SEC Wrap-Up: The league goes 13-1 this weekend; LSU with the only loss
OXFORD, Miss. – Oh, come on LSU. The Bayou Bengals were literally a fingertip away from taking Florida State into overtime, but an LSU extra point was blocked with no time on the clock and the Seminoles escaped with a 24-23 win.
The Tigers’ loss was the only one a Southeastern Conference team would suffer over the long holiday weekend. Oh well, 13-1 isn’t that bad.
Here is a recap of the SEC’s first full week of the season.
Tennessee 59, Ball State 10
Ball State is best known as being the alma mater of comedian David Letterman. Well, this one was a laugher for the Vols. UT’s Hendon Hooker completed 18-of-25 passes for 221 yards and a pair of touchdowns and had he not been lifted, his performance against the Cardinals would have added even more gray to Letterman’s beard.
Missouri 52, Louisiana Tech 24
Mizzou actually trailed 3-0 after the first quarter in this one. Too bad for Tech games still have four quarters. The Tigers ran for 323 yards in the game, but what is more impressive, the Missouri defense only gave up 11 yards on the ground.
Alabama 55, Utah State 0
Sure, Bama put 55 points on the board, but the Aggies could not muster a single point. It doesn’t matter if a team is playing a group of five school or a junior high school, in this day not surrendering a point is a big deal. Of course, it also helps to have Will Anderson, Jr., on your defense.
Georgia 49, Oregon 3
Maybe Stetson Bennett IV is not a fluke. Oregon must’ve have thought it had a good shot against the Bulldogs coming into this one. That feeling probably faded about halftime when the Ducks were down 28-3. There is good news for Oregon quarterback Bo Nix. He never has to face Georgia again.
Texas A&M 31, Sam Houston 0
The only thing that slowed down the Aggies Saturday was Mother Nature. Leading 17-0, a weather delay paused the game long enough for the Bearkats to make the drive home to Huntsville three times. They should have.
Florida 29, Utah 26
Before anointing Bryce Young as the best quarterback in the SEC, maybe Anthony Richardson has a say in that. The sophomore completed 17-of-24 but used his legs to run for 106 yards and three touchdowns. And Mr. Young, Richardson did it against Utah, not Utah State.
Arkansas 31, Cincinnati 24
After this one, Arkansas coach Sam Pittman said he could use a cold beer. He could have probably walked into any bar in Fayetteville and left his wallet at home – the drinks would have been on the house. Hogs’ QB K.J. Jefferson accounted for 285 total yards and this guy is only going to get better as the season progresses.
Kentucky 37, Miami (Ohio) 10
Just when the Redhawks thought they could stay with UK, Barion Brown took the second half kickoff 100 yards to quell all hopes. Well, that and Will Levis throwing for 303 yards and connecting with nine different receivers.
Ole Miss 28, Troy 10
Thank goodness for the transfer portal. After losing its top three running backs from last year, Ole Miss has replaced them with a pair of transfers and a true freshman that seem capable of having Rebel fans forgetting about the other guys. Zach Evans ran for 130 yards while Quinshon Judkins and Ulysses Bentley IV each had touchdown runs. The spotlight might dim a little on the quarterback situation if Ole Miss can run the ball like this.
Auburn 42, Mercer 16
Why isn’t Tank Bigsby getting more credit for his talents? The hulking running back ran for 147 yards and a pair of touchdowns against an overmatched Mercer team. Eight Tigers ran the ball for 285 yards, but the Auburn defense surrendered nearly 200 yards against the FCS Bears.
Vanderbilt 42, Elon 31
Break up the Commodores! Vandy is now 2-0, and for the first time in who knows how long, is atop the SEC East standings. Of course, the ‘Dores are the only team to play two games. But still, quarterback Mike Wright has accounted for ten touchdowns in two games. Vandy has made an improvement from years past – it is winning the games it should win.
Mississippi State 49, Memphis 23.
State quarterback Will Rogers has not met a secondary he doesn’t like so far. He threw for 450 yards and five touchdowns in the win over the Tigers. The 450 yards was the most of any SEC quarterback last week. After Memphis stole a win last season, MSU was not going to let this one get away and it gets State off to a good start to the season.
South Carolina 35, Georgia State 14
Possibly no team in the country puts more of an emphasis on special teams than Shane Bearmer’s bunch in Columbia. Saturday, the Gamecocks blocked a pair of GSU punts and ran them back for touchdowns. Without those two plays, this one would have been a one-touchdown game.
Florida State 24, LSU 23
In Brian Kelly’s first game as LSU coach, the Tigers did not show much poise. Two muffed punts, a blocked field goal and a blocked extra point with no time left on the clock cost the Tigers the game. On the bright side, LSU has found itself a quarterback. Jayden Daniels threw for 209 yards, ran for a team-high 114 yards and led the Tigers on a desperation 98-yard scoring drive at the end of the game to almost save the day.
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.