I wonder if Franklin does not see too many upsides with Rogers. I agree that the Presbyterian game would have given him momentum, so he must have not seen anything with Austyn Carta-Samuels to give him the start.
Here’s your Monday breakdown of all the SEC action from the weekend. These are the key stats from and our impressions of each ballgame.
All in one great big post.
Florida 38, Kentucky 0 in Gainesville
Key Stat: 60 yards. Kentucky came into the game boasting the SEC’s best pass offense. But with starting QB Maxwell Smith on the shelf with a bum shoulder, backup Morgan Newton had to fill his shoes. He couldn’t. In fact, Newton finished just 7-of-21 for 48 yards passing, no touchdowns and three interceptions on the day. I suspect even some Gator fans felt sorry for UK’s signal-caller.
* The win was the 26th in a row for Florida over Kentucky. That’s the longest active streak going in the Southeastern Conference.
* Florida isn’t exactly fast out of the gate. Through four games the Gators have scored just 17 first-quarter points. They’ve scored 105 points in the the other 12 quarters combined. How far things have come for Will Muschamp since halftime of the Texas A&M game, too. At that point, the Gators looked like an extension of last year’s 7-6 team. But since then, UF has moved to 4-0 and jumped all the way to #12 in one poll, #11 in the other.
* Woe is Joker Phillips. It’s pretty hard to imagine him surviving the season.
Ole Miss 39, Tulane 0 in New Orleans
Key Stat: 3-1. That’s Ole Miss record through four games and that’s one more win than the Rebels notched in 2010 and in 2011. Hugh Freeze has done more than we at MrSEC.com expected with a withered roster. Unfortunately, conference play begins with a game at Alabama on Saturday and reality might set in when Mississippi starts tangling with SEC defenses. Whether that’s the case or not, Freeze deserves credit for some fine early work.
* If we hadn’t gone with UM’s record as our key stat, we’d have used this one: 304-14. That was the rushing advantage Ole Miss held over Tulane at game’s end. The Rebels averaged 5.7 yards per carry on Saturday. The Green Wave? Try 0.5 yards per carry. Fourteen yards on 29 rushes.
South Carolina 31, Missouri 10 in Columbia (SC)
Key Stat: 20-of-21. When you complete 20 passes in a row, you’re entering record-setting territory and that was the case for Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw. Not bad for a guy with a bum shoulder. Shaw’s 20-of-21 performance for 249 yards and two touchdowns squelched the tiny blip of a quarterback controversy that arose when some Cock fans began to see Dylan Thompson as the passer, Shaw as the runner. Well, Carolina’s running quarterback was so consistent on Saturday that he’ll have a chance to set a new SEC record for consecutive completions over multiple games next week in Lexington. If he completes five passes to start the game, he’ll move past ex-Tennessee quarterback Tee Martin who set the mark at 24 back in 1999.
* Marcus Lattimore — just a junior — moved past Harold Green and former Heisman Trophy winner George Rogers on USC’s all-time rushing touchdown leaderboard. He now owns the school record with 33 TDs on the ground. He’s managed to accomplish that feat in just 24 ballgames as well as he missed one game in 2010 and about half the season in 2011 due to injuries.
* Missouri is learning the hard way that the SEC really is a different league than the Big XII. Granted, they’ve played two of the best defenses in the conference so far in Georgia and Carolina, but the disrespect mantra Tiger players and coaches have been repeating all offseason must be giving way to a sense of reality. Gary Pinkel will need to recruit bigger linemen. They’ll need a top-notch SEC running back. His systems won’t need to change, but his personnel will. There’s a reason the SEC has produced more NFL draft picks than any other conference over the last 25 years.
* When this writer first blasted Missouri’s new Nike uniforms — especially the Tigers “paintball” helmet — I was told to hush up because that black-with-big-yellow-splat/Tiger-on-it number would only be worn once a year. So far, it’s been worn in both of Mizzou’s SEC contests. And it’s still ugly.
Alabama 40, Florida Atlantic 7 in Tuscaloosa
Key Stat: 110 yards. That’s all Florida Atlantic could muster against Alabama’s suffocating defense. Rushing: 76 yards. Passing: 34 yards. That’s it. So it’s probably safe to say the Owls didn’t have as much speed as they thought.
* Alabama gave up a touchdown on the fourth quarter of Saturday’s contest. It was the first score by an opponent against the Tide since the opener against Michigan at the first of the month. Alabama’s defense was unscored upon for 192 minutes which was the longest streak in the FBS level since 2004.
* Bama has Ole Miss next, followed by road trips to Missouri and Tennessee, then a home game against Mississippi State before traveling to Baton Rouge and a date with LSU on November 3rd. Anything can happen, but it’s hard to picture the Crimson Tide not crossing the Louisiana state line with a perfect record.
LSU 12, Auburn 10 in Auburn
Key Stat: 9 and 2. If you’re wondering how #2 LSU could struggle with an Auburn team that needed overtime to beat Louisiana-Monroe the week before, look at those numbers: 9 and 2. Nine penalties for 80 yards and two turnovers (both fumbles). While the Tigers are an unscathed 4-0 overall, they have been making more than their share of mistakes this season. Three times they’ve turned the ball over at or near their opponent’s goalline. Two words: Achilles’ heel.
* LSU still dominated Auburn in the box score 351 yards to 183 yards. Auburn passed for just 97 yards (with two more picks from quarterback Kiehl Frazier) and rushed for only 86. It’s really amazing the game finished as close as it did.
* Here at MrSEC.com, our thoughts go out to the family of Auburn student assistant coach Joe Bagwell. The 23-year-old died unexpectedly before Saturday’s game.
Rutgers 35, Arkansas 26 in Fayetteville
Key Stat: 525 yards. That’s the amount of offense Rutgers amassed in Fayetteville on Saturday. John L. Smith will get the blame for a season gone awry (blame should really go to Bobby Petrino). A concussion to Tyler Wilson probably cost the Razorbacks their game with Louisiana-Monroe. But the real problem in the Natural State so far this season has been the Hogs’ lack of defense. Despite playing Jacksonsville State, Louisiana-Monroe and Rutgers in three of its first four games, Arkansas’ defense ranks 101st in the nation allowing more than 1,800 yards to date. Horrific.
* Back on September 11th we wrote: “But if the Razorbacks lose to Alabama on Saturday — with or without Wilson — the wheels could start to come off John L. Smith’s bus.” Consider the wheels now officially off. After an upset loss to ULM, the only preseason goal the Hogs had left to play for was an SEC title. The 52-point shellacking they took from Bama ended those hopes. And that’s left a lot of guys with nothing to play for but pride. And when teams have nothing to play for but pride, bad things often happen. Like quitting. And this team appears to have thrown in the towel.
Texas A&M 70, South Carolina State 14
Key Stat: 10. That’s how many touchdowns Texas A&M dropped on tiny South Carolina State of the FCS. Five rushing TDs. Three more through the air. A punt return. And an interception return for the final score. Congratulations on wolfing down a cupcake.
* After another impressive performance, redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel is now completing better than 67% of his passes on the season. Even more impressive — his touchdown to interception ration is 7-0 at this point. And, oh yeah, he’s also rushed for 262 yards and five touchdowns.
Mississippi State 30, South Alabama 10 in Starkville
Key Stat: 9 yards. That was the difference in total offense between 4-0 MSU and 1-3 South Alabama. The Bulldogs outgained the Jaguars 356 to 347 as they won another unimpressive game over another unimpressive creampuff. Dan Mullen says his team has yet to play a complete ballgame and it’s hard to argue that point. Just a week ago State slipped by Troy 30-24 and gave up 572 yards in the process.
* MSU might not have the most impressive resume in the country, but the Bulldogs do boast an opportunistic defense. Through four games State has recorded 15 takeaways. In fact, the Dogs’ plus-13 turnover margin ranks second best in all of college football.
Georgia 48, Vanderbilt 3 in Athens
Key Stat: 130 yards. Freshman tailback Todd Gurley continued his hot streak rushing for 130 yards on 16 carries (for an 8.1 yards-per-carry average) and scored two more touchdowns. So much for missing Isaiah Crowell. Gurley leads the SEC in rushing with 101.5 yards per game and a 9.23 yards-per-carry average.
* UGA has put up 45 points (Buffalo), 41 points (Missouri), 56 points (Florida Atlantic) and 48 points (Vanderbilt) in its first four games. That marks the first time in the history of Georgia football that the Dawgs have scored 40 or more in four straight contests.
* Jordan Rodgers got the start at quarterback for Vanderbilt in what was a surprise move. Austyn Carta-Samuels had gone the whole way the previous week against Presbyterian, robbing Rodgers of a chance to gain some momentum or some confidence. That was a bizarre move by James Franklin who’s said he will base each game’s starter on the previous week’s practice sessions until someone claims the job with authority.
Tennessee 47, Akron 26 in Knoxville
Key Stat: 30-26. That was the score at Neyland Stadium with just 12-and-a-half minutes remaining in Saturday’s game. Tennessee tacked on 17 more points to win by a grand total of 21, but the Vols simply could not put away the 1-3 Zips until late.
* While the score was close, the Volunteers actually dominated in the stat sheet. UT had 633 yards of offense to Akron’s 344. The Vols passed for 401 yards while the Zips threw for 229. Derek Dooley’s team even managed to rush for 232 yards as compared to Akron’s 115. But two Tennessee turnovers — including a pick-six interception off of QB Tyler Bray — led to 10 of the Zips’ 26 points.