Bailey Zappe is officially the most prolific quarterback in a single season in FBS history.
The Western Kentucky QB broke the single-season records for passing yards and passing touchdowns in the Hilltoppers' 59-38 Boca Raton Bowl win over Appalachian State on Saturday. Zappe entered the game needed 289 yards to pass former Texas Tech QB B.J. Symons for the most yards in a single season. He got more than enough yards to break that record in the first half alone with a prolific passing performance.
That performance continued in the second half as Zappe broke former LSU and current Cincinnati Bengals QB Joe Burrow's TD record in the third quarter. The record-breaking score came when Zappe found Mitchell Tinsley for a 2-yard TD with less than six minutes to go in the period for his 61st TD of the season. He then added another TD in the second half as WKU pulled away.
Zappe came out of the game with WKU leading by four touchdowns in the fourth quarter. He finished the win 33-of-47 passing for 422 yards and six touchdowns, just missing out on becoming the first QB to throw for 6,000 yards in a season at the top level of college football.
Zappe ends his season 475-of-686 passing for 5,967 yards with 62 TDs and just 11 interceptions. He will be an intriguing prospect in the 2022 NFL draft even if he's not one of the first few quarterbacks selected.
Burrow previously set the TD record when he threw 60 TDs in LSU's 15-0 national title-winning 2019 season. Saturday's Boca Raton Bowl was Western Kentucky's 14th game of the season.
Symons threw for 5,833 yards in 13 games at Texas Tech in 2003. Zappe had 5,545 yards through WKU’s first 13 games and passed seven QBs on Saturday. He entered the bowl game behind Symons, former Tech QB Graham Harrell, Burrow, former Houston QB Case Keenum, former Washington State QB Anthony Gordon and ex-Hawaii QB Colt Brennan on the single-season passing yards list.
The records come in Zappe's only season at the top level of college football. Zappe transferred to WKU from Houston Baptist ahead of the 2021 season as his offensive coordinator Zach Kittley and other teammates also came to Western Kentucky. Zappe and WKU's offense was so good in 2021 that Kittley — a native of Lubbock, Texas — is leaving WKU after one season to be the offensive coordinator at Texas Tech in 2021.