Week One was a good one for the SEC, with 10 of the 13 teams who played coming away with victories. Newcomer Texas A&M was the only team not in action, as their game against Louisiana Tech was postponed due to Hurricane Isaac. That means the Aggies won’t have a bye week this season, and they’ll play their first game of the season next week, against fellow conference member Florida. That’ll be Texas A&M’s home opener, too, and ESPN’s College GameDay announced that they’ll be in College Station to broadcast. Welcome to the SEC, Aggies. Read on for a recap of what went on around the conference in Week One.
The Gamecocks and Commodores kicked off the season – and SEC play – on Thursday night in Nashville. It was an ugly, somewhat boring game, but USC managed to come away with a narrow victory. That was somewhat overshadowed by the injury to QB Connor Shaw, though, and Cocks fans will now have to wait and see if their No. 1 guy will be able to play next Saturday in their home opener.
Vandy outplayed Carolina in almost all facets, but they just couldn’t capitalize when given opportunities. The Dores had a strong passing game, racking up 214 yards through the air, while South Carolina had less than 70. The Gamecocks won the battle on the ground, though, amassing 205 yards compared to Vandy’s 62. In his return from injury, Marcus Lattimore rushed for 100 yards for the ninth time in his career and notched two touchdowns.
South Carolina starts the season 1-0 overall and 1-0 in the SEC. They’ll be home next weekend to take on East Carolina. Vanderbilt is 0-1 overall and in conference play. They’ll travel to Evanston to take on Northwestern next Saturday.
Tennessee 35, NC State 21
Coach Derek Dooley may still have a warm seat, but starting the season off with a win in this Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game was a step in the right direction for the Volunteers, who struggled mightily in 2011. UT scored early and often in the first quarter, building a lead they would never relinquish. Cordarelle Patterson caught a 41-yard pass from QB Tyler Bray to put the Vols up 6-0 less than four minutes into the game. The Wolfpack scored a TD of their own with just over five minutes remaining in the quarter, but that was the only time they’d have a lead. Tennessee scored three times in the final minute of the first quarter, first on a 72-yard pass from Bray to Zach Rogers, then on a safety, and finally on a 67-yard run by Patterson.
NC State tacked on a TD in the second quarter, but UT dominated the scoring in the second half and the Wolfpack was never able to catch up. Patterson was the star of the night for the Vols, with six receptions for 93 yards and a touchdown plus two catches for 72 yards and a TD. Bray was 27-of-41 for 333 yards and two touchdowns. NC State QB Mike Glennon went 27-of-46 for 288 yards, a touchdown, and four interceptions. Despite not scoring himself, Quintin Payton led the Wolfpack with four catches for 129 yards. UT outgained NC State 524-407 in total yardage.
Tennessee is 1-0 and will be home next weekend to take on Georgia State.
(6) Georgia 45, Buffalo 23
The Bulldogs came away with a win on Saturday despite sloppy play and a lackluster defensive effort against the Bulls. Luckily for UGA, freshman RB Todd Gurley had an impressive coming out party, rushing for three touchdowns, including one that came on a 100-yard kickoff return. In addition to the 127 yards he had on returns alone, Gurley had eight carries and reached 100 yards rushing on the day.
Neither team’s defense looked particularly good, but unfortunately for Buffalo, their offense couldn’t do much, either. They scored three touchdowns, but Georgia scored so frequently that the Bulls could just never catch up. One bright spot for both teams was that they managed to avoid turning over the ball. UGA QB Aaron Murray was 15-of-26 for 258 yards and three touchdowns and Tavarres King led the team with six catches for over 100 yards and a TD. Buffalo QB Alex Zordich went 14-of-24 for 148 yards and a touchdown. Branden Oliver had 30 carries for 111 yards. The Bulldogs outgained the Bulls 485-347 in total yardage.
Georgia starts the season 1-0 and will be on the road next weekend to begin SEC play against conference newbie Missouri.
(23) Florida 27, Bowling Green 14
It was much closer game than the Gators would’ve liked, and I’m still not sure that they have a solid starting quarterback, but UF managed to open their season with a win over the visiting Falcons. RB Mike Gillislee provided the bulk of the Gators’ offense, rushing for just under 150 yards and two of the team’s three touchdowns. Bowling Green got on the board first, scoring a TD with just over a minute left in the first quarter. Gillislee found the end zone twice in the second quarter, though, giving Florida a 14-7 lead they would take into the locker room.
The Falcons’ only other score came about five minutes into the third quarter and the game was tied, but the Gators tacked on a field goal four minutes later to regain the lead. They scored twice in the fourth quarter first on a 50-yard pass from Jeff Driskel to Frankie Hammond and then on a 51-yard field goal from Caleb Sturgis. Driskel was 10-of-16 for 114 yards and a TD while Bowling Green’s Matt Schilz went 24-of-49 for just over 200 yards and a pick. UF also racked up 14 penalties for over 100 yards and barely outgained the Eagles in total yardage 365-327.
Florida is 1-0 and will travel to College Station next weekend to begin SEC play against conference newcomer Texas A&M.
Auburn 19, (14) Clemson 26
The score of this Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game between two groups of Tigers makes it look a bit closer than it actually was. Auburn struggled on both sides of the ball, unable to generate a consistent offense or defensive presence. Clemson wasn’t great either, but they looked much better than AU did. CU got on the board first with a field goal, but Auburn responded to take their first lead of the game. Unfortunately for them, they wouldn’t lead again until early in the fourth quarter, when Cody Parkey’s fourth field goal of the night put them up 19-16. Even more unfortunately for Auburn, they couldn’t hold that slim lead.
Clemson responded with two scores in the final nine minutes or so, including a field goal with less than a minute and a half remaining in the game. AU had no answer for either score as their offensive woes continued. QB Kiehl Frazier had trouble hitting receivers all night and was 11-of-27 for 194 yards, a TD, and an interception. His CU counterpart, Tajh Boyd, went 24-of-34 for 208 yards, a touchdown, and a pick. The Auburn defense couldn’t stop Andre Ellington from running all over the field, and he racked up 231 yards on 26 carries, though he did not reach the end zone. Tre Mason had 14 carries for just over 100 yards to lead AU. Clemson outgained Auburn 528-374 in total yardage.
Auburn starts the season 0-1 and will travel to Starkville to begin conference play against Mississippi State next weekend.
(10) Arkansas 49, Jacksonville State 24
With new coach John L. Smith on the sidelines, QB Tyler Wilson set a new Razorbacks record in their season opener, throwing for 367 yards en route to a solid win over JSU. After the first quarter ended with the teams tied at a touchdown each, the Hogs scored four TDs in the second quarter while the Gamecocks scored two. That gave Arkansas a 35-21 lead at the half, a nice, if not entirely comfortable lead. If the Razorbacks were worried, though, they didn’t need to be.
After the Gamecocks opened the second half with a 49-yard field goal, the Hogs added two more TDs. Neither team scored in the fourth quarter, so Arkansas’ 25-point lead stood. In his record-setting performance, Wilson was 19-of-27 for the 367 yards and three touchdowns. JSU QB Marques Ivory went 14-of-28 for 160 yards and two TDs. Neither QB threw an interception, though the Hogs fumbled three times and the Gamecocks did so once. In his first action in over a year, Razorbacks RB Knile Davis had 18 carries for 70 yards and a touchdown, while Troymaine Pope led Jacksonville State with 14 carries for 65 yards. Brandon Mitchell had four catches for over 120 yards for U of A and Alan Bonner was JSU’s leader, with eight receptions for over 100 yards and a TD. The Hogs outgained the Gamecocks 564-322 in total yardage.
Arkansas is 1-0 and will be home again next weekend to play Louisiana-Monroe.
(3) LSU 41, North Texas 14
The soggy weather caused by Hurricane Isaac did nothing to dampen the play of the Tigers on Saturday as they crushed the Mean Green with ease. LSU took an early lead, scoring their first touchdown just two and a half minutes into the game, thanks to a 38-yard run by Kenny Hilliard. The Tigers weren’t done, though, Kenny Hilliard. The Tigers weren’t done, though, scoring three more times before North Texas finally got on the board with less than two minutes remaining in the first half. The Tigers did lose QB Zach Mettenberger for a while early in the game, though, after he was leveled by Hilbert Jackson.
The Tigers didn’t ease up much in the second half, tacking on a field goal and two more touchdowns before all was said and done. The Mean Green were only able to muster one more score, a TD, midway through the fourth quarter. Mettenberger finished the night 19-of-26 for 192 yards, a touchdown, and a pick, though he wasn’t quite the same after the hard hit. North Texas QB Derek Thompson was 8-of-21 for 143 yards, two TDs, and an interception. Hilliard led the Tigers with 13 carries for 141 yards and two touchdowns, while Brandin Byrd led the Mean Green with 40 yards on 14 carries. No LSU receivers had 100 yards, while Brelan Chancellor had 114 yards and two touchdowns on four receptions for North Texas. He also had four kickoff returns for 74 yards. The Tigers outgained the Mean Green 508-219 in total yardage.
LSU starts the season 1-0 and will be home again next weekend to take on Washington.
Missouri 62, Southeastern Louisiana 10
The Tigers scored early and often in their rout of the visiting Lions on Saturday night. Mizzou got on the board with a touchdown four minutes into the game, and they added another one about 30 seconds later when Zavier Gooden returned an interception 20 yards. The next TD came three minutes after that on a 76-yard run by Kendial Lawrence, and their fourth touchdown of the first quarter happened less than 20 seconds later, on a fumble return by Michael Sam. Southeastern Louisiana managed to score a field goal in the second quarter, cutting Missouri’s lead to 28-3 at the half.
The Tigers opened the second half by scoring another touchdown less than a minute in, and added four more TDs, giving them a 62-3 lead. Two of those touchdowns came on punt returns of 70 or more yards. The Lions found the end zone themselves, but with only two and a half minutes left in the game, it was much too little too late. Mizzou QB James Franklin was 13-of-21 for 131 yards and a TD, while his Southeastern Louisiana counterpart, Nathan Stanley, went 21-of-33 for 165 yards, a touchdown, and a pick. Lawrence led the Tigers with 10 carries for 121 yards and two TDs. The Lions’ leading rusher, Michael Chaney, had 14 carries for just 35 yards. Southeastern Louisiana also turned the ball over four times, and they were outgained in total yardage 452-223.
Missouri is 1-0 and will be home again next Saturday to being conference play against Georgia.
Ole Miss 49, Central Arkansas 27
For the first time in three years, the Rebels began their season with a win. As new coach Hugh Freeze stood on the sidelines, Ole Miss also finally ended their seven-game losing streak with a win over the Bears at home on Saturday night. It wasn’t the prettiest of games, but after their struggles last year, coming away with a win was of utmost importance for the Rebs. Starting QB Bo Wallace looked solid against Central Arkansas, another encouraging sign for a team plagued frequently by poor play under center last year. Ole Miss scored first, a touchdown less than five minutes into the game, but the Bears responded and eventually took a 20-14 lead into the locker room at the half.
The Rebels offense really came alive in the second half, though, scoring five straight TDs, one of which came on a fumble recovery in the end zone by Ja-Mes Logan and another on a 53-yard pass from Wallace to Donte Moncrief. Ole Miss held a comfortable 49-20 lead with six minutes left in the game, though Central Arkansas had one more score left in them, a touchdown that came with a minute and a half remaining. Wallace was a stellar 20-of-24 for 264 yards, two TDs, and a pick. He also led Ole Miss in rushing with 13 carries for 82 yards and a TD. Bears QB Wynrick Smothers went 25-of-32 for 247 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. Moncrief had eight catches for over 100 yards and a touchdown. The Rebs outgained Central Arkansas 565-347 in total yardage.
Ole Miss starts the season 1-0 and will be home again next weekend to take on UTEP.
Mississippi State 56, Jackson State 9
Behind strong performances on both sides of the ball, the Bulldogs cruised to an easy win over the Tigers in Starkville on Saturday night. MSU dominated for the entire game, and they got off to a quick start, scoring their first touchdown less than four minutes into the game. They added on four more TDs in the first half, including one on an interception returned for 52 yards by Darius Slay. Jackson State managed to avoid being shut out before half time, scoring a touchdown of their own with less than a minute remaining in the second quarter, which sent the teams into the locker rooms with Mississippi State leading 35-6.
The Bulldogs tacked on two more touchdowns in the third quarter, one of which came on another interception return, this time a 22-yarder by Matthew Wells. The Tigers scored once more, a field goal in the fourth quarter, but MSU added another touchdown before all was said and done. Bulldogs QB Tyler Russell was 15-of-24 for 185 yards and two TDs, while his Jackson State counterpart, Dedric McDonald, went 14-of-27 for 136 yards, a touchdown, and two picks. The Tigers turned the ball over a total of three times; Mississippi State didn’t turn it over once. No rushers or receivers reached 100 yards for either team, and the Bulldogs outgained the Tigers in total yardage 395-265.
Mississippi State is 1-0 and will be home again next Saturday to start SEC play against Auburn.
(2) Alabama 41, (8) Michigan 14
In what was billed as possibly the biggest game of the weekend, the Crimson Tide kicked off their defense of the national title by rolling to a relatively easy win over the Wolverines inside JerryWorld. Bama was strong on both sides of the ball, running all over the field themselves while stifling the Michigan offense. After going three-and-out on their first possession, the Tide scored three touchdowns in seven minutes in the first quarter, including one on a 51-yard pass from AJ McCarron to DeAndrew White. In the second quarter, they added a field goal and another TD, this time on an interception return by C.J. Moseley, before Wolverines QB Denard Robinson ran the ball six yards into the end zone with just under two and a half minutes left in the half, which put the score at 31-7 Alabama.
Both teams scored in the final two and a half minutes of the third quarter, with the Crimson Tide tacking on a field goal and UM putting up another touchdown on a 44-yard pass from Robinson to Devin Gardner, despite Robinson being injured. Bama scored once more, a TD in the fourth quarter. McCarron went 11-of-21 for 199 yards and two touchdowns, while Robinson was 11-of-26 for 200 yards, a TD, and two picks. One player from each team tallied over 100 yards, as freshman T.J. Yeldon lead the Tide with 11 carries for 111 yards and a touchdown and Jeremy Gallon had four receptions for 107 yards for the Wolverines. Bama had almost double the amount of first downs (20) that Michigan did (11) and the Tide outgained the Wolverines 431-269 in total yardage.
Alabama starts the season 1-0 and will open the season at home next weekend against Western Kentucky.
Kentucky 14, (25) Louisville 32
A lack of offensive rhythm, especially in the running game, doomed the Wildcats early on in Sunday’s rivalry game, causing further problems for a team looking to bounce back after a disappointing 2011 season. The Cardinals scored first, a touchdown with just over three minutes left to go in the first quarter, and successfully executed a two-point conversion, giving them an 8-0 lead. UK responded with a TD of their own just over a minute into the second quarter, but Louisville found the end zone twice more, once on a 47-yard run by Senorise Perry, and took a 22-7 lead into the locker room.
The Cardinals scored twice more in the fourth quarter, giving them a comfortable 25-point lead. The Wildcats had one more scoring drive, which culminated in a touchdown with less than three minutes to go in the third quarter, but that was all the offense they could muster. Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater was an impressive 19-of-21 for 232 yards, while his Kentucky counterpart, Maxwell Smith, went 35-of-50 for 280 yards and two TDs. The Wildcats couldn’t contain the Cardinals’ ground game, though, as both Perry and Jeremy Wright had over 100 yards rushing, on 16 and 22 carries, respectively. Perry had one touchdown, Wright had three. CoShik Williams led UK with 10 carries for 62 yards. The Wildcats were slightly better through the air, as La’Rod King had eight catches for 77 yards and a TD. Kentucky also turned the ball over twice, while Louisville had no turnovers. The Cardinals outgained the Wildcats in total yardage 466-373.
Kentucky is 0-1 and will be home next weekend to take on Kent State.
For a full recap of the game between No. 9 South Carolina and Vanderbilt, visit Cocky Country.