SEC Honor Roll: Week 11

When Johnny Manziel was done with No. 1 Alabama, finishing

off the top-ranked Crimson Tide by taking a knee, he handed off his helmet and

the game ball to a team manager. The manager then handed to a coach for safekeeping.

 

When asked what the plans for the ball

and helmet were, the coach simply replied, “We just want to hang on to them.”

 

Though the message was bland, it rang

loud and clear: Johnny Football, the SEC’s newest star, is submitting

performances worth remembering — none bigger (so far) than his dismantling of

Nick Saban’s defense.

 

But Manziel wasn’t the only Aggie, or

SEC player, to submit elite performances on Saturday. Here’s this week’s SEC

Honor Roll:

 

Big Men on Campus

Ryan Swope, Texas A&M: The

Aggies’ big-play senior receiver, who coach Kevin Sumlin calls the program’s

biggest recruit this offseason, delivered against Alabama’s secondary. He found

soft spots down the field all night, finishing with 11 catches for 111 yards

and a touchdown. He became just the second receiver — joining Michigan’s Jeremy

Gallon — to finish with 100 or more receiving yards against the Crimson Tide

this season.

 

Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall,

Georgia: The appropriately-dubbed “Gurshall” was at it again this

weekend, both surpassing 100 yards rushing against rival Auburn to help clinch

the SEC East title. The two true freshmen have been a revelation in Athens, a

much-needed boost after the team’s dismissal of last season’s SEC Freshman of

the Year, Isaiah Crowell. Both players now rank in the top-15 among SEC

rushers, with Todd Gurley ranking second with 973 yards and 11 touchdowns.

 

C.J. Mosley, Alabama:

Though his defense was less than spectacular for the second-consecutive week,

Mosley proved once more that he’s one of the nation’s best. He finished with 11.5

tackles and a sack (never an easy accomplishment against Manziel) and made

plays all over the field Saturday night. The junior is a force.

 

Jordan Rodgers, Vanderbilt: With

his NFL superstar brother (Aaron Rodgers) watching from the stands, Rodgers

helped the Commodores become bowl eligible for the second-consecutive season

for the first time in school history. In a 27-26 win over resurgent Ole Miss,

Rodgers passed for 267 yards and two scores. His final touchdown pass came with

just 56 seconds remaining to clinch a bowl berth.

 

Tyler Bray and James Franklin,

Tennessee/Missouri: “Tyler Bray in a losing effort” has replaced

former Arizona quarterback Nick Foles place in the national vernacular, as both

he and Franklin were extraordinary in four overtimes Saturday afternoon.

Franklin (226 yards, four touchdowns) got the 51-48 win, but Bray (404 yards,

four touchdowns) posted better numbers. With the win, the Tigers improved to

2-4 in SEC play. It’s hard to see Bray (or coach Derek Dooley) sticking around

after this dismal season.

 

Disappointment of the Week

 

Tennessee: A quick

word (again) on Tennessee’s defense: The Volunteers became the first defense in

SEC history to allow 38 or more points in six straight games. Safe to say, the

transition to defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri’s 3-4 defense has been rough.

And with Dooley posting a 1-13 record in his past 14 SEC games, the loss to

Missouri looks like the nail in the coffin.

 

Player of the Week

  

Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M: What can

be said about Manziel that hasn’t already in the past 24 hours? He threw for

253 yards (24-for-31) against Nick Saban’s defense, including two touchdown

passes. He ran for another 92. He’s firmly planted in the Heisman Trophy race

as just a redshirt freshman, as he leads the nation in total offense while

competing in the most defensive-minded league around.

 

Coach of the Week

  

James Franklin, Vanderbilt: With all due

respect to Kevin Sumlin, who should be the frontrunner for the National Coach

of the Year race after his team’s win over Alabama, it would be a crime to not

also recognize Franklin. The Commodores’ enthusiastic head coach has approached

the academically-restricted job and churned out a consistent product. His team

is heading to its second straight bowl game. He’s one of the hottest coaching

commodities in the country. After losing three of the first four games this

season (to tough competition), the Commodores rebounded to pull off what’s

never been done before in school history.