As LSU prepares to have yet another game disrupted by a hurricane, we take some time to review what happened in the SEC in Week #2 of the 2008 SEC season. More on the hurricane later.
It was a week where not much of great significance (to LSU) happened. There were no big upsets in the SEC. No big injuries (if Kenny McKinley is OK). No breakout performances by future opponents. It was an interesting week, but nothing really earth-shattering happened, unless you count Ole Miss looking pretty decent despite losing to Wake Forest. Anyway, let's get to the games, starting with the first five.
South Carolina 17
You only think this is a big upset if you didn't watch either of these teams play in the first week. No team has ever looked worse in winning 34-0 over a BCS-conference team than SC looked in beating NC State. Vandy showed a lot of moxie in beating Miami (Ohio).
I watched this game from opening kickoff to final whistle. It was an entertaining game, and the outcome was no fluke. Despite being outgained by 100 yards, Vandy really looked like the better team. USC is a good defensive team, but their offense is lousy, and once their defense lost its composure in the second half, Vandy was able to pounce and take the lead.
Kenny McKinley left the game with an injury, and was wearing street clothes for the second half. He's their best offensive player, and if he's out for any length of time, that will seriously impair the offense. He made a nice play to snag a 19 yard touchdown pass early in this game, and it was really the only thing the SC offense did right all game.
Once again, South Carolina's offensive line looked horrible, and they will have to correct that if they want to make any noise in this conference at all.
Vandy didn't look like world-beaters, and no one player really stood out for them offensively, but all phases played hard and did what they needed to do to win.
Next Week: Georgia vs. USC; Rice vs. Vandy
Southern Miss 13
Had Southern Miss played mistake-free football, they could have won this game. Auburn made enough mistakes to give Southern Miss a chance, but Southern Miss made their own mistakes in the form of dropped passes, dumb penalties, missed field goals, and their own turnovers that they were unable to take advantage.
But you don't want to hear about Southern Miss. You want to hear about Auburn. Well, they se em to have settled on a quarterback. Or at least, they should have settled on a QB. Chris Todd was effective, going 21 for 31 for 248 yards, for a nice 8.0 yard per attempt average. Kodi Burns, playing with an injury, was 0 for 3 with an interception (and it was a bad interception).
So, the passing game was, um, passable. The running game was ho-hum, as the 3 running backs combined for 29 carries for 131 yards, just over 4.3 yards per carry, with 2 touchdowns and 2 lost fumbles.
This offense is not in gear yet, and there's no guarantee it will get in gear, though this week was better in the passing department than last week. Switching from a power running game to a spread offense is bound to have transition costs, as the team currently in place was not recruited with that style in mind for the most part. The offensive linemen are big, strong types rather than quick, athletic types. The receivers are unaccomplished except for Rod Smith. The quarterbacks are still a mystery.
The defense is stout, but USM proved you can throw on this secondary, which is not a surprise considering the injuries have depleted the depth, and the starters are a little on the small side. USM threw for 268 yards with a redshirt freshman at the helm.
I am sure Crowton took notice.
Next Week: Auburn vs. Mississippi State.
Central Michigan 17
Central Michigan is a solid mid-major program, very respectable in the grand scheme of things. Georgia just walloped them. It was 28-0 midway through the 2nd quarter and Georgia pretty much just played out the game from there.
Oh, and if there was any thought that Knowshon Moreno might "pull a Justin Vincent", well, just watch the YouTube:
He finished with 168 yards rushing, 30 yards receiving, 2 touchdown, and 1 hurdled defender.
Next Week: Georgia vs. South Carolina.
Wake Forest 30
Ole Miss 28
This was a hard-fought, entertaining game that could have gone either way. Jevan Snead looks like the real deal at quarterback. The Ole Miss receivers are as good as I remember them being (which is good). The defense is suspect, but if they ever get their best defensive linemen healthy again, watch out. I remain convinced this team is a threat.
When I saw Snead throw the ball 50 yards without seeming to be trying very hard, I saw something that is kind of scary. The kid has the arm to make all the throws any quarterback needs to make. He seems to still be growing into the position, but he's way ahead of our quarterbacks at this point, and he can unlock the potential of their athletic receiver corp. He was 20 of 31 for 253 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 1 interception. That ain't bad at all, and if the defense had been able to hold Riley Skinner, they would have won this game against probably the best ACC team on their home turf.
The running game looked good at times, but finished with a pretty ho-hum stat line of 29 rushes for 107 yards and no touchdowns.
Those defensive linemen should be back playing when Ole Miss comes to Baton Rouge, and that could be a war.
Next Week: Samford vs. Ole Miss.