|Alabama stole the show with a dominating 41-14 win over Michigan on Saturday night.(Getty Images)|
Sunday: Louisville 32, Kentucky 14: Wildcats QB Max Smith was 35 of 50 for 280 yards and two scores, but it wasn't nearly enough to overcome Kentucky's lack of defense. Louisville averaged 8.5 yards per play in the first half en route to touchdown drives of 99, 93 and 85 yards. The Cardinals felt so little threat from Kentucky, they played backup QB Will Stein for much of the second half.
Tennessee 35, North Carolina State 21: Playing without recently departed All-SEC WR Da’Rick Rogers, the Vols had no problem hitting the big play. Junior college transfer Cordarrelle Patterson accounted for 165 all-purpose yards, including a dazzling 67-yard run on a reverse. The Vols allowed some big plays to NC State QB Mike Glennon, but the DBs also accounted for four interceptions, enough to hold off the Wolfpack.
Georgia 45, Buffalo 23: Freshman RB Todd Gurley had eight carries for 100 yards and two touchdowns. He added a 100-yard kickoff return to help the Bulldogs hold off Buffalo. Although Gurley was a bright spot, the Bulldogs' defense allowed nearly 200 rushing yards after being one of the top run defenses in the nation in 2011. QB Aaron Murray missed some deep passes, but finished the game 15 of 26 for 258 yards and three touchdowns.
Florida 27, Bowling Green 14: It's a win for the Gators, but not one that leaves coach Will Muschamp feeling great as they prepare to head into SEC play. QB Jeff Driskel got a majority of the reps at QB. It appears that he has won the starting nod over Jacoby Brissett, for now. Driskel was 10 of 16 for 114 yards and a touchdown. Although the passing game needs work, new RB Mike Gillislee looked strong with 25 carries for 148 yards and two touchdowns.
Ole Miss 49, Central Arkansas 27: It looked like a disastrous start to the Hugh Freeze era at Ole Miss. Central Arkansas led at halftime to the Rebels, but QB Bo Wallace stepped up. The junior college transfer, who learned he would be the starter just two days ago, was 20 of 24 for 264 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for 82 yards and a score. It appears that he has a firm grasp on the starting QB position over challenger Barry Brunetti going forward.
Mississippi State 56, Jackson State 9: A balanced offense and an opportunistic defense gave the Bulldogs an easy win over Jackson State. QB Tyler Russell, who is in his first season as the full-time starter, was 15 of 23 for 175 yards and two touchdowns. The Bulldogs pounded out 197 yards on the ground, and the defense caused three turnovers.
LSU 41, North Texas 14: RB Kenny Hilliard has been the forgotten man at times with all of LSU's talented backs, but he made his presence felt Saturday night. The big back rushed for 141 yards and two touchdowns. It wasn't as easy as the Tigers would have liked. The Mean Green stayed within a few scores for much of the game before falling completely out of contention in the fourth. QB Zach Mettenberger made his debut for LSU, going 19 of 26 for 192 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
Arkansas 49, Jacksonville State 24: Week 1, and QB Tyler Wilson is already breaking records. He set a school mark for the most passing yards in a season opener with 367. TE Chris Gragg was Wilson's top target. He had 110 yards receiving with two touchdowns. Arkansas star WR Cobi Hamilton left the game early with what the team termed "an injury above the shoulder". He returned to the sideline, but did not play late in the game.
Missouri 62, SE Louisiana 10: PR Marcus Murphy outscored the Lions all by himself. He returned punts for touchdowns of 72 and 70 yards to help the Tigers cruise in their first game as an official member of the SEC. QB James Franklin had 131 passing yards to go with 39 rushing yards. Much-anticipated freshman WR Dorial Green-Beckham made his collegiate debut. He caught three passes for 32 yards.
Alabama 41, Michigan 14: Alabama left little doubt with a strong start against Michigan. The defending national champions showed little rust on the way to a convincing win Saturday night in Dallas. Despite losing numerous key players from last year, new players continue to step up. Freshman RB T.J. Yeldon had more than 100 yards rushing, young LBs, such as Adrian Hubbard and Trey Depriest, slid right in to a dominant defense. Michigan QB Denard Robinson was limited to just 27 rushing yards and was picked off twice.
Thursday: South Carolina 17, Vanderbilt 13: RB Marcus Lattimore did just enough in his first game back from a torn ACL to get the Gamecocks past improved Vanderbilt. He ran for 110 yards and two touchdowns in the win. Vanderbilt lost an opportunity to take a late lead when QB Jordan Rodgers just missed on a long pass intended for WR Jordan Matthews. Safety D.J. Swearinger had a hand on Matthews, but the penalty wasn’t called.
Play of the week: Tennessee WR Cordarrelle Patterson introduced himself to major college football Friday night with an incredible run. He took an end-around handoff, made it to the left corner, and then sprinted all the way back to the right, past the entire NC State defense for a 67-yard touchdown run. That run came shortly after a 41-yard touchdown catch over NC State’s top CB, David Amerson. Not a bad first collegiate quarter for Patterson.
He said what? Tennessee coach Derek Dooley joking with reporters about his fall as the team took the field against NC State on Friday night: “I bounced right back up … you have to overcome adversity sometimes.”
RapidReports defensive star of the week: LB C.J. Mosley, Alabama. The athletic LB pretty much slammed the door on Michigan with an interception returned 16 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter of Saturday night's win. He was a big part of a defense that limited Michigan QB Denard Robinson all night.
Runner up: DT Kelcy Quarles, South Carolina. DEs Jadeveon Clowney and Devin Taylor had some big plays, but it was Quarles who was disrupting Vandy’s offense all Thursday night. He was a regular visitor in the Commodores’ backfield. He had eight total tackles, two tackles for loss and a sack in South Carolina’s 17-13 season-opening win.
RapidReports offensive star of the week: RB Todd Gurley, Georgia. Gurley made a strong statement that he can be the top back for the Bulldogs. He had two scores on eight carries for 100 yards, including a 55-yard scoring run to help Georgia separate from Buffalo in the second half. It didn’t technically come on offense, but his 100-yard kickoff return showed what kind of speed and explosiveness the freshman has.
Runner up: QB Tyler Wilson, Arkansas. The competition wasn't great, but Wilson continued to put up huge numbers Saturday night in a win over Jacksonville State. He hwas 19 of 27 for 367 yards and three touchdowns. He did it all despite losing his top three WRs from last year, and losing his top target, WR Cobi Hamilton, to an injury Saturday night.
His seat is getting uncomfortable: Will Muschamp. Florida simply didn't look impressive against Bowling Green. Driskel settled in as the starting QB later in the second half. That begs the question of why Muschamp decided to play both early? The Gators survived Saturday, but they'll need to play better at Texas A&M next week.
A possible spot on the bench for: RB Eddie Lacy, Alabama. Freshman RB T.J. Yeldon stole the show in the national spotlight Saturday night. He demonstrated great vision, speed and power with 111 yards on 11 carries. He also added a 26-yard reception. There was nothing wrong with Lacy's night (9 carries, 35 yards), most teams in the nation would love to have him, but Yeldon might be the best back on the roster.
Why you care about these three stat lines:
- Tennessee had four interceptions in a 35-21 win over North Carolina State. The Vols only had nine interceptions all of 2011. This stat represents a more aggressive style of defense that new defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri is bringing to Knoxville. There were some big plays given up, but the risk/reward technique worked out.
- Vanderbilt QB Jordan Rodgers was 13 of 23 for 214 yards in a 17-13 loss to South Carolina. Although Rodgers is a well-known SEC QB, he finished 2011 on a low note. He was 11 of his last 29 last season, and he was benched in Vanderbilt’s Liberty Bowl loss to Cincinnati. Even in a loss Thursday, Rodgers showed improved accuracy.
- Auburn allowed 320 rushing yards to Clemson. Stopping the run was supposed to be a point of emphasis for the Tigers. New defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder was not pleased to see Clemson run almost at will Saturday night. It won't get any easier for Auburn playing in the RB-heavy SEC West.
Key number: 92. That’s how many rushing yards South Carolina QB Connor Shaw had in a 17-13 win over Vanderbilt. It wasn’t the greatest QB rushing performance in conference history, but Shaw showed an incredible amount of toughness playing with an injured shoulder. He was in noticeable pain every time he hit the ground.
For more up-to-the minute news and analysis from SEC bloggers Larry Hartstein and Daniel Lewis, follow @CBSSportsSEC.