Week 1 takeaways from a near perfect opener for the SEC
What we learned about every SEC team after one game
Week 1 is in the books and the SEC showed in dominate form, excluding Tennessee which blemished the Southeastern Conference perfect record, resulting in a 12-1 SEC record after the opening weekend.
Here are the takeaways for the SEC from the season kickoff. The #3 Georgia Bulldogs handled Austin Peay 45-0 in a game that shouldn’t have gone any other way.
The big takeaway from this game is that, even though sophomore starting quarterback Jacob Fromm played a near-spotless game by completing 12-of-16 passes for 157 yards and a pair of touchdowns, Georgia native, superhyped freshman quarterback Justin Fields also impressed. After Fields entered the game with a 17-0 lead, the rookie completed 7-of-8 passes 63 yards and a touchdown with 33 yards on the ground including a 17-yard scamper. Georgia won’t reveal how much Fields will be used in the remainder of the season, but earlier indicators are that he should make a heavy impact.
In #1 Alabama’s demolition of Louisville, the takeaway for me is that the Crimson Tide are completely ready to become a pass-heavy offense with sophomore Tua Tagovailoa behind center. Tagovailoa got the start over Jalen Hurts, showing out to the tune of 227 yards and two touchdowns on 12-of-16 passing. The Alabama sophomore also added 26 yards and a score on five carries.
The #7 Auburn Tigers had perhaps the toughest SEC matchup this week, against #9 Washington, but showed out defensively, limiting the Huskies to three field goals and a touchdown in the Tigers 21-16 win. Sure, Auburn gave up almost 400 yards, but the Tigers defense caused big plays when it mattered the most.
What Mississippi State fans saw during the #18 Bulldogs 63-6 rout of SFA was an interesting look from defensive coordinator Bob Shoop, who showed he is willing to move star defensive end Carri Green anywhere on the field, evident by Green’s lining up at cornerback on several plays Perhaps the second-most impressive win of Week 1 came from #11 LSU, who will surely move up in the rankings after knocking off #22 Miami 33-15 in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score. LSU carried a 33-3 lead into the final quarter. The takeaway here is that LSU will easily go over their 6.5-win overunder prediction with the smart play of Joe Burrow and a dominating defense which already has two touchdowns under their belt.
It was hard to miss South Carolina receiver Deebo Samuel in the Gamecocks 49-15 victory over Coastal Carolina, and it was hard for Samuel to miss. The star wideout reeled in seven passes on the day for 56 yards, one of those coming in the form of a one-handed snag for a touchdown.
Fans learned from #25 Florida rolling over Charleston Southern 53-6 is that Charleston Southern isn’t very good, but also that sophomore Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks very well could be a competitive starting quarterback in the SEC, throwing five touchdowns in the first half, which is impressive against any defense.
Even though they aren’t eligible for postseason competition, Mississippi showed they have no intentions of rolling over this season with a 47-27 victory over Texas Tech.
Senior quarterback Jordan Ta’amu completed 22-of-32 passes for 336 yards and two touchdowns with arguably college football’s best group of wide receivers. But, the big takeaway is that Ole Miss might have finally found a legit running game with Scottie Phillips who scooted for 204 yards and two touchdowns on just 16 carries.
Arkansas looked impressive in their season opener with a 55-20 win, although it was against Eastern Illinois. There may be too many Hogs in the backfield but Arkansas definitely found their head hog at quarterback as Ty Storey threw for 261 yards and three touchdowns on just 12 completions. The defense may still need improving, but the Razorbacks new passing attack should be fun to watch this year.
The key thing to notice in Kentucky’s 35-20 win over Central Michigan is that the Wildcats can run the ball. This is crucial as Kentucky possesses two sub-par quarterbacks, but apparently they also have two above average running backs. Everybody was already familiar with starter Benny Snell, but allow me to introduce you to redshirt freshman Asim Rose, who broke free for 104 yards on just eight carries, resulting in two touchdowns.
As for Missouri, the Tigers beat Tennessee-Martin 51-14 and, even though the score got fast in a hurry, fans saw a slower paced offense out of new offensive coordinator Derek Dooley, one that still resulted in 54 points.
Other than the final 59-7 score, what looked best to Texas A& M fans this weekend was the poise of quarterback Kellen Mond.
Sure, some of the credit goes to the deprived defense of Northwestern State, but a lot of the credit for Mond’s 68 percent completion rate goes to new head coach Jimbo Fisher, who has a pedigree of getting the most out of his quarterbacks.
News at Vanderbilt is that the Commodores sideline looks pretty smart, not just the players on the sidelines who boast scholarly GPA’s, but especially head coach Derek Mason and new defensive coordinator Jason Tarver. The Vandy defense pitched a secondhalf shutout in the ‘Dores win 35-7 win over Middle Tennessee.
And, that brings us to Tennessee. Fans might get disgruntled by the thought that Jeremey Pruitt was supposed to come in and immediately fix all the Vols defensive woes, which clearly didn’t happen from the 40-14 loss to #14 West Virginia last week. But, to their credit, they were facing Heisman hopeful Will Grier, who scorched Tennessee with 429 passing yards and five touchdowns. Pruitt’s defense must go further in games. And ,it will, because the Vols won’t be facing that kind of competition every week.
By Collins Peeples