By Cole Frederick/Sports Correspondent
Auburn Week 2 Review
A week after struggling with consistency on the offensive side of the ball against Clemson, the Auburn offense exploded for over 700 yards in a 51-14 win over Arkansas State. The Tigers’ dynamic rushing attack was led by Kamryn Pettway’s 152 yards on 15 carries, while sophomore Kerryon Johnson added 124 yards on 18 carries and two touchdowns. Quarterback Sean White was 17 for 23 for 244 yards and three touchdowns, while backup John Franklin III rushed for 70 yards on just four carries. Auburn improved to 1-1 on the season and host Texas A&M this Saturday (Sept. 17) at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Alabama Week 2 Review
Despite a sluggish start – at least for Nick Saban’s standards – Alabama cruised to a 38-10 victory over Western Kentucky. Jalen Hurts received the majority of the snaps at quarterback and he was 23 for 36 in passing for 287 yards and two touchdowns. Calvin Ridley hauled in nine passes for 129 yards and a score, while ArDarius Stewart caught five passes for 90 yards and a touchdown. Alabama improved to 2-0 and travels to Oxford to take on Ole Miss this Saturday.
SEC football rankings
1. Alabama (2-0)
2. Texas A&M (2-0)
3. Tennessee (2-0)
4. Florida (2-0, 1-0)
5. Georgia (2-0)
6. Ole Miss (1-1)
7. Arkansas (2-0)
8. Auburn (1-1)
9. LSU (1-1)
10. Mississippi State (1-1, 1-0)
11. South Carolina (1-1, 1-1)
12. Vanderbilt (1-1, 0-1)
13. Missouri (1-1)
14. Kentucky (0-2, 0-1)
Week 3 Previews and Predictions
Week 2: 11-1; season: 19-5
Game of the Week
Alabama at Ole Miss (+10). Ole Miss is trying to become the first school to defeat a Nick Saban-coached Alabama team in three consecutive meetings. The Rebels have defeated the Crimson Tide the past two seasons, including a 43-37 shootout last year in Tuscaloosa. Saban is still unsure who his full-time starting quarterback will be, but this game will be decided by the Tide’s defense. If quarterback Chad Kelly is at his best, Ole Miss can pull off another upset. If not, it could be a long day for the Rebels. Prediction: Alabama 31, Ole Miss 24.
Ohio at Tennessee (-27.5). After a poor performance in the season opener against Appalachian State, the Volunteers bounced back with a resounding 45-24 victory over Virginia Tech. The Vols have one more tune-up game this weekend before they face Florida and Georgia in back-to-back weeks. Prediction: Tennessee 45, Ohio 16.
Vanderbilt at Georgia Tech (-6.5). The Commodores used an explosive second quarter against Middle Tennessee to pick up their first victory of the season. They defeated the Blue Raiders 47-24, and now must prepare for Georgia Tech’s triple option attack. If the ‘Dores want to go bowling, they desperately need this win. Prediction: Georgia Tech 23, Vanderbilt 17.
East Carolina at South Carolina (-3.5). South Carolina’s offense sputtered in the loss to Mississippi State, but the more concerning issue was the defense’s struggles with the Bulldog offense. If the Gamecocks are going bowling this year, the de-fense will have to carry them this season. Prediction: South Carolina 20, East Carolina 17.
New Mexico State at Kentucky (-19.5). An 0-2 start is not what Mark Stoops needed to start the season. The Wildcats were dominated in every phase of the game against Florida last week, and Stoops has no margin for error the rest of the season. Prediction: Kentucky 41, New Mexico State 20.
Mississippi State at LSU (-13.5). Les Miles finally decided to move on from Brandon Harris at quarterback, and Purdue transfer Danny Etling is now the starter. The Tigers were supposedly playoff contenders before the season, but the loss to Wisconsin in the first game of the season means they’ll likely have to win out to reach the playoff field. Prediction: LSU 31, Mississippi State 13.
Texas A&M at Auburn (-3.5). Auburn’s offense looked vastly improved against Arkansas State, but the defense might have to carry them again this week. This is the Aggies’ first road game of the season, though quarterback Trevor Knight played in several hostile environments during his tenure at Oklahoma. Prediction: Auburn 27, Texas A&M 20.
North Texas at Florida (-36.5). The Gators made substantial improvements from Week 1 to Week 2 and now get another tune-up game before next week’s showdown against Tennessee. Prediction: Florida 44, North Texas 3.
Texas State at Arkansas (-31). Arkansas’s wild win over TCU was one of the more surprising outcomes from Week 2, especially after the Razorbacks struggled with Louisiana Tech in Week 1. The Hogs should get an easy win this week before conference play begins next Saturday against Texas A&M. Prediction: Arkansas 52, Te-xas State 13.
Georgia at Missouri (+6.5). The Bulldogs narrowly avoided a catastrophic upset against Ni-cholls State last Saturday but escaped with a 26-24 victory. Georgia likely will rely heavily upon Nick Chubb this week, as true freshman quarterback Jacob Eason is still becoming acclimated with the system. Barry Odom picked up his first win as a college head coach last Saturday against Eastern Michigan, and both he and Kirby Smart are going for their first SEC wins this weekend. Prediction: Georgia 26, Missouri 10.
In & around SEC football
By Cole Frederick/Sports Correspondent