What mattered and what’s important from Week 2 of the SEC college football season?
And now there’s a whole lot of concern. After struggling against Georgia, Vanderbilt got bombed on by the great Purdue passing game that was way too much to keep up with. The Commodores gave up over 500 yards through the air and effectively got knocked out of the game in the third quarter. At the very least, Vandy needed to keep up the pace.
13 penalties for 100 yards. It was a sloppy game with too many stalled drives and too many bad positions the team was put in. There wasn’t any rhythm, partially because the secondary couldn’t come up with a big stop.
The passing game at least came up with some deep plays. Riley Neal threw for 378 yards and two scores, but there wasn’t any help from the ground attack. Ke’Shawn Vaughn only ran for 56 yards and a score – the Commodores couldn’t get anything established up front.
Where was the energy? Where was the spark? Where was the attitude? The tempo was slow by design, but Kellen Mond didn’t show up until it was too late, there were way too many misfires, and there wasn’t enough working when the game mattered. Mond ended up with 236 yards and a score, but he was off when the Aggies had their chances in the first half to make it a game.
The defense held up reasonably well. It was solid against the run – it didn’t get gashed by Travis Etienne – and it was at least able to pressure Trevor Lawrence. Clemson was going to push the ball down the field, and Lawrence is Lawrence, but keeping this amazing attack to 24 points was terrific. The offense didn’t carry its weight.
A&M didn’t have to be perfect, but it needed to be a whole lot sharper. Key penalties at bad times – nine in all – and two turnovers hurt, but overall, the inability to take advantage of opportunities was the biggest issue. Braden Mann helped give the Aggies great field position, and it didn’t matter like it should’ve.
That’s more like that the offense needs to do. It might not have been a thrill-ride with the passing game, but Tommy Stevens hit 9-of-10 throws with two scores before leaving the game hurt. Garrett Shrader was fine in his place, but the Bulldogs need Stevens to be back and healthy. If he’s not …
The offense will work even more around Kylin Hill, who ran for 123 yards and a score. The Bulldogs spread the ball around well and hit enough enough big plays early, and then they were able to coast.
The three takeaways mattered. This isn’t going to be a killer offense that can roll past the better SEC defenses, and the D is nowhere near the one that was so good last year so being +3 in turnover margin and committing one penalty is a must. There’s going to be little margin for error.