Alabama showed its top-dog standing won’t change anytime soon after it survived a 49-42 shootout at Texas A&M. The Crimson Tide didn’t leave with its defensive pride intact, but the offense rose to the occasion.
Texas A&M, for its part, made a strong showing in defeat. WR Mike Evans stole the show, looking like the best player on a field full of superstars.
Now that the “it” game is in the rear-view mirror, the SEC turns to regular, plain-ol’ run-of-the-mill matchups such as Tennessee-Florida and Auburn-LSU. What a tough life, right?
Let’s take a look at Week 3 in this week’s SEC Rewind.
Week 3 Results
No. 7 Louisville 27, Kentucky 13
Arkansas 24, Southern Miss 3
No. 1 Alabama 49, No. 6 Texas A&M 42
No. 2 Oregon 59, Tennessee 14
Auburn 24, Mississippi State 20
No. 8 LSU 45, Kent State 13
No. 13 South Carolina 35, Vanderbilt 25
No. 25 Ole Miss 44, Texas 23
Bye: Florida, Georgia, Missouri
WR Mike Evans – Texas A&M
Evans seemingly got open and made plays anytime he wanted on Saturday, catching seven passes for 279 yards, including a 95-yard TD. Alabama, which many think has one of the nation’s premier defenses, had no answer for Evans – especially after CB Deion Belue left the game with a leg injury. Whenever A&M wanted to go downfield, Evans showed he could make a big play.
QB AJ McCarron – Alabama
The senior played some of his best football on Saturday, completing 20 of 29 passes for 334 yards and 4 TDs. More importantly, McCarron made some huge throws to help stem the momentum A&M created with its 14-point surge to start the game.
RB Jeff Scott – Ole Miss
Ole Miss beat Texas on the ground, led by Scott, who went for 164 yards and a TD. Scott also returned a punt 73 yards for a third-quarter TD that essentially put the game away.
QB Johnny Manziel – Texas A&M
When the spotlight shined brightest, Manziel played very well. Yes, his two turnovers were critical. One came in the end-zone and S Vinnie Sunseri returned the other for a touchdown. Still, Manziel finished with 464 yards passing for 5 TDs and another 98 rushing yards.
QB Nick Marshall – Auburn
Marshall makes this list largely because of on drive. Of course, that drive came at the biggest time and culminated in Marshall throwing for the game-winning touchdown with 10 seconds remaining in Auburn’s 24-20 win. Marshall threw for 339 yards and 2 TDs (although with 2 INTs as well) in the win. That the junior-college transfer engineered the 12-play, 88-yard drive in the 2-minute offense allowed the Tigers to sneak away still undefeated.
QB Connor Shaw – South Carolina
Shaw threw for 284 yards and 3 TDs against Vanderbilt while also leading the Gamecocks with 84 rushing yards.
QB Dak Prescott – Mississippi State
Making just his second career start, Prescott threw for 213 yards and rushed for 133 more with 2 TDs. He also played turnover-free football in his first road start, giving the Bulldogs a chance to win. In the end, it was State’s defense – not Prescott – that prevented it from winning.
Ole Miss steamrolls Texas
The Rebels returned the favor for last year’s blowout loss at Texas by beating the Longhorns by three touchdowns on their own field. Ole Miss caught Texas at a good time, less than a week after Mack Brown fired defensive coordinator Manny Diaz. Still, the Rebels scored an impressive victory with a balanced offense and a defense that made key defensive adjustments to hold Texas to just 90 yards of total offense after halftime.
Mississippi State’s prevent defense
Mississippi State had Auburn dead to rights Saturday night, needing just one defensive stop to leave Jordan-Hare Stadium with a key divisional win. After a slow start, the Bulldogs defense had given Auburn QB Nick Marshall and the Tigers fits. The Tigers jumped out to an 11-0 lead but State held them to just two field goals over the next two-plus quarters. However, State abandoned what worked all night in favor of a prevent defense. Marshall picked it apart for a 12-play, 88-yard drive capped by his game-winning TD pass to TE C.J. Uzomah. The Bulldogs can recover to make a bowl game, but this one will sting for a while.
LSU QB Zach Mettenberger
When Cam Cameron came on as the Tigers’ new offensive coordinator, many questioned how much coach Les Miles would allow Cameron to put his stamp on the attack. With the job Cameron has done with Mettenberger, the answer might be that Miles will stand back and let the man work. Mettenberger has gotten off to a sensational start, completing 65 percent of his passes for 797 yards, 9 TDs and – most importantly – 0 INTs. A year after Mettenberger threw 12 TDs and 7 INTs, those numbers show drastic improvement. The biggest difference comes in Mettenberger’s Raw QBR. He currently has a cumulative score of 91.6 (out of 100). His score in 2012 was 39.3. The best competition remains ahead on LSU’s schedule, but Mettenberger running Cameron’s offense is a big reason the Tigers are back among the SEC’s national contenders.
Arkansas QB Brandon Allen injured his shoulder while rushing for a first-quarter touchdown in a win over Southern Miss. Coach Bret Bielema said the injury was a “bruise” and that Allen being held out was merely a precaution. Still, considering Arkansas has no depth at the position, it’s a situation worth monitoring. The Razorbacks attempted just 11 passes in their 24-3 win over the Golden Eagles… Part of the reason Arkansas didn’t have to throw more often is because the offensive line did such a great job opening holes for RBs Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins. In the win, Collins became the first player in SEC history to rush for 100 yards in each of his first three games as a true freshman. Arkansas love to run the ball and control time of possession – something lost on many SEC West teams. Don’t be surprised if the Razorbacks steal one by playing keep-away later this year… The two-QB situation at Kentucky has failed miserably so far. Neither Maxwell Smith nor Jalen Whitlow has played to potential. Whitlow, in particular, committed two turnovers during the loss to Louisville. Smith didn’t do anything to claim the QB1 spot outright, either, completing just 9 of 20 attempts for 109 yards. Something seemingly has to give for the Air Raid II to get off the ground… It’s hard to explain the lack of opportunities Mississippi State RB LaDarius Perkins had Saturday night at Auburn. QB2 Dak Prescott made his first road start and passed well enough to keep the defense honest. He also showed off his bruising running style. Still, the way the Bulldogs controlled the line of scrimmage, this seemed like the kind of game in which Perkins could have been a central figure. Instead, he rushed eight times for 36 yards… In the same game, Auburn WR Marcus Davis announced his presence on the pivotal final drive. The true freshman served as QB Nick Marshall’s go-to-target, hauling in four of his six receptions on the drive for 35 of the 88 yards. Considering that the Tigers haven’t found consistent play at the position, Davis could easily find himself getting more opportunities… As good as Vanderbilt WR Jordan Matthews is, QB Austyn Carta-Samuels must do a better job getting more receivers involved. Carta-Samuels completed 12 passes – eight to Matthews and one to four other targets – during the Commdores’ loss to South Carolina. His task could become easier if or whenever WR Chris Boyd returns from suspension for his part in the cover-up of the Vanderbilt sexual assault case involving three football players… South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney announced that he would have surgery to repair bone spurs in his foot at the end of the season. Clowney made a big play this week, forcing a third-quarter fumble.
Topics: Alabama Crimson Tide, Arkansas Razorbacks, Auburn Tigers, Florida Gators, Georgia Bulldogs, Kentucky Wildcats, Louisiana State Tigers, Mississippi State Bulldogs, Missouri Tigers, Ole Miss Rebels, SEC, South Carolina Gamecocks, Tennessee Volunteers, Texas A&M Aggies, Vanderbilt Commodores