How many NCAA records is Mississippi State football QB Will Rogers on pace to break? We figured it out

Stefan Krajisnik
Mississippi Clarion Ledger

STARKVILLE — Mississippi State football’s Will Rogers has received much of the criticism Air Raid quarterbacks typically do.

He’s been called a system player. His statistics have been deemed irrelevant due to the capacity of passing in coach Mike Leach’s offense.

But regardless the opinions on Rogers’ play or his ability to be an NFL quarterback, the numbers are eye-catching. He’s already broken numerous single-season school records held by NFL star Dak Prescott.

With a touchdown pass against No. 6 Alabama (6-1, 3-1 SEC) on Saturday (6 p.m., ESPN), Rogers will break Prescott's career mark of 70 touchdowns. He'll soon surpass Prescott's 9,376 passing yards.

However, Rogers’ numbers aren't only on pace to be cemented in MSU glory, he's likely to see his name atop college football history. We calculated, based on his current career averages, where Rogers will rank in FBS and SEC history at the end of next season — his senior season. The projections include No. 24 Mississippi State (5-2, 2-2) making a bowl game both years.

Note: Rogers can use the extra year of eligibility granted to athletes by the NCAA due to COVID-19. These numbers don’t take a fifth season into account.

Passing yards

Career so far: 9,039 total, 311.7 per game

Projected career total: 14,961 yards

FBS projected rank: 6th

SEC projected rank: 1st

Case Keenum’s 19,217 passing yards at Houston will be hard to break even with a fifth season.

However, Rogers could be knocking on the door of the top five after his senior year. The 14,961 yards would sit just 70 yards behind Ty Detmer of BYU for fifth all-time.  

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Rogers’ could likely miss one game, or not be bowl eligible next season, and still pass Kellen Moore of Boise State for sixth.

Georgia’s Aaron Murray is the all-time SEC leader, and No. 17 in FBS history, with 13,166 passing yards. Rogers should have little issue surpassing that mark.

Passing touchdowns

Career so far: 70 total, 2.4 per game

Projected career total: 116

FBS projected rank: T-12th

SEC projected rank: 2nd

Rogers will need to pick up his touchdown pace to get into the top 10 of the FBS all-time passing touchdowns list. The 116 touchdowns would tie him with USC's Matt Barkley for 12th all-time and sit three behind Washington State's Luka Faulk for 10th.

However, a few touchdowns below his pace and Rogers could easily find himself outside the top 20. Only 10 touchdowns separate Barkley and Middle Tennessee State's Brent Stockstill at No. 21.

Faulk and Texas Tech’s Graham Harrell are the lone Leach-coached players in the top 10.  

Murray holds the SEC record with 121 passing touchdowns.

Pass completions

Oct 15, 2022; Lexington, Kentucky, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs quarterback Will Rogers (2) looks to pass during the first quarter against the Kentucky Wildcats at Kroger Field. Mandatory Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

Career so far: 972 total, 33.5 per game

Projected career total: 1,609

FBS projected rank: 1st

SEC projected rank: 1st

The Air Raid carries weight in these final two categories. While Rogers leads the FBS in completions this season, he is third in attempts. His current career completion percentage of 72% is best all-time.

Rogers surpassed Murray’s SEC record 921 completions Oct. 8 in a win against Arkansas, so the rest of his career will be spent separating himself from the field.

At his current pace, Rogers could likely miss two games at still break Keenum’s mark of 1,546 completions.  

Pass attempts

Mississippi State quarterback Will Rogers (2) passes against Arkansas during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Starkville, Miss., Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Career so far: 1,349 total, 46.5 per game

Projected career total: 2,233

FBS projected rank: 2nd

SEC projected rank: 1st

Rogers will become the fourth Leach quarterback in the top 10 of pass attempts. He ranks No. 153 in all-time attempts but could break into the top 30 by season’s end. He should hold the SEC record before Thanksgiving and the Egg Bowl game against Ole Miss.

He’ll surpass Keenum by four attempts at his current pace but still trail Hawaii's Timmy Chang by 203.

Stefan Krajisnik is the Mississippi State beat writer for the Clarion Ledger. Contact him at skrajisnik@gannett.com or follow him on Twitter @skrajisnik3.