SEC News and Notes
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
ALABAMA: The Crimson Tide (1-0) were idle over weekend, and will put their No. 1 ranking to the test this Saturday afternoon in a conference showdown with Texas A&M, which handed Nick Saban's squad its only loss last season.
ARKANSAS: The Razorbacks struggled for much of their contest against Samford, as they were losing heading into the fourth quarter, but they managed to end the game with 14 unanswered points to capture the 31-21 triumph. The rushing attack was the club's saving grace, as both Alex Collins (24 carries, 172 yards) and Jonathan Williams (17 carries, 126 yards) capped off outstanding performances with fourth-quarter touchdowns. Brandon Allen was modest under center, completing 9-of-17 passes for 125 yards, although he did throw two touchdowns against no interceptions. Javontee Herndon brought in five balls for 70 yards, including a seven-yard scoring catch in the first quarter. Arkansas (2-0) will try to stay unbeaten this Saturday when it takes on Southern Miss, owners of the nation's longest streak, at home.
AUBURN: The Gus Malzahn era continued with great success over the weekend as the head coach defeated his former team Arkansas State, 38-9, snapping the Red Wolves' nine-game win streak in the process. Cameron Artis-Payne registered 102 rushing yards and a touchdown on 19 carries, while Tre Mason (14 carries, 99 yards, TD) narrowly missed hitting the century mark. Corey Grant was also an asset in the rushing attack with 40 yards and a score. Nick Marshall wasn't asked to do much under center but was effective nonetheless, completing 10- of-17 passes for 147 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Sammie Coates caught just one ball but it went for a 68-yard score in the second quarter. Defensively, Auburn (2-0) had 13 TFL and held ASU out of the end zone. The Tigers will try to stay perfect on Saturday evening at home against league rival Mississippi State.
FLORIDA: The Gators repeatedly shot themselves in the foot in their 21-16 loss at Miami-Florida on Saturday, committing an uncharacteristic five turnovers. Jeff Driskel brought some positives to the table in defeat, completing 22- of-33 passes for 291 yards and a touchdown while rushing for another score, but he also threw two interceptions in the red zone, which were ultimately the difference in the game. Solomon Patton set career highs with six receptions and 118 yards, and he also scored his first career touchdown. Quinton Dunbar (seven receptions, 98 yards) and Trey Burton (six receptions, 64 yards) were also active targets for Driskel, although Burton fumbled a ball deep in UF territory. Matt Jones led the team with 47 rushing yards, but it took him 18 carries to get there (2.6 ypc). Florida (1-1) will try to bounce back on Sept. 21 when it hosts Tennessee in its SEC opener.
GEORGIA: In a marquee SEC Eastern Division showdown, the 11th-ranked Bulldogs toppled the sixth-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks, 41-30, pulling away late after going into halftime tied. Aaron Murray was spectacular under center, completing 17-of-23 passes for 309 yards, tossing four touchdowns paired with zero interceptions. Justin Scott-Wesley finished with 116 receiving yards on just three grabs, hauling in an 85-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to help seal the win. Todd Gurley was a workhorse at tailback, turning 30 carries into 132 yards and a touchdown while also catching an eight-yard scoring strike. Keith Marshall had 58 yards on just seven carries and caught two passes for 54 yards and a score. Defensively, Amarlo Herrera led the way with 12 tackles and a forced fumble. Georgia (1-1, 1-0 SEC) has off this week and will host North Texas on Sept. 21.
KENTUCKY: The Wildcats enjoyed an offensive explosion in their home opener, racking up 675 total yards (their most since 1998) as they dismissed Miami- Ohio, 41-7, giving Mark Stoops his first victory as head coach. Maxwell Smith was rock-solid under center, completing 15-of-23 passes for 310 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Jalen Whitlow was also effective at quarterback, throwing for 103 yards on 10-of-12 passing while adding 48 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Javess Blue led the receiving corps with six receptions for 114 yards, including an 88-yard touchdown in the first quarter. Johnathan George (one reception, 48 yards) and Jeff Badet (three receptions, 80 yards, TD) were also on the receiving end of long scoring strikes from Smith. Za'Darius Smith recorded three sacks in the blowout victory. UK (1-1) will continue its non-conference slate next week when it hosts rival Louisville.
LSU: In their home opener, the Tigers had little issue blowing past UAB over the weekend, piling up 445 yards of offense in a 56-17 rout. Zach Mettenberger was outstanding, completing 16-of-19 passes for 282 yards while becoming the first quarterback in school history to throw five touchdown passes in a game. Odell Beckham, Jr. was Mettenberger's favorite target, finishing with 136 yards while hauling in touchdown receptions from 29, 22 and 27 yards. Jarvis Landry (five receptions, 71 yards) was on the receiving end of Mettenberger's other two scoring strikes. Kenny Hilliard led the LSU rushing attack with 54 yards and a touchdown, while Jeremy Hill returned after serving a suspension to gain 50 yards on six carries, including a three-year touchdown in the second quarter. Jermauria Rasco finished with six tackles and a sack while hurrying the quarterback on two other occasions. LSU (2-0) continues its three-game homestand this Saturday in a matchup with Kent State.
MISSISSIPPI STATE: The Bulldogs opened their contest against Alcorn State with 44 unanswered points and eventually rolled to a 51-7 victory. They racked up 556 yards of total offense on the afternoon and held a nearly 18-minute advantage in time of possession. Dak Prescott started the game under center and threw for 174 yards and two touchdowns on 12-of-19 passing before being relieved by Damian Williams (8-of-13, 105 yards, INT) in the second half. Prescott also had a rushing score. Ashton Shumpert accounted for 98 yards on 22 carries while scoring twice. Thirteen different receivers caught a ball in the win, with Fred Ross leading the way with three receptions for 46 yards. Mississippi State (1-1) will open up SEC play this week when it travels to Auburn.
MISSOURI: For the first time since 2010, the Tigers opened their season with two straight wins, as they pulled away late from Toledo to earn a 38-23 victory. James Franklin completed 16-of-25 passes for 212 yards with a touchdown and an interception, while also rushing for a team-high 77 yards. L'Damian Washington caught five balls for 78 yards, while Dorial Green-Beckham (five receptions, 51 yards) was on the receiving end of Franklin's scoring strike. Henry Josey had just 26 yards on nine carries but converted two short touchdowns. Markus Golden had a momentum-shifting interception early in the third quarter and returned it 70 yards for a touchdown. Missouri (2-0) is idle this week and will try to stay perfect on Sept. 21 when it visits Indiana.
OLE MISS: The Rebels got out to a 31-0 lead at the half against Southeast Missouri State, and while they took their foot off the gas after halftime, they still cruised to a 31-13 win. Bo Wallace completed 8-of-15 passes for 188 yards and connected on a couple of long touchdown strikes, one to Evan Engram for 64 yards and the other to Donte Moncrief for 67 yards. Barry Brunetti got plenty of playing time under center, and while he was lackluster with his pass attempts (3-of-12, 48 yards), he was outstanding on the ground with 111 yards and a touchdown. I'Tavius Mathers had just four carries but they resulted in 56 yards and a touchdown. Serderius Bryant recorded a career-high 15 tackles starting in place of the injured Denzel Nkemdiche. Ole Miss (1-1) will face Texas this Saturday in a difficult road test.
SOUTH CAROLINA: Although the game was tied at the half, the Gamecocks came out flat in the second half on their way to a 41-30 loss at No. 11 Georgia in an early-season SEC East matchup that could very well determine who represents the division in the conference championship game. Connor Shaw was solid under center, completing 16-of-25 passes for 228 yards with two touchdowns while also rushing for 75 yards on 16 attempts. Also earning 16 carries was Mike Davis, who was outstanding with 149 yards and a touchdown. Nick Jones was Shaw's primary target, collecting six receptions for 97 yards and two touchdowns. The defense disappointed, allowing 536 total yards to Georgia, although Jadeveon Clowney managed to record his first sack of the season. South Carolina (1-1) will attempt to get back on track this week when it hosts SEC rival Vanderbilt.
TENNESSEE: The Volunteers defense was the story in their 52-20 rout of Western Kentucky on Saturday. The unit forced seven turnovers, with Justin Coleman and Cameron Sutton both returning interceptions for touchdowns in the first quarter. Although it was a modest afternoon for the offense (382 yards), the rushing attack managed to rack up 240 yards, with Raijon Neal (74 yards) finding the end zone three times. Marlin Lane lead all rushers with 97 yards and converted an eight-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. Justin Worley was 11-of-19 for 142 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Johnathon Johnson hauled in two balls for 57 yards, while Brendan Downs was on the receiving end of Worley's touchdown toss. Tennessee (2-0) faces a difficult task this week as it travels to Eugene for a showdown with No. 2 Oregon.
TEXAS A&M: Although Johnny Manziel has been making headlines for all the wrong reasons of late, he let his play do the talking in the Aggies' 65-28 triumph over FCS foe Sam Houston State. Manziel completed 29-of-42 passes for 426 yards, tossing three touchdowns and one interception while also rushing for 36 yards and another score. He was eventually spelled for Kenny Hill, who completed 5-of-6 passes for 74 yards and a touchdown. Mike Evans racked up a career-high 155 yards on seven receptions, while 10 other Aggies also caught a pass in the offensive explosion. Ben Malena (68 yards, TD) and Tra Carson (51 yards, two TDs) were both strong in the A&M rushing attack with nine carries apiece. The defense, which has been depleted by several suspensions, struggled at times against the Bearkats, who put up 390 yards. With a couple of tune-up games behind them, the Aggies (2-0) face a showdown with No. 1 Alabama on Saturday afternoon.
VANDERBILT: The Commodores rolled over Austin Peay at home, 38-3, with 35 of those points coming in the second quarter. Austyn Carta-Samuels was efficient under center, completing 14-of-22 passes for 223 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions, but he made just as big an impact with his legs, rushing for 23 yards and a pair of scores. Brian Kimbrow and Jerron Seymour both had exactly 41 rushing yards and a touchdown. Jordan Matthews continued to prove he's one of the nation's top receivers, hauling in six balls for 111 yards and a touchdown despite not playing in the second half. Matthews now has a pair of 100-yard games to start the season, giving him 12 for his career. The defense was stout, holding Austin Peay to a meager 139 yards while recording 12 TFL and four sacks. Vanderbilt's (2-0) unbeaten mark will be put to the test this week when it visits South Carolina.
09/09 11:35:39 ET