SEC West: Is the Wrecking Crew officially back in College Station?
It didn’t take John Chavis very long to make his impact for the Aggies, as the new defensive coordinator helped lead A&M to a dominating performance over an Arizona State offense that averaged over 36 points per game in 2014.
The Aggies recorded nine sacks, 14 tackles-for-loss, held the Sun Devils to 17 points and controlled third down, allowing only five conversions on 18 attempts. The defense also held Arizona State’s senior quarterback Mike Bercovici to under 200 passing yards in his debut as the team’s starter.
The Aggies now appear to have one of the league’s best defensive front fours with sophomore Myles Garrett – two sacks and a forced fumble, junior Daeshon Hall – four sacks, and freshman Daylon Mack who lived up to the hype of his status as an incoming five-star recruit.
But it wasn’t just the defense that shined, as freshmen receiver Christian Kirk and quarterback Kyler Murray stole some headlines with their impressive debuts for the Aggies’ offense.
Murray looked eerily reminiscent of a young Johnny Manziel, making miraculous plays with his feet, escaping the pocket for big runs and showed great touch on his throws before sustaining an injury that forced his exit from the game. Kirk made his first impression on special teams, as he broke the game open with his 79-yard punt return for a touchdown and later sealed the victory by catching a bubble pass and running it 66 yards to the end zone.
A&M showed a ton of improvement in week one, validating many offseason predictions that had them among the elite in the SEC. With a favorable schedule, could this be just the beginning of a great season in College Station?
Derrick Henry proves Alabama’s QB debate is moot
If Alabama is going to win the SEC this season, they’ll likely accomplish the feat behind the efforts of a tremendous defense and the running game, lead by junior Derrick Henry. Henry looked more than up to the task, as he piled up 147 rushing yards on a Wisconsin team that looked completely overmatched against the bruising back.
The defense certainly did their part as well, holding the traditionally run-dominant Badgers to only 40 rushing yards on 21 attempts on the night. That’s a 1.9-yards-per-carry average.
Once Henry wore down the Wisconsin defense, the bruising back showed off his speed by ripping touchdown runs of 37 and 56 yards. Henry ended up with three scores on the night, effectively outscoring the Badgers on his own.
Alabama played both Jacob Coker and Cooper Bateman at quarterback and the duo completed 22 of 29 passes with once score and more importantly none interceptions. As long as the quarterbacks aren’t a hindrance to the team’s efforts, the Tide may prove too tough to beat this season.
Significant game this weekend:
LSU at Mississippi State – 8:15 p.m. ET
The Tigers did not have much of an opportunity to warm up for this game, as the opener against McNeese State was suspended and ultimately canceled after only a few plays, while Mississippi State struggled to put away Southern Miss for much of the night in their opener on the road in Hattiesburg.
The winner of this game starts will be the first team from the SEC with a conference win and the loser will be starting out behind the other six teams in potentially the toughest division in all of college football.
Quick Hits: The Jeremy Johnson era got off to a rocky start, as the quarterback threw three ill-advised interceptions against Louisville, but the Tigers ultimately survived 31-24… Brandon Allen looked fantastic for Arkansas and currently leads the SEC in passing yards with 308 after the first game. If Allen can continue to play at a high level, the Razorbacks have to be taken seriously as a threat to win the SEC… Chad Kelly appeared to be the rigth choice at quarterback for Ole Miss, as he led the Rebels in their dismantling of UT-Martin in a 76-3 victory.