A competitive college football game? That’s never a bad thing. If it’s also a high-scoring game? That’s even better.
You never really know what you’re tuning in for when you sit down to watch college football. It could be a complete drubbing like Alabama taking on anyone. Flip to another two SEC teams and they could suck you in for seven overtimes and the most points ever scored in an FBS game. Hope you bet the over!
Back in 2018, Texas A&M and LSU gifted us the highest-scoring FBS game ever. That, obviously, also stands as the highest-scoring game in Southeastern Conference history. That got us thinking: What about the other Power 5 conferences? What about the mid-major conferences? Here are some of the highest-scoring games in college football history in each conference.
Beware of points.
Highest-Scoring College Football Games by Conference
SEC: Texas A&M 74, LSU 72 (2018)
In 2018, the Texas A&M Aggies were hosting the LSU Tigers at Kyle Field. The Aggies were still relatively new to the SEC all things considered and were looking for their first win over the Tigers since 1995. LSU thought they had won 31-24 in regulation — it even doused head coach Ed Orgeron in Gatorade — but that turned out to be premature as an interception call was overturned. The Aggies were able to send the game into overtime, and that’s where things went wild.
ESPN needed to go long to fit the entire game on television. Texas A&M and LSU combined for seven overtimes. In the seventh overtime, LSU scored a touchdown but failed to convert a two-point conversion. Texas A&M then made it into the end zone and completed the two-point play. The Aggies earned the win, 74-72. Kellen Mond totaled six passing TDs and one on the ground, and the teams combined for 146 points.
Another notable SEC shootout: The Arkansas Razorbacks and Kentucky Wildcats in 2003 gave us a thriller in seven overtimes that ended in a 71-63 score in Arkansas’ favor.
Weirdly, Texas A&M and Louisiana State University broke an NCAA record that had existed for all of one season after Western Michigan beat Buffalo 71-68 in 2017.
ACC: Pittsburgh 76, Syracuse 61 (2016)
The next game on the list is worth noting because it didn’t go into overtime. Yes, all of these points were scored in just four quarters. In 2016, the Pittsburgh Panthers beat the Syracuse Orange 76-61. If you tuned in late to that one it was all right, because 47 points were scored in the fourth quarter alone. It’s still the highest-scoring game in ACC football history.
“I’ve never been in a game like that,” Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi said in a release afterward. “I don’t ever want to be in a game like that again. But I’ll go back and say there’s no such thing as a bad win.”
Big 12: West Virginia 70, Baylor 63 (2012)
The highest-scoring game in Big 12 history saw West Virginia beat Baylor 70-63 in regulation.
West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith threw for (wait for it) 656 passing yards and eight touchdowns. He had more passing touchdowns than incomplete passes (six) in this memorable matchup. Oh, also five of his touchdowns fell into the hands of Stedman Bailey, who posted 303 yards.
We must also mention the famed game between Texas Tech and Oklahoma from 2016, which Oklahoma won 66-59. That game is remembered because of the massive numbers put up by future NFL stars Patrick Mahomes and Baker Mayfield.
Big Ten: Michigan 67, Illinois 65 (2010)
As for the Big Ten, its record came when Michigan beat Illinois 67-65 in three overtimes in 2010. These two football teams went at it for three hours and 51 minutes and combined for 1,237 total yards. Electrifying Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson, who ran for more than 1,700 yards that season, was somehow held to just 62 on the ground.
Pac-12: UCLA 67, Washington State 63 (2019)
The Pac-12’s highest-scoring game ever was also not too long ago. UCLA, manned by offensive mastermind and head coach Chip Kelly, hung a 67-burger on Washington State, who managed just 63 measly points in 2019. Wazzu led 49-17 in the third quarter but ended up losing 67-63 in a truly memorable matchup. Washington State’s quarterback threw nine touchdowns and still lost. Were the defenses even playing?
Other High-Scoring FBS Games
Western Michigan 71, Buffalo 68 (2017)
All the way back in 2017 Western Michigan and Buffalo also played into seven overtimes. The Broncos won on a touchdown by running back Jarvion Franklin that made the score 71-68, a total of 139 points. That was a MAC matchup worth tuning into.
Navy 74, North Texas 62 (2007)
That fourth quarter between Pitt and Syracuse has nothing on the second quarter between Navy and North Texas in 2007. The teams combined for 136 points in 2007, which was the highest-scoring regulation game until that Pitt game happened. Those squads combined for a staggering 63 points in the second quarter alone, an NCAA record for points scored between two teams in one quarter. Navy trailed 47-45 at the half but came back to win 74-62.
Boise State 69, Nevada 67 (2007)
A young man by the name of Colin Kaepernick led Nevada for 420 total yards and five touchdowns, but it wasn’t enough in a quadruple-overtime thriller that featured a total of 136 points in Boise.
Now that we’ve mentioned some of the highest-scoring games in the regular seasons, how about in the postseason? What about some other random shootouts that set records?
Highest-Scoring National Championship Game
In 2016, Alabama and Clemson combined for the most points in a national title game with 85. Jake Coker and Derrick Henry led Alabama to a 45-40 win over a Clemson Tigers team led by Deshaun Watson.
That beat the record of 79 set by Texas and USC during the BCS era.
Most Points Scored in a Bowl Game
The highest-scoring bowl game is the 2001 GMAC Bowl which Marshall won over East Carolina 64-61. Marshall was notably led by quarterback Byron Leftwich, while ECU was quarterbacked by David Garrard. Both passers, oddly enough, began their NFL careers with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Biggest Blowout in FBS History
As for the biggest blowout in FBS history, that happened in 1989 when Houston obliterated an SMU team in the wake of the “Death Penalty” by a score of 95-21.
Georgia Tech-Cumberland: 222-0
Lastly, while it doesn’t fit under our parameters, there is one more college football game we must mention. We speak, of course, of the 1916 clash between Georgia Tech and Cumberland. Cumberland had decided to eliminate its football program, but Georgia Tech’s head coach John Heisman refused to let Cumberland out of the contract. Cumberland had to scrounge a team together, and it showed. Georgia Tech won 222-0. No, we didn’t accidentally add another “2” to that score. The NCAA doesn’t recognize this game in its record book.
There have been points racked up on scoreboards all across the country, from June Jones’ Hawaii teams all the way down to Miami, Florida, where the Hurricanes have played a high-scoring affair or three. Even traditionalist Notre Dame fans probably enjoy a high-scoring game or two.
These games run the gamut. Some were comfortable wins, while others went down to the wire. There were games that went into multiple overtimes and games that ended in regulation. Generally speaking, they all featured a lot of first downs, several touchdowns, maybe a few field goals and barely any punts.
If you want your team to try and beat the record held by Texas A&M and LSU there are some things to hope for. You need a dynamic offense, so a school like Iowa isn’t likely to threaten the leaderboard anytime soon. It also helps to be playing a team that’s capable of scoring themselves, so don’t get too excited when a team like Kansas is on the schedule.
When we all sat down in 2018 to watch the Aggies and the Tigers, we weren’t expecting 146 points. It’s possible some day soon we will be watching Cincinnati or Wisconsin or Nebraska in action and see 150 points for the first time. Well, maybe not if Nebraska is playing. It’s not the 1990s anymore.
Heck, anything could be possible once Oklahoma and Texas join the SEC.