Week two is officially in the books, and we’re already two weeks into what will be an extremely fast season.
Here are the main takeaways from week two action:
In the driver’s seat: Georgia beat South Carolina for the first time during the Aaron Murray era in the SEC’s only conference game of the week, and the Bulldogs are the frontrunners in the East, finding themselves in a slightly different position than years past. Still, South Carolina has the most favorable schedule in the East, and Georgia has LSU in three weeks. So, the Gamecocks are not even close to being out of it. How badly did Georgia shred South Carolina’s defense? What a display of offensive excellence by Aaron Murray.
Quarterbacks: The SEC has been criticized for being a purely running back and defensive league. And while that’s still true, this is a slightly different year with big-time quarterbacks putting up big-time numbers. We’ll start with Aaron Murray and the show he put on against the Gamecocks. Murray threw for 309 yards and four TDs. LSU’s Zach Mettenberger did more against a lesser opponent, as he connected on 16 of 19 passes for 282 yards and five touchdowns against UAB. Johnny Manziel torched Sam Houston State’s defense, accounting for 439 yards and four TDs. Even in a losing effort, Connor Shaw had a big game and threw for 228 yards and two TDs, and Ole Miss’ Bo Wallace and Auburn’s Nick Marshall each threw for two TDs. Kentucky’s Max Smith threw for three TDs. The SEC quarterbacks had strong performances on Saturday. Well, except for Florida QB Jeff Driskel.
Gettin’ on the board: All week one losers – Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt – recorded wins. UK, MSU and Vandy combined to dominate lesser foes 130 to 17. Mark Stoops recorded his first win as a head coach, and Kentucky gears up for rival Louisville next week. The Wildcats put up 675 yards of offense. MSU had an offensive revival against Alcorn State, posting 556 total yards and 51 points. Vanderbilt called off the dogs after it was 38-0 at halftime.
Jekyll and Hyde: Florida looks to have the SEC’s top defense, but the offense could be one of the worst. And Florida’s offense looked at its worst against Miami, coughing up five turnovers – three in the redzone. QB Jeff Driskel played his worst game as a Gator and threw two picks in the redzone and had another fumble late in the fourth. Much like last season, Florida has zero room for penalties and turnovers, and they committed way too many of each to even beat an average team. Florida is shaping up to have another top defense, but the offense is below average and searching for any type of playmaker. The Gators have the bye week to regroup before hosting Tennessee.
Taking care of business: Missouri took care of Toledo; Ole Miss hammered SE Missouri State; Texas A&M throttled Sam Houston State; Auburn thumped Arkansas State; LSU blew out UAB; Arkansas put away Samford. Credit these six teams with taking care of business. Henry Josey led Missouri with two TDs, and Bo Wallace led the Rebels with two TDs. The Aggies piled up 714 total yards and Manziel led the way with four TDs. Auburn rushed for over 300 yards, and Nick Marshall threw two TDs. Zach Mettenberger trumped them all with five TD passes. Arkansas freshman RB Alex Collins recorded 172 yards and one TD to lead the Hogs.
Haven’t learned: Although all five teams sit 2-0, we know little about Arkansas, Auburn, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas A&M. But credit those five and their coaching staffs for starting 2-0. Things get real for Texas A&M this week against Alabama, and Tennessee travels across country for a date with Oregon. Missouri and Arkansas still have two non-conference matchups before starting SEC play. Auburn hosts Mississippi State in arguably the Tigers’ most important game this season.
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