A look at the Week One SEC Games,”Family Feud” Style
OXFORD, Miss. — Listening to the pundits and fans argue after week one of the Southeastern Conference season could easily remind folks of an episode of Family Feud.
For every, “Good answer!” there were a couple of sideways glances from Steve Harvey.
But that is kind of the way the weekend went for the SEC. So instead of just a normal weekend recap, the top 14 answers are on the board, so, “Let’s play the feud!”
TENNESSEE 38, BOWLING GREEN 6
Josh Heupel’s new offense looked good as well as efficient. Two Volunteers’ running backs – Jabari Small and Tiyon Evans – each ran for 116 yards and new quarterback Joe Milton III completed just short of 50 percent of his passes, but most importantly, he took care of the football. The Vols’ defense also held Bowling Green to just 32 yards.
Survey says: Ding. UT looked good; now how will they do against an SEC team?
ALABAMA 44, MIAMI 10
So, who was it on offense that Alabama lost to the NFL? It took about one half for Bama fans to forget who wore those crimson jerseys a season ago. Bryce Young threw for as many yards as he wanted to, three running backs ran for at least 36 yards, and could Jameson Williams be the next big thing at receiver for the Tide? The Bama defense forced Miami quarterback D’Eriq King into three turnovers – two of them interceptions.
Survey says: Big Ding. Bama still looks to be Bama. Miami looks to be more of a Florida International.
GEORGIA 10, CLEMSON 3
Where did all the expected offense disappear? The question is were the two offenses that bad, or the two defenses that good? The tendency would think the defenses were ahead of the offenses. The Bulldogs defense not only sacked Clemson’s D.J. Uiagalelei seven times, but it outscored both the Tigers’ and their own offense.
Survey says: A ding/buzz. If the UGA defense continues to play like this, the Bulldogs could run away with the SEC east. If the offense plays like this, they might finish fourth in the division.
TEXAS A&M 41, KENT STATE 10
Thanks for the memories, Kellen Mond. Welcome to College Station, Haynes King. The new Aggie quarterback threw for 292 yards, while Devon Achane and Isaiah Spiller each ran for over 100 yards. The A&M defense did give up 336 yards but stiffened when it needed and did not give up points.
Survey says: Ding. Sure, it was against Nick Saban’s alma mater, but perhaps this team might challenge Saban himself.
FLORIDA 35, FLORIDA ATLANTIC 14
Quarterback controversy, anyone? Dan Mullen’s first-ever Gator quarterback recruit Emory Jones threw a pair of picks to the ire of his head coach and was replaced by Anthony Richardson. Richardson donned his number 15 jersey and did his best Tim Tebow impersonation, running for a team-high 160 yards.
Survey says: A quiet ding. FAU scored 14 points in the fourth quarter, but still the Gators should have been better than a 21-point win.
UCLA 38, LSU 27
Sure, LSU had to deal with Hurricane Ida issues, but the Tigers simply did not look ready to play a team of UCLA’s caliber. Max Johnson did throw for 330 yards, but the Bayou Bengals only ran for 49 yards. UCLA amassed 470 yards against a seemingly unprepared LSU defense.
Survey says: Buzzzzzzz. LSU simply did not live up to its own hype. And its offense cannot be one dimensional and win in this league.
KENTUCKY 45, UL-MONROE 10
Did Hal Mumme and Mike Leach sneak back into Lexington? The Wildcats looked like a throwback to the mid-90’s Kentucky teams as the Cats threw the ball all over the Commonwealth. Penn State transfer Will Levis threw for 367 yards and Josh Ali and Wan’Dale Robinson each went over 100 yards receiving. To add balance, Chris Rodriguez, Jr., ran for 125 yards.
Survey says: Ding. If UK can keep this up, the Georgia’s and Florida’s of the SEC might better watch out.
ARKANSAS 38, RICE 17
The Hogs got a win but showed more than a few mental lapses. Two players were ejected for targeting, including linebacker Bumper Pool who was flagged in the second half so he will miss the first two quarters of next week’s game against Texas. Arkansas ran for 245 yards, but again, this was against Rice.
Survey says: Buzz. An unenthusiastic effort by the Razorbacks and with Pool out for the first half next week, it could have ramifications for the rest of the season.
MISSISSIPPI STATE 35, LOUISIANA TECH 34
State fell behind by 20 points in the fourth quarter, but rallied for a one-point win over Louisiana Tech. Tech should have won the game, but a last-second field goal attempt by Tech may have been the ugliest kick in college football history. The good news, it was a win. The bad news, how the game was won.
Survey says: Buzz. State will not be able to fall behind SEC teams and expect a miracle comeback the rest of the way.
MISSOURI 34, CENTRAL MICHIGAN 24
In an oddity, Mizzou played a quality Group of Five opponent to start the season. Connor Bazelak threw for 257 yards and Tyler Badie ran for 203 yards to lead a potent Tiger offense. On defense, Blaze Aldredge was a one-man wrecking crew. He had ten tackles, eight of them solo, six tackles for loss and three-and-a-half sacks.
Survey says: Ding, ding. Mizzou looked as if it was just fine-tuning things against CMU. It sets up a great matchup when the Tigers take on Kentucky this week.
AUBURN 60, AKRON 10
Wow. Sure, it was Akron, but it is not easy to score 60 against any college football team. Auburn gained 612 yards and that is not easy to do against tackling dummies. Bo Nix threw for 275 yards and a pair of backs rushed for over 100. On defense, Auburn limited the Zips to minus-3 yards rushing.
Survey says: Ding. The Auburn offense (and defense) were not expected to perform this well this early. Now the SEC will have to take notice on what is happening on the Plains.
SOUTH CAROLINA 46, EASTERN ILLINOIS 0
Welcome to Columbia Shane Beamer. In his first game as a head coach in the SEC, Beamer’s team did not look so undermanned it had to start a graduate-assistant coach at quarterback. That grad, Zeb Noland, threw four touchdowns. The Gamecocks ran for 258 yards and on defense, EIU could only muster 109 total yards.
Survey says: Ding. It was a good start for Carolina. How good can the Gamecocks be at full strength?
EAST TENNESSEE STATE 23, VANDERBILT 3
Vanderbilt outgained ETSU, had more first downs, fewer penalty yards, but could not come up with points. It did not help the Commodores turned the ball over three times and did not force a single one from the Bucs.
Survey says: Buzzing so hard the sound effect is stuck. Losing to an in-state FCS team is not the way to start a season. Colorado State and Stanford are next before SEC play begins. Vandy better get a win in one of those or it will be a long year in Music City.
OLE MISS 43, LOUISVILLE 24
Yes, Ole Miss does have a defense. The Rebels’ offense did what most believed it was going to do in Atlanta – score in bunches, including 26 in the first half against the Cardinals. What came as a surprise to most is the Landsharks’ tossed a shutout in the first half.
Survey says: Ding. Pretty much the entire country is starting to rethink this Ole Miss squad. It is not one that simply has to outscore people anymore. The Rebels can stop them, too.
(Feature image credit: Amanda Swain, The Rebel Walk)
Steve Barnes joins The Rebel Walk staff as a senior writer and brings a trifecta of journalistic experience. As a writer, he has covered college sports for Rivals.com, Football.com and SaturdayDownSouth.com as well as served as a beat writer for various traditional newspapers.
He has been a broadcaster for arena football and several national tournament events for the National Junior College Athletic Association as well as hosting various shows on radio.
A former sports information director at Albany (Ga.) State University and an assistant at Troy and West Florida, he has helped host many NCAA conference, regional and national events, including serving five years on the media committee of the NCAA Division II World Series.
Barnes, a native of Pensacola, Fla., attended Ole Miss in 1983-84, where his first journalism teacher was David Kellum. The duo has come a long way since that time.
He will bring a proven journalistic track record, along with a knack for finding the out-of-the-ordinary story angles to The Rebel Walk.
Barnes continues to reside in Pensacola a mere ten minutes from the beach because he does have taste and a brain.