SEC Hookups: Top 10 QB/WR Connections of the Past 20 Years

Douglas WebbCorrespondent IJuly 31, 2009

1 Jan 1997:  Quarterback Peyton Manning of the Tennessee Volunteers looks to pass the ball during the Citrus Bowl against the Northwestern Wildcats at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida.  Tennessee won the game, 48-28. Mandatory Credit: Andy Lyons  /Alls

Passing combinations are a thing of magic. It seems as though the football stars will align just right once in a while, and in those rare instances, a quarterback and receiver on the same team will have magical seasons.

It also has a lot to do with the type of offense you run. The Fun and Gun, the Run and Shoot, or pass-oriented versions of the spread will of course lead to inflated statistics.

Here I will present the SEC's 10 best QB-WR duos of the last 20 years. While digging through the stats to come up with these passing combos, several things had to be taken into consideration.

The only stats used to determine the rankings were the ones between the quarterback and named wide receiver.ย 

I may have included the remainder of the quarterback's stats, but that was only to give the reader an idea of how much of the passing offense was made up of the connection between those two players.

The list won't make everyone happy because not every program will be represented. Some programs just don't throw the ball the way others do.

Some programs go into games looking to pass the ball, while others frequently find themselves down early and are forced to throw it.

You might be surprised who ends up with the No. 1 ranking.

10. Eric Zeier to Brice Hunter, 1993

This was one of those teams where nothing seemed to go right for the home team. The Bulldogs struggled to an ugly 5-6 record. The Dawgs found themselves behind early and often, which left them throwing the ball in an attempt to play catchup.

Zeier had a great season, throwing for 3,525 yards, the most ever by a Georgia quarterback at the time. He threw for 24 touchdowns to only seven interceptions. He also garnered a 63.6 percent completion percentage.

On the receiving end of many of those passes was Brice Hunter, hauling in 76 catches for 970 yards receiving. Nine of those passes were hauled in for touchdowns.

9. Eli Manning to Chris Collins, 2003

Manning began to show here the form that would later help him win a Super Bowl at the next level, throwing for 3,600 yards along with 29 touchdown passes to just 10 interceptions. Manning threw for a 62.4 percent completion percentage.

Matching up with Manning, Collins hauled in an impressive 77 catches for 949 yards. Add to that seven touchdown catches and 73 yards receiving per game. Collins did this while playing in only 12 of 13 games due to injury.

8. Erik Ainge to Robert Meachem, 2006

The Volunteers won nine games in 2006 in large part due to the passing duo of Ainge to Meachem. Ainge threw for 2,989 yards for 19 touchdowns and only nine interceptions. Ainge averaged nearly 249.1 yards per game while hitting 67 percent of his passes on the season.

Meachem hauled in 71 passes for 1,298 yards on the season. Ainge also hit him for 11 touchdowns, including one for 84 yards. Meachem averaged just under 100 yards a game at 99.8.

7. Andre' Woodson to Keenan Burton, 2006

The Wildcats went 8-5 during 2006, and at least offensively, it was due to the Woodson to Burton connection. Woodson threw for 3,515 yards and 31 touchdowns with only seven interceptions, an incredible touchdown-to-interception ratio. Woodson completed 63 percent of his passes while averaging 270.4 yards a game.

Burton was the main benefit of all those passing yards. He hauled in 77 catches for 1,036 yards. That included 12 touchdown passes, as well as 79.7 yards receiving per game.

6. Peyton Manning to Joey Kent, 1996

In 1996 Peyton was a junior and starting his second full season as a starting quarterback in the SEC. He made a big improvement from the year before, throwing for 3,287 yards and 20 touchdowns for a 63.9 percent completion percentage.

Manning teamed up with Kent, who hauled in 68 catches for 1,080 yards receiving and seven touchdowns. Together they helped lead the Vols to a 10-2 record.

5. Rex Grossman to Jabar Gaffney, 2001

Our first Gators hit the countdown, and one of the last duos to be able to take advantage of the Fun and Gun. Grossman threw for 3,896 yards and 34 touchdowns with only 12 interceptions. He hit on 65.6 percent of his passes while averaging 354.2 yards per game. Those are amazing numbers.

Gaffney did well to haul in every one of Grossman's passes he could. He made 67 catches for 1,191 yards while averaging 108.3 yards per game. The two also connected on 13 touchdown passes.

Their pass-catching duo was a large reason why the Gators went 10-2 on the year.

4. Peyton Manning to Marcus Nash, 1997

Peyton threw for 3,819 yards his senior year. He also accounted for 36 touchdown passes and a 60.2 percent completion rating.

Peyton teamed up with Nash for 76 receptions, 1,170 yards, and 13 touchdowns.

3. Tim Couch to Craig Yeast, 1998

Couch threw for 4,611 yards and 38 touchdowns to just 17 interceptions while completing 71.5 percent of his passes. It was his connection with Yeast that really boosted his season numbers.

Couch and Yeast connected on 87 passes for 1,347 yards and 14 touchdowns. Yeast averaged 15.4 yards per catch.

2. Danny Wuerffel to Reidel Anthony, 1996

Danny threw for 3,625 yards and 39 touchdowns to go with just 13 interceptions. He completed just 57.5 percent of his passes, a drop-off from the season before.

Reidel Anthony had a career year for a college player. While hauling in 72 passes, he also totaled 1,293 yards receiving and 18 touchdowns. He averaged 18 yards per catch, with a 56-yard touchdown reception being his longest catch of the year.

Wuerffel and Anthony topped their great season together off by beating the Seminoles in the Sugar Bowl and helping claim the Gators' first National Championship.

1. Rohan Davey to Josh Reed, 2001

Davey threw for 3,347 yards and 18 touchdowns with 10 interceptions. He threw for 278.9 yards per game, all of which are impressive. It was what he did with Reed that season that stood out most of all.

Davey and Reed connected for 94 receptions for 1,740 yards and seven touchdowns. Reed hauled in 145 yards a game and averaged 18.5 yards per catch on the season.


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