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Shane Buechele leaving his mark on the Texas Longhorns record books

It’s becoming clear that Texas has a special talent throwing the ball around this season

Iowa State v Texas Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Only eight games into his collegiate career, true freshman quarterback Shane Buechele has wasted no time assuring his name would be celebrated in the Texas Longhorn record books.

The Buechele era began as the Arlington product became the first true freshman quarterback to start the Longhorns season opener since Bobby Layne in 1944, and did so in impressive fashion, helping lead Texas to a 50-47 victory over No. 10 Notre Dame. The following week, Buechele became the first true freshman quarterback in Longhorn history two start the first two games of his career, along with setting a true freshman record four touchdown passes in Texas’ 41-7 victory over UTEP. Buechele also used the Miners to set the freshman record for highest completion percentage after connecting on 22-of-27 tosses (.815).

Not much has changed for Buechele over the past month and a half.

By starting all eight games this season, Buechele is currently tied with Layne for the most starts by a true freshman quarterback in Texas history—a feat he’s set to take pole position in on Saturday morning against Texas Tech. If Buechele can remain healthy and start every game of his freshman campaign, he’ll finish second in freshman starts behind Colt McCoy (13), while Texas appearing in a bowl game could see Buechele tie McCoy’s record, which he set as a redshirt freshman in 2006.

Texas’ (4-4) next victory with Buechele as the starter will see him tie with Layne for the most true freshman victories in a season (5), which serves as another category Buechele could quite possibly headline before his innaguaral season concludes. Depending on how the remainder of the season plays out, Buechele could potentially finish second in Texas’ history in freshman victories behind McCoy (10) if the ‘Horns were to win out and come out on top of a bowl game, which would give Buechele nine victories. Eight would tie the freshman at second all-time with Major Applewhite.

Far more impressive than potential record placement for true freshman starts and freshman victories has been the rookie’s passing prowess.

To this point, Buechele’s 2,013 passing yards—which currently lead all true freshmen in college football—are the most by a true freshman in Texas history and third behind a trio of redshirt freshman. Tossing his true freshman label aside, Buechele eclipsing 2,000 passing yards in eight games tied for the second-fasted effort to reach that mark, as Applewhite did so in 2000 and McCoy did in 2007 and 2008.

This feat had been aided by Buechele passing for at least 200 yards in seven of his eight outings after Texas had seen a true freshman pass for 200 yards in a game only once in history. Included in Buechele’s seven 200-yard performances are a 296-yard showing against Iowa State and 291 yards against Baylor, which rank first and third among freshman in Texas history, respectively.

At his current rate of 252 passing yards per game, Buechele should break McCoy’s freshman record of 2,570 yards through the air, as he’s is on pace to finish with 3,019 yards. This mark would place Buechele at seventh all-time for a single season behind Vince Young (3,036), regardless of class. It’s possible Buechele surpasses his pace, as well, considering each of Texas’ final four opponents rank outside of the top 75 in passing yards allowed—Texas Tech (124th), West Virginia (80th), Kansas (76th) and TCU (97th).

Buechele’s 17 touchdown passes to date are also a true freshman record and rank third all-time among freshmen behind Applewhite (18) and McCoy (29). At his current rate, Buechele should finish second behind McCoy with 25 touchdown pitches, but would need to pass for 13 more throughout the next four games to set the freshman record at 30, excluding a potential bowl game.

Much of the credit for Buechele’s success and success to come can be credited to Sterlin Gilbert’s veer-and-shoot offense, which has allowed the true freshman to spread the ball around to a deep and talented receiver corps. At his current completion and attempt per game rate—19 and 29.75, respectively—Buechele is headed towards breaking Shea Morenz’s freshman passing attempts record of 335 with 357 of his own, along with narrowly surpassing McCoy’s freshman completions record of 217 with 228.

It’s been an impressive eight games for the true freshman, to say the least, and Buechele still has a third of his debut season ahead of him. With numbers comparable to some Longhorn greats, Buechele is well on his way to concluding his freshman season as one of the premier year-one field generals and decidedly the best to run the show as a true freshman.

It is still too early to say Texas, at long last, has an answer to what became a half-decade of quarterback uncertainty?