Louisiana State & Florida go on the road to face Auburn and Florida respectively, with the winners establishing themselves as the leaders in the Eastern & Western divisions of the SEC. Since both of these high-stakes match-ups involve arguably the top two teams in each division, we can expect both of these games to be highly-contested & exciting to watch. The following is a recap of the games from week two of the Southeastern Conference.
No. 4 Auburn (34) @ Mississippi State (0):
The statistic of the year so far for the MSU football program: two games, zero points! The talk of Bulldog spring football was the emergence of the offense. Well, that was the spring, and this is the fall, when performance is all that counts. At this juncture, it's probably safe to call this the "no-coast" offense. Despite the fact that the Auburn defense has proven to be one of the best in college football the past few years, it is still truly unacceptable for an offense to be held scoreless in its first two games. Auburn (remarkably 18 of 19 in their last conference games) quarterback Joe Cox led the Auburn offense through the air by passing for 250 yards and two touchdowns. Surprisingly, all-everything tailback Kenny Irons was held to only 69 yards and zero touchdowns. Keeping Irons, who some argue might be the best tailback in the land, in check should be considered the lone bright spot the Bulldogs. Sylvester Croom is a good defensive mind, but if he doesn't fix the problems on offense it's going to be a long, grueling season for him, his players, and anyone involved with the Mississippi football program (Derek Sherrod, do you hear me?).
Up next: Auburn hosts LSU at Jordan-Hare stadium at 3:30 p.m. on CBS.
Central Florida (0) @ No., 7 Florida (42):
This intrastate game matched up two coaches with ties to Notre Dame. Former Notre Dame head-coach-for-a-minute George O'Leary versus Urban Meyer, former wide receiver coach & old favorite to replace Ty Willingham. UCF could only help for a close game or a moral victory, and they left with neither. Mr. Meyer may be known for his spread offense, but by all estimates the strength of this Florida team is their star-studded defense led by the stout front seven. The Gator defense shut out the overmatched Golden Knights and surrendered only 153 total yards, with a paltry 21 yards of that coming on the ground. Chris Leak continues to play well, as he threw for 352 yards and four touchdowns with one interception. Five-star recruit Percy Harvin, the freshman who some recruiting analysts called the nations top recruit for 2006, brought down four passes for 99 yards receiving, including a 58-yard touchdown strike that started the onslaught . Despite a successful season last year, the cold hard reality is that the only thing UCF matches up well with vis-à-vis the traditional state powers is their lovely Orlando co-eds, and yet they still probably find themselves outside the top three in that category as well.
Next week: The Florida Gators head to Knoxville to take on rival Tennessee @ 8:00 p.m. on CBS.
Arizona (3) @ No. 8 Louisiana State (45)
All one needs to know about the LSU Tiger football team: fourteen straight quarters without surrendering a touchdown. Most expected this to be a hard-fought battle between two very good defensive teams. Contrary to popular opinion, and unfortunately for Mike Stoops & his Wildcat football team, this one was a blowout. LSU scored the first 45 points in this contest and the Tiger defense held Arizona scoreless until the end of the fourth quarter when they finally tacked on a measly field goal to avoid the shutout. It appears that there is no longer a quarterback controversy between incumbent starter Jamarcus Russell and reserve Matt Flynn, as Russell turned in a good performance, going 13-of-20 for 196 yards and two scores, with one interception. LSU defender Jonathan Zenon scored his second straight defensive touchdown, as he intercepted an errant pass and returned it for 41 yards for their first touchdown of the day.
Next week: LSU travels to Jordan-Hare stadium to take on Auburn.
Air Force (30) @ No. 11Tennessee (31):
After the Volunteers lopsided win at home against California, most expected this to be a cakewalk for Phil Fulmer and his squad. However, this turned out to be a great game, and I'm not so sure anybody but Air Force and Fisher Deberry thought it would be. The story of the game was the triple option attack of Air Force, and Tennessee's inability to stop it. The Falcons rushed for almost 300 yards and four touchdowns, but fell just sort of the upset victory as they failed to convert a two-point conversion for the win. Erik Ainge continues to impress throwing the football as he passed for 333 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. David Cutcliffe, Charlie Weis' first choice & first hire for Notre Dame's quarterbacks coach position, has had a positive impact on Ainge's performance and the Vols offense in general.
Up next: The Volunteers host the Florida Gators in Knoxville @ Neyland stadium.
South Carolina (0) @ No. 12 Georgia (18)
Steve Spurrier and his South Carolina squad were hoping to pull off the upset in Columbia before the home crowd on Saturday, but they would leave disappointed. The Georgia program suffered a traumatic blow the day before the game as longtime defensive coordinator Erk Russell died on Friday. An emotional ‘Dawg defense honored Russell's memory and responded by holding the ‘ole ball coach's squad scoreless for the only the second time in his long career. Despite Georgia's success on defense, it's obvious the Gamecocks have some wrinkles to work out on offense. Anytime you rush for a 35 yards in a football game in the SEC, chances are you're going to lose. The Georgia offense continues to search for its identity, as freshman quarterback Matt Stafford and senior quarterback Joe Tereshinski III have struggled to lead the Georgia offense. Unless offensive guru Mark Richt and his staff can improve the quarterback play, Georgia could find itself in rebuilding mode this year as it endures a brutal conference schedule.
Up next: Georgia hosts UAB in Sanford stadium and South Carolina faces Wofford.
Vanderbilt (10) @ Alabama (13):
This was a sloppy contest with a combined seven turnovers as Alabama won its 19th straight contest against Vanderbilt on a long 47-yard field goal by a replacement freshman walk-on kicker named Leigh Tiffin, a legacy of the Tide football program. The Tide continue to play good defense as they shutout the Commodore offense in the second half of this contest. Losing Jay Cutler to the NFL and facing the staunch defenses of Michigan & Alabama on the road have resulted in an 0-2 start for the season for the Commodores.
Up next: Vanderbilt hosts Arkansas and ‘Bama hosts Louisiana-Monroe.
Utah State (0) @ Arkansas (20)
2006 Freshman-of-the-year Darren McFadden rushed for 184 yards and two touchdowns, with his longest coming on a 72-yard scamper in the third quarter that sealed the victory for the Razorbacks. 2006 USA today offensive player-of-the-year and top recruit, Mitch Mustain, the freshman Razorback quarterback, was 9-for-17 for 119 yards, one touchdown and no turnovers. After last weeks drubbing by the Trojans, Arkansas was happy to come away with the win, even if it was against the lowly Utah State Aggies.
Up next: Arkansas travels to Nashville to take on Vanderbilt.
Texas State (7) @ Kentucky (41)
The Kentucky offense scored six touchdowns before the Texas State team knew what him them. It wasn't until the fourth quarter that the Bobcat offense put any points on the board, and by that time the game was long over. Kentucky's Andre Woodson had a solid outing as he threw for almost 200 yards and three touchdowns with only one interception.
Up next: Kentucky hosts Mississippi in Lexington.
Mississippi (7) @ Missouri (34)
This SEC vs. Big12 match-up can be summed up in two words: Chase Daniel. The Mizzou quarterback, in only his second career start, accounted for 332 yards of total offense and two touchdowns, with almost 100 yards of that coming on the ground. The dual-threat quarterback was coming off a five touchdown performance last week, and proved to be too much for Ed Orgeron and his Rebel squad. Tennessee transfer quarterback Brent Schaeffer struggled mightily in his first road start of the season, as he accounted for only one touchdown, less than 100 yards passing, and three turnovers.
Up next: Ole Miss travels to Lexington to take on Kentucky.
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