SEC Takeaways: Recap Of The Perfect Saturday, But Rough Sunday For LSU. A Look Ahead To Next Weekend

After Tennessee and Missouri got the weekend started with wins on Thursday night, the rest of the SEC looked to handle their own business.

High profile matchups with Georgia, Florida and Arkansas led the way, but we were gifted a few games that ended up being nail-biters. The SEC ended up going 2-0 against the PAC-12 on Saturday.

Here’s a recap of everything that went down around the conference on Saturday and a brief look at what lies ahead next weekend. 

LSU Comes Up An Extra Point Short From Overtime

What an absolute crazy game we witnessed on Sunday night in New Orleans, with LSU and Florida State battling it out until the final second. In a game that saw FSU dominate at times, the Tigers kept clawing back, thanks to QB Jayden Daniels. The Seminoles held a seven-point lead and LSU had to drive 99 yards in just over a minute to tie it up. Well, they got the touchdown, with one-second remaining on the clock when snapped, but it was the special teams that cost them overtime. 

After scoring the miraculous touchdown, Florida State blocked the extra-point and stormed the field in victorious fashion. The LSU special teams accounted for two muffed punt, an extra point blocked and had a field goal blocked as well. This turned out to be the crux, while the offensive line did not have a great outing. 

HEART BLOCKAGE! LSU Loses 24-23 On Blocked Extra Point With :00 Left In ‘Ugly’ Debut Of Brian Kelly

Georgia Dominates Oregon 

The Bulldogs looked like a team that hasn’t missed a beat since winning the national championship last season.

Stetson Bennett looked like a stone-cold killer, throwing for 368 yards with 3 total touchdowns.

stetson bennett
Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Stetson Bennett (13) points out the protection during the game against the Oregon Ducks on Saturday. (Photo by Jevone Moore via Getty Images).

All of the talk in the offseason has centered around the defense having to replace a plethora of stars, but this wasn’t a problem against Oregon.

GEORGIA HASN’T MISSED A BEAT, STOMP OREGON IN ATLANTA

The Bulldogs held Bo Nix to 173 yards passing and 2 interceptions, while only allowing 140 yards rushing, with most of them coming with the game out of reach. Now the Dawgs will head home to play Samford, before traveling to South Carolina.


Arkansas Starts Season With Impressive Win Over Cincinnati 

The K.J. Jefferson show was on full display Saturday afternoon, as the quarterback threw for 223 yards and 3 touchdowns, while rushing for 62 yards, adding another touchdown to his stat sheet.

KJ Jefferson
Arkansas Razorbacks quarterback KJ Jefferson (1) with a pass attempt during the game against the Cincinnati Bearcats on Saturday (Photo by Andy Altenburger via Getty Images).

The Razorbacks were led by sophomore Raheim Sanders on the ground, rushing for 117 yards on 20 carries.

Yes, the defense gave up 24 points and 325 yards through the air, but Sam Pittman’s team did enough to make the Bearcats play from behind. Nice start to the season for the Hogs, but South Carolina is heading to Fayetteville next week and will present another challenge.


Ole Miss Takes Care Of Troy With Jaxson Dart At QB (Rebels win 28-10)

Lane Kiffin made the decision to ride with Jaxson Dart in the season opener, as the USC transfer passed for 154 yards and 1 touchdown.

Jaxson Dart — Troy vs Ole Miss
Jaxson Dart (2) of the Ole Miss Rebels during the second half against the Troy Trojans on Saturday (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images).

But this game was won on the ground behind Zach Evans, who rushed for 130 yards on 20 carries, giving everyone a glimpse at his potential with the Rebels. Troy usually isn’t a pushover team, so them hanging around for a bit isn’t surprising, but Ole Miss only scoring one touchdown in the second half is a bit concerning. We’ll chalk it up to first game blunders, but the Rebels have work to do over the next three weeks, before SEC play begins.


Texas A&M Takes A Bit To Get Started, Haynes King Showed Off His Arm (Aggies Win 31-0)

We were all wondering what Haynes King would look like as the Aggies starting quarterback and he showed promise on Saturday. Throwing for 387 yards and 3 touchdowns was a nice start, but the 2 interceptions were careless. Devon Achane only rushed for 42 yards on 18 attempts, so the Aggies have work to do in regards to this aspect of their offense, but it shouldn’t be something that carries over. Next up, Texas A&M will host App State, who presented a bunch of problems for North Carolina in its loss today. The Aggies should take care of business, with Miami and Arkansas creeping up on the schedule.


Florida Shocks No. 7 Utah In First Game Of Billy Napier Era

The Florida Gators came out firing against Utah on Saturday night, thanks to quarterback Anthony Richardson and a balanced offensive attack. After trading punches for 55 minutes, the Gators took the lead with 1:26 remaining in the 4th quarter, after Richardson ran it in from 1-yard out.

Billy Napier
Florida head coach Billy Napier celebrates a touchdown. (Courtesy of Florida Athletics and UAA Communications)

Richardson finished with three rushing touchdowns on the night, while his defense came up clutch to seal the win. After Utah QB Cameron Rising led his team down the field, the Utes had a chance to win it, but Rising was intercepted by Amari Burney and Gainesville erupted with the 29-26 win.

FLORIDA SHOCKS UTAH IN ‘THE SWAMP’ AS THE BILLY NAPIER ERA STARTS WITH A BANG

The biggest upset of the day came by way of Billy Napier in his first game as Florida’s head coach. Next up, Florida will host Kentucky in the SEC opener. Prepare yourself for another wild Saturday in ‘The Swamp’.


REST OF THE CONFERENCE

Auburn

The Tigers defeated a bad looking Mercer team 42-10, with QB’s TJ Finley and Robby Ashford looking impressive with their different skillsets. This game was delayed numerous time because of weather and felt sloppy, not just because of the wet field. Next up, Auburn will host San Jose State, before Penn State rolls onto the Plains.

Vanderbilt 

The Commodores are now 2-0 on the season after defeating Elon. The offense seems to be clicking early-on against some bad teams, but the Dores aren’t struggling to get the job done, which is something we couldn’t say in the past. Really impressed with the play of Mike Wright, who continues to shine.Next up, Vanderbilt will host a talented Wake Forest team, which will be the first test of the season.

Alabama 

The Crimson Tide took care of Utah State before the first half ended, leading 34-0 as the teams headed into the locker room.

Alabama Crimson Tide
Jahmyr Gibbs (1) of the Alabama Crimson Tide stiff arms Hunter Reynolds (27) of the Utah State Aggies at Bryant Denny Stadium on Saturday (Photo by Brandon Sumrall/Getty Images)

The Tide’ ended up winning 55-0. Bryce Young had five touchdowns through the air and rushed for 100 yards and 1 touchdown. Traeshon Holden caught two TD’s from Young before Utah State could get a break. Alabama looked sharp in both areas of offense and the defense didn’t have a problem keeping things distanced, as expected. Next up, Alabama will head to Austin and face the Texas Longhorns in a showdown on FOX.

Mississippi State

After multiple weather delays, Mississippi State held a 35-10 lead late in the third quarter and finished off Memphis, getting revenge from last season’s loss. Will Rogers had over 300 yards passing and 3 touchdowns through three quarters. He finished the game with 5 TDs, 456 yards, leading the team to a 49-23 victory.

The Bulldogs looked sharp at times on offense, but the stoppage of play certainly played a factor in momentum. Next up, Mississippi State will head West and play Arizona in another SEC vs. Pac 12 battle. The game will not kickoff until 11 ET, so prepare for a long night if you’re a Bulldog fan.

South Carolina 

The Gamecocks found themselves in a battle on Saturday night with Georgia State, leading 12-7 at halftime. But after a fast start in the third quarter, the Gamecocks ended up separating themselves and winning 35-14. In his first start, Spender Rattler was 23-37 for 237 passing yards and 1 touchdown, with 2 interceptions. Georgia State wasn’t a pushover and the Gamecocks had to battle it out, but this was a nice start for Shane Beamer in 2022. Nest up, the Gamecocks head to Fayetteville to play Arkansas in their SEC opener.

Kentucky

After a back and forth first half, Kentucky finally pulled away in the third quarter, winning 37-13. Will Levis was 21-32 for 303 yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception. The Wildcats only had 68 yards on the ground, as Chris Rodriquez is serving a suspension.

His status for next weekend’s game against Florida is still TBD, but indications are that he will potentially miss the SEC opener. After Florida defeated Utah, this game will most certainly include another crazy environment in ‘The Swamp’.


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Written by Trey Wallace

Wallace started covering the SEC in 2012, as the conference landscape was beginning to change. Prior to his time in Knoxville, Wallace worked in Nashville for The Read Optional, where he first produced content that garnered national attention. His passion for sports is evident in his work and has led him to break some of college football’s biggest stories. His social media reach and natural podcast proficiency continue to make Wallace one of SEC’s most trusted sources.

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