A weekend marred by blowouts and disappointingly bad play is in the rear-view. As noted yesterday, LSU has started staking a claim for the top spot in the SEC, though Alabama holds a slight edge over the Bayou Bengals in the SEC Power Rankings.
The best thing about last week – aside from LSU’s play – is that it’s over and plenty of football remains to be played.
Let’s take a look at Week 4 in this week’s SEC Rewind.
Week 4 Results
Vanderbilt 24, UMass 7
No. 9 Georgia 45, North Texas 21
No. 19 Florida 31, Tennessee 17
Rutgers 28, Arkansas 24
No. 10 Texas A&M 42, SMU 13
No. 1 Alabama 31, Colorado State 6
Mississippi State 62, Troy 7
No. 6 LSU 35, Auburn 21
Missouri 45, Indiana 28
Byes: Kentucky, Ole Miss, South Carolina
RB Jeremy Hill – LSU
Hill terrorized Auburn on Saturday, rushing for 183 yards and 3 TDs. He scored twice in the first 5:04 to essentially put away an overmatched opponent. In a quarterback-dominated sport, Hill’s star shined brightest in the SEC last week.
FB J.C. Copeland – LSU
The senior fullback dominated Auburn’s inferior linebackers all night on Saturday, clearing holes so wide that even Zach Mettenberger could have turned in big-gainers. Copeland also scored a touchdown of his own.
QB Tyler Murphy – Florida
Subbing for an injured Jeff Driskel, Murphy came in and accounted for 218 yards and 2 TDs to help the Gators run away from Tennessee.
DE Dante Fowler – Florida
Fowler spent his Saturday wreaking havoc on Tennessee, dominating one of the nation’s best offensive lines. Fowler turned in 3 TFLs, including a sack. He also forced two fumbles, recovering one.
QB James Franklin – Missouri
Franklin accounted for 404 yards of total offense and 3 TDs in helping Missouri secure a road win over Indiana.
QB Dak Prescott – Mississippi State
Prescott threw for, ran for and caught touchdowns this week in a 62-7 win over Troy. He continued building a case for the starting position by accounting for 322 total yards of offense and 4 TDs.
QB Johnny Manziel – Texas A&M
Ho-hum. Manziel threw for 244 yards and a TD while rushing for another 102 yards and 2 TDs. The Aggies blew out a mediocre (at best) SMU team.
QB Aaron Murray – Georgia
Murray threw for 408 yards and accounted for 4 TDs, including a 98-yard bomb. The senior continues to play at an exceptionally high level heading into this week’s showdown with LSU.
RB Tre Mason – Auburn
In a losing effort, Mason rushed for 132 yards and 2 TDs against a defense that looked dominant for much of the first three weeks.
Missouri trouncing Indiana
Choosing a “biggest surprise” in one of the most predictable weekends of college football is not an easy distinction. Missouri draws the distinction by going on the road and drumming Indiana in a game that kicked as a pick’em in Las Vegas. QB James Franklin, who faced so much scrutiny during the 2012 season and the offseason, posted big numbers in the win. The defense played reasonably well, too. Kony Ealy turned in the biggest highlight by returning an INT 49 yards for a touchdown.
Tennessee-Florida first half
Between Georgia’s special teams and Arkansas’ performance at Rutgers (#karma?), this one is hard to pick. Ultimately, though, this dishonor goes to the first half of the Florida-Tennessee game – a truly abysmal display of football. Really, this category could have gone to “the Tennessee offense” for turning the ball over six times (4 INTs, 2 fumbles) and managing just 220 total yards of offense. This game featured nine turnovers. Suffice it to say nobody will confuse this one for an epic anytime soon.
Florida QB2 Tyler Murphy
If not for an injury to QB1 Jeff Driskel and Jacoby Brissett’s decision to leave the program for North Carolina State, Murphy would still be a total unknown. It’s not as though we know much about him as it stands. What we do know is Murphy, a former Temple commit, accounted for 2 TDs when called upon during the Gators’ win over Tennessee. Whether Murphy can lead the Gators to an 10-win season remains to be seen. All he could do on Saturday was be ready if called upon – and when he was, he helped Florida beat a divisional opponent.
Tennessee’s preposterously bad offensive performance could bring on further change at the quarterback position. Coach Butch Jones already showed that he is losing patience with QB1 Justin Worley, who started the first three games and replaced QB2 Nathan Peterman after a disastrous start. Peterman is now out for several weeks with a hand injury, meaning true freshmen Riley Ferguson and Josh Dobbs are now listed as the backup quarterbacks. Ferguson, not Dobbs, traveled to Gainesville with the team over the weekend. That could indicate Jones’ preference, though the first-year coach did not double-down on any lean when he released this week’s depth chart, instead listing the freshmen as co-QB2s. There is more buzz in Knoxville about the possibility that either Ferguson or Dobbs could take the reins of the offense in the coming weeks if it continues to struggle…
This could become a lost season for another Volunteer. LB Curt Maggitt, who was supposed to give the Tennessee defense a shot in the arm when he returned from injury, might not come back this season. The program could reportedly seek a redshirt. That would be a big blow to a unit that just allowed 31 points to a less-than-stellar Florida offense…
Alabama coach Nick Saban has spent his time evaluating talent over the week-plus since his secondary’s horrendous showing at College Station. The time for someone to step up comes Saturday when the Crimson Tide hosts Ole Miss – a team capable of posting big passing numbers. The good news is that CB Deion Belue will apparently return to the starting lineup after missing last week’s game against Colorado State…
Auburn’s defense is in real trouble this season when it faces run games of any consequence. The Tigers simply aren’t good enough at the linebacker position, as evidenced by LSU FB J.C. Copeland absolutely pulverizing Auburn LB Jake Holland on at least a few occasions. LBs Kris Frost and Casanova McKinzy appear to give the Tigers their best chances athletically. Keep an eye on Justin Garrett, who spent the spring playing the Star position and is trying to transition to linebacker…
For the last 26 seasons, at least one thing has remained the same in the SEC: Kentucky will lose to Florida. The Gators will start a backup quarterback this week in Tyler Murphy. The Wildcats, three games into the season, still have no idea which quarterback gives them the best chance to win. Coach Mark Stoops would love to end the streak of futility. Of course, his team must score points in order to do so…
Auburn WR Sammie Coates draws acclaim as the team’s biggest deep-ball threat, but giving up on routes and dropping passes had kept him from fulfilling that promise. That changed Saturday at LSU when Coates hauled in four passes for 139 yards – including two long passes from QB Nick Marshall. The Auburn quarterback can sling the ball and if Coates emerges as a consistent presence, it could help Gus Malzahn’s offense reach new strides…
Vanderbilt WR Jonathan Krause turned in a huge game Saturday against UMass, but let’s not say he can fill Chris Boyd’s shoes quite yet. Instead, let’s see Krause and – perhaps more importantly – QB Austyn Carta-Samuels continue strengthening their connection as the Commodores search for a presence opposite Jordan Matthews…
Last week we wrote about Dak Prescott’s move for the starting position even when Tyler Russell returns. Prescott’s performance against Troy on Saturday did nothing to quiet that conversation…
Arkansas desperately needs QB Brandon Allen to return this week when the Razorbacks host Texas A&M. AJ Derby simply didn’t look like an SEC quarterback when he made his first start Saturday at Rutgers. Perhaps Derby can play better, but unless Arkansas can at least threaten to pass the ball competently, every SEC defense will stack nine in the box to slow down a dynamic run game. Rutgers laid out the blueprint. SEC defensive coordinators will take notice…
One thing Texas A&M doesn’t want to see is a game come down to a field-goal try. The Aggies have been dreadful in the kicking game and are now holding open kicking competitions after the team missed three consecutive extra-point attempts…
Georgia would be well-advised to shore up its special teams play. The Bulldogs allowed North Texas to return a kickoff for a touchdown and block a punt that the Mean Green recovered for another score. The struggles came as a surprise considering Georgia fared well in kick coverage against Clemson and South Carolina.
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