SEC notes, week #2

SEC opens conference play with two games this weekend -- Vanderbilt at Auburn and Georgia at South Carolina.

  • Last season, 17 of 49 SEC vs. SEC games were decided by five-points-or-less, most of any conference in the nation ...
  • Kentucky goes for its first 3-0 start since 1998 when it hosts Indiana ...
  • Thus far in 2002, SEC teams are 12-1 on its home fields and 1-6 on its opponents fields ...
  • A win on the road at Texas Tech would put Ole Miss at 3-0 for the first time since 1989 ...
  • Mississippi State is the last SEC school to play at home when it hosts Jacksonville State in Starkville.

SEPTEMBER 14 SCHEDULE

NORTH TEXAS (1-1) at ALABAMA (1-1)
6 p.m. (C) Tuscaloosa, Ala. * Bryant-Denny Stadium (83,818)
Series: UA leads, 1-0
Last: UA, 38-19 (10/28/95 at Tuscaloosa)

VANDERBILT (1-1) at AUBURN (1-1)
11:30 a.m. (C) Auburn, Ala. * JP Sports * Jordan-Hare Stadium (86,063)
Series: VU leads, 19-17-1
Last: AU, 24-21 (9/29/01 at Nashville)

OLE MISS (2-0) at TEXAS TECH (1-1)
2:30 p.m. (C) Lubbock, Texas * ABC Sports * Jones SBC Stadium (51,000)
Series: UM leads, 2-0
Last: UM, 35-18 (12/31/98 at Shreveport, La.*)

GEORGIA (1-0) at SOUTH CAROLINA (1-1)
3:30 p.m. (E) Columbia, S.C. * CBS Sports * Williams-Brice Stadium (80,250)
Series: UGA leads, 39-13-2
Last: USC, 14-9 (9/8/2001 at Athens)

OHIO (0-2) at FLORIDA (1-1)
6 p.m. (E) Gainesville, Fla. * Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at Florida Field (83,000)
Series: First Meeting

SOUTH FLORIDA (2-0) at ARKANSAS (1-0)
6 p.m. (C) Little Rock, Ark. * War Memorial Stadium (53,727)
Series: First Meeting

JACKSONVILLE STATE (1-0) at MISSISSIPPI STATE (0-1)
6 p.m. (C) Starkville, Miss. * Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field (52,884)
Series: First Meeting

INDIANA (1-1) at KENTUCKY (2-0)
7 p.m. (E) Lexington, Ky. * Commonwealth Stadium (67,530)
Series: IU leads, 17-14-1
Last: IU, 26-15 (12/1/2001 at Lexington)

MIAMI, OHIO (1-1) at LSU (1-1)
7 p.m. (C) Baton Rouge, La. * Tiger Stadium (91,600)
Series: Tied, 1-1
Last: LSU, 35-7 (9/15/90 at Baton Rouge)

OPEN: Tennessee (2-0)

LAST WEEK'S SCORES

Oklahoma 37, Alabama 27
Tide outgains Sooners; UA holds Oklahoma to -23 yards rushing

Ole Miss 38, Memphis 16
Manning throws 3 TDs; Rebs score 24 unanswered points in win

Kentucky 77, UTEP 17
Wildcats score second-most points in school history

Auburn 56, Western Carolina 0
Tigers' 621 total offensive yards, most in Tuberville era

Miami (Fla.) 41, Florida 16
Gators go without passing TD for first time in 31 games

Arkansas 41, Boise State 14
Razorbacks go 5-for-5 in season openers under Nutt

Vanderbilt 49, Furman 18
Vandy accumulates 344 rushing yards and 5 rushing TDs

LSU 35, The Citadel 10
Tiger defense holds Bulldogs to 3 plays or less on 7 drives

Tennessee 26, Middle Tennessee 3
Vol defense holds Middle Tennessee to 209 total yards

Virginia 34, South Carolina 21
Gamecocks commit seven turnovers in road loss

SEC ON TV THIS WEEK

Thursday, September 12
5:30 p.m. SEC-TV SEC-TV Weekly (Live)

Friday, September 13
2:00 p.m. FSNS LSU vs. Alabama Football (Replay from 1993)

Saturday, September 14
3:00 a.m. FSNS Tennessee vs. Kentucky Football (Replay from 1995)
11:00 a.m. JP Sports SEC Football Today (Live)
11:30 a.m. JP Sports Vanderbilt at Auburn Football (Live)
2:30 p.m. CBS Sports Georgia at South Carolina Football (Live)
2:30 p.m. ABC Sports Ole Miss at Texas Tech Football (Live)

Thursday, September 19
5:30 p.m. SEC-TV SEC-TV Weekly (Live)
6:45 p.m. ESPN Auburn at Mississippi State Football (Live)

Friday, September 20
2:00 p.m. FSNS Ole Miss vs. Mississippi State Football (Replay from 1997)

Saturday, September 21
3:00 a.m. FSNS Florida vs. Vanderbilt Football (Replay from 1996)
11:00 a.m. JP Sports SEC Football Today (Live)
11:30 a.m. JP Sports Vanderbilt at Ole Miss Football (Live)
2:30 p.m. CBS Sports Florida at Tennessee Football (Live)
6:00 p.m. ESPN2 Southern Miss at Alabama Football (Live)

SEC Special teams faring well

Alabama's Lane Bearden leads the SEC and is tied for third in the nation with a 46.8 yard average. As a holder on field goals and PATs, Bearden has also thrown for a successful two-point conversion and rushed for a TD on a fake-field goal so far this season.

The three leaders in the SEC special teams statistics are faring well nationally thus far in 2002.

In net punting, Ole Miss leads the SEC and is third in the nation with an average of 44.3 yards per attempt. In kickoff returns, Tennessee leads the SEC and the nation with an average of 42.0 yards per return.

In punt returns, Georgia leads the SEC and is 10th in the nation with an average of 20.5 yards per return.

Georgia Fred Gibson and Tennessee's Corey Larkins are 2-3 in the nation in kickoff returns. Gibson has a 47.0 average, including a 91-yarder for a TD, and Larkins has a 44.3 yard average.

As a league, SEC kickers have made 22-of-34 field goals this season, a 64.7 success rate. The national average is 65.0 percent (236-of-363).

Offense not only way to score

While there have been 79 touchdowns scored this year by the rush or pass in the SEC, eight teams have already found another way to get the pigskin in the endzone.

Four teams -- Alabama, Florida, LSU and Tennessee -- have scored defensive touchdowns this season while Alabama and four others -- Arkansas, Georgia, Ole Miss and South Carolina -- have scored touchdowns on either a punt or kickoff return.

Last year in the SEC, there were 13 defensive touchdowns and eight return touchdowns in 134 games (0.16 non-offensive TDs per game. Thus far in 2002, there have been nine non-offensive scores in 21 games (0.43 non-offensive TDs per game).

Last year in the SEC, there were 21 non-offensive TDs among the 473 total touchdowns scored (4.4 percent) while this year, there have been nine non-offensive TDs among the 88 total touchdowns scored (10.2 percent).

Kentucky getting it done on the ground

After two games last season, Kentucky averaged 102.0 yards per game on the ground and ranked next to last in the league in rushing offense and 88th in the nation. After two games this season, the Wildcats have averaged 221.0 rushing yards per game, ranking third in the SEC and 23rd in the nation.

Last season, in the first two games, Kentucky attempted 56 rushes for 204 yards, an average of 3.6 yards per carry, and two touchdowns. This season, the Wildcats have attempted 86 rushing plays for 442 yards, an average of 5.1 yards per carry, and seven scores.

More Kentucky turnaround ...

In 132 offensive plays thus far in 2002, Kentucky has no turnovers. The Wildcats only lost turnover was on a punt return in the first quarter last week against UTEP. Meanwhile, the Wildcat defense has forced five turnovers.

Last season, going into the third weekend of play, Kentucky was last in the SEC in turnover margin, suffering five lost turnovers and securing just one from the opposition.

Translation: Kentucky has opened 2-0 in 2002.

Scoring up on the ground

During the first two weeks of play, SEC teams seem to be using the ground to get into the end zone. In 21 games, SEC teams have scored 51 rushing touchdowns (2.43 avg. per game) compared to 22 passing touchdowns (1.05 avg. per game).

In the first three weeks of NCAA Division I-A play, in 226 games, there have been 404 rushing touchdowns (1.79 avg. per game) compared to 328 passing touchdowns (1.45 avg. per game).

In the SEC, Auburn leads the league in rushing touchdowns with eight, while Kentucky leads in passing touchdowns with six.

Getting it done in the red zone

So far this season, SEC teams seem to be taking care of business in the redzone. After two weeks, SEC teams are having an 81.6 percent success rate inside the opponents' 20-yard line. SEC teams have been in the redzone 87 times this season and have scored on 71 occassions. A breakdown reveals teams have scored 57 touchdowns (65.5 percent) and 14 field goals (16.1 percent).

For all of last season, SEC teams had an 80.5 percent success rate in the redzone, capitalizing 405 times in 503 attempts. However, the main difference is in touchdowns scored, where SEC teams scored 47.9 percent (241 of 503) compared to field goals made, where teams scored 32.6 of the time (164 of 503) in the redzone.

So far this season, four teams -- Arkansas, LSU, Georgia and Mississippi State -- have scored touchdowns on all of its possessions reaching the redzone.

Penalty distribution

In 21 games this season, SEC teams have been signaled for 155 penalties for 1,260 yards. That's an average of 7.4 penalties for 60 yards per game. SEC opponents have been called for 148 penalties for 1,226 yards per game, an average of 7.0 penalties for 58.4 yards per game.

SEC teams passing less than national average

After 21 games in the SEC thus far, teams have attempted an average of 39.1 rushing plays compared to 28.2 passing plays. While the rushing plays compares to the national average (39.2 plays in 226 Division I-A games), SEC teams have been attempting far fewer pass plays than the national average (30.5 plays in 226 Division I-A games).

Yardage-wise, SEC teams have been averaging 184.0 yards per game on the ground, compared to 158.9 for the national average, and 194.3 yards per game through the air, compared to 205.0 for the national average.

Arkansas defense stingy against the run

So far this year, Arkansas leads the SEC in rushing defense, giving up 27 yards on 26 attempts against Boise State. Ole Miss and Georgia are tied for second, giving up only 68 yards per game on the ground.

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