Here’s your Labor Day breakdown of each and every SEC game played this weekend.
Tennessee 35, NC State 21 in Atlanta
Key Stat: 524 yards. That’s how impressive the Vol offense was in the Georgia Dome on Friday night. Quarterback Tyler Bray and receivers Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson put on a show that will keep defensive coordinators up at night. UT had five plays of 20 or more yards including a 41-yard TD pass, a 72-yard TD pass, and a 67-yard end-around TD run.
* In what was a huge game for hot-seated coach Derek Dooley, his team came out and showed that they’re no longer a paper thin bunch of freshmen and sophomores. For the first time in his three years as coach, the Vols have some depth, some maturity, and some superior athletes.
* The Vols’ rushing numbers were aided by the aforementioned end-around and there’s still a need for Tennessee to show that they can run the ball between the tackles consistently. Too often, Bray was called upon to save the day with a third-and-long play.
* For his part, Bray’s 333 yards passing might have been his best performance as a Volunteer. Not only did pick apart NC State’s secondary with play-action bombs, but he also wisely checked the ball down, dumped it to a back, or through it away. For the first time, Bray’s decision-making equaled his talented right arm.
Tennessee Video Highlights
Georgia 45, Buffalo 23 in Athens
Key Stat: 199 yards. That’s how many rushing yards UGA’s injury/suspension-riddled defense allowed to Buffalo. Repeat… Buffalo. The Dawg D will have to be much, much better when they step onto the field at Missouri on Saturday.
* Freshman tailback Todd Gurley rushed for 100 yards, returned a kickoff for another hundred, and scored three touchdowns in his debut. As unveilings go, it was an electrifying performance. After the game, Richt deadpanned: “He averaged about what he averaged every scrimmage, about 12.5 yards per carry. I hope that’s a trend in his career.”
* Alex Zordich complete 14 of 24 passes against UGA’s secondary and he rushed for 83 yards on 14 carries. Missouri’s dual-threat QB James Franklin has to be licking his chops hoping that Todd Grantham didn’t hold his guys back with vanilla defenses.
Georgia Video Highlights
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