It’s difficult to wave that SEC flag too passionately this first week, especially with what transpired in Oxford, Miss.
The one-sided mismatches everywhere you looked were nfl jerseys
unflattering enough, but then Ole Miss managed to lose one of those games that was supposed to be a mismatch. Jacksonville State won 49-48 in double overtime at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, becoming the first FCS team to beat an SEC team since 2004 when Maine upset Mississippi State.
Florida had its struggles on offense, and so did LSU on both sides of the ball.
Here’s a look at what we learned in the SEC in Week 1:
1. Wide-open Tide: With Heisman Trophy running back Mark Ingram watching from the sideline while recovering from knee surgery, Alabama served notice that it can be just as explosive in the passing game as it can the running game. The Crimson Tide finished with 334 passing yards in their 48-3 thrashing of San Jose State and showed an assortment of different formations and looks, no doubt giving Penn State a few things to think about next week. Greg McElroy threw a 48-yard touchdown pass to Marquis Maze, and A.J. McCarron tossed a 29-yard touchdown pass to a diving Julio Jones. The Crimson Tide also showed a little bit of the Wildcat and Pistol formations. Obviously, this is an offense that can do a lot more than just turn around and hand the ball off to the tailback, although Alabama still does that as well as anybody.
2. Beast of the East: Yeah, it’s only one week of football, but the Eastern Division race could be as good as it’s been in a long while. Florida has some serious issues to work through on offense, like finding a consistent running game, identifying some playmakers at receiver and solving its center-quarterback exchange problems. Meanwhile, both Georgia and South Carolina look to be much improved. Assuming the Bulldogs get A.J. Green and Washaun Ealey back this week, they’re really going to be a load on offense, and the Gamecocks also won handily over Southern Miss on Thursday without five starters in the lineup. The first big East battle is on tap for next weekend when Georgia travels to South Carolina.
3. Get the ball to Shepard: Supposedly, the LSU authentic nfl jerseys
offensive staff was serious about getting the ball to Russell Shepard this season, and it looked that way in the first half against North Carolina. But the Tigers decided they were going to establish the run after getting ahead by 20 points at the half, and Shepard sort of disappeared from the plan. He’s clearly their most dangerous offensive weapon, and the Tigers have to find a way to get him the ball 12 to 15 times a game. The same goes for Rueben Randle. There are no more excuses the rest of the way.
4. Ole Miss exposed: As stunning as Ole Miss’ 49-48 double-overtime loss was to Jacksonville State, the real shocker was seeing the Rebels’ defense ravaged in the second half. This wasn’t just any defense, either. Ole Miss has talent and depth in its front seven. A lot of those guys have played together the past couple of years, but to blow a 31-10 second-half lead to an FCS foe is unfathomable. The fourth quarter has to go down as one of the worst 15 minutes in recent Ole Miss history, and the play that will define the Rebels’ struggles is that 30-yard touchdown pass by Jacksonville State on fourth-and-15. Getting back up from this flop and making it a successful season will take some doing.
5. Quarterback answers: There were more questions than answers for the majority of SEC teams at quarterback. For some, there are still a bunch of questions. For others, a lot of those questions were answered. Auburn’s Cameron Newton and Georgia’s Aaron Murray both had big debuts. The same goes for Tennessee’s Matt Simms. Ole Miss’ Nathan Stanley started well, but he wasn’t on the field when the game was decided. Houston Nutt went with Jeremiah Masoli during the overtimes. And at Mississippi State, it’s fair to say the Bulldogs have their quarterback of nfl throwback jerseys
the future. Redshirt freshman Tyler Russell threw four touchdown passes to tie a school record in his debut, and his future may very well be now. The most acclaimed of the first-time starters was Florida’s John Brantley, but he looked surprisingly pedestrian in an offense that never found any rhythm.