How many touchdowns will Blake Shapen throw for Mississippi State football in 2024?

How many passing touchdowns should Mississippi State football expect out of Blake Shapen in 2024?
Mississippi State Spring Football Game
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Blake Shapen has a chance at putting together the best season of his career for Mississippi State football this fall playing in Jeff Lebby's offense. If Shapen can stay healthy, there's no reason he shouldn't easily throw for the most passing yards of his career.

Can the same be said for passing touchdowns?

How many touchdowns did Blake Shapen throw while at Baylor?

Blake Shapen didn't get a ton of opportunities to throw touchdown passes at Baylor. The Bears didn't take many shots down field, which made getting scoring throws from long distances infrequent. And as they were a run heavy team, they were more inclined to run when in the redzone.

In 2022, his first full year as a starter, Shapen tossed 18 TDs. Shapen threw it more frequently in 2023, but he missed four games with injury and had just 13 TD passes. Had he played a full season, he'd likely have been around 20 TD throws.

How many touchdowns do Jeff Lebby quarterbacks typically throw for?

As you'd expect, Jeff Lebby's offense will present Blake Shapen with far more opportunities at passing scores. Their motto is "score from far", and they're going to take those shots down the field to strike up the band.

That said, Lebby still wants to lean on his run game as much as possible and will certainly favor plunging ahead on the ground in the redzone, so the passing TD totals seen by Air Raid QBs are less likely.

Over the last six years, Lebby's QBs have averaged about 28 TD passes (adjusting for seasons with fewer than 12 games played by the starter). The fewest TD passes came by Matt Corral in 2021 with just 20, which truly seems like a statical anomaly. Dillon Gabriel's 30 TD passes last season was the most by a Lebby QB, but had Corral played 12 games in 2020, he likely surpasses that total easily.

How many touchdowns will Blake Shapen throw in Jeff Lebby's offense?

Just like with passing yards, I expect Blake Shapen to easily see the best year of his career when it comes to throwing TDs. He's going to get more opportunities at long scoring plays on vertical passing attempts, and with some of the skill talent Mississippi State has, even his shorter throws could turn into scores.

And I do wonder if State might need to throw more in the redzone, as I do have some questions about their ability to consistently push ahead in the run game against more talented defensive fronts in typical rushing situations. Still, they'll mostly run in those spots.

Also, if there is an area where transitioning offenses can struggle, it's turning yards into points, so I won't predict some huge number of TD passes. I'd set the over/under of Blake Shapen's 2024 TD passes at 26, and I could see that going either way.