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.