Aztec Stat of the Week: Kickoff Return Records

In San Diego State’s 21-19 win over Boise State, wide receiver Colin Lockett returned the opening kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown (Ernie Anderson/SDSU Media Relations)

In San Diego State’s monumental victory over conference-foe Boise State on Saturday, Aztec wide receiver Colin Lockett set the tone from the start when he returned the opening kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown.

It was Lockett’s second kickoff return touchdown of the season, and third of his career. No other Aztec player has ever returned more than one kickoff for a touchdown.

On top of holding the records for kickoff return touchdowns, Lockett is now chasing two other kickoff return records: career yardage and single-season yardage.

In the game, Lockett had 141 yards on three returns, and moved to third all-time in school history for most career kickoff return yards. He also moved to third all-time for most kickoff return yards in a season.

Most Kickoff Return Yards, Career

Following Saturday’s game, Lockett has 1,385 kickoff return yards in his career, the third-highest total in Aztec history.

He sits behind Darnay Scott and Monty Gilbreath, two former Aztec wide receivers who also served as returners on kickoffs.

In second place is Scott, who played at SDSU from 1991-1993. In just three seasons, he recorded 1,397 return yards on 64 returns. Arguably one of the best wide receivers in school history, he also ranks second in career receiving yards with 3,139 yards and seventh in career receptions with 178.

Following his time at SDSU, Scott was selected in the second round of the 1994 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals and had an impressive professional career. In eight seasons, he tallied 408 receptions for 6,193 yards and 37 touchdowns.

Gilbreath, who played at SDSU from 1986-1989, holds the school record for most kickoff return yards. In his four seasons with the Aztecs, he had 1,505 yards on 74 returns.

Gilbreath wasn’t just a kickoff return specialist, however, as he also ranks fifth in school history in career receptions (187) and tenth in career receiving yards (2,241). He also returned punts, and ranks second in school history with 835 punt return yards.

Assuming a bowl game is imminent, Lockett needs 121 kickoff return yards in the final three games to surpass Gilbreath. He would need to average just over 40 yards per game to break the record, a very reachable number considering he is averaging over 70 yards per game this season.

Most Kickoff Return Yards, Season

Not only is Lockett nearing the record for most career kickoff return yards, but he is also close to breaking the single-season record. Through 10 games, Lockett now has 707 yards on 27 returns this season, which currently ranks him third all-time at SDSU.

Gilbreath, the career yards leader, also holds the record for most kickoff return yards in a season, as he notched 880 yards on 40 returns in 1987.

Patrick Rowe, a wide receiver at SDSU from 1987-1991, ranks second with his mark of 799 yards in 1988. Like Scott and Gilbreath, Rowe is also amongst the school leaders in career receiving yards and career receptions. He ranks eighth and sixth all-time, respectively, with 155 receptions for 2,678 yards.

Lockett needs 174 kickoff return yards in the final three games to break Gilbreath’s single-season record.

Former Aztec wide receiver Darnay Scott, who played in the NFL with the Cincinnati Bengals, is amongst the school leaders in kickoff return yardage (Associated Press)

 

Did you miss last week’s “Stat of the Week” post about tight end records? Check it out here!


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by Hunter Hewitt

GO AZTECS

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Aztec Stat of the Week: Tight End Records

Tight end Gavin Escobar hauls in a pass in the 2012 season (Ernie Anderson/SDSU Media Relations)

At 6-foot-6, 255 pounds, junior tight end Gavin Escobar is a nightmare to opposing defenses. With a rare blend of size and athleticism, Escobar has an incredible ability to get himself open. Too big for defensive backs and too quick for linebackers, he is nearly impossible to cover.

But is Escobar the greatest tight end to ever play at San Diego State?

A look at the all-time record books shows that, according to the stats, someone else might have the edge.

There are two categories in the record books that are specific to tight ends: Most receptions and most receiving yards by a tight end in a single season. Escobar is second in both categories, with 51 catches and 780 yards in 2011.

So who sits ahead on Escobar on both lists?

Tim Delaney

According to the “Records” section in the 2012 SDSU football media guide, Tim Delaney holds both records for most receptions and most receiving yards in a season by a tight end. He had 62 catches for 794 yards in 1970.

In his three-year career, Delaney had 180 receptions for 2,535 yards and 22 touchdowns, all top-10 marks in the SDSU record books.

But after digging even deeper into the archives, it can be found that Delaney was 5-foot-11, 190 pounds, far from the size of a prototypical tight end.

“He was more of a slot receiver for us,” said Brian Sipe, SDSU’s starting quarterback in 1970. “He never really put his hand in the ground like a tight end.”

If Tim Delaney is eliminated from the tight end rankings, who else is there?

Kerry Reed-Martin and Rob Awalt

Listed at third on both lists is former tight end Kerry Reed-Martin, who had 49 receptions for 719 yards in 1987. Former tight end Rob Awalt sits at fourth on both lists, as he caught 45 passes for 541 yards the season prior in 1986.

But neither Reed-Martin nor Awalt had the consistency of Escobar.

Reed-Martin’s next best season was in 1988, when he had 34 receptions for 276 yards and one touchdown. He also saw action in 1986, but played a limited role as the backup to Awalt.

Awalt, who went on to have a successful seven-year NFL career, played just two seasons at SDSU. He had 15 catches for 181 yards and two touchdowns in his first season in 1985.

Don Warren

Although his collegiate stats are tough to track down, former Aztec tight end Don Warren had arguably the best professional career. In 14 seasons with the Washington Redskins, Warren amassed 193 catches, 2,536 receiving yards and seven touchdowns.

Warren helped the Redskins win three Super Bowls (1982, 1987, 1991), and is tied for the most Super Bowl victories by a former Aztec.

He was also an exceptional blocker, as he was a part of the group of players nicknamed “The Hogs” along with the Redskins’ offensive lineman. These players were known for their tough and gritty play in the trenches, and were an integral part of the Redskins’ success in the 1980s and 1990s.

The best ever?

In his career thus far, Escobar has 110 receptions for 1,528 yards and 16 touchdowns. There are not specific categories in the SDSU record books that show career leaders in receptions and yards by a tight end, but it’s safe to say that no one has outdone Escobar.

Awalt was impressive in the NFL, with career totals of 138 catches, 1,583 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns, but his production at SDSU was less than that of Escobar’s.

Warren had the best NFL career, winning three Super Bowls and trumping Awalt’s total receptions and receiving yards, but he also did not put up the numbers in college that Escobar has accumulated.

So Aztec fans, what do you think? Is Gavin Escobar the greatest tight end to ever play at San Diego State?

Since his football career is still very young, the better question may be, will Escobar be the greatest when it’s all said and done?

Leave a comment and let me know what you think!

Did you miss last week’s “Stat of the Week” post about overtime games? Check it out here!


LINKS:
Hunter Hewitt: WordPress – http://hunterhewitt.wordpress.com
Hunter Hewitt: LinkedIn – http://www.linkedin.com/in/hunterhewitt
Hunter Hewitt: Twitter – http://twitter.com/hunterhewitt89
Hunter Hewitt: Facebook – http://facebook.com/hunterhewittSDSU
Hunter Hewitt: About.me – http://about.me/hunterhewitt
Hunter Hewitt: BrandYourself – http://hunterhewitt.brandyourself.com/
Hunter Hewitt: GoAztecs.com Player Profile – http://goaztecs.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/hewitt_hunter00.html


by Hunter Hewitt

GO AZTECS

Aztec Stat of the Week: Overtime Games

SDSU celebrates after its thrilling overtime victory over Nevada (Ernie Anderson/SDSU Media Relations)

Over the years, overtime games have been a rarity for San Diego State football.

According to GoAztecs.com, SDSU had only played in four overtime games before entering Saturday night’s contest vs. Nevada. That statistic changed Saturday, however, as the Aztecs defeated Nevada in overtime, 39-38.

With the thrilling overtime victory, the Aztecs improved to 4-1 all-time in overtime games. Following the game, one question likely popped up in the heads of many SDSU fans: When was the last overtime game for SDSU?

Last overtime game

On October 24, 1998 at Qualcomm Stadium, SDSU defeated Utah 21-20 in overtime.

Behind quarterback Brian Russell and running back Larry Ned, the Aztecs won their fourth straight game to improve to 4-3 on the season. Utah scored first in the extra period, but missed the extra point, opening the door for SDSU. The Aztecs then scored on a 6-yard touchdown pass from Russell to Damon Gourdine, and converted the extra point to win the game.

SDSU went on to play in the Las Vegas Bowl that season, but fell to North Carolina, 20-13.

Brian Russell (left) and Larry Ned (right) helped the Aztecs beat Utah in overtime in the 1998 season

 

Did you miss last week’s “Stat of the Week” post about interceptions? Check it out here!

 

by Hunter Hewitt

GO AZTECS