BG is Billy Gomila, BH is Brian Harbach, GH is Gabe Harris , RM is Russ Mitchell, and BS is Barrett Sallee.
1. OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
BG: Tyler Russell; QB, Mississippi State – 13 of 16 for 256 yards and four TDs. It may have been against Memphis, but one heck of a debut for the redshirt frosh.
BH: Cameron Newton; QB, Auburn – 5 total TDs for Auburn’s new starter; he looked comfortable in the offense and accurate with the deep ball. Not the last time he will be in the spotlight.
GH: Cameron Newton;QB, Auburn – Welcome (back) to the SEC. Newton’s much anticipated debut did not disappointment, as he rushed for a school record 171 yards while passing for 186 on only 9 completions. Led all SEC QBs.
RM: Tyler Russell; QB, Mississippi State – Better get used to this name, SEC fans. The 6’5” freshman from Meridian, MS simply dominated. Sharing time with junior Chris Reif, Russell was 13/16 for 256 yards and 4 TDs. But it wasn’t just the numbers – Russell was superbly accurate. He’s going to light up that Mullen offense. This whole cowbell issue might actually become relevant.
BS: Cameron Newton; QB, Auburn – Is there any doubt that Cam Newton can be a successful SEC quarterback? After Saturday’s performance vs. Arkansas State, there shouldn’t be. Newton was simply dazzling, racking up 357 total yards with a hand in 5 TDs, earning him Offensive Player of the Week honors from the conference. He’s got the size of Tim Tebow, but glides like former Arkansas QB Matt Jones. In addition to his running ability, Newton showed touch on the long ball, hooking up with Quindarius Carr on a long TD pass.
2. DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
BG: Jaye Howard; DT, Florida – He was the anchor for the Gator defense, which may have been the only reason Miami (Ohio) failed to pull an even bigger upset than the one we saw on Saturday. Two and a half sacks, plus helped hold the Redhawks to just four yards rushing.
BH: Akeem Aguste; Safety, South Carolina – 1Q pass break up caused a deflection which became an INT. That play changed the landscape of the game after a USC three and out to start the game.
GH: Danny Trevathan;LB, Kentucky – The junior linebacker had a big day with 11 tackles (9 solo) to go along with 3.5 for a loss in a season opening rivalry win over Louisville.
RM: Danny Trevathan; LB, Kentucky – Trevathan had a career day in a big rivalry game: lead everyone with 11 tackles, 3.5 for a loss. Moreover, 9 were solo tackles.
BS: Danny Trevathan; LB, Kentucky – I wish I could come up for more reasons to list him here other than the reasons listed above, but my colleagues pretty much covered it.
3. SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK – Patrick Peterson; CB, LSU
BG: Patrick Peterson; CB, LSU – He ran so much in the 1H he needed an IV. That’s usually a bad sign for a cornerback, but not when it involves 244 (1H) yards of returns. His speed broke North Carolina’s coverage angles, even when they took the right ones.
BH: Patrick Peterson; CB LSU – Pretty sure that LSU loses on Saturday night if Peterson is not returning kicks.
GH: Patrick Peterson; CB, LSU – Set a school record with 257 total kick return yards in his first game as LSU’s primary return specialist, including an 87 yard punt return for TD. By the way, he also added 5 tackles.
RM: Patrick Peterson; CB, LSU – Deion who? Peterson had some struggles down the stretch at CB (and with cramping), but his performance returning kicks nearly broke an SEC record – most of that coming in the 1H.
BS: Patrick Peterson; CB, LSU – Posting the second-most return yards in SEC history has a tendency to get you the nod. But what was more impressive was those return yards made the difference in the game. LSU’s offense was abysmal again, and their defense struggled late, due in part to Peterson’s struggles with cramping. But without Peterson’s contribution on special teams, LSU loses to a depleted NC team, and the moving trucks start lining up at Chateau Miles.
4. COACH OF THE WEEK
BG: Joker Phillips – The new head man in Lexington showed that opponents can expect to see plenty of Randall Cobb and Derrick Locke this season, and that’s always a good decision.
BH: Steve Spurrier – Turmoil before the game did not show up once the ball was kicked off.
GH: Joker Phillips , Kentucky – UK defeated rival Louisville for 4th straight year in battle of head coaching debuts with Charlie Strong. The Wildcats had a very balanced offense and did not commit any turnovers.
RM: Dan Mullen, Mississippi State – Can you smell what’s cooking down in Starkville?
BS: Dan Mullen, Mississippi State – In just 13 games, Mississippi State’s offense has gone from a punch line, to a force to be reckoned with. Bulldog fans have only one man to thank for that.
5. BEST GAME OF THE WEEK
BG: LSU vs. North Carolina – Drama, build up, big plays and a goal-line finish. Not a bad way to cap the season’s first Saturday.
BH: Northwestern at Vanderbilt – Vandy found a QB in Larry Smith who finally looked ready to step up, and if not for a questionable late call, it might have turned out differently for new coach Robbie Caldwell.
GH: LSU vs. North Carolina – It wasn’t a back and forth effort but the drama at the end more than made up for it. Les Miles survives by the skin of his teeth and should consider himself lucky UNC was without 8 starters.
RM: Kentucky vs. Louisville – Charlie Strong’s Louisville team kept it close, but Kentucky’s defense shined in a big 23-16 road rivalry win.
BS: LSU vs. North Carolina – It wasn’t necessarily the best-played game of the week, but the intrigue and ramifications on both sides made it can’t miss television. Plus, coming down to the last play didn’t hurt either.
6. BIGGEST SURPRISE OF THE WEEK
BG: Ole Miss – Yeah, we all expect Houston Nutt to lose a head-scratcher to an underdog every year. But Jacksonville State? Really? Really, Coach Nutt?
BH: LSU’s 2H – I expected the first half we saw against North Carolina, but to play that poorly and fail to put their boot to Carolina’s throat was not what the Tigers needed.
GH: Florida’s Offense – I don’t care who graduated or who left early for the NFL, 25 yards of total offense against a 1-11 team is unacceptable and downright shocking. Fumbling 8 times shows their heads weren’t in the game either.
RM: Florida’s Offense – It’s a cliché, but the Gator offense was downright offensive. Only 25 yards with 13 minutes to go in the game. A game against Miami. OF OHIO! Yes, that 1-11 (2009) Miami of Ohio.
BS: Stephan Garcia’s confidence – After all the turmoil and question marks during the offseason, Garcia looked cool, calm and collected in a dominating win over Southern Miss. If he can avoid the sacks and rely a little bit more on Marcus Lattimore and the Gamecock running game, South Carolina can be a contender.
7. BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT OF THE WEEK – Ole Miss
BG: Ole Miss – It’s not enough to lose to Jacksonville State, but the reality is the Rebels were soundly beaten up front. Ole Miss offensive and defensive lines struggled all day against a much less-talented FCS crew.
BH: Ole Miss – No reason to kick a team while they are down, but there is no other choice this week.
GH: Ole Miss – Jacksonville State has a solid program looking to move up into the FBS, but there’s no way they should be running with an SEC team, let alone beating them.
RM: ole miss – As I mentioned on Saturday, I’m not capitalizing ole miss for the rest of this season.
BS: Ole Miss – Unacceptable. Athletics director Pete Boone fired David Cutcliffe for going 4-7, one year after posting the school’s first 10-win season in more than 30 years. If the loss to Jacksonville State sends the Rebels’ season spiraling out-of-control, look out Houston Nutt.