Around the SEC: Week two storylines

Although things got back to normal around the SEC in week two, it was a bit more eventful than some fans imagined it would be.

"Colossus" hangs above the playing field at the Battle at Bristol on Sept. 10, 2016. Photo by Sumner Gilliam.

No. 9 Georgia fights off determined Nicholls State (26-24)

For the second week in a row, a No. 9 team found a way to win in a close battle.

The Bulldogs called on freshman quarterback Jacob Eason for his first career start against the Colonels. Eason put together a solid performance, completing 11 passes for 204 yards and a touchdown pass with only one interception.

Heisman-hopeful Nick Chubb found the end zone first for Georgia, but Nicholls State wouldn’t hand the Bulldogs an easy victory. The Colonels fought back and took a one-point lead halfway through the third quarter. Eason then responded with a 66-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah McKenzie, putting Georgia on top.

The Bulldogs survived one last scare late in the fourth quarter after a fumbled punt put Nicholls State in the red zone. The Colonels capitalized with a six-yard touchdown pass, but failed the two-point conversion, providing Georgia with the 26-24 win.

No. 20 Texas A&M blows Prairie View A&M out of the water (67-0)

Senior quarterback Trevor Knight had an outstanding performance, throwing for 344 yards and three touchdowns, and also added a rushing touchdown. Knight accounted for 106 of his 344 passing yards on two touchdown passes to sophomore wide receiver Christian Kirk.

Running back Keith Ford also produced a solid game, powering his way into the end zone twice. The Aggie defense surrendered just 205 yards of total offense from the Panthers. Prairie View had a few scoring opportunities, but had a 38-yard field goal attempt blocked and missed a 42-yard field goal attempt.

No. 1 Alabama rolls past Western Kentucky (38-10)

Freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts racked up 287 yards and two touchdowns in his first start Saturday. He became the first true freshman quarterback to start for the Crimson Tide since 1984 .

Alabama’s defense gave up just 239 total yards and recorded a pair of interceptions.

A late Crimson Tide turnover gave the Hilltoppers good field position late in the fourth quarter. A missed defensive assignment then allowed WKU to score its only touchdown of the night. Even though Alabama cruised to victory, head coach Nick Saban chewed out his coaching staff for the late mistakes on both sides of the ball.

Florida chomps its way to a win over Kentucky (45-7)

Quarterback Luke Del Rio gave Florida one of its best quarterback performance in recent memory to propel the Gators to their 30th-straight win against the Wildcats. Del Rio completed 19-of-32 passes for 320 yards and four touchdowns, the most passing yards from a Gators’ quarterback in an SEC game since 2004.

Even as Florida’s offense rolled along, they couldn’t have done it with out the help of the defense. The Gator defense forced four turnovers and didn’t allow Kentucky to score until late in the fourth quarter.

No. 19 Ole Miss bounces back with win over Wofford (38-13)

Five days after a devastating loss to Florida State, Ole Miss needed to get back on track with an easy victory. And that’s what they got.

The Rebels came out red hot and never looked back, scoring on their first four drives. Quarterback Chad Kelly finished with 219 passing yards and three touchdowns. With such a comfortable lead, Ole Miss provided freshman quarterback Jason Pellerin with some playing time in the second half. Pellerin found the end zone twice, once through the air and once on the ground.

Wofford fought hard for its 305 yards of offense, but Ole Miss’ defense held its ground and prevented the Terriers from finding the end zone until the fourth quarter.

Vanderbilt tops Middle Tennessee (47-24)

The Commodore running game scored five times in a hard-fought battle against the Blue Raiders. Running backs Ralph Webb and Khari Blasingame scored a pair of touchdowns each, while Dallas Rivers added another score on the ground.

MTSU quarterback Brent Stockstill was a passing machine, churning out 65 passes and three scores.

What appeared like a fight until the final whistle didn’t play itself out in the fourth quarter. The Blue Raiders couldn’t score in the final 15 minutes, allowing Vandy to eventually pull away, 47-24.

Arkansas upsets No. 15 TCU in double overtime (41-38)

Arkansas managed to shut down the high-flying TCU offense in the first quarter, taking a 13-0 lead. From that point forward, the Horned Frogs lit up the Hogs defense and took an eight-point lead halfway through the fourth quarter.

The Hogs got within two points on Austin Allen’s 16-yard touchdown pass to Keon Hatcher, who then repaid the favor on a reverse pass to Allen for the successful two-point conversion. TCU’s last-second field goal attempt was blocked, sending the game into overtime. In double overtime, the Horned Frogs settled for a field goal, and Arkansas quarterback Austin Allen powered his way into the end zone on 3rd and goal to give the Hogs a 41-38 upset victory.

Mississippi State takes down South Carolina (27-14)

Mississippi State bounced back after a stunning loss to South Alabama, while South Carolina couldn’t use the momentum from a comeback victory over Vanderbilt to start 2-0 in SEC play.

The Bulldogs struck early and often, taking a 24-0 halftime lead, and halted a late Gamecock comeback attempt.

LSU routes Jacksonville State (34-13)

The Tigers, like Mississippi State, also suffered an upset last week, but not nearly as severe. After dropping its opener to now-No. 9 Wisconsin, the Tigers looked to regain their pride at home. Star running back Leonard Fournette sat out, but a quarterback switch to Purdue transfer Danny Etling awoke the struggling Tiger offense en route to a comfortable victory.

Auburn dominates Arkansas State (51-14)

The Tigers nearly stunned the college football world last week, falling short of upsetting No. 2 Clemson.

Auburn didn’t need anything close to a comeback effort against Arkansas State in week two. The Tigers used a 24-point second quarter to take a commanding 38-7 halftime lead, and the second half wasn’t any different. In total, the Tigers scored on nine of their 13 drives, executing a fake field goal and impressive one-handed catch along the way.

Missouri devours Eastern Michigan (61-21)

Missouri quarterback Drew Lock followed up his shaky performance against West Virginia in week one with a career day on Saturday. Lock threw a school-record five touchdowns passes and completed 24-of-37 passes for 450 yards during the win.

Eastern Michigan put up a respectable offensive performance, gaining 428 yards, but couldn’t keep pace with Missouri and gave away a pair of interceptions.

No. 17 Tennessee beats Virginia Tech in front of 156,990 (45-24)

It’s Bristol, baby! In what was the biggest college football game ever, Tennessee struggled to get the engines running going early before racing away to a 21-point win over the Hokies.

Tennessee struggled on both sides of the ball en route to a 14-0 deficit after one quarter. However, a Hokie turnover and a quick Tennessee touchdown sparked the Vols, who scored 24 points in the second quarter to start an eventual 45-3 scoring run.

While the Hokies produced more total yards (400) than Tennessee, their five fumbles ultimately did them in. The Vols capitalized on good field position throughout the game and never allowed Virginia Tech to threaten the second-half lead.

Edited by David Bradford and Nathan Odom

Featured image by Sumner Gilliam