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SEC Scoreboard Wraparound: Week 3

Who Got Their Fill of Week 3 “Cupcakes”?

So I know that this article is a little later in the week than I would like, but life has been coming at me fast and furious these last couple of days. Regardless, I can’t let that stop me from posting my weekly scoreboard wraparound. So here goes!

As I posted previously, most of the SEC teams took it easy in Week 3, preying upon some easier than normal opponents that I adorably call “cupcakes”. Teams like Alabama, Kentucky and Missouri played teams like Louisiana-Monroe, Youngstown State and Abilene Christian respectfully. Those were all blowouts and rightfully should have been. But what about the other games on the SEC schedule? Let’s take a look at some of these now…

We start in the Home of the 12th Man, Kyle Field, in College Station, Texas where the number 24 ranked Texas A&M Aggies hosted the number 13 ranked Miami Hurricanes before a primetime, nationally televised audience. The Aggies were recovering from their humiliating defeat the previous week against America’s darlings, Appalachian State, and looking to bounce back against the Hurricanes. Looking for some sort of spark, Aggies head coach benched starting quarterback Haynes King and started LSU transfer Max Johnson against Miami. Fisher’s decision proved effective, as Johnson threw for 140 yards and a touchdown, propelling the Aggies to a 17-9 win. Fisher said after the games that the Aggies “still got to get a heck of a lot better on offense” but making the change at quarterback was “what was the best for us to win the game”. Texas A&M running back Devon Achane was a key contributor to the Aggies offense, carrying the ball 18 times for 88 yards and also catching the ball four times for 42 yards and a score. The Aggies defense also kept the ‘Canes out of the end zone, with all of Miami’s points coming from three Andrés Borregales field goals. Up next for the Aggies will be a test against another nationally ranked team, the 10th ranked Arkansas Razorbacks in Arlington, Texas. That game will also be the first of four straight games on the road for the Aggies…

Speaking of the Red Hogs, let’s look at the Arkansas Razorbacks and the little team that could, the Missouri State Bears. Arkansas was actually down to Missouri State at the half, before awaking from their sleepwalking slumber and scored 24 points in the second half to win, 38-27, in a closer-than-the-experts-thought game. The Razorbacks had almost 600 yards in total offense, paced by their phenomenal quarterback K.J. Jefferson, who had 385 yards passing with two touchdowns and 40 yards on the ground and one score. Sophomore running back Raheim Sanders also provided an amazing 167 yards rushing with one touchdown in the game against the Bears. Missouri State did provide the Razorbacks with a scare, mostly in the first half, as quarterback Jason Shelley did everything he could to try to propel the Bears to an upset victory, passing for 357 yards and one touchdown and running for one more. But the Bears faltered in the second half, only mustering 10 points, and thus, went the chance for a monumental upset…

And on the topic of upsets, many so-called experts say that LSU’s victory over Mississippi State was an upset. Most of the odds makers and talking heads on the major networks had the Bulldogs as the favorite, even in a night game in Death Valley. LSU proved all the nay-sayers wrong, beating Mississippi State, 31-16, giving the Tigers’ new head coach Brian Kelly his first SEC victory. It didn’t come easy, as the Tigers had to erase a 13-point deficit to come back to win against the pesky Bulldogs. Arizona State transfer quarterback Jayden Daniels accounted for more than 300 yards for the Fighting Tigers. Daniels was 22 of 37 for 210 yards and one touchdown and ran for 93 yards and another score. The Tigers scored twenty-one points in the final quarter to take the lead from State and pull away from the Bulldogs, with the Tigers defense stepping up to keep MSU out of the end zone in the game’s final fifteen minutes. The LSU defense definitely stepped up to the challenge, sacking State’s signal caller Will Rogers four times and made eight total tackles behind the line of scrimmage. The Bulldogs also had some self-inflicted wounds, including a muffed punt by wide receiver Austin Williams that was recovered on State’s 10 yard line, a holding penalty that wiped out an 88-yard kickoff return when Mississippi State was only down by eight points and a Rogers interception in the fourth quarter. The Tigers get a bit of a breather as they host New Mexico in Tiger Stadium this Saturday…

Looking at the results of the other games around the SEC, there really weren’t any big upsets. Like I said, most of the teams took the week off and feasted on “cupcakes”…

#1 Georgia – 48, South Carolina – 7

#2 Alabama – 63, Louisiana-Monroe – 7

#9 Kentucky – 31, Youngstown State – 0

#15 Tennessee – 63, Akron – 6

#18 Florida – 31, South Florida – 28

#20 Ole Miss – 42, Georgia Tech – 0

#22 Penn State – 41, Auburn – 12

Missouri – 34, Abilene Christian – 17

Vanderbilt – 38, Northern Illinois – 28

Looking ahead to well, tomorrow, and the set of games for Saturday, the two games that are the most appetizing (if you will) are the aforementioned matchup of former Southwest Conference foes #10 Arkansas and #23 Texas A&M and the rivalry game between #11 Tennessee and #20 Florida. I’ll comment on these games later.

One more thing I wanted to mention, I know that Zach Junda already posted an in-depth preview of the 2023 LSU Tigers football schedule and I know most other people have already had a chance to review the schedule and make their own opinions on the slate of games. That said, when I initially saw the schedule on Twitter, the first thing I thought, “Wait, so LSU opens the SEC schedule with Georgia on September 9? Good God! What were they thinking?!?” Then I realized that it wasn’t the SEC East perennial powerhouse on the schedule, but the in-state SWAC school Grambling. Then, I noticed the old switcheroo that the schedulers did, having LSU play Arkansas in September (which if you read Zach’s post is the earliest the two teams have ever played) and Florida in November. Lastly, I noticed the fact that LSU only has four road games (if you don’t count the Florida State game in Orlando as a road game) and seven home games, including games against Arkansas, Auburn, Florida and Texas A&M. I really think the Tigers have a very friendly schedule and if they continue to improve in Year Two, they should have some good results in most of the games on the horizon.