Athlon recaps the Week 1 action in the SEC.
The 2012 college football season kicked off with South Carolina beating Vanderbilt on Thursday night. The Gamecocks weren't particularly impressive but did just enough to knock off the Commodores. Derek Dooley's seat got a little cooler in Knoxville after beating NC State on Friday night. Alabama was the most impressive team in Week 1, thrashing Michigan 41-14.
Post-Week 1 Offensive Player of the Year Standings
1. Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina â Making his first appearance since injuring his knee last fall, Lattimore ran for 110 yards and two scores on 23 carries against a solid run defense at Vanderbilt.
2. Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee â It was quite a debut for the junior college transfer. He combined for 165 yards from scrimmage and scored two touchdowns â one on a 41-yard toss from Tyler Bray and one on a 67-yard run from scrimmage.
3. Tyler Bray, QB, Tennessee â The junior quarterback completed 27-of-41 passes for 333 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions in the Volsâ win vs. NC State.
Post-Week 1 Defensive Player of the Year Standings
1. Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama â Milliner had four pass deflections and an interception to lead Alabamaâs dominant defensive effort against Michigan.
2. Jadaveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina â The sophomore had four total tackles, including two for a loss (and one sack) in the Gamecocksâ 17-13 win at Vanderbilt.
3. Kenny Ladler, S, Vanderbilt â Ladler shined in a losing effort for Vanderbilt, recording nine tackles, one interception and a sack as the Commodores held South Carolina to 272 total yards.
Post-Week 1 Coach of the Year Standings
1. Nick Saban, Alabama â The Crimson Tide completely dominated Michigan, a team that won 11 games in 2011.
2. Derek Dooley, Tennessee â His seat is a whole lot cooler after the Volsâ impressive win over NC State in Atlanta.
3. Steve Spurrier, South Carolina â Heâs the only coach in the league with a 1-0 record in the SEC.
Post-Week 1 SEC Power Rankings
1. Alabama (1-0, 0-0 SEC)
Preseason Rank: 2
Week 1 Result: Beat Michigan 41-14
Alabama was perhaps the most impressive team in the nation in the opening week of the season. The Crimson Tide completely dominated both sides of the ball against a Michigan team ranked in the top 10 heading into the season. The Bama defense did a masterful job on Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson, who completed only 11-of-26 passes and rushed for 27 yards on 10 attempts. True freshman T.J. Yeldon was the star on offense for the Tide, rushing for 111 yards and one touchdown on 11 carries. This was complete domination.
This Week: Western Kentucky
2. LSU (1-0, 0-0 SEC)
Preseason Rank: 1
Week 1 Result: Beat North Texas 41-14
The Tigers disposed of North Texas in predictable fashion, leaning on a rushing attack that churned out 316 yards on 46 carries for an impressive 6.9-yard average. Zach Mettenberger put up solid numbers in his debut at quarterback (19-of-26 for 192 yards with one TD and one INT), but he missed some throws that he will need to hit against better competition. Tailbacks Kenny Hilliard (141) and Alfred Blue (123) both went over the 100-yard mark, and Odell Beckham returned a punt 70 yards for a TD in the first quarter.
Next Game: Washington
3. Georgia (1-0, 0-0 SEC)
Preseason Rank: 3
Week 1 Result: Beat Buffalo 45-23
The result was never in doubt, but Georgia didnât exactly dominate Buffalo (3â9 last season) as thoroughly as most Bulldog fans would have liked. There was a lot to like on offense â especially the 100 yards on eight carries from freshman tailback Todd Gurley â but Georgia couldnât have been thrilled about giving up 347 total yards (199 on the ground). Tavarres King caught six passes for 117 yards to lead the Dawgsâ receiving corps.
Next Game: at Missouri
4. South Carolina (1-0, 1-0 SEC)
Preseason Rank: 4
Week 1 Result: Beat Vanderbilt 17-13
South Carolina managed only 272 yards of offense, including just 67 through the air, but it was good enough to escape Nashville with a 17-13 win over Vanderbilt. Marcus Lattimore ran for 110 yards and two scores on 23 attempts in his return from a torn ACL. He might not be 100 percent just yet, but Lattimore is ready to carry to the load for the Gamecocksâ offense. And with Connor Shawâs injury â the junior quarterback is questionable this week with a left shoulder bruise â South Carolina will lean on Lattimore quite a bit in the ensuing weeks. It was clear on Thursday night that Dylan Thomas, the No. 2 quarterback, isnât ready to get the job done against a quality defense.
Next Game: East Carolina
5. Arkansas (1-0, 0-0 SEC)
Preseason Rank: 5
Week 1 Result: Beat Jacksonville State 49-24
After a sluggish start â Arkansas trailed 14-7 early in the second quarter â the Razorbacks surged past Jacksonville State to claim a comfortable win in Fayetteville. Playing for the first time since the Sugar Bowl two years ago, tailback Knile Davis carried the ball 18 times for 70 yards and a touchdown. Brandon Mitchell, the No. 2 quarterback last year, caught four passes for 122 yards in his debut at wide receiver, and tight end Chris Gragg caught seven passes for 110 yards and two scores.
Next Game: UL Monroe
6. Tennessee (1-0, 0-0 SEC)
Preseason Rank: 9
Week 1 Result: Beat NC State 35-21
Derek Dooleyâs third season began with an impressive win over a quality ACC opponent. The Volunteers were terrific in the passing games and just good enough on the ground â UTâs three tailbacks combined for 128 yards on 33 attempts â to keep the Wolfpack defense off balance. Quarterback Tyler Bray was sharp (333 yards and two touchdowns), but junior college transfer Cordarrelle Patterson was the story at the Georgia Dome. With DaâRick Rogers now at Tennessee Tech, the Vols needed Patterson to live up to expectations â and he delivered by catching six passes for 93 yards and a TD and adding a 67-yard touchdown run.
Next Game: Georgia State
7. Missouri (1-0, 0-0 SEC)
Preseason Rank: 8
Week 1 Result: Beat SE Louisiana 62-10
The Tigers raced out to a 28-0 lead in the first quarter and cruised to a 62-10 win in a tune-up for their SEC opener on Saturday vs. Georgia. James Franklin, who underwent major shoulder surgery in the spring, completed 13-of-21 for 131 yards and one touchdown. He will have to play better this week against a ferocious Georgia defense that will force him to prove his shoulder is 100 percent.
Next Game: Georgia
8. Texas A&M (0-0, 0-0 SEC)
Preseason Rank: 9
Week 1 Result: Game with Louisiana Tech was postponed.
Next Game: Florida
9. Florida (1-0, 0-0 SEC)
Preseason Rank: 6
Week 1 Result: Beat Bowling Green 27-14
Florida fans hoping that the Gatorsâ offense, under new coordinator Brent Pease, would show dramatic improvement in Week 1 were sorely disappointed. The final numbers (365 yards and 27 points) werenât terrible, but the Gators are going to struggle to move the ball once they get into league play. Jeff Driskel, who will start this week at Texas A&M, completed 10-of-16 for 114 yards and one touchdown. Florida had only one pass play that went for more than 18 yards.
Next Game: at Texas A&M
10. Auburn (0-1, 0-0 SEC)
Preseason Rank: 7
Week 1 Result: Lost to Clemson 26-19
Auburnâs defense remains a work in progress. The Tigers, who gave up an average 421.1 yards in 10 games vs. AQ conference opponents in 2011, struggled to stop Clemson â despite giving up only 26 points. The biggest issue was defending the run; Clemsonâs Andre Ellington rushed for 231 yards on an 8.9-yard average. Kiehl Frazier, making his first start at quarterback for Auburn, completed only 11-of-27 passes for 194 yards. The Tigers, however, did run the ball well. Tre Mason and Onterio McCalebb combined for 188 yards on 26 carries.
Next Game: at Mississippi State
11. Vanderbilt (0-1, 0-1 SEC)
Preseason Rank: 11
Week 1 Result: Lost to South Carolina 17-13
The Commodores held a 13Â-10 lead into the fourth quarterback but were unable to hold off South Carolina on Thursday night. Vanderbiltâs defense was strong, limiting the Gamecocks to 272 yards, but the offense didnât make enough plays. The Dores came away with zero points on three drives that began in South Carolina territory, and they came away with a total of three points on two trips to the red zone.
Next Game: at Northwestern
12. Mississippi State (1-0, 0-0 SEC)
Preseason Rank: 12
Week 1 Result: Beat Jackson State 56-9
The Bulldogs barely broke a sweat in a win over in-state ârivalâ Jackson State. Mississippi Stateâs offense showed nice balance, with 202 yards rushing and 193 yards passing. We will learn far more about this team when Auburn visits on Saturday.
Next Game: Auburn
13. Kentucky (0-1, 0-0 SEC)
Preseason Rank: 14
Week 1 Result: Lost to Louisville 32-14
Joker Phillips didnât need to win this game, but he needed his team to be competitive. Didnât happen. The Cats had no answer for a balanced Louisville offense that moved the ball at will for the first two-and-a-half quarters. There were some positive signs. Sophomore quarterback Maxwell Smith looked decent, completing 35-of-50 passes for 280 yards and two touchdowns. Kentuckyâs tailbacks also ran well, but the Cats were forced to abandon the running game after falling behind.
Next Game: Kent State
14. Ole Miss (1-0, 0-0 SEC)
Preseason Rank: 13
Week 1 Result: Beat Central Arkansas 49-27
Ole Miss averted disaster by seizing control of the game with a 35-point second half. The Rebels trailed 20-14 until midway through the third quarter before scoring twice in a three-minute period. Bo Wallace, who beat out Barry Brunetti for the start, completed 20-of-24 passes for 264 yards with two TDs and one interception.
Next Game: UTEP
by Mitch Light
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