Record-Breaking Season For ACC Football

It was a record-breaking season across the ACC in 2016, with a number of records being tied or broken. Here are some of the more notable records that were set at the FBS, ACC, and school levels – with an added section for one particularly special player and a handful of records that are still in danger of falling.


  • Pitt vs. Syracuse: Most combined points in regulation in FBS history

The Panthers and Orange combined for an insane 137 points in Pitt’s 76-61 win, breaking the previous record of 136 points set by Navy and North Texas in 2007. The two teams combined for an unreal 20 touchdowns and 1,312 total yards.


  • James Conner: Career Rushing and Total Touchdowns

One of the most inspirational players in ACC history, Pitt’s Conner will be remembered for decades for his performance both on and off the field. Less than a year after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, he returned to the football field cancer-free and didn’t miss a beat. Conner set new ACC records for career touchdowns from scrimmage with 56, and career rushing touchdowns with 52. If Conner decides to return for his senior season, these numbers might be inflated to borderline unbreakable levels.

  • Deshaun Watson: Passing Touchdowns in a Game, Passing Yards in a Game, Career Completion Percentage

Watson followed his record-breaking sophomore season at Clemson with a similarly impressive junior campaign. His six touchdown passes against North Carolina tied his own single-game record, tied with six others, set against UNC in 2014, and his 580 passing yards against Pitt broke former Miami standout Stephen Morris’ previous record of 566 yards set in 2012. Finally, Watson could go down as the ACC’s all-time leader in completion percentage (currently 67.69) for quarterbacks with at least 700 pass attempts.

  • Amba Etta-Tawo: Touchdown Receptions in a Game

In the record-setting 76-61 Pitt win over Syracuse, Orange wide receiver Amba Etta-Tawo made some history of his own. The senior caught 13 passes for 178 and five touchdowns, tying Torry Holt’s ACC record for TD receptions in a single game. Etta-Tawo won’t get the chance to add to his phenomenal senior season in a bowl game, but will get one last chance to shine on the college level in January’s Senior Bowl.

  • Harold Landry: Career and Single-Season Forced Fumbles

The junior defensive end from Spring Lake, N.C. is one of the biggest reasons the Eagles are back to bowl-eligible this season. His seven forced fumbles this season tie him with Virginia Tech’s Cody Grimm for the single-season ACC mark and he now holds the ACC record for career forced fumbles with 10. Landry has done all of this while also being tied for the ACC lead in sacks with 15, just one shy of the ACC record of 16 set by Clemson’s Da’Quan Bowers in 2010.

  • Sean Riley: Single-Season Kickoff Returns

Talk about an instant impact player – Syracuse true-freshman wide receiver Sean Riley set a new ACC record with 53 kickoff returns this season. Riley’s 53 returns netted a total of 1,095 yards, good for third most in a single season in ACC history.


  • Dalvin Cook: Career Rushing Yards and Career Rushing Touchdowns

Dubbed by many as the best running back in the country, Dalvin Cook can now officially make his case for best running back to ever play at Florida State. The junior’s 4,319 career rushing yards breaks the school record previously held by Warrick Dunn, and his 17-yard touchdown run in the first quarter against Florida gave him 45 career rushing touchdowns – breaking Greg Allen’s 32-year-old mark of 44.

  • Deshaun Watson: Pass Completions in a Game

After just two seasons, Watson already owned an unreal 39 Clemson records and will graduate after his junior season with at least 40, thanks to his monster game against Pitt. His ACC-record 580 passing yards versus the Panthers came on 52 completions in 70 attempts. The 52 completions are the most in Clemson history and the second most in ACC history.

  • Brad Kaaya: Career Passing Yards

In Miami’s 40-21 win over Duke, Kaaya completed 22 of his 35 passes for 396 yards and four touchdowns. That pushed his career passing total to 9,686 yards, breaking the previous Miami record of 9,565 set by Ken Dorsey from 1999 through 2002.

  • Ryan Switzer: Single-Season and Career Receptions

Switzer’s last catch in the Tar Heels’ win over Miami gave him 206 career receptions, breaking the school record of 205 held by Quinshad Davis. But Switzer wasn’t done. In his final home game of an impressive UNC career, Switzer hauled in 13 catches for 171 yards and a touchdown against NC State. The 13 catches bumped his season total to 91, breaking Dwight Jones’ school record for receptions in a season. The big farewell game also extended his career receptions record to 239.

Lamar Jackson

Let’s face it – this guy deserves his own section based on both his unreal sophomore season and just the sheer number of records he broke. Here are some of his most impressive record-breaking numbers from an unforgettable season.

  • First Player in FBS History to Throw for 3,300 yards and Rush for 1,500 yards

  • First Player in FBS History to Pass for 30 TDs and Rush for 20 TDs in a Regular Season
  • Set a New ACC Record for TDs Responsible for with 51
  • Broke the ACC Record for Rushing Yards by a QB with 1,538

  • Established a New ACC Record for Rushing TDs by a QB with 21

  • Set New Louisville Single-Season Records for:

o Total Offense

o Touchdowns

o Rushing Yards

o 100-Yard Rushing Games

o Total Plays

Records Still In Danger

A handful of notable records are still well within reach to be broken during this year’s bowl games.

  • Lamar Jackson: Single-Season Total Yards

Jackson needs 287 total yards to break Deshaun Watson’s 2015 ACC record of 5,214 total yards in a season.

  • Dalvin Cook: Career Yards From Scrimmage

With 171 total yards from scrimmage in FSU’s bowl game, Cook would break NC State great Ted Brown’s ACC record of 5,362 yards from scrimmage… and would do so in one less season.

  • DeMarcus Walker and Harold Landry: Single-Season Sacks

FSU’s Walker and BC’s Landry are tied for the ACC and FBS lead with 15 sacks each. One more from either player would tie Da’Quan Bowers’ 2010 ACC record of 16.

  • Ejuan Price: Career Tackles for Loss

Pitt’s standout pass rusher can tie the ACC career mark for tackles for loss with a big performance in the Panthers’ bowl game. He currently has 44 tackles for loss in his career, and four more would tie him with Clemson’s Vic Beasley and Wake Forest’s Nikita Whitlock who both have 48.