Ranking the SEC's Top 10 performances from Week 2
Week 2 in the SEC did not disappoint. We saw Georgia secure a significant program win at Notre Dame, while its SEC East rival South Carolina emerged as a possible division contender. In the West, Auburn’s defense showed it could compete with the nation’s top teams.
But that’s not all. An abundance of impressive performances took place on Saturday, and we ranked them once again. As always, players, teams, head coaches and coordinators are eligible for consideration.
Here are the most impressive SEC performances from Week 2:
10. Derrius Guice
With over 100 rushing yards for the second week in a row, Guice proved he could be a legitimate Heisman Trophy contender. LSU’s junior running back had 102 yards to be exact, to go along with a pair of touchdowns. He averaged 6.8 yards per carry against Chattanooga, an improvement from his Week 1 average. Guice already has four rushing TDs this season. It will be tough for him to keep up the current pace, but if he can do it, he will undoubtedly be a Heisman contender.
9. Kyle Shurmur
Shurmur threw for just over 200 yards and a career-high four touchdowns in Vanderbilt’s 42-0 win over Alabama A&M. He also completed 15 of his 18 pass attempts, good for an 83 percent completion rate. Shurmur completed 71 percent of his passes in Week 1 and tossed three touchdowns. He’s currently ranked as the No. 3 passer in the SEC. That’s a key step forward for a Vanderbilt passing game that has been essentially nonexistent in recent years.
8. South Carolina red zone defense
7. Derek Mason
6. Danny Etling
Don’t look now, but the LSU Tigers may have a quarterback who can throw the ball downfield. Etling was fine last season, throwing for over 2,100 yards and 11 touchdowns, but he appears to have taken his game to a new level in his senior year. Etling was 8-of-14 with 227 yards and a touchdown against Chattanooga. Most impressively, he had five completions that gained more than 25 yards. As you can see here, he was able to show off an incredibly strong arm against the Mocs.
5. Mississippi State running game
The Bulldogs ran all over Louisiana Tech on the road Saturday night in a 57-21 victory. State rushed 40 times, amassing 327 yards and three touchdowns. The Bulldogs averaged close to 9 yards per carry against Tech. It was a solid follow-up to the Charleston Southern performance in Week 1. Mississippi State rushed for 281 yards and another trio of scores in that contest. These gaudy numbers certainly will dip some as State gets deeper into SEC play. But for now, this ground game is looking deadly.
4. Kevin Steele/Auburn defense
Auburn has a multitude of issues on offense, but the same can’t be said for its defense. Since Steele arrived on The Plains in December 2015, the Tigers’ defense has shown vast improvement. The Tigers were No. 5 in the SEC in total defense a season ago, and currently rank fourth in the conference. And for the second year in a row, Auburn managed to contain a powerful Clemson offense. The Tigers (Auburn’s version) held Clemson to just 284 total yards, which is well below its usual average. Auburn only gave up 99 rushing yards. War Eagle should be well-equipped to handle SEC offenses for the rest of the season.
3. Shea Patterson
Patterson makes this list for the second week in a row after throwing for an Ole Miss school-record 489 yards in a 45-23 win over UT-Martin. Through the first two weeks of the season, Patterson already has thrown nine touchdown passes. Last week against South Alabama, he threw for 429 yards. Patterson’s 918 passing yards over the first two games of the season are the most by an SEC quarterback in the first two games since 2000. Simply put, there’s no hotter quarterback in the conference right now than Patterson. Now, let’s see if he can do it against the SEC.
Just to preface: We might all look back at Georgia’s Week 2 win over Notre Dame six weeks from now and not view it the same as we do now. After all, the Fighting Irish are coming off a 4-8 season. But coming into this season, Notre Dame’s squad was expected to be improved. For now, this looks like a quality win for the Dawgs. Even if Notre Dame ends up being irrelevant, this is still a marquee program win in terms of name power. It’s easily Kirby Smart’s best win as a head coach, and it made the SEC East look a little better in front of a national audience in primetime. Georgia should be proud of the fact it was able to go on the road and get a W in South Bend.
1. Deebo Samuel
This week, it’s not even close in terms of who had the biggest performance. Samuel was electrifying in the Gamecocks’ 31-13 win at Missouri. He played an incredible game, scoring a 25-yard rushing touchdown and a 97-yard kickoff return touchdown. Samuel helped reverse Mizzou’s early momentum with that kick return TD. And it was the second week in a row he returned a kick for a score. Additionally, Samuel caught five passes for 45 yards. His effort Saturday was one of the most complete SEC performances in recent memory.