Jake Bentley completed an 11-yard pass to Rico Dowdle with no time remaining in South Carolina's 21-point loss to Clemson in Week 13 last season. The completion pushed Bentley over the 500-yard passing mark, the seventh (and final) 500-yard passing game by an FBS quarterback during the 2018 season, tying 2017 for the fewest since 2011.
Five-hundred-yard passing games increased each year from 2000-03 (four, five, six and eight, respectively), slowed down from 2004-06 (three, five and five, respectively) and exploded with 11 in 2007, the most ever in one FBS season.
Then, perhaps surprisingly, despite more FBS teams, more regular-season games, more conference championships and more bowl games, there weren't double-digit 500-yard games again until 2014 (14). That was also the first time the three-year average for 500-yard games hit 10 (10.3). And two years later, the five-year average hit 10 for the first time (10.6)
If there are seven 500-yard games again in 2019, the three-year average (seven) would the lowest since 2012, while the five-year average (8.6) would be the lowest since 2013. And if Bentley hadn't completed that meaningless 11-yard pass last November, it'd be an even sharper drop.
Despite the oddity of back-to-back seasons with seven 500-yard games, college football still hasn't seen fewer than seven such games since 2011, which at the time was the ninth time since 2000 with fewer than seven 500-yard games.
Commonplace or still a novelty in college football? They're more common than two decades ago but are still very much a novelty, especially the last two years.