SEC Week 2 report cards: LSU makes good, 'Bama remains teacher's pet
Week 3 of SEC play included two game-winning field goals on the last play, a humiliating non-P5 beatdown, a couple of mild surprises and a fair amount of SEC domination.
We do what we do here on Sundays — hand out grade cards. Did your team make it to the head of the class or to detention? We break down the winners, the losers and the best and worst of Week 3.
They don’t look pretty, they just win. Every SEC season seems to have a team that just keeps putting up victories. This column makes the distinction difficult, because we have to consider style points. But the Tigers deserve an exception. The bottom line is that they are getting it done, and that is the most stylish thing of all. Defense and an opportunistic offense might make LSU the third-best team in the SEC.
Abandon hope, all ye who enter here. Sure, they scored 62 on Ole Miss, which was very predictable. What wasn’t was the complete lockdown of both phases of the Rebel offense. After Ole Miss hit a 75-yard bomb on the game’s first play, the Rebels didn’t hit a play of more than 13 yards for the rest of the game and ended up with just 173 more total yards.
Mississippi State: A-
The Bulldogs were solid in both the pass and the run. The only mild issue was the 245 passing yards allowed — well, that, and playing deeply mediocre competition. But State will be just fine.
Texas A&M: A-
Much like State above, there’s very little not to like here. A&M put in a balanced offensive effort and was solid defensively but did give up 225 passing yards and beat the stuffing out of a nobody.
It’s not that Auburn was terrible, because they weren’t. The defense played almost well enough to win. The offense is just sluggish — 3.4 yards per carry with no big plays, and a pair of costly interceptions. The Tigers have been very pedestrian, and that won’t cut it in the SEC West.
It might have made more sense to give the Rebels a D+ because it’ll be the only time all year that “D” is mentioned in the same paragraph as Ole Miss. We knew they had no defense. We didn’t realize that Alabama would completely neutralize the home-run offense that had shown itself in the first two games. Could be a long SEC season.
We don’t want to pile on, because everybody knew how awful they were. It’s a first year for Chad Morris and there will be brighter days, but holy dumpster fire, this team is awful.
They called the tune, running for 7.5 yards per carry and throwing only four incomplete passes for the game. The defense is good, the offense is good, the special teams are good, the East is not especially good. Who can beat them?
Kentucky did what they needed to do. Their embryonic passing game continues to improve — 283 yards and no turnovers. They rushed for 5.7 yards per carry and held the ball for almost 36 minutes. A quick downside? Allowing 5.8 yards per carry to Murray State doesn’t necessarily bode well for Mississippi State next week.
SO close. Of course, the underlying question is whether Notre Dame is actually good. Vandy passed well, defended well enough and just had enough bad luck to not quite pull off a definitive win for Derek Mason.
Well, they won, they looked great on offense (608 yards) and they played awful pass defense. Missouri allowed 572 passing yards, which will look like a typo but isn’t. Sadly, they don’t play Ole Miss in what might have become the SEC’s first-ever 100-99 game.
UT ran (6.9 yards per carry), didn’t look foolish passing and dominated UTEP on defense. That recipe could work well in the SEC, but it also will prove a little harder to implement.
There were some things to like — special teams glory, creating three turnovers and winning by 38. At the same time, Florida won the yardage battle by only 31, basically abandoned any significance in the passing game and had the ball for just 21 minutes.
South Carolina: Incomplete
They’ll make this game up and pick up an easy win against somebody. Hopefully, everybody stayed safe.
Admittedly, they faced terrible competition. But passing for 276 yards and rushing for 331 will get you a spot in the front row of the classroom most weeks.
Plenty of high-powered offenses, but the Tigers played an allegedly P5 opponent and passed for 375 while rushing for 233 more (5.1 yards per carry). Most importantly, the offense made enough plays to win.
We could do this every week, but holding Ole Miss to 248 yards and seven points is pretty notable.
Honorable mention to Tennessee, who pitched a shutout, but the Tigers held Auburn to 328 yards and 3.4 yards per carry and came up with a pair of significant interceptions.
We gave Cole Tracy a shout-out last week. Then he won an SEC road game on a last-play field goal. So welcome back.
Restoring special teams gave the Gators some swagger. A blocked punt TD and a punt return TD in the same game gets our attention. (And yes, sorry Mecole Hardman, we saw you, too.)
336 total yards and six interceptions against a Sun Belt defense? That is how you lose by 27.
248 total yards and three turnovers just isn’t going to get anything done for this Rebels team. Sure, Alabama played a role in this. So did getting off script from the things that make Ole Miss look like the early 1990s Buffalo Bills. More accurately, this week they looked like those Bills when they played in the Super Bowl.
572 passing yards? Purdue isn’t awful offensively, but they aren’t THAT good. Even in the SEC East, if Mizzou plays the pass that badly, they’ll get burned.
This feels really undeserving, because the defense wasn’t that bad … but they did give up some costly late penalties and a 71-yard touchdown bomb. The offense put them in a hole, but we’d really expect more from this group.
Three words: fake fair catch.