In & around SEC football


Auburn Week 1 Review

The Tigers opened up the 2014 season with a dominating 45-21 win over Arkansas. After a first half stalemate, Auburn dominated the Razorbacks 24-0 in the second half, led by a 177-yard performance from running back Cameron Artis-Payne. Quarterback Nick Marshall was suspended and didn’t play in the first half, but backup Jeremy Johnson was stellar in his place. Johnson threw for nearly 250 yards and two touchdowns in only two quarters. Johnson’s favorite target was newly acquired junior college transfer Duke Williams, who snagged nine passes for 154 yards and a score. The Tigers welcome San Jose State to Jordan-Hare Stadium this Saturday. 

Alabama Week 1 Review

Behind impressive rushing performances from Derrick Henry and T.J. Yeldon, the Crimson Tide defeated West Virginia, 33-23, in the Georgia Dome last weekend. Henry and Yeldon combined for nearly 250 yards and three touchdowns. Taking every meaningful snap for the Alabama offense, quarterback Blake Sims threw for 250 yards against the Mountaineers. The Tide gave up 365 yards through the air but allowed West Virginia to score only one offensive touchdown. Alabama faces Florida Atlantic this weekend at Bryant-Denny Stadium. 

SEC Rankings

1. Georgia

2. LSU

3. Texas A&M

4. Auburn

5. Alabama

6. Missouri

7. Mississippi State

8. Ole Miss

9. Florida

10. South Carolina

11. Tennessee

12. Kentucky

13. Arkansas

14. Vanderbilt

Week 2 Previews and Predictions (Week 1 record: 9-1) 

Saturday, Sept. 6

Arkansas State at Tennessee (-16). The Volunteers kicked off their 2014 campaign with a solid 38-7 victory over Utah State. Tennessee had trouble running the football, however, an issue they’ll need to correct before traveling to Norman to take on Oklahoma next week. Prediction: Tennessee 41, Arkansas State 10. 

Missouri at Toledo (+4). Mizzou defeated South Dakota State last week but the Tigers didn’t play at the level they’ll need to in order to win the East Division again. Toledo is a dangerous road game for Missouri, but the Tigers should be able to take care of the Rockets. Prediction: Missouri 38, Toledo 23. 

Florida Atlantic at Alabama (-40.5). The Crimson Tide has some issues on both sides of the ball that they must iron out in the next two weeks before Florida comes to town. The offensive line was good but not elite against West Virginia, and the quarterback situation still is not resolved. On defense, the secondary needs a lot of work. Fortunately, Ala-bama plays Florida Atlantic and Southern Miss in its next two games. Prediction: Alabama 55, Florida Atlantic 3. 

UAB at Mississippi State (-28). The Bulldogs manhandled an overmatched Southern Mississippi squad last weekend and should do the same to the Blazers this Saturday in Starkville. Prediction: Mississippi State 56, UAB 13. 

Ohio at Kentucky (-12.5). The Wildcats are only one victory away from matching last season’s win total and should take care of that milestone this weekend. Prediction: Kentucky 44, Ohio 16. 

Eastern Michigan at Florida (-38). Florida’s first game against Idaho was cancelled due to weather, but the Gators still get a warm up game before conference play begins. Prediction: Florida 56, Eastern Michigan 6. 

Nicholls State at Arkansas. Despite losing by 24 points to Auburn, the Razorbacks showed improvement on both sides of the ball from a season ago. The running game was strong for a half, and quarterback Brandon Allen had some promising drives. The Hogs get an easy win this week before traveling to Lubbock to take on Texas Tech. Prediction: Arkansas 45, Nicholls State 9. 

East Carolina at South Carolina (-16). The Gamecocks were a disaster against Texas A&M. Defensively, South Carolina sorely missed the presence of Jadeveon Clowney, and the offense failed to sustain any consistency due to an injury of running back Mike Davis. Steve Spurrier’s team must get back on the right track quickly, because a showdown with Eastern Division foe Georgia is looming around the corner. Prediction: South Carolina 34, East Carolina 20. 

San Jose State at Auburn (-31). Auburn’s offense was electric against Arkansas, but the defense was suspect in the first half. Expect Ellis Johnson’s defense to play much better against the Spartans. Prediction: Auburn 52, San Jose State 10. 

Sam Houston State at LSU. Despite a slow start against Wisconsin, the Tigers rallied for a 28-24 win. The offense was shaky at times, and the defense was weak against the run, but LSU defeated a quality opponent to start its season. Prediction: LSU 47, Sam Houston State 6. 

Lamar at Texas A&M. The Aggies put on a show to start their season against South Carolina. Quarterback Kenny Hill, who took over for Johnny Manziel, was dazzling in his debut, passing for over 500 yards en route to a 52-28 victory. Prediction: Texas A&M 63, Lamar 9. 

Game of the Week

Ole Miss at Vanderbilt (+20). Ole Miss defeated Boise State, 35-13, behind a dominant defensive performance. The Rebels were unsteady on offense in the first half but pulled away in the fourth quarter. The Derek Mason era started poorly for Vanderbilt, as the Nashville squad was embarrassed by a Temple team that won two games a season ago. Prediction: Ole Miss 41, Vanderbilt 13.

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