Last night in the SEC

In descending order of interest…

Texas A&M 52  South Carolina 28

That’s what they pay him the big bucks for, folks.

Many of us were dazzled by the preseason confident Spurrier (“he’s like that when he knows his team is good”).  Kevin Sumlin looked at a green secondary and a defensive line that lost its two best players, one of whom was the number one pick in the NFL draft, and decided he wanted some of that.  Sixty (!) passes and 511 passing yards later, the rest was history.  What’s remarkable is that Sumlin had his own share of first round draft losses on offense to overcome.  And he overcame with a vengeance.

The game somewhat reminded me of South Carolina’s epic 2007 loss to Arkansas, when Spurrier’s team moved the ball and scored on offense, but had no clue on how to stop Darren McFadden, who blew up the SC defense for an SEC record 324 yards.  Last night was more lopsided, but the feeling of defensive helplessness was equally palpable.

The question at this point is whether TAMU is that good on offense, or South Carolina is that overrated on defense.  It’s probably a little of both, but we’ve got too small a sample size to know for sure yet.  One thing is for sure, though:  if the ‘Cocks can’t find a pass rush in a hurry, it’s going to be a long year for their defensive backs, who were sliced and diced repeatedly by precisely run routes and throws.

There’s also got to be some concern on the other side of the ball, where the run game was anemic.  Sure, Davis’ injury didn’t help and Spurrier was forced to abandon the run to try to keep pace, but that offensive line was supposed to blast TAMU’s defense and that didn’t really happen.  Nor did Thompson really look any better than he did last season; he’s still hit and miss (although he throws a beautiful deep ball when he has the time).  The Aggies’ pass defense was as questionable as Carolina’s, so you wonder what will happen when SC faces a team with a legit pass defense.

For Georgia partisans, it’s hard to see the result as anything but good news on a number of levels.  No, it doesn’t translate into a guaranteed win in Columbia in a couple of weeks, but a defense doesn’t absorb a body blow to its psyche like that and shake it off overnight.  And the ‘Cocks face another Air Raid attack this week in East Carolina’s.  It’s hard to see how Lorenzo Ward is going to have time to game plan for Georgia while he’s trying to devise a way to stop the bleeding in the secondary.  The other thing that’s big, of course, is the loss itself.  If – and note I did say “if” – Georgia goes in to Columbia in a couple of weeks and steals the win, South Carolina’s divisional hopes may not be dead, but they’ll certainly be on life support.

By the way, Spurdog, 52 points and 611 yards are career marks in Columbia.  Now you know a little bit about how we felt after the 1995 Florida game in Athens.

Ole Miss 35  Boise State 13

Mississippi is the scariest team in the Southeastern Conference.

I don’t mean scary in the sense of dominant.  I mean scary in the sense of unpredictable.  Freeze’s team has talent, especially on defense, and plays with a mean streak, again, particularly on defense.  But it’s got depth issues and the talent isn’t spread out across the board.  It’s also got a quarterback who often plays with the attention and focus of a pregnant gerbil.

That’s how you wind up farting around for three quarters with a Boise State team that is several notches below the seasoned group that beat Georgia in the Dome a few seasons ago.

In other news, Bo Wallace is still Bo Wallace.

Freeze was baffled by a couple of Wallace’s interceptions, saying the senior threw toward receivers who weren’t even supposed to be part of the play.

Yet he still wound up throwing for 387 yards and four touchdowns.

There’s going to be a game this year where Ole Miss shows up for its entirety and beats a powerhouse in the West.  And there’s going to be a game this year where Wallace never shows up and Ole Miss gets smoked.  Enjoy the ride.

Temple 37  Vanderbilt 7

How does a team lose by thirty at home to a team coming off a 2-10 season?  Seven – seven – turnovers and a minus-five turnover margin will do that for you.  We knew Vandy’s offense would be anemic coming into the season; it lived up to the expectation and then some by failing to score.  But we didn’t know it would take an active hand in sabotaging the rest of the team like that.

Derek Mason played three quarterbacks.  Nothing worked.  It’s looking a like a long season may be shaping up in Nashville.

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64 Comments

Filed under SEC Football

64 responses to “Last night in the SEC

  1. OrlandoDawg

    It was a glorious start to the 2014 college football season.

  2. Ralph

    Is Vandy back to being Vandy?

  3. Rp

    My two takeaways from this game:
    1. SCjr D-line is ordinary at best. Hill had all the time he wanted to throw the ball. TAM probably has a better O-line than we do, but they weren’t even trying to balance their offense with a run game. With our RB’s and balance Mason should have that kind of time to throw as well.
    2. As mentioned above, Thompson can only complete the deep ball with a clean pocket. The INT he threw was because he had pressure coming up the middle and he couldnt step into the pass. It was terrible. I like our chances to do the same. Their O-line looks fat and slow.

    • Juan

      Well, except for the first TD Thompson threw. He was getting destroyed and dropped a Wuerffel esque tear drop 60 yds down field.

    • Some of what we saw out of the SC d-line was the result of TAMU’s o-line excellence. That was an impressive unit.

      • JCDAWG83

        Ward must have gone to a Grantham coaching clinic. He rarely brought any extra pressure on Hill and stuck with rushing four on almost every play, even when it wasn’t working. aTm’s o-line is very good, but the chickens got some pressure when they brought a linebacker but they wouldn’t keep doing it.

        aTm got pressure on Thompson all night when they rushed four. Thompson had most of his passing success when aTm rushed three and when the refs called pass interference.

  4. I Wanna Red Cup

    Looked like A& M was in much better shape than the Cocks. They were limp and wilting.

  5. Bob

    Congrats to A&M. Big, big win for Sumlin, who is a damn good coach.

    But what is really startling is that I saw two secondaries who were worse than we were last year. I was not sure that was humanly possible but they were both absolutely awful. And that is what still causes me pause for concern tomorrow night in Athens.

  6. JCDAWG83

    My observations:
    1. Thompson is god awful if he has any pressure at all on him. I am certain Pruitt noticed that.
    2. The chickens defensive line looked pathetic. I know aTm has a good offensive line, but unless SCu brought extra pressure, they were not getting near Hill. Their linebackers looked completely lost.
    3. Without Davis, SCu has almost no running game. Their vaunted offensive line looked like a bunch of big, slow, fat guys.
    4. Bo Wallace will cost Ole Miss some games, as will their complete lack of a running game.
    5. Vandy is Vandy again.

    • sUGArdaddy

      I am always skeptical when a team’s best unit is their offensive line. Now, there are difference making lines like Bama ’12, and there sieves like ours in ’03. For the most part, it’s really hard to bank on an o-line being the hallmark of a great season. The game is won and lost on the LOS, but you can’t JUST have a decent o-line. USCe has some speed at WR, but there is a lack of talent there, especially without Davis. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, for all the talk of Spur-dog’s recent recruiting, it’s fallen off. He got Mr. Football in the state for 4 straight years, a couple of those guys were highly, highly Elite, once in a generation talent. He’s swung and missed the last 2 years as Mr. Football has come to Athens.

      (Mr. Football for the previous fall)
      2009 – Stephon Gilmore
      2010 – Marcus Lattimore
      2011 – Jadaveon Clowney
      2012 – Shaq Roland
      2013 – Tramel Terry
      2014 – Jacob Park

      He rode a nice wave on Lattimore and Clowney, and a gritty coach’s son at QB. It’s over. They’re back to 8-4.

  7. Bama DAWG

    There is so much win here:

    “Did anybody like that 3-4 defense?”

  8. pete

    …”focus of a pregnant gerbil”…that’s funny! The beat down from TAMU was a shock. I didn’t expect that against a SOS/Ward coached team. Especially after SOS seemed so confident preseason. The Clemson fans are comparing UGA to USC and themselves to TA&M…I sure hope this isn’t a bad omen. I hope CMR and Pruitt has our kids attention right now. Funny how practicing against yourself is so uninformative…

  9. @gatriguy

    What stuck out to me was much like our game against SCU last year, that defense cannot handle tempo at all. I honestly, truly believe Ward can’t either a) think that fast, or b) get the play call in.

    1. Lorenzo Ward will be looking for a job by the end of the season. The only thing missing last night was the assistant coach fight on the sidelines.
    2. The OBC may be running for the golf course at the end of the season to protect his legacy.
    3. We overlook USCe in 2 weeks at our own peril, but first, take care of Clemson.
    4. Ole Miss will get blown out multiple times this year in conference with the way they looked last night
    5. Welcome to Nashville, Derek Mason. Franklin got out while the getting was good.
    • Dog in Fla

      “Lorenzo Ward will be looking for a job by the end of the season. The only thing missing last night was the assistant coach fight on the sidelines.”

      Lorenzo Ward may be looking for a job by the end of East Carolina. Last night, nobody cared enough to even have the assistant coach fight on the sidelines.

  10. Slaw Dawg

    “…points and 611 yards are career marks in Columbia. Now you know a little bit about how we felt after the 1995 Florida game in Athens.” Was making a similar point to my wife and son when the Aggies went for it on 4th down in that final drive.

    Of course, while Kareliny couldn’t deal with McFadden in ’07, they dealt with us effectively enough and that was in Athens. The ‘Cocks and their coach always have the Georgia game circled with a big red marker. It’s their Auburn or Florida. They will not come staggering out for that one as flat and wilted as they were last night, and we better not, either.

    • AthensHomerDawg

      A&M was 2-2 on 4th down conversions. I think uSC was 2-7 on third down conversions. I hope we can put 612 yards up on the OBC. Now that would be sweet. I’m not all pumped with the retirement talk. SEC is a richer place with SOS. Yeah … I know.

    • Tlkdawg

      +1. Exactly what I have been thinking. All this happy talk about the demise of USCe is completely discounting the fact that Spurrier has been game planning for game #3 the entire offseason. Beating UGA has always been and will always be his number 1 priority.

    • It’s their Auburn or Florida. They will not come staggering out for that one as flat and wilted as they were last night …

      Agree. Not only that, but Spurrier’s back is against the wall. And that makes this game VERY DANGEROUS. I was thinking about that watching the game last night.

      That place will be crazy, because it’s their whole season. We’ll get everything they possibly can have – from coaches, from players, from Spurrier himself. So we’ll have to be at our best, IMO. And after last night, even if we handle it, we won’t get the credit for how tough it was.

      Though they don’t appear to be as good as we thought, in some ways it’s tougher for us than it would be if they were riding high. Assuming we get past Clemson, this will be a really good test of where we actually are.
      ~~~

  11. Ryan

    wow you actually wrote an article, not just 1 sentence and a link… well done

  12. Gravidy

    Hmmm…looks like some people will have to refine their definition of a “great coach” after Visor laid that egg last night. Even though I picked SCU in the Fabris Pool, I still loved every minute of it.

    • 81Dog

      hey, if Spurrier wasn’t a great coach, A&M might have hung a WHOLE hundred on the Chicks last night. No matter how good the jockey is, he can’t win the Kentucky Derby if he’s riding a mule.

      • Gravidy

        Oh, I know Visor is a great coach, 81. I’m just yanking some chains.

        • Gravidy

          But, having said that, he did get caught with his pants down last night. He may be a great coach, but that wasn’t a great effort.

          • 81Dog

            Hey, even Picasso painted a couple of dogs playing poker. I look forward to the delicate genius of Gus Malzahn being similarly pantsed as often as possible this season.

          • Puffdawg

            Weren’t we just having the discussion they other day about Richt being the only coach in the history of football to have teams not show up for game?

  13. Scorpio Jones, III

    Trust me, Spurrier knew and remembered with delight how we felt in 1995…but I doubt he’s thought about that all that much this morning.

    Spurrier’s offense, CompleteFoolbaum to the contrary, has always been about balance.

    USCjr could not run the ball hardly at all. Thus QB play got exposed.

    The resta that shit don’t matter…it is time to get ready for the biggest game in the history of Georgia football this week.

    Double, double toil and trouble;
    Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
    Nice bitches, pretty, sexy bitches have mercy on these poor dawgs who revere your lovliness.

  14. 69Dawg

    We get to watch SC again next week against another throwing team. We should have a better idea whether it was A&M being great or SC sucking.

  15. Russ

    The “half a hundred” that Spurrier hung on us was one of the worst Georgia teams in years. He just gave up a record beat down with a group they were touting for the NC. I love to see them get kicked in the Ol’ Ball Sack. And I can’t stand the Cult of Aggies.

  16. Gene Simmons

    The biggest difference in the half-a-hundred from 1995 is that Sumlin COULD HAVE tried to score on his last drive and chose not to. SOS would have driven in it had the roles been reversed. Suck on it, Stevie!
    Reap the whirlwind. Karma is a fickle bitch and the Dawgs are gonna bring you another hot date with her in two weeks. Hope your golf game is good.

    • 81Dog

      I’m not sorry Sumlin had his guys take a knee at the end. I’m sorry he didn’t score on a double reverse pass, go for two and make it, and then recover an onside kick, followed by a made 65 yard FG at the final horn.

    • Slaw Dawg

      When Donnan brought out the back ups late in our one moment of glory vs Spurrier’s Gators (the ’97 game), I sez to Ms. SlawDawg “if the roles were reversed, Spurrier would’ve left his starters out there to rub it in.” Wisely replies Ms. SD: “Yes, but maybe Donnan wants to rub it in even worse, like they were Vandy or somebody and not worth the trouble.” There are insults, and there are insults!

  17. Am I the only one that thinks Maria Taylor is the best thing that has happened to the SEC network? At least they got that right.

    Qualifications: FBOMB gets an analyst role for putting mouthbreathers on the radio vs. Maria who was a two sport athlete in the SEC.

    • Dawgfan Will

      Not only that, but she wouldn’t let Spurrier just dismiss her with a typical Spurrier-ism as he was heading to the locker room at halftime. She’s a DGD, and I like to think she was digging at him on purpose.

  18. simpl_matter

    Please baby Jesus, let us score half a hundred in Columbia in two weeks. I was at that game in ’95, I remember praying for payback someday…..that day might just be at hand. No mercy, go for the style points Evil Richt!

  19. CannonDawg

    It’s hard not to delight in South Carolina’s utter and complete misery, what with all the pregame towel waving and that silly Russian-like song they amp in. But first things first, guys. We’ve got a night’s work ahead with Clemson. And we certainly have no trouble remembering how much we suffered the last time we visited Williams-Brice. Let’s go one at a time and see what happens.

    But I gotta say, I Iike how things are starting. And if the Hogs could only somehow steal one from Auburn, I’d like it even more.

    BTW, I went to the College Football Hall of Fame on Wednesday, and it is fabulous. Great interactive stuff and plenty about the players and schools. We were there with the Boise State team and they were enjoying it greatly. John Stephenson, the CEO who is also a UGA grad, said they are modeling for 500K visitors, and I bet they’ll meet that. The CFHOF drew 70K while in South Bend. Another home run for Atlanta!

    • Bobby

      What blows my mind is that they play Sandstorm repeatedly throughout the game (though less so when they’re getting destroyed), yet the kids in the stands always look at each other every time it comes on like it’s the first time they’ve ever heard the song. Then, they proceed to jump up and down and do the white towel thing. I don’t understand it.

      If we played Baba O’Riley every 15 minutes at Sanford, it would ruin it; how can cock fans continue to get so fired up about that goddamned song?

  20. 1) Weak corners + no pass rush = half a hunerd.

    2) Thompson for USC was the equivalent to taking a knife to a gun fight. It’s just a losing battle. Against Sumlin and Malzahn, you have to be prepared to out score folks. (Yes, this is an obvious concern for Alabama).

    3) Ole Miss may knock off a big boy in the West (and by that I presume you mean Bama, LSU or AU), but the other team will have to have an off night. The Ole Miss run game doesn’t look good and I’m not sure Wallace can work the seams in the secondary like he did last night against teams in the West.

    Have a good day,

    BD

    3)

    • Macallanlover

      I agree about Ole Miss, they were about what I expected and that was an average performance overall. The rock stars they have recruited will make some plays but there doesn’t seem to be a full complement to be consistently good. Lack of depth will cost them a game they should win to offset any upset they pull off. Regression to the mean, I think when all is said and done, occasional upset but no titles.

    • Irwin R Fletcher

      I was at the Ole Miss game and missed the fireworks in Columbia, SC. but here is one person’s observation…

      Dr. Bo is a mess, but they have some kids that can flat catch the ball. Treadwell is really special…just a huge body. Reminds me of Boldin. They should have thrown it to him 20 times…he’s going to require safety help which is why those seems might be open against better opponents. Their receivers looked really good. Run game wasn’t good at all…OLine had a bad, bad night and they don’t have any difference makers at RB that can run out of the spread formation with consistency…but they brought in Nicholas Parker and put him almost in a Fullback/H-Back spot for extra blocking and that was pretty effective. The D was solid…not a huge pass rush which was a surprise, but did good work against the run especially b/w the tackles (although Boise’s backs were clearly overmatched). I was really impressed with the secondary. Made a lot of big hits and nice plays on thrown balls.

      Based on the first half, I’d say they were going to struggle against Vandy…but looking at the game as a whole, they will not win out, but they can beat an Auburn or an LSU if Bo can make it through a game without losing his mind for a few plays.

  21. What fresh hell is this?

    “For Georgia partisans, it’s hard to see the result as anything but good news on a number of levels.”.

    Mostly agree with that but can’t help feeling like we’ll be up against a desperate wounded dog in Columbia.

    • Well, except for the thought that our secondary is probably about as green as their’s.

      I will say that it’s nice to have the old Vandy back.

    • AthensHomerDawg

      That’s desperate wounded chicken sir. That doesn’t stir fear in me. Hell Cojones may be at the game and he is known for doing some damage to roosters!
      And the last few visits to Chicumbia the Cocks were neither desperate or wounded. I’m find with them getting their collective butts whipped. I hate that Davis was re-injured. I hope he is healthy when its time to play Vandy. ;-)

    • …can’t help feeling like we’ll be up against a desperate wounded dog in Columbia.

      Exactly.
      ~~~

  22. Here’s the full 9 minutes of Spurrier postgame. You do NOT want to miss this. Trust me.

    http://www.gamecocksonline.com/collegesportslive/?media=462274