– Texas State at Texas A&M, Toledo at Kentucky, Ole Miss at Memphis
– Mississippi State vs. Louisiana, South Carolina vs. North Carolina, Georgia State at Tennessee
– Alabama vs. Duke, Portland State at Arkansas, Georgia Southern vs. LSU
How the hell did Auburn win that? The Tigers didn’t seem to have anyone open all game long, Bo Nix looked and played like he wasn’t ready for the big moment, and Oregon was faster, tougher, and looking more athletic, but … Auburn managed to hang around, got its chance, and pulled out a classic. Give Nix and the Tigers credit – they stayed in the game, and they were able to handle the marathon of a very, very long game. The AU D stepped it up in a big, big way.
Gus Malzahn got the win, but it wasn’t a well-coached game – Oregon managed to gack as much as Auburn was able to come though in the clutch. All’s well that ends well, but this would’ve been a complete and utter disaster if Oregon had come up with a touchdown on that final play, and would’ve won it on the extra point after Auburn didn’t go for two after the Nix game-winning scoring pass, and … WHATEVER. Oregon is the better team, it has more talent, more experience, and it was dominating for most of the contest, the Auburn found a way. It’s Week One … optics don’t matter.
The Tiger lines were getting beaten up early, but they lasted the long haul. Oregon didn’t have much of a running game, the D was dialed in on key plays late, and the offensive line did enough to get JaTarvious Whitlow 110 yards and help keep things moving when Nix was struggling. With Tulane and Kent State up next before going to Texas A&M, the Tigers have a few weeks to figure it all out – they got the win they absolutely needed to have considering what’s coming over the second half of the year.
The defensive tackle situation was the concern this offseason, but that’s not the only reason why the Missouri run defense was such a disaster. The secondary stopped the Cowboys to a dead stop, but UW QB Sean Chambers ran wild for 120 yards, Xazavian Valladay tore off 118 yards and a touchdown, and in all, the Tigers allowed more than seven yards per carry and close to 300 yards.
Kelly Bryant wasn’t perfect – there was a BAD pick in the end zone – but he showed off what he can do in this offense. There were too many misfires, and he’ll have to be more consistent and accurate, but he gave the Tigers a shot with 423 passing yards and two score with a pick. He’s going to be in for a monster statistical season, but he needs that run defense to give the offense some help.
Don’t just blame this on Week 1 – give Wyoming credit for being able to run wild – but the three turnovers, the lack of takeaways, and the empty drives early on in the second half were a massive issue. This is still going to be a dangerous team that can hang with just about anyone, but again the line that didn’t generate a sack and only came up with two tackles for loss has to crank it up in a big, big way.
Georgia had no issues and didn’t need to press, buuuuuut, it would’ve been nice if it could’ve showed off a bit more from the passing game. The Dawgs ran at will and didn’t have to take any big chances – D’Andre Swift was brilliant, coming up with 147 yards on 16 carries – and Jake Fromm took it easy completing 15-of-23 passes for 156 yards and a score. It was a smart game – let the lines do the work, and don’t screw it up. However, converting just one of seven third down tries wasn’t okay.
How did the Vanderbilt stars do? The passing game never got going with nothing happening down the field – the longes pass play was just 16 yards. Kalija Lipscomb was bottled up for eight yards on his three catches, and RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn led the way with three catches for 24 yards. Vaughn also ran for 74 yards on 15 carries, but he could never get in the game. Ball State transfer Riley Neal completed 14-of-25 passes for 85 yards.
It all went according to plan. Georgia was business-like as it showed it really is among the three best teams in America – remember, this was an SEC road game – and Vanderbilt wasn’t totally awful against one of the elite teams. Now it’s about tightening up for both teams – they each got flagged ten times – and they each have to unleash the air show next week. Georgia can do that against Murray State, and the Commodores have to get rolling against Purdue.