Friday Flashback: Lujan’s legacy is Alaska’s greatest gunslinger

August 13, 2021
Zach Lujan football

Zach Lujan

The only college quarterback from Alaska to beat a team from a Power Five conference, Anchorage’s Zach Lujan was a game changer at South Dakota State.

He played for the NCAA D1 Jackrabbits from 2014 to 2016 and compiled a 10-5 record as a starter, none bigger than his claim to fame in 2015 when he led South Dakota State to its first FBS win with a 41-38 victory over Kansas of the mighty Big 12.

He completed 17-of-33 passes for 293 yards and three touchdowns in one of the greatest performances by a college football player from Alaska, maybe the greatest when you consider it came on the road against a Power Five opponent.

In 2014, Lujan came off the bench to connect on 21-of-28 passes for 239 yards against No. 24 Missouri. He threw for a two-point conversion and orchestrated a 10-play, 75-yard scoring drive in the third quarter that got his team within 21-18.

Lujan’s legacy only grew that season as a few weeks later he led South Dakota State to a pair fourth-quarter scoring drives to highlight a 32-28 win over Missouri State. He finished with 310 yards and 3 TDs.

Lujan, of South High fame, is Alaska’s career passing leader at the D1 level with 3,877 yards and 29 TDs. He also threw for 395 yards in a game and tossed TDs in six consecutive games – the second-longest scoring streak among Alaskans at the D1 level, trailing only Yohance Humphrey’s eight-game TD run at Montana in 2001.

Lujan was named to the Missouri Valley Conference All-Newcomer Team in 2014 and was selected team captain in 2015 and 2016.

He played his freshman season at Chabot College, where he was the 2013 Golden Gate Conference Offensive Player of the Year and recorded 2,050 all-purpose yards and 18 TDs.

Friday Flashback is a series created by Alaska Sports Hall of Fame blog editor Van Williams that looks back on great Alaska athletes from the past. To read about other Alaskans featured in this series, click here.