After what felt like a lifetime in limbo the SEC season finally got underway last weekend. Sticking to the all conference schedule meant a full 7-game slate of action packed football. In what has already been a strange year, a strange 2020 season is to be expected and week one did not disappoint.
No.5 Florida: 51 @ Ole Miss: 35
SEC play kicked off with two noon games, one of which pitted the Gators against the Rebels. Florida was heavily favored and were able to show why late in the first half, breaking away for a 28-14 lead.
The Rebels showed plenty of fight with a surprisingly potent offense but was unable to slow Florida down all day. Kyle Trask threw for 416 yards and 6 touchdowns, four of which went to tight end Kyle Pitts who finished the day with 170 yards. Pitts was virtually unguardable and showed why he is one of the best tight ends in the nation.
New head coach Lane Kiffin worked plenty of new looks and trick plays into the Rebel offense which kept the Gators on their toes all afternoon. Matt Corral threw for 395 yards and three touchdowns along with 50 yards on the ground. Junior Elijah Moore led all receivers on the day with 10 catches for 227 yards.
No.23 Kentucky: 13 @ No.8 Auburn: 29
At the same time Kentucky and Auburn were battling it out at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Auburn was favored by about a touchdown but was able to blow it open in the fourth quarter of an otherwise closely contested game.
Kentucky cut the Auburn lead to 15-13 at the end of the third quarter but were unable to contain Bo Nix in the fourth. Senior quarterback Terry Wilson returned from a season ending injury in 2019, finishing the day with 239 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Bo Nix was the difference in the game for Auburn. The sophomore quarterback had a nice day through the air going 16/27 for 233 yards and three touchdowns. He also led a struggling Auburn ground game with 34 yards on five carries.
Mississippi State: 44 @ No.6 LSU: 34
Mike Leach and company had plenty of doubters of coming into the season. Numerous fans and experts questioned whether his air raid offense would hold up against an SEC defense. It’s safe to say they passed the first test with flying colors.
The Bulldogs dominated with the passing game, picking apart the Tigers secondary. K.J. Costello wowed in his SEC debut, shattering the SEC passing record with 623 yards through the air. The previous record was 544 set by Georgia quarterback Eric Zeier against Southern Miss in 1993.
Four different receivers caught six or more passes and three went for over 100 yards receiving on the night. Costello threw five touchdowns, including one to runningback Kylin Hill who finished the day with 158 yards receiving on eight catches to go along with 34 yards on the ground.
Mississippi native Myles Brennan struggled for the Tigers in his debut, going 27/46 for 345 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. Terrace Marshal Jr. received the bulk of Brennan’s passes with eight catches and 122 yards to go with his two touchdowns.
No.4 Georgia: 37 @ Arkansas: 10
Georgia came to Fayetteville heavily favored by over three touchdowns. What looked like most of the game to be a nightmare for the Bulldogs got under control late in the third quarter. Arkansas held the lead until a 19 yard touchdown pass by Stetson Bennett gave Georgia a 13-10 lead they would never relinquish.
Bennett finished the day with a smooth 20/29 211 yard day and two touchdowns. Georgia was helped by their stalwart defense which picked the Arkansas offense off three times and took one to the house.
Florida transfer Feleipe Franks was unable to keep the Razorback offense going after what looked like a promising start. Franks finished just 19/36 with 200 yards and one touchdown versus two interceptions.
No.2 Alabama: 38 @ Missouri: 19
The Crimson Tide dominated Missouri in a game that appeared much closer than actually was. Alabama led 35-6 entering the final quarter dominating on both sides of the ball.
Mac Jones cruised completing 18 passes on 24 attempts for 249 yards and two touchdowns. Future NFL star Jaylen Waddle hauled in eight catches for 134 yard and two touchdowns. Najee Harris controlled the ground game for Alabama with 98 yards and three scores.
TCU transfer Shawn Robinson showed some promise for the Tigers. He would finish the day 19/25 and 185 yards with one touchdown. Backup freshman Connor Bazelak saw some time as well but struggled just as much with the Alabama defense. He finished 7/14 with 68 yards and a late scramble into the endzone as time expired.
Vanderbilt: 12 @ No.10 Texas A&M: 17
This game was certainly a lot closer than the experts expected. The Aggies opened as 30.5 point favorites but were lucky to escape with the win.
The Commodore defense gave the Aggies all kinds of headaches through the night. Kellen Mond finished just 17/28 for 189 yards and a touchdown but lost two fumbles. Sophomore runningback Isaiah Spiller looked strong in the opener, keeping the offense moving with 117 yards on the ground.
Freshman quarterback Ken Seals also struggled with just 150 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Vanderbilt’s defense kept them in the game all night, forcing three fumbles by Texas A&M as well as a safety.
No.16 Tennessee: 31 @ South Carolina: 27
Tennessee entered the season with high expectations and got all they could handle out of the gate from the Gamecocks. What was anticipated to be a close affair proved to be just that as Carolina continued to punch back each time the Vols jumped in front.
Jarrett Guarantano’s one yard touchdown run late in the first quarter put Tennessee in front early in the first quarter, taking the lead from the Gamecocks and never giving it back. He finished the day with 259 yards and a touchdown through the air to go with 12 yards on the ground and a score.
Carolina’s Collin Smith finished with 290 yards and one score to go with one interception. Senior receiver Shi Smith had a breakout game as the Volunteers struggled to guard him all game. He finished with 10 catches and 140 yards with one touchdown.
“From Our Haus to Yours”