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The numbers behind Alex Hornibrook’s career day vs. BYU are impressive

Diving into the southpaw’s big Saturday.

NCAA Football: Wisconsin at Brigham Young Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

What a day for Alex Hornibrook.

A week after a strong start and uneven ending against Florida Atlantic, Hornibrook recorded a career day in Wisconsin’s 40–6 win at BYU on Saturday afternoon.

How well did the southpaw play against the Cougars? He completed 18 of 19 passes for 256 yards and four touchdowns, with his one blemish a second-quarter drop by true freshman Danny Davis.

In a performance that set the tone for Wisconsin (3–0) throughout the afternoon, Hornibrook broke the single-game record for completion percentage by a Wisconsin quarterback. He eclipsed the mark set by Darrell Bevell against Northwestern in October 1993, when the Rose Bowl-winning quarterback (and current Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator) hit the mark on 17 of 18 attempts.

The four touchdown passes and 256 yards through the air were also career highs for the redshirt sophomore. According to Wisconsin game notes, it’s the first time a Badgers quarterback has thrown for four touchdowns since Russell Wilson’s performance against Minnesota at TCF Stadium back in 2011.

Even more impressive, Hornibrook completed all eight of his third-down passes, five of which either moved the chains for a first down or added points onto the scoreboard.

Three of his four touchdown passes were on that down (to three different receivers: Quintez Cephus, A.J. Taylor, and Troy Fumagalli), while five completions went for 16 or more yards.

Eight different receivers caught passes on the afternoon, with 10 of the 18 completions coming from Hornibrook to first and second-year receivers in Cephus (five), Taylor (three), and Davis (two).

Even when Davis, who hauled in Hornibrook’s 50-yard pass on Wisconsin’s second series, dropped a pass in the second quarter, he showed trust in his true freshman to come down with a pass on a 3rd-and-9 pass that went for 17 yards.

According to Wisconsin, Hornibrook’s 277.4 pass efficiency rating is the second-highest in school history for a single game (minimum 15 attempts), trailing only John Stocco’s performance (296.7) against Indiana at home on Sept. 30, 2006.

Three of the top five highest single-game pass efficiency marks have been set by Paul Chryst-led quarterbacks (Stocco and Wilson when Chryst was offensive coordinator):

  1. Stocco (296.7) vs. Indiana on Sept. 30, 2006
  2. Hornibrook (277.4) at BYU on Sept. 16, 2017
  3. Jim Sorgi (268.4) vs. Michigan on Nov. 15, 2003
  4. Neil Graff (259.9) vs. Penn State on Oct. 3, 1970
  5. Wilson (259.7) at Minnesota on Nov. 12, 2011

On the season, Hornibrook has completed exactly 70 percent of his passes (49 of 70) for 701 yards with eight touchdowns and only one interception. Both Cephus and Fumagalli have three receptions for scores each.

Hornibrook led the offense to another 38 points while also silencing critics after last week’s game. On Saturday, he showed he can get the ball out quickly, on time, and with the zip needed to keep the offense rolling and racking up points.