Following a bad loss to Oklahoma State to kick off the season, the Mississippi State Bulldogs rebounded in a big way with a 51-7 victory over the Alcorn State Braves. All attention for Mississippi State fans will turn to the quarterback position after a well-played game by sophomore quarterback Dak Prescott, who started in place of a concussed Tyler Russell.
The Good: Mississippi State showed that their offense does indeed have a pulse. Yes, the Bulldogs were playing Alcorn State, so enthusiasm must be tempered a bit, but the team scored points on eight of fifteen drives in the contest. Dak Prescott looked as the starter, throwing the ball effectively. Also, freshman Damien Williams looked at ease on his first drive. The good showing by Prescott will give Auburn a little more to think about this week.
The showing of several young players had to make Mississippi State fans excited as well. Ashton Shumpert came close to picking up 100 yards in the game. It also appears that most of the players who missed time with injury (LaDarius Perkins, Nickoe Whitley, and Jamerson Love) will be back next week, but Russell will still have to pass tests.
On Sunday, Dan Mullen announced that Tyler Russell would start against Auburn if he is medically cleared, which Mullen did not believe would happen until later in the week. The Bulldogs could soon be staring down a full-blown controversy around the quarterback position should this concussion linger and Prescott put up outstanding numbers, or if Russell returns and struggles.
The Bad: While the Bulldogs came into the contest with multiple injuries at various positions, if Shumpert and Williams do not see significant action for the rest of the season, a whole season of eligibility will have been wasted on the two players.
With an already crowded backfield, one has to wonder how much playing time Shumpert will actually get for the Bulldogs this year. He put up an impressive showing, so perhaps he is ready to take an important role in the offense this year.
As to Williams, the fact that he came into the game causes these two thoughts: Either 1) Russell is not doing well from the concussion, so the staff needed Williams to take the field to prepare to be a backup for a stretch, or 2) Mullen does not feel that Williams will be the man to take the reigns from Prescott one day, so stretching out his eligibility is not that important. My personal hunch leans towards number one.
The Ugly: The only super bad news to come out of Starkville Saturday is that Justin Malone is done for the year.
In the it could get ugly department, as much as Mullen tried to calm the talk of a quarterback switch on Sunday, the topic will not go away. Dak Prescott played well against Alcorn State, especially with the placement of several of his passes. If Russell returns but struggles in the first half, the Auburn game could turn into an UAB 2011 moment.
Kentucky 41, Miami (OH) 7: Congrats go out to the Wildcats who picked up their first win in nearly a calendar year. The win was the first for Mark Stoops as a head coach.
Miami 21, No. 12 Florida 16: The ACC gets another big win over the SEC in back-to-back weeks. Jeff Driskil looked dreadful, and one has to wonder how much longer he remains the quarterback.
Tennessee 52, Western Kentucky 20: Bobby Petrino could not stay undefeated against the SEC as his team committed five turnovers in the span of six plays to take themselves out of the contest with the Volunteers.
Missouri 38, Toledo 23: The Tigers picked up their second win of the season against another ho-hum opponent.
Mississippi State 51, Alcorn 7: The Bulldogs put up some of their best numbers on both sides of the ball in quite some time in this contest.
Arkansas 31, Samford 21: The Razorbacks had to post a fourth quarter comeback to get past their FCS foe in Little Rock.
Ole Miss 31, SE Missouri 13: The Rebels improved to 2-0 in a breather game sandwiched between Vanderbilt, and what now really looks to be a winnable game against Texas.
No. 7 Texas A&M 65, Sam Houston State 28: Johnny Manziel and the Aggies' offense looks ready for Alabama, but the defense is another story.
Auburn 38, Arkansas State 9: The Tigers get to 2-0 against Gus Malzahn's former squad by using the running game to allow Nick Marshall to continue developing.
Vanderbilt 38, Austin Peay 3: The Commodores bounced back from heart breaking loss in the season opener.
No. 9 LSU 56, UAB 17: Zach Mettenberger had a big game, and Odell Beckham stole the show as the Tigers cruised in Baton Rouge.
HANDING OUT HARDWARE
Offensive Player of the Week: Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia: In the most high profile game on the SEC schedule in week 2, Murray answered many of his critics by throwing for 309 yards and four touchdowns against zero interceptions against South Carolina. A tip of the cap to Mettenberger who threw for an LSU record five touchdowns.
Defensive Player of the Week: Tennessee Volunteers Defense: Yes, it is a cop out move, but forcing five turnovers in six plays and having two pick-sixes is just an amazing team effort
Special Teams Play of the Week: Odell Beckham, LSU: Beckham gets some love with the 100-yard return off of a missed field goal.
THE TWEET THAT WON TWITTER THIS WEEKEND:
Texas' defensive woes may be due in part to missing on all their top safety targets in recruiting lately.— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) September 8, 2013
If you miss the joke, Texas recruited Johnny Manziel and Robert Griffin III as defensive backs. All they did was win the Heisman Trophy as quarterbacks. The Longhorns also fired their defensive coordinator (formerly of Mississippi State), Manny Diaz after the loss.
SEC POWER RANKINGS (LAST WEEK IN PARENTHESES)
1. Alabama (1): Texas A&M can try to knock the king from his crown next weekend.
2. Georgia (2): The Bulldogs rebounded in a big way to keep their hopes of a national title season alive.
3. LSU (4): Miami Dolphin and Baltimore Raven fans must be wondering how Cam Cameron has sparked an offense to life.
4. South Carolina (3): The Gamecocks have some struggles on defense, but it seems the Ole Ball Coach has some ideas.
5. Texas A&M (5): Until that defense shows a pulse, it will be hard to move the Aggies higher.
6. Ole Miss (7): As unpopular as this may be on a Mississippi State site, the Rebels have the look of a nine regular season win team. Look for the Rebels to win in Austin.
7. Vanderbilt (8): The Commodores look explosive on offense, which may be enough to let them finish third in the SEC East this year.
8. Florida (6): The Gators have serious problems on offense. It will be hard to replicate last year's defensive driven success.
9. Auburn (10): Malzhan has his team clicking. As long as the Tigers can continue to dominate with the run, the quarterback position can take the time needed to develop.
10. Mississippi State (12): The Bulldogs looked like a completely different team against Alcorn State. They should have. The real test comes Saturday at Auburn.
11. Tennessee (11): The Volunteers put on a clinic against a Western Kentucky team that could not get out of its own way.
12. Missouri (13): The Tigers are not overwhelming, but they are winning.
13. Arkansas (9): The Razorbacks are 2-0, but they have a long way to go.
14. Kentucky (14): It was great to see the Wildcats get a win, but they still have a long way to go.
FIVE THINGS I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS WEEKEND:
1. Most people probably missed it because it was on during the early slate of college football Saturday, but the game at 1-1 in the fifth set between Stanislaus Wawrinka and Novak Djokovic was simply amazing. Late in the fourth set Wawrinka suffered a thigh injury, and it looked like Djokovic would have a cakewalk. In that game, which lasted over 20 minutes, Wawrinka fought off five break points to finally hold. However, he would finally give into the world's No. 1, losing 6-4 in the fifth.
2. How huge could the allegations at Oklahoma State turn out to be? They stretch from Les Miles to Mike Gundy in tenure, and if they were proven to be very serious (pay for performance, bounty, sex with hostesses), one has to wonder if any of it could comeback to Miles at LSU.
3. The fact this happened is really awesome:
4. If you are not too into Monday Night football tonight, be sure to check out the men's final at the U.S. Open. Rafael Nadal and Novack Djokovic have put on some amazing sporting spectacles at the highest levels of the game. Sadly since neither are American, many have missed them over the years.
5. For people who say Jadeveon Clowney was a viral hit wonder, I wonder what you are thinking. The guy's skill is proven every time a team decides to play on half the field to avoid him.
5a: Toledo, Western Kentucky and Austin Peay all played their first two games against the SEC. They went a combined 1-5.