Jefferson breaks UA passing yards, TDs records

Arkansas quarterback KJ Jefferson throws a pass during a game against Florida International on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023, in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- It was a record-setting Saturday night for University of Arkansas quarterback KJ Jefferson at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

Jefferson, a fifth-year senior from Sardis, Miss., set Arkansas career records for passing yards and touchdowns in the Razorbacks' 44-20 victory over Florida International.

Jefferson now has 7,909 passing yards and 67 touchdowns.

When Jefferson connected with Jaedon Wilson for a 10-yard touchdown pass with 12:22 left in the first quarter, it was the 65th of his career and broke the record of 64 he had shared with Brandon Allen, who played at Arkansas from 2012-15.

"We recognized [Jefferson] after the game, being the all-time passing yards leader and passing touchdowns," fourth-year Razorbacks Coach Sam Pittman said. "I know it meant a lot to him. It meant a lot to us that we've been able to have him for four years now."

Jefferson could be playing his final game as a Razorback against Missouri on Friday, though he has a sixth year of eligibility if he wants to use it because he played during the covid-19 pandemic.

"KJ's meant a lot to our program," Pittman said. "He's going to mean a lot to us next Friday, too. Just really, really happy for him."

Jefferson added touchdown passes to Tyrone Broden for 4 yards in the second quarter and to Isaiah Sategna for 32 yards in the third quarter to push his total to 67.

A 5-yard gain on a screen pass from Jefferson to Sategna in the first quarter broke Tyler Wilson's career passing yards record of 7,765 from 2008-12. The play gave Jefferson 7,767 passing yards.

Jefferson also holds Arkansas' career records for combined rushing and passing touchdowns with 88 and for total offense with 9,720 yards. He broke Matt Jones' record for combined touchdowns and total offense earlier this season when Texas A&M beat the Razorbacks 34-22.

"It's a whole lot better feeling," Jefferson said of setting records in a victory. "It's a surreal moment.

"Just to be able to come here and set those records. That's a milestone for me.

"That's one of my goals, to be able to make sure I come in and go down in the record book and make history here.

"I just thank my teammates for always believing in me and making plays for me as well. And me trusting in those guys as well."

Jefferson completed 15 of 28 passes against FIU for 187 yards and 3 touchdowns. The touchdown passes tied his high for the season. He also threw for three touchdowns in Arkansas' 34-31 loss at LSU.

Jefferson had 15 carries for 90 yards and now has 1,811 career rushing yards.

"The quarterback is a heck of a runner and made a lot of plays," FIU Coach Mike McIntyre said. "He does a great job. I thought they did some really good things and made a couple nice throws."

Junior defensive end Landon Jackson, who transferred from LSU to Arkansas last year, is team captain along with Jefferson.

"He leads on and off the field," Jackson said. "He leads by example, leads vocally.

"He's so deserving of his achievements. I mean, there's nobody better to lead our program than him. I'm super happy for him."

Razorbacks guard Brady Latham is a fifth-year senior and team captain.

"Me and KJ came in together," Latham said. "You root for all of your teammates, but guys that you get to see put in the work day after day, he's a great team leader.

"The locker room really was happy for him today."