Gallery: How college football evolved toward offensive domination

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Football has changed immensely over the past decade, and the old adage “defense wins championships” might be a thing of the past. Here are the most impactful moments over the years that have changed the game for the better on the offensive side of the ball.

<p>1952 — TCU coach Dutch Meyer publishes the book, “Spread Formation Football.” Meyer only moderately spread the field, utilizing wingbacks instead of running backs, but he also dabbled with a no-huddle attack and shotgun formation. (Photo credit: AP) </p>
Gallery: How college football evolved toward offensive domination

1952 — TCU coach Dutch Meyer publishes the book, “Spread Formation Football.” Meyer only moderately spread the field, utilizing wingbacks instead of running backs, but he also dabbled with a no-huddle attack and shotgun formation. (Photo credit: AP)

<p>1964 — Tulsa embraces the passing attack like no one previously, averaging more than 300 yards passing per game to shatter the NCAA single-season mark. Quarterback Jerry Rhome threw for an NCAA-record 32 touchdowns with just four interceptions and a 69 percent completion rate — numbers that would be stellar even today. Rhome was runner-up for the Heisman Trophy. “We threw anytime,” Rhome said in 2005. “I mean, why not?” (Photo credit: AP) </p>
Gallery: How college football evolved toward offensive domination

1964 — Tulsa embraces the passing attack like no one previously, averaging more than 300 yards passing per game to shatter the NCAA single-season mark. Quarterback Jerry Rhome threw for an NCAA-record 32 touchdowns with just four interceptions and a 69 percent completion rate — numbers that would be stellar even today. Rhome was runner-up for the Heisman Trophy. “We threw anytime,” Rhome said in 2005. “I mean, why not?” (Photo credit: AP)

<p>1965 — Glenn “Tiger” Ellison publishes the book “Run and Shoot Football: Offense of the Future.” He’d been running that offense since the late 1950s at the high school level in Middletown, Ohio. “We made every pass look like a run and every run look like a pass,” Ellison said, a strategic tenet that is a key part of the run-pass option philosophy today. (Photo credit: AP)<br><br></p>
Gallery: How college football evolved toward offensive domination

1965 — Glenn “Tiger” Ellison publishes the book “Run and Shoot Football: Offense of the Future.” He’d been running that offense since the late 1950s at the high school level in Middletown, Ohio. “We made every pass look like a run and every run look like a pass,” Ellison said, a strategic tenet that is a key part of the run-pass option philosophy today. (Photo credit: AP)

<p>1976 — Pass blocking liberalized for the first time to the advantage of the offense. They would be further liberalized four years later. (Photo credit: Getty) </p>
Gallery: How college football evolved toward offensive domination

1976 — Pass blocking liberalized for the first time to the advantage of the offense. They would be further liberalized four years later. (Photo credit: Getty)

<p>1992 — Twenty-nine-year-old coach Rich Rodriguez begins running a spread-option offense at Division II school Glenville State with quarterback Jed Drenning. By the end of the decade, Rodriguez will have an unbeaten record running the spread at Tulane, and other offshoots appear elsewhere in the coming years — Bill Snyder at Kansas State, Randy Walker at Northwestern, Urban Meyer at Bowling Green. (Photo credit: Getty) </p>
Gallery: How college football evolved toward offensive domination

1992 — Twenty-nine-year-old coach Rich Rodriguez begins running a spread-option offense at Division II school Glenville State with quarterback Jed Drenning. By the end of the decade, Rodriguez will have an unbeaten record running the spread at Tulane, and other offshoots appear elsewhere in the coming years — Bill Snyder at Kansas State, Randy Walker at Northwestern, Urban Meyer at Bowling Green. (Photo credit: Getty)

<p>1996 — Dick Olin starts 7-on-7 passing tournament in Texas for high school players, resulting in greater emphasis on passing and earlier skill development for quarterbacks and receivers. (Photo credit: AP) </p>
Gallery: How college football evolved toward offensive domination

1996 — Dick Olin starts 7-on-7 passing tournament in Texas for high school players, resulting in greater emphasis on passing and earlier skill development for quarterbacks and receivers. (Photo credit: AP)

<p>1997 — Kentucky takes a chance on Division II coach Hal Mumme, who brings the “Air Raid” offense to the mainstream and spins off assistant coach Mike Leach to further spread the gospel. (Photo credit: AP) </p>
Gallery: How college football evolved toward offensive domination

1997 — Kentucky takes a chance on Division II coach Hal Mumme, who brings the “Air Raid” offense to the mainstream and spins off assistant coach Mike Leach to further spread the gospel. (Photo credit: AP)

<p>Late 1990s — The rudiments of the run-pass option (RPO) sprout in varying locales. Among the more influential: Joe TIller’s teams at Purdue, and Art Briles on the Texas high school level. At FCS New Hampshire, offensive coordinator Chip Kelly begins cranking up the tempo on an FCS offense. Arkansas high school coach Gus Malzahn becomes a sensation with his hurry-up, no-huddle offense. (Photo credit: Getty) </p>
Gallery: How college football evolved toward offensive domination

Late 1990s — The rudiments of the run-pass option (RPO) sprout in varying locales. Among the more influential: Joe TIller’s teams at Purdue, and Art Briles on the Texas high school level. At FCS New Hampshire, offensive coordinator Chip Kelly begins cranking up the tempo on an FCS offense. Arkansas high school coach Gus Malzahn becomes a sensation with his hurry-up, no-huddle offense. (Photo credit: Getty)

<p>2003 — Midway through his redshirt freshman season at Texas, Vince Young becomes the starting quarterback, ushering in the era of the mega-athlete QB who can both pass and run. By 2005, Young is the first player in FBS history to pass for 3,000 yards and rush for 1,000, while leading the Longhorns to the national championship. Young is followed by a succession of mega-athlete QB Heisman winners: Tim Tebow (2007), Cam Newton (2010), Robert Griffin III (2011), Johnny Manziel (2012), Marcus Mariota (2014), Lamar Jackson (2016) and Kyler Murray (2018). (Photo credit: AP) </p>
Gallery: How college football evolved toward offensive domination

2003 — Midway through his redshirt freshman season at Texas, Vince Young becomes the starting quarterback, ushering in the era of the mega-athlete QB who can both pass and run. By 2005, Young is the first player in FBS history to pass for 3,000 yards and rush for 1,000, while leading the Longhorns to the national championship. Young is followed by a succession of mega-athlete QB Heisman winners: Tim Tebow (2007), Cam Newton (2010), Robert Griffin III (2011), Johnny Manziel (2012), Marcus Mariota (2014), Lamar Jackson (2016) and Kyler Murray (2018). (Photo credit: AP)

<p>2007 — “Check With Me” pre-snap adjustments at the line of scrimmage, signaled in from the sidelines, start to proliferate. Among the early practitioners: Todd Dodge as head coach at North Texas and Tony Franklin as offensive coordinator at Troy. (Photo credit: AP) </p>
Gallery: How college football evolved toward offensive domination

2007 — “Check With Me” pre-snap adjustments at the line of scrimmage, signaled in from the sidelines, start to proliferate. Among the early practitioners: Todd Dodge as head coach at North Texas and Tony Franklin as offensive coordinator at Troy. (Photo credit: AP)

<p>2008 — Dana Holgorsen and Kevin Sumlin modify and further popularize the RPO at Houston. Within a decade it will be arguably the most effective play in college football. (Photo credit: AP) </p>
Gallery: How college football evolved toward offensive domination

2008 — Dana Holgorsen and Kevin Sumlin modify and further popularize the RPO at Houston. Within a decade it will be arguably the most effective play in college football. (Photo credit: AP)

<p>2012 — National per-team averages hit all-time highs in pass completions per game (19.8), completion percentage (60.5) and passing yards per game (238.3). Four years later, national per-team averages hit all-time highs in total offense (417.1 yards per game), yards per play (5.83) and scoring (30.0). (Photo credit: Getty) </p>
Gallery: How college football evolved toward offensive domination

2012 — National per-team averages hit all-time highs in pass completions per game (19.8), completion percentage (60.5) and passing yards per game (238.3). Four years later, national per-team averages hit all-time highs in total offense (417.1 yards per game), yards per play (5.83) and scoring (30.0). (Photo credit: Getty)

<p>2013 — NCAA passes rule calling for ejection of players flagged for targeting, a change that generally protects offensive players — quarterbacks and receivers especially — and alters the way in which many defenders can tackle without being penalized. (Photo credit: AP) </p>
Gallery: How college football evolved toward offensive domination

2013 — NCAA passes rule calling for ejection of players flagged for targeting, a change that generally protects offensive players — quarterbacks and receivers especially — and alters the way in which many defenders can tackle without being penalized. (Photo credit: AP)

<p>2016 — Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield sets NCAA record for single-season pass efficiency (196.38) in 2016, then breaks his own record again in ’17 (198.92). (Photo credit: AP) </p>
Gallery: How college football evolved toward offensive domination

2016 — Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield sets NCAA record for single-season pass efficiency (196.38) in 2016, then breaks his own record again in ’17 (198.92). (Photo credit: AP)

<p>2018 — Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa (205.19) and Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray (199.20) are both poised to break Mayfield’s efficiency record. They led the two highest-scoring offenses in the nation, finished 1-2 in Heisman voting and played against each other in the College Football Playoff. (Photo credit: AP) </p>
Gallery: How college football evolved toward offensive domination

2018 — Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa (205.19) and Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray (199.20) are both poised to break Mayfield’s efficiency record. They led the two highest-scoring offenses in the nation, finished 1-2 in Heisman voting and played against each other in the College Football Playoff. (Photo credit: AP)

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