Ole Miss 35 - Boise State 13
Don't be deceived by the score. This game was a dogfight, with both teams struggling to execute on offense. After three quarters of extremely sloppy football, the Rebel Bears entered the 4th quarter clinging to a 7- 6 lead, before Dr. Bo and Co. finally pulled away thanks to some big plays in the passing game. As our pals over at Red Cub Rebellion observed, it was Ole Miss' SEC defense that won the day. In what would become a recurring theme, the depth of an SEC roster proved to be the difference against a non-conference foe.
Key Takeaway: Ole Miss has an underrated defense that can keep them in games even when Dr. Bo arrives at the operating room drunk out of his mind.
Interesting Stat: Boise State had 26 first downs, and Ole Miss had 22.
Alabama 33 - West Virginia 23
This game was closer than the experts thought! While the instant reaction, even from Alabama fans, will be to nitpick Bama's apparent struggle with a Big 12 team, it should be observed that trademark Bama football was still on display if you read between the lines. Both T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry gaining over 100 yards on the ground. Moreover, West Virginia's offense managed only one touchdown, and less than 400 total yards with fewer than 50 yards on the ground. However, WVU did expose that the Tide's continual weakness the HUNH has not been cured, and points are there to be had for a fast paced offensive team that can execute. If the Mountaineer receivers hadn't dropped several passes, and Bama wasn't the beneficiary of the most BS sideline penalty of all time, the game could have very well been tied at 27 in the 3rd quarter.
Key Takeaway: Bama is still Bama, but you can move the ball against them if you execute. They are beatable.
Interesting Stat: Bama's kicking game was on point. Adam Griffith was 4/4 on FG attempts, and made 3 over 40 yards.
Auburn 45 - Arkansas 21
I watched this game closely, due to my fascination with BERT and Malzahn and their contrasting styles. The impression I came away with was this: Arkansas will struggle even if they play their best game. For two quarters, everything the Hogs way, and yet they only managed a tie at the half after Auburn doinked a kick off the upright. After the break, their inability to stretch the field allowed Auburn to load up against the run, forcing the Hogs into 3rd and longs that they could not convert (they ended the game 2-11 on 3rd down conversions). While BERT's dream of a dominant run first, TOP controlling offense is admirable, it cannot be sustained against a quality SEC foe. Arkansas has no defensive depth, can't stop the run, and the offense cannot score enough points to keep up. They will pay dearly for every punt. BERT you just cant punt inside your opponent's 40 if you want to win. You definitely can't do it twice.
As for Auburn, I was extremely impressed with their poise. After a less than ideal first half, they didn't rattle, made the proper adjustments, and just crushed Arkansas in the second half. What a lot of people miss is that the Tigers version of the HUNH is not your typical spread. It is an option based run package, and it is brutal in its simplicity. More important, if you can't stop the run, they keep running it. The Tigers only attempted 6 passes in the 2nd half, content to just pound the ball down the Hogs throats. They finished the game with 302 yards rushing on 48 carries. Damn.
Key Takeaways: 1) The Hogs are improved but with the same problems: no depth and no passing game; 2) Auburn can move the ball with terrifying efficiency, and if A&M wants to win in Jordan-Hare, our defense must play its best game of the year.
Interesting Stat: Auburn's balance: 293 passing, 302 rushing. The HUNH also had more TOP than BERT's ball control boys.
LSU 28 - Wisconsin 24
This game was vintage Les Miles. He looked completely lost, completely inept, made befuddling clock mistakes, and yet SOMEHOW managed to beat a good football team. Sconnie was in control for most of the game, with their two chief weapons being their running game and LSU's complete offensive ineptitude. However, LSU finally found some offensive momentum late in the 3rd quarter. The crucial play of the game was John Diarse's outstanding 36 yard TD catch on 3rd and 20. After a 2 pt conversion, LSU was within a FG. A Badger armpunt followed, and LSU jumped on Kenny Hilliard's back and rode him to victory against an exhausted Badger's front 7.
Key Takeaway: LSU has no offense. Unless something changes in the coming weeks they will not be able to keep up with Bama, Auburn, or A&M. They could be looking at 4 SEC losses.
Interesting Stat: LSU's kicker was called for delay of game prior to the 2nd half kickoff. I didn't even know such a thing was possible.
Mississippi State 49 - Southern Mississippi 0
I lied. I didn't watch this. So what do we know? We know Dan Mullen beat a bad Southern Mississippi team. Apparently Dak Prescott played well. As I didn't actually watch this game, I can offer few insights. Accordingly, I direct you to For Whom The Cowbell Tolls and their impressions.
Key Takeaway: Mississippi State has a football team. It is much better than Southern Mississippi's football team.
Interesting Stat: Southern Miss actually won the TOP battle by almost 3 minutes. Further proving Kevin Sumlin's theory that the statistic is completely worthless.
Georgia 45 - Clemson 21
Todd Gurley is good. Really good. Finally healthy, Gurley went full BEASTMODE, gaining 198 yards on only 15 carries with 3 TDs. Oh yeah, he also returned a kickoff for another TD. He is your Heisman front runner.
In another assertion of SEC dominance, the Bulldogs turned in what I consider to be the best performance of the day. Like Auburn, they maintained their poise in the first half when events transpired against them, before completely dominating the second half, grinding their opponent's bones to dust. Clemson looked lost without the departed Tahj Boyd and Sammy Watkins, and it will be interesting to see how the Dabonites respond as the season progresses.
Key Takeaway: UGA's dominance of Clemson, combined with A&M's demolition of the Gamecocks, firmly establishes them as the favorites in the SEC East.
Interesting Stat: Todd Gurley had 293 all-purpose yards, 2 more yards than Clemson gained on offense.
Kentucky 59 - UT-Martin 14
@MarkEnnis they look putrid. I cant properly evaluate UK against this garbage— Cool Fran Luke (@CoolHand_Lucas) August 30, 2014
That's really all that needs to be said. Kentucky just handed the ball off and scored at will.
Key Takeaway: UK won a football game. Against human opponents.
Interesting Stat: The Wildcats gave up almost 400 yards to the UT-Martins.
Missouri 38 - South Dakota State 18
I didn't watch this, and anything I could offer could never match what prominent Mizzou fan and SBNation magnate Bill C., master of the F/+ rating, has to offer. Read his breakdown of Mizzou's win over the Jackrabbits if you wish to know more. All I know about Mizzou is this: If you think they will be good, they will be bad. If you think they will be bad, they will beat your ass. Gary Pinkel is only a slightly less powerful wizard than Les Miles.
Key Takeaway - Not exactly a dominant performance. I expected a bit more from Maty Mauk and Co.
Interesting Stat - Mizzou only had 28 more yards of offense than the Jackrabbits.
Temple 37 - Vanderbilt 7
Key Takeaway - Was that football? Even Mike Sherman managed to keep it close against Arkansas State, Mr. Mason! Get it together, man!
Key Stat - LSU transfer Stephen Rivers, Phillip's little bro, started for Vandy and completed less than 50% of his passes. So take heart LSU fans, he couldn't have helped you this year.
Florida/Idaho was postponed due to rain, RAIN! Rain in The Swamp! Why I never heard of such.
Tennessee takes on the fighting Chucky Keaton's of Utah State tonight. I'll be watching, paying particular notice as to how UT will replace their entire offensive line.
LUCAS JACKSON RANKS THE SEC
1. Auburn - They looked like the most complete team, with no discernible dropoff from last season on offense, despite losing Tre Mason. They will only get better on defense.
2. Alabama - really 1-A at this point, but what are rankings without TAEKS? My take, Kiffin is no match for Malzahn's wizardry. They are not any better than the sum of their parts.
3. Texas A&M - Outstanding performance. Firmly ensconced here until the Ole Miss game barring total disaster against Arkansas.
4. LSU - They have a defense and can run the ball. Sadly, their offense is just too woeful to justify ranking them higher. The kids look promising, but Anthony Jennings is not the answer, he's not even Jordan Jefferson.
5. Ole Miss - They are the embodiment of their QB. They display flashes of greatness, but can completely flatline at times. Scrappy team with a puncher's chance to beat anyone with their underrated defense.
6. Miss State - What was the last good team they defeated? They stay here until they beat one of the teams above them.
7. Arkansas - BERT now 0-9 against the SEC. It's not getting better anytime soon.
1. UGA - If Gurley stays healthy, they are the favorites to win the division.
2. USC - They can't be as bad as the Aggies made them look. They just can't be. OBC will bounce back.
3. Florida - Why not. I like Kurt Roper, he answered my questions at the Chick Fil A Bowl press conference.
4. Mizzou - The Ole Miss of the East. They have a punchers chance against anybody, but the lack of depth and offensive playmakers is tough to overcome against the cream of the conference.
5. Tennesseee - We will know more tonight. Lots of young talent, but questions everywhere, particularly on the lines.
6. Kentucky - Steadily improving, but its a long road.
7. Vandy - In complete freefall. I don't see them winning any SEC game this season.