Welcome back to Take a Look Tuesday, a weekly look at the rest of the teams in the SEC. Most of these games were blowout wins, but there were a couple notable exceptions.
Missouri 35 vs South Dakota 10 [Thursday]
Missouri kicked off their season with an easy win over an FCS foe. The Tigers held the Coyotes to fewer than 200 offensive yards and brought a balanced attack with over 200 yards passing and rushing. Brady Cook had a very efficient game going 17/21 for 172 yards and a TD while Cody Schrader led rushers with 138 yards on 18 carries and 1 TD. Mizzou managed to convert more than half of their 3rd downs, a thing they struggled to do in nonconference games last season. It was a solid win for a team looking to be more than a standard Missouri football team. The Tigers host MTSU Saturday at 6:00 p.m. on SEC Network+ and ESPN+.
#14 Utah 24 vs Florida 11 [Thursday]
Utah was without star QB Cam Rising for this one, but that didn’t seem to matter. Utah forced a quick three-and-out to start the game and brought out walk-on QB Bryson Barnes for his first career start. They went at Florida’s throat on the first play with a deep pass to Money Parks for a 70-yard TD and set the tone early. Utah played a better game, they looked faster, they were more physical, and they did everything that they should’ve done in Gainesville last year. The Gators did not belong on that field. Graham Mertz faced a ton of heat and got sacked five times. After removing the sacks and a kneel from Florida’s rushing total, they had 61 yards on 15 rushes. It’s not like this was the result of needing a late comeback, either, the Gators had 9 rushes in the first half. Graham Mertz throwing for 300 yards is great but scoring 11 points is not going to cut it. Florida should have an easier time Saturday when they host FCS McNeese at 6:30 p.m. on ESPNU.
Kentucky 44 vs Ball State 14
The Wildcats pounced on the Cardinals in a game that Kentucky dominated throughout. This game was noteworthy because it was the first game in the post-Will Levis era at Kentucky. NC State transfer Devin Leary took over and did a good job going 18/31 for 241 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception. Ray Davis ran for 2 TDs and 112 yards, more than every player on Ball State combined. One point of emphasis for the Cats this year is special teams, and they did a solid job. Georgia Southern transfer Alex Raynor made all of his kicks, Barion Brown returned a kickoff 99 yards for a TD and Octavious Oxendine blocked a field goal. If that and the offensive line clean up from last year, Kentucky could be the third best team in the East. The Cats host FCS Eastern Kentucky Saturday at 2:00 p.m. on SEC Network+ and ESPN+.
#12 Tennessee 49 vs* Virginia 13 (Nashville)
The blowout was expected, but the Tennessee offense still impressed. Milton made his return in dominant fashion. He went 21/30 for 201 yards and 2 TDs, added two more on the ground and led the Volunteers to a decisive victory. Jaylen Wright had more rushing yards than Virginia had as a team, but it was Dylan Sampson who gobbled up three rushing TDs with his 52 yards. Virginia was outmatched in this game from jump, but Tennessee made sure to put the rest of the country on notice that they are gunning for a New Year’s Six bowl bid. The Vols host FCS Austin Peay Saturday at 4:00 p.m. on SEC Network+ and ESPN+.
Arkansas 56 vs Western Carolina 13 (Little Rock)
War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock has hosted many big Arkansas games, but that was not true this year. Arkansas struggled with their FCS opponent last year, but this was a complete blowout. The Razorbacks held a commanding 35-3 halftime lead and never looked back. The Catamounts threw 4 interceptions, including a pick-six, and lost another fumble. KJ Jefferson had a solid day going 18/23 for 246 yards and 3 TDs while adding a rushing TD. It’s tough to know what this game means for the season going forward, and the same should be true next week. Arkansas hosts Kent State Saturday at 3:00 p.m. on SEC Network.
#22 Ole Miss 73 vs Mercer 7
Ole Miss opened the 2022 season with a 28-10 win over eventual Sun Belt champions Troy in an ugly game. This was ugly for very different reasons. Ole Miss had their way with Mercer all game long in a true shellacking. Ole Miss crossed the 70-point mark for the first time since 2018 and came away with their biggest win since the 2015 season opener, a 76-3 win over UT Martin. Jaxson Dart had an easy day going 18/23 for 334 yards and 4 TDs. Quinshon Judkins was the leading rusher with 60 yards on 13 carries and 2 TDs. It was a great start for the Rebels, but they face a tougher test in Week 2. Ole Miss travels to Uptown New Orleans to face #24 Tulane Saturday at 2:30 p.m. on ESPN2.
Auburn 59 vs UMass 14
UMass played their traditional role as the doormat for Power 5 teams in this one. Auburn began the post-Cadillac Williams era with an easy win that gave little indication as to what their season will look like. They allowed 301 total yards, but most of the game was played in garbage time. Payton Thorne led the passing going 10/17 for 141 yards and 1 TD, a winning line that’s a great throwback to the days of Bo Wallace. Robby Ashford scored three of the Tigers’ six rushing TDs. The defense also had their way with Minutemen starter Taisun Phommachanh, the former backup to DJ Uiagalelei at Clemson. For reasons beyond anybody’s comprehension, Auburn heads out west to face Cal Saturday at 9:30 p.m. on ESPN.
Mississippi State 48 vs Southeastern Louisiana 7
The first regular-season game of the Zach Arnett era went very well. The Bulldogs rolled to a conclusive victory in a game that was close until the latter portions of the 2nd quarter. Will Rogers had a good game going 20/29 for 227 yards and 2 TDs, but the passing game was not the story of this blowout. Arnett made it clear during the offseason that he would not be running the air raid system of his departed predecessor and would instead be installing a more balanced attack. Mississippi State crossed the 200 rushing yard mark for the first time since the infamous 2019 Egg Bowl and would’ve had 300 yards if they didn’t take knees to end the game. The Bulldogs host Arizona Saturday at 6:30 p.m. on SEC Network.
#1 Georgia 48 vs UT Martin 7
Georgia started their quest for the first threepeat in the AP Poll era with a convincing win over an overmatched opponent. Many online were shocked to see the halftime score be a mere 17-0, but that was never going to hold. Georgia’s three QBs combined for 400 passing yards and 2 TDs while 11 players caught at least one pass. The final score of the game came on the only turnover, a 26-yard pick-six by Georgia’s Kyron Jones. This was what many expected when they saw the game on the schedule, and that’s fine. Georgia hosts Ball State Saturday at 11:00 a.m. on SEC Network.
#23 Texas A&M 52 vs New Mexico 10
Texas A&M took 131:30 of game time to score more than 50 points last season. They needed a mere 58:50 to do it this year. The Aggies scored 50+ against an FBS team for the first time since the 2018 Gator Bowl in a massive blowout over one of the worst teams in the FBS. A&M went 5/5 in the red zone, all TDs, and nearly doubled the Lobos’ offensive yardage. Conner Weigman was an efficient 18/23 for 236 yards and 5 TDs, three of which went to Noah Thomas. It’s rare for these kinds of blowouts to indicate anything, but the scoring offense showed a massive improvement over last season in this game. Texas A&M travels to Hard Rock Stadium to face Miami (FL) Saturday at 2:30 p.m. on ABC.
Vanderbilt 47 vs Alabama A&M 13
Two down, four to go. Vanderbilt won a much less stressful game than their last one in dominating fashion. They had issues in the secondary against Hawaii, but Alabama A&M did not seem to test that as much, though that’s to be expected when facing a team that isn’t running the run and shoot. AJ Swann had a game that left much to be desired going 15/29 for 194 yards, 2 TDs and 1 interception. The most notable part of the game was probably when the Commodores blocked a punt for a safety to take a 5-3 lead. Other than that, it wasn’t much of a statement, but they’ll get that opportunity Saturday when the Commodores travel to Winston-Salem to face Wake Forest at 10:00 a.m. on ACC Network.
#4 Alabama 56 vs MTSU 7
Alabama beat the snot out of another mid-major to open a season, this is not big news. The only reason this game had any sort of intrigue was the Alabama QB battle. Jalen Milroe won that battle and showed off why. He was the game’s leading passer and rusher and was responsible for 5 TDs, three passing and two rushing. The Tide brought a balanced attack with over 200 yards both passing and rushing and doubled MTSU’s offensive output. Week 2 sees a rematch of a classic from last season. Alabama hosts #11 Texas Saturday at 6:00 p.m. on ESPN.
#21 North Carolina 31 vs* South Carolina 17 (Charlotte)
North Carolina was relentless with their defensive pressure. 9 sacks for 65 yards helped push the Gamecocks to -2 rushing yards by the NCAA’s definition, but their true rushing average of 2.9 yards per rush was not great, either. MarTay Jenkins was such a good power back last season, but he transferred to USC in the offseason, which will not help the offense. Spencer Rattler was 30/39 for 353 yards, but both of South Carolina’s TDs came on the ground. UNC was -2 in the turnover battle thanks to a couple of picks by Drake Maye, but that didn’t matter because of the ridiculous pressure from their defensive front. The Tar Heel State might have some really good football this year. South Carolina hosts FCS Furman Saturday at 6:30 p.m. on SEC Network+ and ESPN+.