing with 954 yards on 191 carries and his 13 rushing TDs were most on the squad.
Alabama (14-1) came up short to Clemson 35-31 in the College Football Playoff championship game but Hurts did all he could, leading the Tide on a scoring drive that gave it a 31-28 lead with 2:07 to play before the Tigers scored the game-winner with 1 second on the clock.
2012 TEXAS A&M AGGIES (578)
Red-shirt freshman QB Johnny Manziel burst on the scene and led the Aggies to an 11-2 mark with a performance good enough to win him the Heisman. With a reckless, scrambling style, Manziel rushed for a team-high 1,410 yards and an incredible 21 TDs and threw for 26 more. He was 295 of 434 on the year for 3,706 yards.
The Aggies rang up 58 on Arkansas, 63 on Auburn, and 59 on Missouri, and beat Bama 29-24, but losses to Florida and LSU kept their season from being even more memorable.
2010 AUBURN TIGERS (577)
Cam Newton gave the Tigers (14-0) their third Heisman winner in school history with a performance that also produced a national championship.
Newton accounted for an amazing 51 touchdowns that year, 30 passing, 20 rushing and even one receiving. He led the Tigers in rushing with 1.473 yards on 254 carries and passed for 2,854 yards by completing 185 of 286 attempts.
With Newton running roughshod, Auburn rolled over South Carolina 56-17 in the SEC Championship Game and won the second national title in school history, 23-19 over Oregon in the BCS Championship Game.
BIGGER THINGS TO COME FOR BAMA?
The Tide currently stands second nationally in scoring offense to its College Football Playoff semifinal opponent Oklahoma, which has scored 643 points in 13 games this season (49.5 ppg average). If you consider that game and a potential CFB championship game rematch with Clemson as possible shootouts, the Tide has an outside chance of becoming the highest-scoring team in NCAA Division I history.
Currently that mark is held by the 2013 Florida State Seminoles led by Jameis Winston that posted 723 points in 14 games (51.6 ppg) and downed Auburn 34-31 to win the national championship. It may be a stretch to reach that, but Bama definitely has a shot at the 15-game mark of 681 points set by Oregon in 2014.
The all-time NCAA single-season scoring record belongs to Division II Pittsburgh State, which scored 837 points (55.8 ppg) in 15 games in 2004.
With Tagovailoa, Hurts and weapons like receiver/punt returner Jaylen Waddle, the SEC Freshman of the Year, Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III, Irv Smith Jr., Damian Harris, Josh Jacobs, and Najee Harris, the Tide offense is primed to continue rewriting the record books this season and for several more years to come. H&A
Cover photo: Alabama running back Josh Jacobs plunges into the end zone against Georgia in the 2018 SEC Championship Game – Courtesy Alabama Athletics