- Edward Aschoff, ESPN Staff Writer
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It's time to take a look at the best in the SEC from Week 1:
Alabama's defense: Many wondered if Denard Robinson and Michigan's offense could give Alabama's younger defense some fits. That didn't happen. Alabama absolutely smothered Robinson and Michigan's offensive line early on in its 41-14 win. Defensive coordinator Kirby Smart game planned the Wolverines and Robinson perfectly, basically taking the potential Heisman candidate out of the game. Michigan got past Alabama's secondary on two deep plays, but the game was out of hand by that time. Senior cornerback Dee Milliner stepped up the way coach Nick Saban wanted him to. He showed tremendous coverage skills and grabbed one of Alabama's three interceptions.
Connor Shaw, QB, South Carolina: No, he didn't have even close to spectacular numbers against Vanderbilt, but talk about heart and grit. After suffering a shoulder contusion in the second quarter, Shaw returned in the third with basically half of his right arm attached. He was the ultimate leader, throwing and running with immense pain shooting through his shoulder. He took some more hits along the way and even slammed into the ground at the end of a 12-yard run toward the end zone. He finished the game with 67 passing yards and 92 rushing yards and the Gamecocks won 17-13.
Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee: What a debut for Tennessee's junior college transfer receiver. He more than made up for the loss of Da'Rick Rogers in the home run department for the Vols. He absolutely burned NC State's All-American cornerback David Amerson on a 41-yard touchdown pass and sprinted right by him again on a 67-yard touchdown run on an end-around. He finished the night with 165 total yards and two touchdowns, and the Volunteers won 35-21.
Marcus Murphy, RB, Missouri: Welcome back to college football. After missing the 2011 season due to a shoulder injury, Murphy returned with a fury as the Tigers' punt returner. He returned five punts for 181 yards and two touchdowns in a 62-10 win over Southeast Louisiana. Those touchdowns came from 70 and 72 yards out. Quite the return.
Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia: The rookie running back showed that he might have what it takes to be the Bulldogs' every-down back. He was Georgia's top rusher, carrying the ball eight times for 100 yards and two touchdowns, including a 55-yard run for a score. He also showed his explosion in the return game by taking a kickoff 100 yards back for a touchdown in the 45-23 win over Buffalo.
It's time to take a look at the best in the SEC from Week 1:Alabama's defense: Many wondered if Denard Robinson and Michigan's offense could give Alabama's younger defense some fits.