The SEC's top position groups of Week 8
Here’s a look at the SEC’s top position groups from Week 8:
QUARTERBACKS — Alabama: Blake Sims was the SEC’s best quarterback in Week 8, throwing for 268 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions in a 59-0 rout of Texas A&M. Sims completed just 59 percent of his passes, but he avoided costly turnovers and allowed his playmakers, like wideout Amari Cooper, to make plays while he simply managed the offense. Even backup Jake Coker completed 5 of 8 passes for 36 yards and a touchdown, cementing the Tide’s quarterbacks as the best collection of signal callers in the SEC in Week 8.
RUNNING BACKS — LSU: The Tigers ran for 300 yards as a team against Kentucky, and their deep stable of tailbacks torched the Wildcats’ defense all night. Starter Leonard Fournette and backups Terrence Magee, Kenny Hilliard and Darrel Williams combined to carry the ball 41 times for 260 yards, an average of nearly 6.5 yards per carry for the game. The four backs combined to score three touchdowns on the ground, and Fournette and Magee combined to catch four passes for 54 yards in a 38-point win. Magee led the team with 127 yards on the ground, 44 yards through the air and two touchdowns in his best game of the season. All four backs made big contributions in Week 8, helping LSU make quick work of UK.
WIDE RECEIVERS — South Carolina: It certainly helped that South Carolina faced Furman in Week 8, but the Gamecocks receivers were dynamic in a 41-10 win. Jerell Adams led the way with three catches for 91 yards and a touchdown, but five other players each had at least 20 yards receiving in the win. Pharoh Cooper and Shaq Roland each had more than 45 yards receiving, and the Gamecocks wideouts amassed more than 280 yards through the air without any single receiver catching more than three passes on the game. South Carolina’s depth on the perimeter could benefit it as it aims to salvage its season in the final six weeks.
OFFENSIVE LINE — LSU: Yes, LSU’s tailbacks were already recognized for their brilliance in Week 8, but it took more than just an athletic stable of backs to run for 300 yards in a 38-point win. The offensive line was dominant against Kentucky, paving the way for the Tigers’ tailbacks while keeping quarterback Anthony Jennings clean and upright for most of the game. Jennings was sacked just once, and Kentucky mustered just two tackles for loss all game, well below its season average on defense. The Tigers controlled the line of scrimmage when they had the ball, and as a result they controlled the game from start to finish.
DEFENSIVE LINE — Missouri: The Tigers defense overwhelmed Florida in Week 8, topping the Gators by 29 points in a game in which Mizzou managed just 119 yards of total offense. The strength of the Tigers’ defense has been its defensive line, and the same held true last weekend. Shane Ray had another dominant performance with six tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble against Florida, and fellow defensive end Markus Golden added a fumble recovery in the win. Fellow lineman Harold Brantley registered a sack for a third straight game, and Lucas Vincent added a tackle for loss in a dominant performance from the defensive line. The Tigers controlled the line of scrimmage, leading to one of the best defensive performances by any team this season.
LINEBACKERS — Georgia: The Bulldogs linebackers smothered Arkansas’ stout rushing attack in a convincing win in Little Rock, holding the Razorbacks to their second-lowest rushing total of 2014. Arkansas managed just 126 yards on the ground, marking only the second time this season that the Razorbacks have rushed for fewer than 150 yards in a game this season. Ramik Wilson recorded 14 tackles and 0.5 tackles for loss in the win, and fellow linebacker Amarlo Herrera added 10 tackles in silencing the Razorbacks’ ball-carriers. The Bulldogs asserted themselves as the best team in the SEC East, and their linebackers remain one of the team’s strengths moving forward.
DEFENSIVE BACKS — Missouri: The Tigers overwhelmed Florida all night, and their secondary was just as stout as the defensive line in a dominant showing in the Swamp. Defensive back Braylon Webb pulled in two interceptions, and Darvin Rulse recorded a 46-yard pick-six as Mizzou poured it on the Gators. All in all, Florida managed to throw for just 148 yards, and the Tigers secondary blanketed the Gators’ wideouts for most of the game.