The SEC most teams get back on track and normallity was resumed some what for most of the Conference. Our SEC Week 2 Review breaks down the biggest games and highlights whats wrong for Texas.
Tennessee lost out to Pittsburgh 41-34, in a real battle at Neyland stadium. The game was full of drama, anything that could happen in a football game, happened in this match up. The Volunteers suffered a blow in the 2nd quarter when starting quarterback Joe Milton went down injured after being sacked. A double blow as it was also a fumble which was recovered by Pitt. Milton did not return and was replaced by Hendon Hooker. Hooker threw for 188 yards and 2 touchdowns, but also threw an interception. The interception came on the last possession for Tennessee and with under 5 minutes left. The Panthers managed to run down the clock without giving the ball back.
Another key moment was the previous Volunteers offensive series. Hooker took the team 63 yards down the field to the Pitt 12 yard line and even on 4th and 1 couldn’t get the first down or the touchdown. The defence gave up easy yards, especially in the second quarter where the defence was asleep for most of it. Tennessee gave up 3 touchdowns and 2 field goals, helped by the Milton fumble on his own 30 and a bad punt from the Vols own 18 that didn’t make it out of their own half. Giving up 13 penalties for 134 yards wont help you win games either. So not much positivity for Tennessee in this game, except the 34 points. Next up Tennessee Tech at home.
South Carolina struggled to a 20-17 win over East Carolina Saturday. A walk off 36 yard field goal from kicker Parker White sealed the win for the Gamecocks, in a game they will want to forget. South Carolina quarterback Zeb Noland had a torrid afternoon, not helped at all by his offensive line. Noland was sacked 3 times and was rushed most of the game. It resulted in overthrows and missing receivers. He did manage to find Dakereon Joyner in the 3rd quarter for a touchdown that tied the score up 14-14.
The drive for the game winning field goal was mostly done on the ground. The other score for the Gamecocks came from an interception by linebacker Damani Stanley, who ran it back 63 yards for the pick 6. Receiver Josh Vann had a 100 yard game, but also fumbled the ball just before the goal line in the 1st quarter. Another fumble from Joyner on his own 26 yard line was recovered by the Pirates, which they then capitalized on with a touchdown. Lots to digest for head coach Shane Beamer, who will need to cut out the mistakes before traveling to play Georgia.
Vanderbilt got its first win since 2019 with a 24-21 win over Colorado State. Even though the Rams are a struggling Mountain West team, people were still backing them to beat the Commodores, who hadn’t won a road game for 3 years until Saturday. At one point the run looked like it may continue as Vanderbilt found themselves 14-0 down in the 2nd quarter. Vandy struck back just before the half, going 58 yard in just over a minute, helped by a unnecessary roughness penalty. It ended with a Ken Seals 20 yard pass to Chris Pierce Jr. for the score. Pierce Jr. had 77 yards on the day from 5 receptions.
Ken Seals threw a further touchdown to Cam Johnson in the 3rd quarter and even ran in one himself to complete the comeback. The Rams levelled it up at 21-21 with 3 minutes left in the 4th quarter, but the Commodores weren’t done. Helped by a targeting penalty and a pass interference call against the Rams, Vandy was in field goal range with 19 seconds on the clock. Kicker Joseph Bulovas 38 yard effort was good and a much needed win. Vanderbilt can thank Colorado State kicker Cayden Camper, who missed two field goals from 36 and 46 yards in the first half. A big win for the Commodores who welcome PAC-12 outfit Stanford looking to build on this.
Florida beat in state outfit South Florida 42-20 in Tampa, in what some thought would be a blowout. The big talking point from the game was all about the quarterback position. While everybody is calling for Anthony Richardson to start, Emory Jones is still the number 1 for Dan Mullen. Richardson wasn’t in for much of the game, but when he was he looked exciting. He had 3 passing attempts all completed for 152 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also rushed for 115 yards and a further score from 4 attempts. Starting QB for now Emory Jones struggled. Jones had two interceptions on the day, both head scratching decisions.
It seems obvious what needs to happen next, but Mullen is sticking with Jones as the main guy for now. Receiver Jacob Copeland had a day, catching two touchdowns from Richardson on his way to 175 yards. Another concern for Florida was on defence and how easy they gave up plays and 20 points. The Bulls failed to score in their week 1 match up with NC State and the Gators were expected to keep the them to a lower score. With Alabama coming up next week, they will need to tighten up significantly. The main question on everybody’s mind for next week’s match up? Who will the starting quarterback be?
Georgia opened their 2021 campaign 2-0, with a 56-7 win over UAB. With starting quarterback JT Daniels out with an injury, Stetson Bennett took the reins and put on a show of downfield bombs and touchdowns. Bennett finished the day with figures of, 10 from 12, 288 passing yards and 5 touchdown, averaging 24 yards a throw. Three of his 5 touchdowns being 60+ yard attempts and all 5 of them came in the first half.
Freshman Carson Beck came in for Bennett in the second half and got himself a touchdown and an interception, which was returned to the house for the Blazers only score of the game. The running game wasn’t leaned on too much, but still managed to pick up 163 yards, shared out equally amongst 8 players. It was a straight forward, professional win for the Bulldogs. The only blotch on the night was an injury to receiver Arian Smith, who hobbled off the field and did not return. Georgia will hope the injury is not as bad as it looked with them having a few guys out in the receiver corp. Next up, the Bulldogs welcome South Carolina to Athens.
Texas A&M scraped past Colorado 10-7, to go 2-0 on the season. In a tight game with not much in the way of offence, the Aggies ground down Colorado in the second half and scored a late touchdown to win the game. The main talking point was when first choice quarter back Haynes King left the field with a lower leg injury, after being tackled early in the 1st quarter. King did not return and it was left to back up Zach Calzada to take the reigns.
It didn’t start well, with Calzada only throwing for 73 yards in the first 3 quarters. It did get better in the 4th as he threw for 110 yards. He threw a peach of a pass to running back Isaiah Spiller in the corner of the end zone with 2:41 minutes remaining. Even before that he could have put the Aggies in front. However he fumbled inches before the goal line on a rushing play. The defence held Colorado to 57 yards on offence in the second half, with Antonio Johnson, Jayden Peevy and DeMarvin Leal doing much of the stopping. At the end of the game, the Aggies will be happy to escape Denver with a win. Week 3 they welcome New Mexico to town.
LSU made light work of McNeese, but underwhelmed in a 34-7 win. The Tigers never looked like losing the game, but they didn’t really dominate like they should against a weak FCS opponent. LSU put up a measly 306 offensive yards. On 14 drives they scored on 6 of them. That wasn’t the problem, the main area of concern is that every time they had to punt the ball away, they never made over 30 yards on a play, 5 of them 3 and outs. QB Max Johnson who didn’t have a bad game last week, finished with figures of 18 from 27, 161 passing yards and 3 passing touchdowns. Not bad, but it was a flat performance.
Kayshon Boutte added 2 touchdowns to his 3 last week. The defence never had to get out of second gear and could have been a shut out if they didn’t cough up a late McNeese touchdown. Maybe I’m being too hard on the Tigers, they did have a few first team players out, which saw the chance for back-ups to get some reps. LSU will be at home again week 3, where they will welcome Central Michigan.
Arkansas upset 15th ranked Texas in a 40-21 win. The Razorbacks ran all over the Longhorns. Rushing for 333 yards on the day and all 4 touchdowns coming on the ground. Everybody fought the explosive stuff on the ground would come from Texas running back Bijan Robinson, who Arkansas limited to just 69 yards from 19 carries. The Razorbacks run game was shared amongst a few players as well as quarterback KJ Jefferson, who had 73 yards. Jefferson continues to struggle with his passing. Only throwing for 138 yards and an interception. Which Texas took advantage of with a touchdown a few plays later.
The result was never in doubt and two 4th quarter touchdowns from the Longhorns made the score a lot closer. Really it could have looked even more impressive for Arkansas if they converted a few opportunities when having good field position in the first half. Twice they found themselves in the red zone but couldn’t convert and had to settle for field goals. An impressive victory that should push them into the top 25 rankings. Next up for the Razorbacks is Georgia Southern in Fayetteville.
Mississippi State avoided a week 1 upset loss, courtesy of late touchdowns to triumph 35-34 over Louisiana Tech. The win was made extra special as it was the biggest comeback win in school history, down 20 with 13 minutes left in the 4th quarter. They will not want to be in that position against better teams. Will Rodgers threw for 370 yards, spreading the ball about nicely to his receivers. It wasn’t all good for Rodgers, he had the ball stripped out when sacked and had one throw picked off, which resulted in 6 points for Louisiana Tech.
Turnovers were a big issue, 6 in total during the game. Ball security is something that needs to be looked at, better teams will punish the Bulldogs. Jo’quavious Marks did look after the ball. Marks ended the day with 3 touchdowns, one passing one and two rushing that were part off the 4th quarter comeback. Even after the impressive 4th quarter turnaround, it could have still been a first week loss. A missed 46 yard field goal for Louisiana Tech ended the game. A tough trip to NC State is on the schedule next, where the Bulldogs wont get away with sloppy play.
Auburn went to 2-0 on the season with a 62-0 shutout win over Alabama State. The Tigers scored 8 touchdowns on the night, 5 of them coming in the 3rd quarter. There was never any doubt that Auburn would win this game, but they did it in a professional manner. The majority of the damage was done on the ground, with running backs Tank Bigsby and Jarquez Hunter both having 100+ yard rushing games. Hunter had 147 yards on the day, 94 of them coming in one play that resulted in a touchdown.
The 3rd quarter was a scoring frenzy. Wide receiver Demetris Robertson scored on a 28 yard pass from QB Bo Nix. The Hornets fumbled on their next possession. The Tigers recovered the ball, then 1 play later, Robertson had his second touchdown with a 36 yard run. Alabama State got the ball back and the Hornets QB picked out Auburn CB Roger McCreary who ran it back for a pick 6. 3 touchdowns in under 6 minutes. A comfortable win for the Tigers, who will travel to top ten ranked Penn State next.
Alabama took down Mercer with relative ease, in a 48-14 win. The Tide have never lost to a FCS team since Nick Saban took charge, and they kept that record going. It was a win, but a win with a few minor concerns. The game was put to bed at half time, with 4 first half touchdowns and a field goal. It was a sloppy start to the game for Alabama, a 3 and out and offensive line problems. Something you don’t expect from a Saban coached team. A few tweaks may be needed but better is expected.
Bryce Young played well again, but with the game never in doubt it was a chance to give other QBs reps. Freshman receiver JoJo Earle had a good game, with 85 yards from 7 receptions. The receiver core had a few drops in the first half that could have made the figures for Young look better. The running backs also struggled, with only 125 yards from 25 carries. Against better opposition, it might be a problem. The victory was never in doubt, but a few areas need to be polished up before a trip to the Swamp next.
Ole Miss recorded an expected win over Austin Peay, outscoring the opposition by 37 in a 54-12 win. This was as comfortable as the score suggested. The only question for Lane Kiffin was when to bring in the backups. Matt Corral continued his week 1 form with another 5 passing touchdowns, while throwing for 281 yards and rushing for 35 yards. Corral came out in the 3rd quarter, and 3 other QBs got chance to take a few
snaps. A few people are talking about receiver Dontario Drummond as a break out year. He looks to be justifying the talk. The senior went over 100 yards again, for back to back 100+ yard games. The defence shut out the Governors until 2 minutes left in the 2nd quarter, which gave the opportunity for defensive back ups to get some reps. The defence had 5 sacks on the day, one from red shirt freshman Demon Clowney and one from freshman DT Tywone Maloney. No real concerns for Ole Miss as they welcome Tulane next week, who did give Oklahoma problems.
Kentucky took the victory in this all SEC East match up against Missouri, 35-28 the final score. Both teams exchanged touchdowns in every quarter except in the 1st, where Kentucky outscored Missouri 2 to 1. The Wildcats who lost to Mizzou last season after winning 5 on the bounce, leaned on their running game heavily in this one. Chris Rodriguez Jr. rushed for 203 yards and three touchdowns on 27 carries. It was receiver Wan’Dale Robinson who started the run game off first, breaking free for an impressive 64 yard run to the Tigers 8 yard line. Rodriguez Jr. finished it off with the score. Robinson also added 101 receiving yards to his game tally, from 5 receptions.
Kentucky was the better team in the first half and should have been out of sight. The Wildcats went 87 yards down the field. Only for Rodriguez Jr. to fumble the ball inside the Missouri 10 yard line with the score at 21-7. The Tigers recovered and went 80 yards down the field, which finished in a Connor Bazelak 17 yard touchdown pass to KeKe Chism to bring them within a score. Bazelak threw 4 touchdowns on the day, but also a costly interception that resulted in a touchdown 3 plays later. Tyler Badie was the star of the Tigers offence. The running back had 149 scrimmage yards and a touchdown on the day. Kentucky did more than enough to win, with the score being closer than it should have been. Mizzou welcomes Southeast Missouri to the Zou, while Kentucky are at home against Chattanooga.
Written by Jordan Merrit Twitter- @Jordm87