Another week, another meaningful slate of games in the SEC.
Georgia wrestled control of the East Division by beating South Carolina 41-30. The Bulldogs got a huge performance from quarterback Aaron Murray and running back Todd Gurley, while the defense delivered with a key fourth-down stop on the goal line.
Post-Week 2 SEC Power Rankings
|1||1||Alabama (1-0, 0-0): The Crimson Tide had the week off, giving Nick Saban and his staff an extra week — plus all the time spent over the summer — to prepare for the Texas A&M offense. Next Week: at Texas A&M.|
|2||3||Georgia (1-1, 1-0): It’s early, but Georgia took a big step toward its third straight SEC East title with a 41-30 win over South Carolina in Athens. The Bulldogs were outstanding on offense (7.1 yards per play) and good enough on defense. Aaron Murray, who had to answer questions all week about his inability to win the big game, threw for 309 yards and four touchdowns en route to his first victory against South Carolina. Next Week: Bye|
|3||4||LSU (2-0, 0-0): The Tigers returned home after their impressive win over TCU in Week 1 and disposed of UAB with little trouble. The offense continues to impress under first-year coordinator Cam Cameron. LSU rolled up 445 total yards, led by another stellar performance from quarterback Zach Mettenberger. The fifth-year senior completed 16-of-19 passes for 282 yards and a school-record five touchdowns. Jeremy Hill, who was suspended for the first week of the season, rushed for 50 yards on six carries. Next Week: Kent State|
|4||5||Texas A&M (2-0, 0-0): Johnny Manziel made his first start of the season in the Aggies’ final tune-up before Alabama comes to town. Manziel threw for 426 yards and three touchdowns to lead an A&M offense that torched Sam Houston State for 714 total yards. Manziel, who is making an effort to improve as a pocket passer, only had seven rushing attempts — the fewest of his career in a game in which he started. Next Week: Alabama|
|5||2||South Carolina (1-1, 0-1): The Gameocks’ season took a troubling turn on Saturday. Not only did Carolina lose a key SEC East game to Georgia, but two members of the coaching staff had to be separated on the field and the team’s star player, defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, voiced his displeasure on how he is being used by the coaches. One early season loss doesn’t necessarily doom an entire season — just ask Georgia — but South Carolina has several issues to deal with (both on and off the field) in the coming weeks. Next Week: Vanderbilt|
|6||6||Florida (1-1, 0-0): The box score will tell you that Florida completed 66.7 percent of its passes and rolled up 413 total yards. But in reality, the Gators’ offense struggled mightily and was the culprit in the 21-16 loss at Miami. Florida’s defense did its job, holding Miami to 212 yards and allowing the Canes to convert only 1-of-11 on third down. But the Florida offense, led by quarterback Jeff Driskel, committed six turnovers and accounted for only nine points — with the lone touchdown set up by a blocked punt — until late in the fourth quarter. Next Week: Bye|
|7||7||Ole Miss (2-0, 1-1): Ole Miss jumped out to a 31-0 lead at the half and cruised to a 31-17 win over Southeast Missouri State in its 2013 home opener. Not much didn’t go well for the Rebels, who outgained SEMO 532-to-252 and converted 10-of-17 on third down and 3-of-4 on fourth down. Bo Wallace only completed eight passes (in 15 attempts), but those eight completions resulted in 188 yards and two touchdowns. Next Week: at Texas|
Vanderbilt (1-1, 0-1): Vanderbilt was a bit sluggish at times on offense but still rolled to an easy 38-3 win over Austin Peay. The Commodores scored all five of their touchdowns in the second quarter and led 38-0 at the half. Austin Peay did not record its first first down until early in the third quarter. Vanderbilt quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels did not play in the second half. Sophomore Josh Grady played two series before giving way to redshirt freshman Patton Robinette. Next Week: at South Carolina
|9||13||Auburn (2-0, 0-0): Auburn was quietly one of the more impressive teams in the SEC in Week 2. The Tigers easily defeated Arkansas State 38-9, handing the Red Wolves their first loss since last September — when they were led by current Auburn coach Gus Malzahn. Quarterback Nick Marshall was efficient (10-of-17 for 147 yards, two TDs, no INTs), but the story was the Tigers’ rushing attack. Junior college transfer Cameron Artis-Payne led the way with 102 yards on 19 carries, while Tre Mason added 99 yards on 14 rushes and Marshall chipped in with 53 yards on eight attempts. Next Week: Mississippi State|
Tennessee (2-0, 0-0): So far so good for Butch Jones, who improved to 2-0 as the boss at Tennessee with an impressive 52-20 win over Western Kentucky. The Vols struggled a bit early but took advantage of six Hilltopper turnovers in the first half to seize control of the game. After a slow start, quarterback Justin Worley ended up with decent numbers — 11-of-19 for 152 yards with one TD and one INT. Still, he will have to play better against top competition to give the Tennessee offense its desired balance. Next Week: at Oregon
|11||9||Arkansas (2-0, 0-0): It was a little tougher than expected, but Arkansas improved to 2-0 under Bret Bielema with a 31-21 win over Samford in Little Rock. The Razorbacks trailed 21-17 in the third quarter but then seized control thanks to a running attack led by freshman Alex Collins (172 yards) and sophomore Jonathan Williams (126 yards). The Hogs outgained Samford 458-to-231. Next Week: Southern Miss|
Missouri (2-0, 0-0): The Tigers pulled away in the final 15-plus minutes to beat Toledo, 38-23, giving Missouri coach Gary Pinkel a win over his former school. James Franklin, who battled various ailments through a disappointing 2012 season, was the offensive star for Mizzou. The dual-threat quarterback threw for 212 yards and one touchdown and added 77 yards on the ground. Next Week: at Indiana
Mississippi State (1-1, 0-0): With Tyler Russell sidelined by a concussion, the Bulldogs turned to Dak Prescott at quarterback. The junior from Louisiana responded, throwing for 174 yards and two touchdowns and adding a score on the ground in the Bulldogs’ 51-7 win over outmanned Alcorn State. MSU held the Braves to two first downs in the first three quarters. Next Week: at Auburn
|14||14||Kentucky (1-1, 0-0): The Wildcats picked up win No. 1 for Mark Stoops, dominating overmatched Miami (Ohio) with ease. Kentucky jumped out to a 24-7 lead in the first quarter and was never threatened. With Maxwell Smith (the starter) and Jalen Whitlow sharing time at quarterback, UK accumulated 675 yards of offense on 74 plays for a healthy 9.1 yard average. The Kentucky defense, which gave up 487 yards in a Week 1 loss to Western Kentucky, limited Miami to 122 yards and no offensive touchdowns. Next Week: Louisville|
SEC Week 2 Awards
Offensive Player of the Week: Aaron Murray, Georgia
Murray delivered on the big stage, completing 17-of-23 passes for 309 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions in Georgia’s pivotal 41-30 win over South Carolina. The fifth-year senior quarterback, who entered the weekend with a 1-6 career mark against top-10 opponents, had been 0-3 vs. South Carolina. Last year, he completed 11-of-31 passes for 109 yards in a 35-7 loss in Columbia.
Defensive Player of the Week: Brian Randolph, Tennessee
Randolph, a sophomore safety who missed most of last season with a torn ACL, recorded eight tackles and intercepted two passes in Tennessee’s 52-20 win over Western Kentucky. The Vols forced seven turnovers, including five during one amazing six-play stretch in the first half.
Team of the Week: Georgia
The Bulldogs bounced back from a tough loss at Clemson last week and beat SEC East rival South Carolina 41-30 in Athens. Georgia was brilliant on offense, with Aaron Murray throwing for 309 yards and Todd Gurley leading a rushing attack that picked up 227 yards on 53 carries. For the game, The Dawgs averaged 7.1 yards per play — an impressive number against one of the nation’s elite defense.
Coordinator of the Week: D.J. Durkin, Florida
Georgia’s Mike Bobo deserves a ton of credit for the Bulldogs’ 41-point outburst against South Carolina, but we will give the nod to Durkin in the interest of spreading the wealth. The Gators lost to Miami, 21-6, but Florida’s defense was sensational for the majority of the game. Miami gained a total of 212 yards (with 10 first downs) and converted only 1-of-11 on third down. Standout tailback Duke Johnson was limited to 59 yards on 21 carries, and quarterback Stephen Morris connected on only 12-of-25 passing attempts.
Freshman of the Week, Alex Collins, Arkansas
One of the key pieces in Bret Bielema’s first recruiting class, Collins rushed for 172 yards and one touchdown on 24 carries in Arkansas’ tougher-than-expected 31-21 win over Samford. In two games, the Florida native has rushed for 303 yards on a 6.7-yard average.
• Nick Marshall has yet to throw an interception in 36 passing attempts in his two games as the starter at Auburn. Last year, Marshall threw 20 interceptions at Garden City (Kan.) Community College.
• Vanderbilt did not give up a first down in the first half of its 38-3 win over Austin Peay. The Commodores led 38-0 at the half after scoring 35 points in the second quarter.
• Kentucky averaged 9.1 yards on 74 snaps in its 41-7 win over Miami (Ohio). The Wildcats outgained the overmatched RedHawks 675-to-122 in Mark Stoops’ first win as a head coach.
• Zach Mettenberger set an LSU record by throwing five touchdown passes in the Tigers’ 56-17 win over UAB. The senior quarterback completed 16-of-19 passes for 282 yards and did not throw an interception.
• Dak Prescott made his first start for Mississippi State and threw for 174 yards with two touchdowns and rushed for 20 yards and one TD to lead the Bulldogs to a stress-free 51-7 win over Alcorn State. Prescott, a junior, stepped in for Tyler Russell, who was knocked out of the Oklahoma State game with a concussion.