No. 39 Steve Sarkisian – Quarterback – 1995-1996
How this player didn’t land at a division one school straight out of high school is a mystery to me. Sarkisian actually was a baseball player and wanted to play for USC but ended up leaving the team for El Camino Jr. College. Sarkisian played there before joining football and doing really well. While at his J.C. he set the National record in completion percentage (.724) and efficiency (203.8). It is no question as to why BYU came looking for him after his second season.
One may wonder why BYU didn’t pick him up earlier,and the answer is because they were too busy with other great quarterbacks in the years right before including Ty Detmer and John Walsh. But with no promising quarterbacks left on the roster the Cougars landed Sarkisian at the right time.
While Sarkisian was a great quarterback and even led the Cougars to the 14-1 season, (the first 14 win season ever in NCAA) Sarkisian wasn’t around BYU Football long enough to be the kind of impact difference maker that you often see in the players who are four year players who work through the program before rising and becoming the influential leader. Despite that, his accuracy and playing style was so good that the team was able to trust him on odd plays that normally would be running plays. Watching some games it is odd to see a 2nd and 4 play go for a pass play, something that is almost always a running play.
Sarkisian was only at BYU for two seasons which wasn’t his fault per say, as mentioned before he thought his calling in life was baseball. While at BYU, he broke a few records including the career completion percentage (.672) and passing rating (173.6). Over his two year career he had 7,468 yards, 51 touchdowns, only 25 interceptions and had an average of 9.37 yards per attempt. He did fumble the ball 17 times, losing 10 of those.
Memorable Moments B+
33 for 44 for 536 yards and six touchdowns is the statline that Sarkisian put in the season opener in 1996 against No. 16 Texas A&M in a win that started the magical 14-1 season. Sarkisian actually had quite a few close wins that season including against New Mexico, Wyoming and No. 14 Kansas State. While none of those came down to final second hail mary throws to win the game, Sarkisian’s big throwing ability was crucial in winning each of those games.