What happened and what mattered in the Week 1 SEC games to kick off the 2018 college football season?
5. The “other” games
You want more of an offense, Gamecock fans? It might have only been a 49-14 win over Coastal Carolina, but Jake Bentley opened it up a bit, hitting 22-of-29 passes for 250 yards and four scores. The nine penalties were too many, but there weren’t any turnovers, and the O showed a fantastic balance going into the Georgia game.
Did Florida get anything out of its quarterbacks? Yup. In the 53-6 win over Charleston Southern, Feleipe Franks threw five touchdown passes, Kyle Trask hit all three of his throws, and the D held the Bucs to just three passing yards and forced three takeaways. This looked like Florida again, and now it has to do that against Kentucky.
Georgia went through its light scrimmage against Austin Peay and looked just fine in the 45-0 win. Jake Fromm took target practice with two scoring throws, Justin Fields got into the mix and was great, and the weapons were unleashed. Demetris Robertson ripping off a 72-yard touchdown run, Mecole Hardman making a 59-yard scoring grab, and D’Andre Swift scoring.
The Kentucky defense clamped down in the second half after the O turned it over four times in the first, holding Central Michigan scoreless in the 35-20 win. Terry Wilson struggle a bit in his first start – throwing for just 78 yards with two picks – but Benny Snell picked up the slack with 125 yards and two scores. UK goes to Florida next week.
It wasn’t the high-flying passing fun show it should’ve been, but Vanderbilt will take the 35-7 win over Middle Tennessee. Kyle Shurmur threw for just 170 yards and two scores, and the running game was just okay, but the offense took advantage of every opportunity, there weren’t any turnovers, and the D came up with two takesaways while keeping the Blue Raider O to under 300 yards.
The Joe Moorhead debut didn’t need Nick Fitzgerald, as Mississippi State managed to rip past Stephen F. Austin 63-6 behind 364 passing yards, five touchdown passes and two scoring runs from Keytaon Thompson. However, he only hit 13-of-31 passes. There were a whole lot of big plays, but to nitpick, more is needed from the running backs, and when Fitzgerald is back, the completion percentage will go up. But at least the No. 2 guy showed he’s ready to roll.
The high-octane passing attack at Arkansas worked just fine, with Ty Storey and Cole Kelley combining to hit 21-of-29 passes for 353 yards and four scores in the 55-20 win over Eastern Illinois. There wasn’t much of a ground game with just 80 yards, but there weren’t any turnovers and the D took it away five times.
Missouri started out with a bang, with Drew Lock throwing four touchdown passes, with two to Emanuel Hall, in the 51-14 win over UT Martin. The ground game only averaged 3.7 yards per carry, but there weren’t any turnovers and 558 yards of total offense.