Monday, October 4, 2010
Hot and Not in the SEC
By Chris Low
Let’s not wait any longer. We take our weekly look at who’s hot and who’s not in the SEC:
Jeremiah Masoli and the Mississippi offense are on a tear after a big game against Kentucky.
Alabama’s defense: For all the talk about Alabama’s inexperience in the secondary and losing nine defensive starters from a year ago, this is a defense that’s kicking tail and taking names right now. The Crimson Tide have given up a total of three touchdowns all season and still haven’t allowed a touchdown in the second half. You want more? They’re second in the SEC with 13 forced turnovers, including seven in their past two games, and are just about automatic when it comes to stopping teams on third-and-long. Alabama is fifth nationally in third-down defense. Teams are just 18-of-69 (26.1 percent) against the Crimson Tide on third down. They held Florida last week to 3-of-13 on third down and have now gone 18 straight games dating back to last season without allowing more than 21 points in a game.
Ole Miss’ offense: The Rebels have scored 97 points in the past two games to go along with 38 first downs and 879 yards of total offense.
LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson: In his past four games, Jefferson has averaged 74.5 passing yards while throwing five interceptions and no touchdown passes.
Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley: When you started listing the best interior defensive linemen in this league back in August, Fairley’s name probably wouldn’t have been on the list. It is now … at the top. He leads the league with 11.5 tackles for loss.
Georgia’s ball security: For the third time this season, the Bulldogs lost a costly fumble while driving for a score. This latest one was by Caleb King, who coughed it up in the final minutes with the Bulldogs at the Colorado 27 and well within Blair Walsh’s field-goal range.
Georgia receiver A.J. Green: Even though his team didn’t win, Green was outstanding in his return from suspension with seven catches for 119 yards. His sensational one-handed touchdown catch against the Buffaloes is the reason he’ll be the first receiver taken in the NFL draft next year.
Florida’s running game: The Gators don’t have much of one, especially when it comes to getting the tough yards. They’re ninth in the SEC in rushing offense after being held to 79 yards on the ground in the loss to Alabama.
Mississippi State receiver Leon Berry: He returned three kickoffs for 153 yards, including a 97-yarder for a touchdown, in the Bulldogs’ win against Alcorn State. Berry also caught three passes for 97 yards.
Kentucky’s defense: In the past two weeks, the Wildcats have been torched for 90 points and 767 yards of total offense.
Substitution foolishness: Raise your hand if you think there’s already too much substitution in college football. After watching that debacle unfold at the end of the LSU-Tennessee game, I’m a convert. Just when you thought Les Miles and his offensive staff were going to take the mismanagement of an end-of-game situation to a whole new level, the Tennessee staff stepped in and bailed them out by trying to shuttle in players in the waning seconds and got caught with 13 players on the field. The Vols had it won, and then they lost it. I’m not sure anybody on either sideline really knew what was going on. But what I am sure of is that it was quite possibly the worst management of the final few seconds of a game – especially when you consider that the two sides tried to out-blunder each other – in SEC history.