The Florida Gators defeated the Tennessee Volunteers as UF's Chris Rainey amassed 233 all-purpose yards, including this 83-yard reception for a touchdown midway through the third quarter. The final score in "The Swamp" was Florida 33, Tennessee 23.
Photo by Mark Langello for Athlon Sports
Notre Dame's Michael Floyd Catch
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Michael Floyd catches a pass in Notre Dame's victory over Michigan State.
Photo by Layne Murdoch for Athlon Sports
Clemson's Dabo Swinney Celebrates
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Head coach Dabo Swinney celebrates a Clemson touchdown during the Tigers' 38-24 victory over the Auburn Tigers at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, SC.
Photo by Brad Schloss for Athlon Sports
Kansas' Jordan Webb
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University of Kansas quarterback Jordan Webb eludes a Georgia Tech defender in Saturdays game in Atlanta. Webb was 11 for 19 for 148 yards passing and added another 15 yards rushing on three carries. Webb's Jayhawks were beaten by the Yellow Jackets 66-24 at Bobby Dowd Stadium.
Photo by Al Kooistra for Athlon Sports
Maryland's DJ Adams Flies
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Maryland running back DJ Adams returned from a one-game suspension, and rushed 12 times for 59 yards and two touchdowns against West Virginia. The Mountaineers prevailed in the end, however, beating the Terrapins 37-31.
Photo by Bruce Schwartzman for Athlon Sports
North Carolina's Gio Bernard Runs
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North Carolina's Giovanni Bernard had 102 yards rushing on 12 carries Saturday to help his Tar Heels defeat the Virginia Cavaliers 28-17.
Photo by Margaret Bowles for Athlon Sports
Ole Miss's Brandon Bolden Leaps
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Ole Miss RB Brandon Bolden hurdles Vanderbilt CB Trey Wilson. Vanderbilt beat Ole Miss 30-7 for it's third straight win in head coach James Franklin's debut season.
Photo by Danny Murphy for Athlon Sports
Washington Huskies' Chris Polk
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Washington RB Chris Polk eludes the Nebraska defense for a short gain. The Huskies couldn't stop the Cornhuskers in the end, however, as Nebraska beat Washington 51-38.
Photo by Jay Biggerstaff for Athlon Sports
Tennessee's Tyle Bray Gets Sacked
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Florida defensive end Lerentee McCray made Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray's day a little worse with this fourth-quarter sack. Bray and his Vols were only able to muster 279 total yards of offense for the game and he also was sacked three times by the Gators' defense.
Photo by Mark Langello for Athlon Sports
Texas Longhorns' Fozzy Whittaker
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Texas's Fozzy Whittaker tries to break from a UCLA defender. Whittaker scored two touchdowns to help his Longhorns to a 49-20 road victory over the Bruins.
It seems college football is preparing for a major shift in conference realignment very soon. Although the 2011 season is just getting underway, the race is on to get conference affiliation finalized in time for 2012. The first domino is ready to fall, which could spur several teams to change conferences.
This might sound a bit obvious, but beating Georgia is a very good sign for South Carolina football. Consider the following: The Gamecocks are a combined 25–23 in the SEC in the six seasons in which they have defeated Georgia. On the other hand, they are 36–67–1 in conference games in the 13 seasons in which they have lost to the Bulldogs, and only once, in 2005, has South Carolina had a winning SEC record without beating Georgia.
So it’s clear that the Georgia game serves as a pretty accurate barometer for South Carolina. When the Gamecocks are good enough to beat Georgia, they are usually good enough to be a factor in the SEC East.
This season, Carolina will be more than a factor — I think at this point it’s clear to call Steve Spurrier’s club the favorite (despite what you might have read in Athlon Sports’ 2011 preview). Until we see what Florida looks like against a quality opponent, it’s hard to make the argument that South Carolina isn’t the best team in the SEC East.
Sure, the defense has been shaky, but Steve Spurrier’s club boasts some serious star power on both sides of the ball. South Carolina might have the best running back (Marcus Lattimore) and best wide receiver (Alshon Jeffery) in the SEC — and maybe the nation. Defensively, true freshman Jadeveon Clowney is already showing signs why he was one of the most hyped recruits of the past decade, and junior Stephon Gilmore is one of the elite cornerbacks in college football. And we can’t forget about Melvin Ingram, a 271-pound defensive end who recorded nine sacks last season and scored two touchdowns, one on a 68-yard fake punt, in the win over Georgia.
“I think Melvin Ingram deserves a lot of credit for making some huge plays,” Spurrier said after the game. “He’s a heck of an athlete.”
Lattimore, however, is the key to this team. The sophomore tailback carried the ball 27 times for 176 yards against Georgia, with 94 of his yards coming in the decisive fourth quarter. I’d estimate that a team that has its tailback rush for 90-plus yards in the fourth quarter has about a 99 percent chance of winning that game.
Lattimore’s heroics allowed South Carolina to win despite a subpar game from quarterback Stephen Garcia. In his first start of his senior season, Garcia completed only 11-of-25 passes for 142 yards, and he was intercepted two times. The Gamecocks will need Garcia to play well to win an SEC championship, but they don’t need him to be the best quarterback in the league. His supporting cast is good enough — especially at the skill positions — for his team to win without 300-yard, four-touchdown games each week.
With the Georgia hurdle behind them — and successfully cleared — the Gamecocks now return to Columbia for a four-game home stand against Navy, Vanderbilt, Auburn and Kentucky. It will be a surprise if South Carolina is not 6–0 (and 4–0 in the SEC) when it hits the road for dates with Mississippi State, Tennessee and Arkansas.
Around the SEC
• Tennessee ranks fourth in the nation with a 66.7 percent success rate on third down, having converted 20 of 30 opportunities through two games. Last season, the Vols ranked 88th in the nation on third downs (36.5 percent).
• UConn marched 72 yards on 13 plays in its first drive (ending in a field goal) against Vanderbilt, but the Commodores only gave up 121 total yards on 52 plays the rest of the game.
• The LSU defense has only given up one play of 20-plus yards this season — even more impressive when you consider that the Tigers opened up against Oregon.
• It’s not all bad news at Georgia. Freshman tailback Isaiah Crowell looks like he will be a major contributor this season. He rushed for 118 yards on 16 carries against South Carolina and has a healthy 5.7-yard average in two games against quality competition.
• Auburn is 2–0 but ranks 111th in the nation in total defense (489.5 ypg) and 118th in rushing defense (280.0 ypg). It’s still too early to put too much stock in national rankings, but defensive coordinator Ted Roof can’t be pleased with those numbers.
• Ole Miss will have to tighten up its run defense, as well, after Southern Illinois rushed for 223 yards on 38 carries in last week’s 42–24 Rebel victory.
• Alabama has allowed a total of three points in the first half of its two games this season.
• Kentucky coach Joker Phillips raved about Josh Clemons in preseason camp, and the true freshman came through with a 14-carry, 128-yard effort against Central Michigan on Saturday. Clemons gave Kentucky its first lead of the game late in the third quarter when he broke free for an 87-yard touchdown. In two games, he has 165 yards on 25 carries.
The Irish and Bulldogs are feeling the pressure after Week 1 losses.
Notre Dame had almost everything go wrong that could go wrong in its 23-20 loss to South Florida. Despite doubling the Bulls in total yardage, the Irish had five turnovers and two weather delays on a dreary Saturday in South Bend.