Sunday, November 15, 2009
SEC helmet stickers: Week 11
By ESPN.com staff
It was a record-setting Saturday in the SEC, which means there were a bunch of worthy candidates for helmet stickers.
Let’s pass out a few:
Ole Miss running back Dexter McCluster: You could watch football for a long time and not see a performance as good as what McCluster put on Saturday in Ole Miss’ 42-17 rout of Tennessee. McCluster set Ole Miss records with 282 rushing yards and 324 all-purpose yards and scored four touchdowns, including a 71-yard gem where he made a couple of Tennessee defenders look silly with ankle-breaking moves. The 170-pound McCluster has few peers when it comes to pure excitement. In the open field, he's the most difficult player in this league to tackle.
Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett: For a debut season in the SEC, Mallett has been better than anybody could have anticipated. He finished with 405 yards passing in the 56-20 win over Troy to break Arkansas’ single-season record and also threw five touchdown passes to five different receivers. For the season, he now has 2,882 yards, 23 touchdowns and only four interceptions. Granted, there’s a guy named Tim Tebow in the league, but Mallett is making a strong bid for first-team All-SEC honors at quarterback.
Alabama safety Mark Barron: One of the unsung stories surrounding Alabama’s defense this season has been the job Barron has done stepping in for Rashad Johnson at safety. Barron had two more interceptions in the 31-3 whipping of Mississippi State on Saturday to raise his league-leading total to six. The Crimson Tide’s defense has now held five different teams to single digits this season and hasn’t allowed more than 15 points in its last five games.
Georgia safety Bacarri Rambo: The best news regarding Rambo is that it looks like he’s going to be OK. He briefly lost consciousness and had to be immobilized following his crushing hit on Mario Fannin near the goal line in the final minutes of Georgia’s 31-24 win over Auburn. It looked like Fannin was going to score and tie the game on the pass from Chris Todd until Rambo came flying in to knock the ball loose, and in doing so, knocking himself out and suffering a concussion. The game was delayed for nearly 15 minutes while medical personnel tended to Rambo and stabilized his neck. Georgia coach Mark Richt said afterward that Rambo was showing movement in all of his extremities and didn’t appear to have any serious injuries. He can take solace in the fact that his hit might have saved the game for the Bulldogs.
Florida coach Urban Meyer: The Gators had just extended their winning streak to 20 straight games with their 24-14 victory over South Carolina, and Meyer was asked about all the different distractions his team has faced going back to the offseason. He offered a proud smile and complimented his team for keeping its focus. But Meyer deserves some props, too, for keeping this team together and keeping its eyes on the prize despite some obvious shortcomings on offense. There hasn’t been any hint of division on this team. Meanwhile, the Gators just keep winning, and they're getting everybody's best shot. Meyer is now 32-8 in SEC games (.800), making him the all-time winningest coach in conference play among coaches with a minimum of five years experience.