What happened and what mattered in the Week 3 of the SEC college football season?
5. The “other” games
Georgia just keeps on playing like one of the top three teams in college football, if not No. 1. The 49-7 win over Middle Tennessee was dominant, with the quarterbacks combining to connect on 17-of-21 passes for 223 yards and four scores, the ground game averaged 7.5 yards per carry, and the D held Brent Stockstill to just 130 passing yards and a score with a pick. It was a no sweat, no stress game – like it’s supposed to be if you’re Georgia-good.
There was no Florida hangover for Kentucky. Granted, it was facing Murray State, and the stars played a little too long, but Terry Wilson was great – hitting 19-of-25 passes for 163 yards, and leading the way with 80 yards and a score in the 48-10 win. Benny Snell Jr. ran for 75 yards and a score. The team went through the motions, but it’s 3-0 … and it still has that win over the Gators.
What matters about Mississippi State’s 56-10 win over Louisiana? The quarterbacks hit 16-of-24 passes – they connected on over half of their throws. Nick Fitzgerald threw for 243 yards and two scores and ran for 107 yards and four touchdowns. Once again, the Joe Moorhead offense rocked. The defense allowed a slew of completed passes that didn’t go anywhere, and didn’t allow a touchdown until the fourth quarter.
There wasn’t any problem for Texas A&M getting past the loss to Florida State. The defense shut out Caleb Evans and the high-powered ULM offense in the second half of a 48-10 win. Kellen Mond hit 16-of-24 passes for 210 yards and a score, and he ran for 67 yards and two scores. The pass rush dominated, and the D managed to get off the field without too much of a problem. And what’s the payoff? Alabama is up next.
There’s no Kentucky hangover for Florida. Colorado State was able to beat Arkansas last week, but it didn’t have a chance against a jacked up Gator team that needed something big. The problem with the 48-10 win? Feleipe Franks only completed 8-of-15 passes for 119 yards with two scores and a pick. Fortunately for him and the passing game, the ground attack destroyed the Ram defensive front for 222 yards and two touchdowns, and the special teams helped the cause with two punt plays for scores – on return, one block. It wasn’t a perfect day, but for now, after last week, the Gators will take it.
Vanderbilt had its shot. It was marching late in the 22-17 loss to Notre Dame, but couldn’t come up with that one big pass play to keep things going. Kyle Shumur threw for 326 yards and a score with a pick, but there wasn’t enough of a running game to control the clock. The Commodores outgunned the Irish 420 yards to 380, but the three giveaways, problems against the Irish running game, and again, that one late misfire were too costly on the road.
That’s how the Tennessee defense is supposed to work. The Vols rolled by UTEP 24-0, holding UTEP to just 39 passing yards and not allowing much of anything on the ground. The offense did everything it needed to, getting a 12-of-16 day from Jarrett Guarantano, and 158 yards and a score on the ground from Ty Chandler. There were two turnovers, and too many third down misfires, but it was an easy win. There can’t be enough of those for this team, no matter who they’re against.