Mississippi State 56 #FCSSOUTHEAST 9: As just about everyone expected (even though Tim Couch may or may not have called for the upset), Mississippi State picked up the win for which they paid, and got to hear an amazing band, The Sonic Boom of the South.
The Good: All day Saturday, many teams left lesser foes hang around in their contest, and they either squeaked out a win (Florida), or they ended up losing the contest (Penn State). Having been a Mississippi State fan for way too long, I started to convince myself that the Bulldogs would be in a dogfight with #FCSSOUTHEAST and need a last second field goal from true freshman Devon Bell to win the game.
Of course, that did not happen. The Bulldogs scored touchdowns on four of their first five drives to put the game out of reach early. During that scoring frenzy, Darius Slay did a great job of jumping a route and picking the pass and taking it to the house.
It looked like Tyler Russell (15-24, 185 yards, 2 TDs) had command of the offense, and he looked like the undisputed leader of the team. He did have a few questionable throws, but overall he performed well for an opener against a team that is hard to get too hyped to play. However, he will need to be better next week against Auburn.
The Bad: Defensively, the Bulldogs played off of their opponents a good bit during the game. Perhaps it was part of showing a vanilla defense, but if the #FCSSOUTHEAST receivers hauled in passes that hit them in the hands, the Bulldogs would have had struggles on the first two Jackson State drives.
It also seems a bit surprising that the Bulldogs only tallied two sacks and three quarterback hurries in the game. While Mississippi State was not going to show many blitz schemes in this game, it seems they may have done a better job getting to the quarterback, but they also played in a nickel most of the night.
The defense did score two touchdowns (which was better than our total team effort most games in the era of he who shall not be named), and like the offense, the defense did not show any damning deficiencies during the game.
The Ugly: Mississippi State's collection of kickers (all of the guys wearing No. 40) is now 0-2 while at Mississippi State. Until one hits a few field goals, Bulldog fans will hold their breath on every attempt. In SEC play, points cannot be left on the field.
Dan Mullen mentioned that he may use two kickers against Auburn. Sounds like there is a competition where there is not a winner.
Let's hop on the magic school bus and check in on the rest of the SEC:
South Carolina 17 Vandy 13: Led by Marcus Lattimore's 110 yards and two touchdowns, the Gamecocks picked up a tight win over Vanderbilt.
Jordan Matthews hauled in 147 yards on eight catches to pace the Commodores.
One interesting note is that it seems Connor Shaw suffered a shoulder injury in this game that might have a lingering effect for a while.
Tennessee 35 North Carolina State 21: With the fire of a hot seat lit under his rear, Derek Dooley must have lit one under his team because the Volunteers jumped out to a 22-point first quarter on their way to a dominant opening win over the Wolfpack.
Tyler Bray looked the part of a top quarterback, going 27-for-41 for 33 yards and two touchdowns.
Jawja 45 Buffalo 23: The Bulldogs let the Bulls hang around for a while, but Aaron Murray's touchdown pass early in the third sealed the game for the SEC team.
Todd Gurley helped the fans forget Isaiah Crowell as he finished with 100 yards on EIGHT carries with two touchdowns. He also had a 100-yard kickoff return.
Florida 27 Bowling Green 14: If not for a few blown chances, the Falcons could have upset the Jortsters in this one. The biggest take away from this game is that Jortsters have little certainty at the quarterback position.
Clemson 26 Auburn 19: The Fighting Chiz suffered the first non-conference loss for the SEC this year when they dropped their matchup with the Clemson Tigers. Kiehl Frazier went 11-for-27 for 194 yards and one touchdown for Auburn. He targeted Emory Blake (4 catches 109 yards, 1 TD) and Philip Lutzenkirchen (4 catches for 71 yards) in his first start.
Auburn did a bad job against the run in this game, allowing Andre Ellington to pick up 231 yards (8.9 average per carry) in the contest.
It seems the Bulldogs should plan on locking down Blake and Lutzenkirchen and running the football. (Note: Coach Mullen, I will not charge you for that advice)
Arkansas 49 Jacksonville State 24: Everyone wondered how Arkansas would respond without noted motorcycle enthusiast Bobby Petrino on the sideline, and it looks like it was business as usual for Arkansas.
While the game was close for a quarter (not the entire game, Ole Miss fans), the Razorbacks ran away with a 28-point outburst in the second quarter to put the game on ice.
LSU 41 North Texas 14: Did you know that both Dr. Phil and Don Henley claim Alumni status at North Texas? They might have played better than the current crew for the Mean Green.
The Corndoggers took care of the Mean Green with a solid performance by Kenny Hilliard, who picked up 141 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries.
Mizzou 62 SELA 14: The Lions fulfilled their contractual obligations by allowing Missouri to run roughshod over them for a win.
Kendial Lawrence ran for 121 yards and two scores, and media darling T. J. Moe caught a touchdown pass to help led Mizzou to the win.
In a somewhat unrelated, but connected thought, don't these wins over these little FCS schools sort of feel like sex with a prostitute? Yes, the fans have a good time, and the team does what they want to with the opponents, but it isn't very real or fulfilling. And of course, there is no kissing on the mouth. (Ed. Note: @justinrsutton has not engaged in sex with a prostitute)
Ole Miss 49 Central Arkansas 27: At the half, it looked like the Grove might turn into an inferno, but the Rebels rebounded to pick up what might be their only win of the year.
Bo Wallace led the Rebels in passing with 264 yards and two touchdowns, and he led the team in rushing with 82 yards and a touchdown.
Alabama 41 Michigan 14: The Tide destroyed their foes from the Big Ten in what became a laugher early.
Deploying a fleet of four running backs, Alabama's offense seemed unstoppable, and the defense allowed Michigan to score their SEC opponent average of 14 points in this game.
This just in: Bama is pretty good.
Louisville 32 Kentucky 14: This one was an ugly win for Louisville and an ugly loss for Kentucky. Anyone have a bucket and spare change to take up a collection for the moving fund for Joker Phillips?
SEC OFFENSE: T. J. Yeldon (Alabama): While many running backs put up big numbers against less foes (see Prostitute example above), Yeldon rushed for 111 yards and a score on eleven attempts against a top ten team. Also, he is a freshman.
SEC DEFENSE: Not to be an all Crimson Tide guy, but how about a team award for those guys.
SEC Standings: Right now, State is tied for first in the West, South Carolina leads the East
SEC Power Rankings:
5. South Carolina
6. Mississippi State
11. Texas A & M
14. Ole Miss
Ranking the teams was a bit troublesome. Right now, it feels the SEC has three really good teams, two should be good teams, two really bad teams, and then a jumble in the middle. I have a feeling this listing will change quite often.
Your turn: What did I get wrong? What did I get right? What features do you want to see (best tailgate set up, hottest fan, most "that guy" fan)? Let us know!
Which SEC team had the worst season opener?
Kentucky (107 votes)
Auburn (13 votes)
Ole Miss (41 votes)
Florida (50 votes)
Other (4 votes)
215 total votes