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Game of Legends: Highest Scoring College Football Game in History

College football fans crave drama, upsets, and, yes, even the occasional defensive slugfest. But sometimes, the script flips, and we witness a spectacle unlike any other – a high-scoring shootout that leaves jaws on the floor and oddsmakers scrambling. While most college football odds and predictions might favor balanced contests, these games are a testament to the explosive potential of modern offenses. So, grab some popcorn, buckle up, and prepare to relive some of the highest-scoring college football games in history.


Joe Burrow quarterbacked LSU through seven overtimes against Texas A&M in an affair that would be college football’s highest-scoring game.
Joe Burrow quarterbacked LSU through seven overtimes against Texas A&M in an affair that would be college football’s highest-scoring game.

The Curious Case of the 1916 Georgia Tech vs Cumberland Game

Before we delve into the annals of college football’s truly competitive contests, we must take a brief detour to acknowledge a game that holds the dubious distinction of being the highest-scoring game in the sport’s history. In 1916, Georgia Tech unleashed an offensive onslaught on a hapless Cumberland team, mercilessly pummeling them by a score of 222-0. However, the context surrounding this game casts a shadow over its statistical significance.

Georgia Tech, at the time, was a rising football power, boasting a talented squad led by All-American halfback Stumpy Thomason. Cumberland, on the other hand, was a struggling program from Lebanon, Tennessee, that had been forced to field a team under threat of legal action from the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association (SIAA). The SIAA had threatened to expel Cumberland from the conference if they did not schedule a minimum number of games.

The Cumberland team that faced Georgia Tech that day was a mere shell of a legitimate college football team. Many of their players were borrowed from other sports, and some were even high school students. The disparity in talent and preparation was so vast that the game resembled more of a massacre than a competition.

Georgia Tech scored at will, racking up points with ease. The Yellow Jackets scored touchdowns on nine of their first ten possessions, and they even scored a safety when a Cumberland player was tackled in his own end zone. The final score of 222-0 stands as the most lopsided victory in college football history, but it’s a footnote that is more remarkable for its historical oddity than its competitive significance.


Game of Legends: Highest Scoring College Football Game in History

Now, let’s fast-forward to the modern era, where the offensive fireworks are just as dazzling but within the competitive realms of FBS games. Here are the highest-scoring battles in recent NCAA Division I-A history:


5. Navy vs. North Texas (2007): Ground and Pound vs. Air Raid (Final Score: 74-62)

This 2007 matchup was a clash of styles. Navy’s dominant rushing attack (eight touchdowns on the ground!) racked up over 570 yards, while North Texas countered with a pass-heavy offense, finishing with eight touchdown passes. Zerbin Singleton (103 rushing yards, three touchdowns) led the Midshipmen’s ground game, while Casey Fitzgerald (13 receptions, 134 yards, five touchdowns) emerged as the star receiver for North Texas. The final score: a dizzying 136 points!


4. Pittsburgh vs. Syracuse (2016): A Backyard Brawl for the Ages (Final Score: 76-61)

This 2016 game felt less like a college football matchup and more like a backyard brawl – in the best way possible. The Panthers and Orange combined for a staggering 20 touchdowns and 137 points. Pitt quarterback Nathan Peterman (251 yards, five touchdowns) and running back James Conner (165 yards, three touchdowns) paced the offense. For Syracuse, quarterback Zack Mahoney threw for a whopping seven touchdowns (five passing, two rushing), with wide receiver Amba Etta-Tawo hauling in all five of his touchdown passes and racking up 178 yards.


3. Western Michigan vs. Buffalo (2017): Marathon Match (Final Score: 71-68 (7OT))

This 2017 contest went down in history for a different reason – sheer endurance. A seven-overtime marathon saw the teams combine for 139 points despite missed field goals and failed two-point conversions. Quarterback Jon Wassink (256 yards, five touchdowns) led Western Michigan’s offense, while Buffalo countered with a dominant performance from quarterback Drew Anderson (597 yards, seven touchdowns) and wide receiver K.J. Osborn (138 yards, three touchdowns).


2. SMU vs. Houston (2022): A Record-Breaking Shootout (Final Score: 77-63)

Unlike other games on this list, SMU and Houston’s offensive explosion unfolded entirely within regulation. The game quickly devolved into a back-and-forth exchange of touchdowns, with both teams reaching the end zone on each of their first seven possessions! The final score of 140 points set a new FBS record for combined points. Quarterbacks Tanner Mordecai (SMU) and Clayton Tune (Houston) combined for a staggering 16 touchdown passes, shattering another FBS record.


1. Texas A&M vs. LSU (2018): A Seven-Overtime Instant Classic (Final Score: 74-72 (7OT))

Finally, the crown jewel of high-scoring games in the FBS era. Texas A&M and LSU battled through seven overtimes, tying for the longest NCAA game and setting a new FBS record with 146 points. Kellen Mond of Texas A&M was spectacular, throwing six touchdown passes and adding a crucial rushing touchdown. LSU’s Joe Burrow matched the intensity with six touchdowns of his own. The game was not only a test of skill but of endurance, leaving players and fans alike in awe of the spectacle they’d witnessed.


Reflecting on the Impact of College Football’s Highest Scoring Games

While these games will be remembered for their final scores, they are more than that. They’re testaments to the strategic evolution and the thrilling unpredictability of the sport. Each high-scoring affair provides valuable insights into offensive trends and defensive adjustments, influencing how teams prepare for their high-octane opponents. For fans and bettors, these matchups serve as exciting reminders of why college football remains one of the most dynamic sports in America.

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