Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Matt Dunigan - Quarterback - 1983-96 - Louisiana Tech

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Daryl Slade - CFL.ca - 09-08-2005

Even in the pass-happy Canadian Football League, it appears Matt Dunigan's single-game record of 713 passing yards is destined to stand as the benchmark for many more years, if not decades.

On
July 14, 1994, before a crowd of 21,686 at Winnipeg, the Blue Bombers' quarterback shredded his former Edmonton Eskimos' defence in a 50-35 victory and erased the existing record by just over the length of a football field.

British Columbia Lions' QB and now Saskatchewan Roughriders' head coach Danny Barrett had established the league mark with 601 yards passing just 11 months earlier, on Aug. 12, 1993, in a 55-38 decision over the visiting Toronto Argonauts. The previous record of 586 yards, set by Montreal Alouettes' legend Sam Etcheverry in 1954, had stood for 39 years until Barrett surpassed it by little more than a first down.

Dunigan's favourite target on that magical day was Alfred Jackson, who hauled in four touchdown passes and a club record total of 308 yards, then second and still third most in league history. The record is 338, set by Etcheverry's pet target Hal Patterson on Sept. 29, 1956. Jackson's six-point grabs were for 56, 34, 54 and 88 yards.
 

Dunigan also tossed a 35-yard major to David Williams. The native of Lakewood, Ohio, who played college ball at Louisiana Tech, said at the time it was only because Eskimos' QB Damon Allen, still playing his 21st CFL season with the Argonauts, was "lighting it up" that he had the opportunity to stay with the game plan that enabled him to pile up the massive amount of yards.

"I remember watching Danny Barrett last year thinking, 'Damn, he's in a zone!' but I never thought . . . I've never had that kind of opportunity before," Dunigan told the Edmonton Journal after the game, "but we felt like we had to stay with the game plan because Damon was lighting it up in the second half, too, and they were on our heels."

Despite the incredible one-day total, it was more than one-sixth of his season total of 3,965 yards. It still earned him the honour as the East Division's all-star quarterback. He retired after the 1996 season with 43,857 total passing yards - still fourth in CFL history - in 14 injury-plagued years with Edmonton, B.C., Toronto, Winnipeg, Birmingham and Hamilton.

Dunigan, now 44, threw 308 touchdown passes, third most ever behind Damon Allen (346 before this season and counting) and Hall of Famer Ron Lancaster with 333 in 19 seasons with Ottawa and Saskatchewan. He joined the broadcast booth with TSN after he retired, took a year off as head coach of the Calgary Stampeders in 2004 and is back behind the television mike again this season.

And he could, if he wanted to, warn all CFL fans not to hold their breath waiting for his spectacular record of 11 years ago to fall.

 

-- statistics --

 

 

Matt Dunigan        Louisiana Tech
    Passing        
Yr Team Att Cmp Yds Pct. TD Int Lg
1983 Edm 26 14 239 53.8 4 2 54
1984 Edm 412 220 3,273 53.4 21 19 81
1985 Edm 405 242 3,410 59.8 19 22 89
1986 Edm 485 275 3,648 56.7 25 14 68
1987 Edm 326 175 2,823 53.7 21 19 89
1988 BC 471 268 3,776 56.9 26 22 76
1989 BC 597 331 4,509 55.4 27 20 83
1990 Tor 262 144 2,028 55.0 17 14 53
1991 Tor 196 121 2,011 61.7 16 10 87
1992 Wpg 411 205 2,857 49.9 17 15 60
1993 Wpg 600 334 4,682 55.7 36 18 75
1994 Wpg 431 252 3,965 58.5 31 16 88
1995 Bhm 643 362 4,911 56.3 34 16 71
1996 Ham 211 114 1,725 54.0 12 4 51
Total 13 5476 3057 43,857 55.8 306 211 89

 

    Rushing    
Yr Team C Yds Avg Lg TD
1983 Edm 4 23 5.8 20 0
1984 Edm 89 732 8.2 69 9
1985 Edm 113 737 6.5 69 9
1986 Edm 118 594 5.0 24 4
1987 Edm 51 287 5.6 33 4
1988 BC 97 501 5.2 31 6
1989 BC 70 397 5.7 21 10
1990 Tor 48 218 4.5 24 7
1991 Tor 34 190 5.6 14 2
1992 Wpg 42 238 5.7 24 3
1993 Wpg 84 517 6.2 37 11
1994 Wpg 42 226 5.4 28 4
1995 Bhm 38 213 5.6 29 7
1996 Ham 20 158 7.9 22 1
Total 13 850 5,031 5.9 69 77