- Chris Low, ESPN Senior Staff Writer
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It’s helmet sticker time in the SEC, and the first guy on our list is from unbeaten Auburn – and it’s not Cam Newton.
Here’s a look at this week’s winners:
Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley: You’re talking about a guy who could win Defensive Player of the Year honors and Most Improved Player honors in the same season. The LSU offensive line simply couldn’t handle him Saturday. He finished with 3.5 tackles for loss, including 2.5 sacks, and generally made life miserable for LSU’s offense in Auburn’s 24-17 win. Fairley leads the SEC with 17 tackles for loss this season and has emerged as the best defensive lineman in the league.
Arkansas running back Knile Davis: The running game has been a source of frustration for the Hogs this season, but not Saturday in the 38-24 win over Ole Miss. Davis rushed for a career-high 176 yards and three touchdowns. He had touchdown runs of 71 and 22 yards, and they both came in the fourth quarter after Ole Miss had pulled within 24-17. Arkansas needed all the production it could get on the ground, too, because Ryan Mallett was again knocked out of the game, this time with a bruised throwing shoulder, and finished with just 196 passing yards.
Georgia running back Washaun Ealey: It had not been the best season for Ealey, but he did something Saturday in the 44-31 win over Kentucky that not even Herschel Walker accomplished. Ealey set a Georgia school record with five rushing touchdowns and finished with a season-high 157 rushing yards on 28 carries. After getting off to a slow start, including a suspension, Ealey has rushed for 280 yards in his past two outings.
South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia: On a night when the Gamecocks rushed for just 129 yards and fell behind 7-0, they needed everything they could get out of their passing game. Garcia delivered with a career-high 355 yards passing and two touchdowns on 31-of-39 attempts in South Carolina's 21-7 win over Vanderbilt. He helped get that sour taste out of his mouth, too, after throwing the interception in the end zone at the end of last week’s loss to Kentucky.
Alabama receiver Julio Jones: He's had plenty of highlight reel catches during his career, but never a game like the one he had Saturday in the 41-10 battering of Tennessee. Jones finished with a school-record 221 receiving yards and caught 12 passes. A couple of different times it looked like he was covered or wouldn't be able to get to the football, but he'd either stretch out to get it or turn on the jets and run under it. Jones averaged 18.4 yards per catch and showed why he's going to be a first-round selection.
It’s helmet sticker time in the SEC, and the first guy on our list is from unbeaten Auburn – and it’s not Cam Newton.Here’s a look at this week’s winners:Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley: You’re talking about a guy who could win Defensive Player of the Year honors and Most Improved Player honors in the same season.