Les Miles is a buffoon. MSU is bad and the funny thing is that many of their fans are just happy to keep their coach. Go figure.
This one’s gonna have to be a quickie. Yesterday I was here:
And for the majority of the day I’ll be in the air (hopefully inside a plane).
Last night and this morning were spent watching online highlights of a few games I missed Saturday. As usual, here’s our Monday wrap of all the biggies from across the SEC. Enjoy…
Missouri 41, Georgia 26
A monster win at a monster cost for the Tigers. On Saturday in Athens Mizzou served notice that, yes, Gary Pinkel’s program is strong enough to compete in the SEC. In fact, they currently sit atop the East Division with a 2-0 league mark. In those two SEC games Missouri has scored 51 points at Vanderbilt and now 41 points at Georgia. If you’ll recall, when MU entered the league we said wondered if Pinkel’s system might thrive — as Bobby Petrino’s did — without a legion of 4- and 5-star recruits. That system’s looking pretty good right now. But now Mizzou faces an extended run (starting with Florida and South Carolina) without star quarterback James Franklin who damaged his shoulder on Saturday. Speaking of injuries, the Bulldogs’ offense put up 454 yards but it was clear quarterback Aaron Murray wasn’t in great sync with his battlefield-promoted wideouts completing just 25-of-45 with two interceptions. At least Mark Richt believes Todd Gurley is close to returning. UGA needs him, because the offense looks like it’s going to have to carry the defense the rest of the way.
South Carolina 52, Arkansas 7
As the old joke goes, this game put the UG in ugly. The Razorbacks couldn’t pass and couldn’t slow the Gamecocks. That’s a recipe for disaster and Carolina was happy to do the cooking. Arkansas’ Brandon Allen was a miserable 4-of-12 on the day for 30 yards, no TDs, one pick and a 2.5 yards-per-attempt average. That’s about as bad a stat line as you’ll ever see for an SEC starter. The Hogs managed to gain 218 yards on the ground, but even that was overshadowed by the Gamecocks who pounded out 277 rushing yards (to go along with 260 through the air). Most of the postgame talk focused on whether or not Jadeveon Clowney had a good day or not — let it go, folks — but the big takeaway should be that USC finally played all 60 minutes of a 60-minute game. Connor Shaw was good as usual (four touchdowns overall) and Mike Davis ran for another 128 yards. Carolina was at its best and Arkansas was at its worst (mired in a four-game losing streak).
Auburn 62, Western Carolina 3
A big win over a creampuff. WCU isn’t even a good FCS team. Ridiculously, this game is what catapulted Auburn into the top 25. (Well, this and other teams losing.) All’s well, right? Maybe not. With starting quarterback Nick Marshall banged up, Gus Malzahn turned to freshman QB Jeremy Johnson. He passed for 201 yards and four touchdowns (on 17-of-21 passing) as AU rolled up 712 yards of offense. Forget all the stuff about WCU being an horrendous team (1-6 at the FCS level). When the backup quarterback puts up those kind of numbers against air, it’s not a good thing. The first incompletion Marshall throws next Saturday — assuming he’s healthy enough to go — some Tiger fans will start yelping for Johnson to take over. It never fails, folks. The backup quarterback is always the most popular guy on the team and Johnson gave Auburn fans plenty of reasons to love him last weekend.
LSU 17, Florida 6
Now that’s more like it. That’s the way we’re used to seeing LSU win a football game. The Tigers outrushed the Gators 175 to 111 in holding Florida to 240 yards overall and a pair of field goals. An LSU team that had morphed into a pass-happy bunch this season reverted to it’s old self. It was as if Les Miles said to Will Muschamp, “OK, you want to play smashmouth? We’ll play smashmouth.” So long as Jeremy Hill is on the Tiger roster — and there are plenty who feel he shouldn’t be — Miles has the kind of back he needs to beat up opposing defense (pun intended). Hill carried 19 times for 121 yards and helped his team overcome a sub-par day by Zach Mettenberger (9-of-17 for 152 yards and no scores or INTs). Florida’s defense made things tough on Mettenberger, but LSU’s D made things even tougher on Tyler Murphy. Facing one of the SEC’s top teams for the first time, Murphy looked a bit more human on Saturday. He threw for just 115 yards (4.3 yards per attempt) and no touchdowns. In the end he had 10 carries for -13 yards. At game’s end, LSU looked capable of battling Alabama for the SEC West crown. Florida looked like a team with a really good defense and no real offense to speak of (which is fast becoming the definition of a Muschamp-coached team).
Alabama 48, Kentucky 7
The Crimson Tide did what it was supposed to do. After a scoreless first quarter, Nick Saban’s team blistered Kentucky 48-7 the rest of the way, outgaining the Wildcats 668 yards to 170. AJ McCarron threw for a career-best 359 yards. Bama also had a pair of rushers (TJ Yeldon and Kenyon Drake) break the century mark. For UK all the growth of last week’s hard-fought loss at South Carolina melted away early. Jalen Whitlow managed just two passes thrown before leaving with an ankle injury. Dropback passer Maxwell Smith replaced him but he had to have felt like General Custer’s #2 at Little Big Horn. The Cats are at the bottom of the SEC talent-wise while the Tide is at the top. Until Mark Stoops can build up UK’s roster, he’ll have little prayer going against the nation’s elite.
Missisippi State 21, Bowling Green 20
After scoring 21 points in the first half, MSU had to hang on for dear life at home against a decent Bowling Green team. Once again Dan Mullen’s squad grabbed the pelt of a lesser foe, but State fans aren’t as thrilled with such trophies as they used to be. And one-point wins sure won’t satisfy them. Dual-threat QB Dak Prescott rushed for 139 yards and two scores (and added 75 passing yards) to lead MSU to the win. Starting quarterback Tyler Russell completed 12-of-14 passes for 102 yards. Blah. Mississippi State failed to go up by eight on a fourth-down try from the Bowling Green eight with 4:21 to play. Taking over at their six and needing only a field goal to win, the Falcons could get no further than their own 45. Credit State’s defense for closing this one out.
Texas A&M 41, Ole Miss 38
And speaking of close calls. How many Aggie hearts jumped into Aggie throats when Johnny Manziel went down with an apparent knee injury in the first quarter? Of course, the Heisman-winner slapped a brace on and soon went right back to playing his own brand of dip, dodge, duck, dive, weave, pass and run football. Check this stat line: 31-of-39 passing for 246 yards, 124 yards rushing on 19 carries, and two rushing touchdowns (one of which tied the game at 38 with 3:07 to play). Bo Wallace (301 yards passing and three aerial TDs) and the Ole Miss offense finally started humming again after two tough weeks, but the Rebels’ attack couldn’t muster a first down after Manziel game-tying TD run. Leaving Johnny Football with 2:33 to get into field goal range is suicide and and that’s exactly what the Rebs did. Not surprisingly, Manziel completed a pass for 14 yards, then ran for 12 and 13 yards in helping to set up Josh Lambo’s 33-yard game-winning field goal as time expired. Kudos to both offenses, but the defenses need work. A&M’s has been exposed repeatedly but Manziel has been good enough to make up for it on all but one occasion. It’s asking a lot of the redshirt sophomore to expect him to put 40+ points on the board every week. As for Ole Miss, Hugh Freeze’s team needs to regroup after dropping three in a row to follow up a 3-0 start.
SEC Owns Football At The Midway Point
With Auburn jumping into the AP top 25 poll this week, the SEC now has eight ranked teams. Which means when someone talks about the “bottom half” of the league, even a school from that lesser realm is viewed as one of the country’s 25 best teams (actually 24, since that’s where the Tigers are ranked). Alabama (1), LSU (6), Texas A&M (7), South Carolina (11), Missouri (14), Georgia (15), Florida (22) and Auburn (24). That’s a record for the AP Poll and it’s gotta be danged annoying for folks like Bob Stoops who talk down the SEC. (Say, didn’t Stoops get his head handed to him by Mack Brown and struggling Texas on Saturday? Maybe he should spend more time coaching and less time flapping his gums about another conference. Focus, Bob, focus.)
Coaches Speaking Their Minds, Part I
In case you missed it, LSU’s Les Miles didn’t take kindly to a question about his team being the hammer and Florida the nail, a reversal — in the reporter’s mind — of last year’s tough loss for the Tigers.
Just a little touchy on the part of Miles there. On a sidenote, someone should attempt to diagram Miles’ sentences each week. That’d be a website well worth visiting.
Coaches Speaking Their Minds, Part II
Steve Spurrier also opened up after his team’s win over Arkansas to let everyone know just how badly he felt for the Razorbacks (at the 1:15 mark below):
“I do feel badly for Arkansas. It’s no fun getting your butt beat like this at home, homecoming and all that.”
Spurrier conceded that the Razorbacks aren’t as strong now as they were “when they were kicking our tails.” The Ol’ Ball Coach… always good for a quote.