Featured What We Learned About Each Sec West Team In Week 7

Discussion in 'The Sideline' started by still, Oct 16, 2016.

  1. still

    still Administrator

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    Florida leads the SEC East though, ;)

    The only predictable things in the SEC West this year happen when one of two things occurs.

    The first is you play Alabama and lose. The Crimson Tide, coming off Saturday’s resounding 49-10 rout of Tennessee, continues to look like the class of the SEC.

    The second is if you have a bye. Auburn and Texas A&M had nice, predictable weeks.

    Everything else? Who knows? Ole Miss was once considered Alabama’s biggest challenger but just dropped to 3-3 against Arkansas. LSU was once considered Alabama’s biggest challenger but got off to such a slow start that it’s now 2-0 under an interim coach.

    The bottom line is this: Behind Alabama and maybe Texas A&M (the Aggies still have a lot to prove) there are a lot of competitive, talented and flawed teams who play “on-any-given-Saturday” barnburners. Like Arkansas’ win over Ole Miss or Auburn’s win over LSU earlier this season that got Les Miles fired.

    Here’s what we learned about the unpredictable West Division this weekend:

    Alabama: The most amazing stat in college football is this: The Crimson Tide has scored at least one non-offensive touchdown in every game this season and nine straight games overall. Alabama has 11 non-offensive touchdowns this season, two more than the South Carolina offense has scored this season. The Tide added an interception return for a touchdown by Ronnie Harrison, and Eddie Jackson returned a punt 79 yards for another score in the top-ranked Tide’s 49-10 rout of Tennessee. Alabama is hard enough to contend with without giving up these kinds of points. It seems we return to this point every week, but it’s such a rare accomplishment, it’s worth returning to.

    Arkansas: Aside from Alabama’s Jalen Hurts, there isn’t a faster-emerging quarterback in the SEC than Austin Allen. In Saturday’s 34-30 win over Ole Miss, Allen passed for 229 yards and 3 touchdowns and engineered the late-scoring drive that resulted in Jared Cornelius’ game-winning 6-yard touchdown run in the game’s closing minutes. It’s the continuation of a rapidly developing résumé for Allen, who has thrown at least two touchdown passes in every game and already has a 400-yard passing day against Alabama to his credit. He’s emerging from the shadows of his older brother, former Razorbacks star Brandon Allen, and even stood out against the SEC’s best quarterback, Ole Miss’ Chad Kelly, who passed for 253 yards and ran for 89 more against Arkansas. But it was Allen who had the late-game heroics for the win.

    LSU: The Tigers showed some new looks in Ed Orgeron’s second game as head coach, both because of injury. A banged-up offensive line led to star center Ethan Pocic getting his first start at right tackle and Andy Dodd getting his first start at center in Pocic’s place. On defense, Donte Jackson started for the suspended Kevin Toliver at cornerback and John Battle started for the injured Rickey Jefferson at safety. The results? Mixed. The offense had trouble running the ball in the first half of the 45-10 win over Southern Mississippi but opened up huge holes for some chunk plays in the second half. And the secondary was solid as the Tigers held one of the nation’s most explosive offenses to a mere 242 yards.

    Mississippi State: Maybe it’s time to start thinking about the future for a 2-4 MSU team that has non-conference losses to South Alabama and now BYU, 28-21, on Friday. In that regard, there are some encouraging signs. Nick Fitzgerald (214 yards passing, 1 touchdown and 41 rushing yards and 2 more TDs) is just a sophomore at quarterback and may never be Dak Prescott, but he’ll be pretty good. And the Bulldogs may have found a reliable running back option in sophomore Aeris Williams (82 yards on 21 carries). And redshirt freshman Leo Lewis is fast on his way to becoming the Bulldogs’ best defender. This is a team that can quickly get better but not before going through the labor pains of what’s looking more and more like a long 2016 season.

    Ole Miss: This is looking more and more like a team that is as good as what quarterback Chad Kelly can make them. In the 34-30 loss to Arkansas, the defense couldn’t stop the late, game-winning touchdown drive by Austin Allen and the Razorbacks. Kelly was not only the passing threat (though he had an off game) but the Rebels’ best running option as they lack a go-to running back. The Rebels are one of only two SEC teams allowing more than 30 points per game, and no running back is averaging better than 57.2 yards per game. So the only thing Ole Miss can consistently rely on is production from the SEC’s best quarterback. Add it up and you have a 3-3 team.
     

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