We continue our journey through the Southeastern Conference with 4 more games, including the odd soccer game thrown in, and a barn-burner offensive showcase of a soccer game at that.
Vandy dominated the second half of this game, outscoring Rice 17-0 over the final 2 quarters, and they scored the last 24 points of the game overall. Rice threw all over the Commodores and the Commodores ran all over the Owls, and Rice actually outgained Vandy overall, but they also had two turnovers to Vandy's zero.
Chris Nickson scored two rushing touchdowns and had 156 yards of total offense, but continues to not be able to pass effectively. However, Vandy sits at 3-0 and they've beaten 3 halfway decent teams. Not world-beaters, mind you, but halfway decent. And given how few teams in the SEC look like they are really outstanding, it's hard to point to many games on Vandy's schedule that appear to be unwinnable. Maybe Georgia; that would certainly be a long shot. Probably Florida. Other than that? There are 7 more games on this schedule that Vandy can look at and honestly say, "We have a shot."
Their offense is limited, but then again so is everyone else's. They've already snuck up on one SEC team. Will they do it to another?
Next week: Vandy at Ole Miss, 6:00pm.
Western Kentucky 7
A convincing, workmanlike win against an overmatched team. This is what you're supposed to do when you have a team outclassed. Score points early and let them know they have no chance. Alabama was up 31-0 at the end of the first half and coasted to victory from there. Once again, the freshmen are productive, as Julio Jones led Alabama in receiving with 5 catches for 66 yards and a touchdown, and Mark Ingram scored twice on 9 carries.
Next week: Bama at Arkansas, 11:30am, Raycom Sports.
Mississippi State 2
I had this game on mute while watching the LSU game on the computer. This game was as joyless as the score would indicate. Neither team could move the ball at all. I shouldn't really say that, as Auburn outgained MSU 315-116, a truly monumental advantage, but could not finish off any drives. They attempted three field goals, and missed one, including a very short field goal. Like I keep saying, college kickers are unreliable, and they will miss a lot of field goals that you legitimately think they should make.
Auburn's defense was, of course, outstanding. But then again, part of it is just that MSU's offense is so terrible. I mean, it's not like the Bulldogs moved the ball with any efficiency against Louisiana Tech either.
I don't want to degrade Auburn too much. They won, and won on the road. There's only so much you can criticize a team that wins on the road, but this game certainly tests the limits of that SEC axiom. If you don't believe me, check out the consternation over at the Auburn blog. You can read about it here, here, here, or here. Or you can go to firetonyfranklin.com, which was reportedly bought up yesterday.
I don't want to get too far into a preview of next week's game, but while it's clear that Auburn's offense is sputtering, we don't really know what we have offensively yet either. The Mississippi State game does nothing to suggest that we are clearly better, as we haven't played a team as good as Mississippi State yet.
Incidentally, there was a very scary injury to Brad Lester in this game. He fell on his head and was then rolled up on his neck. He was carted off the field and when I saw him he appeared to be unconscious and completely immobile. Not even the usual thumbs-up sign. It really looked pretty bad. Fortunately, he returned to the sideline later in the night and apparently was not all that seriously injured. No word on his immediate football future, but I was fearful we were seeing another Chuckie Mullins situation.
Next week: LSU at Auburn, 6:45pm, ESPN; Mississippi State at Georgia Tech (really?)
North Texas 7
I will be posting pictures of Little Miss ATVS wearing her LSU gear eventually.
We missed my goal of 250 yards passing and 250 yards rushing by 41 and 34 yards respectively, but I really think we could have named our score. We could have altered the gameplan to take away the things North Texas was doing offensively to maintain ball control, but I think we wanted to simulate an SEC game a little more closely and not just rely on our superior athleticism. We wanted to play them like we would play an SEC team, and most SEC teams aren't going to try to beat you with 4 and 5 yard passes. It just takes too long to score that way.
I wonder what role Jordan Jefferson will play going forward. Is he just a mop-up QB at this point, or will there be a Jefferson package? I still think he has better overall tools than either of our current QBs and they may be playing him now hoping he can emerge as the #1 guy next year.