On a weekend where Texas A&M and Missouri made their debut in the SEC, where Dan Mullen finally beat a SEC West team not from Mississippi, the biggest story to come out to the conference is none of those. It comes from a game I didn’t even think I would discuss because this game should have never been in doubt.
Well, I was wrong. Thanks, Arkansas.
The #8 ranked Arkansas Razorbacks were upset, in Little Rock no less, by the University of Louisiana- Monroe Warhawks of the Sun Belt Conference. What? Were you expecting to read Alabama? LSU? No, the ULM Warhawks upset the offensive juggernaut of the SEC West.
What’s bad was Arkansas was leading 28-7 in the third quarter. What’s worse, ULM dominated Arkansas in every way possible. The Warhawks had more yards (550-377), almost double time of possession (39:19-20:41), and converted 6 of 7 fourth downs. And the absolute worst thing for Arkansas: quarterback Tyler Wilson was knocked out of the game. His injury has only been reported as “injury above the shoulders”.
All of that adds up to very bad news for Arkansas. It was clear that the Hogs were outmatched and out coached on Saturday. John L. Smith was in over his head with ULM… ULM! Tyler Wilson is the best thing that team has going for it. If he’s not there, Arkansas is in a world of trouble. The Hogs need a week to regroup and try to get this thing back on track. Unfortunately, they welcome the defending national champions this weekend…
Texas A&M and Missouri were officially welcomed to the SEC this weekend. Both teams jumped out to an early lead on Florida and Georgia, respectively, and both ended up losing.
The Aggies opened like a house of fire against the Gators. Red shirt freshman Johnny Manziel was spectacular in his first start, at least in the first half. He led the Aggies on scoring drives of 66 (field goal), 81 (touchdown), and 79 (touchdown) yards before halftime. Florida made some defensive adjustments at halftime resulting in three 3-and-outs, and two other drives that ended in a fumble and another punt. Florida was barely efficient on offense, but they were able to wear the Aggies down in the end.
While the Georgia and Mizzou game started as a defensive struggle, it ended with a flurry of points to end the game. Mizzou jumped up to a 17-9 lead in the early part of the third quarter; the game ended on a 32 to 7 run by the Bulldogs and the Georgia faithful chanting “old man football” in Missouri’s own stadium. Much was made of Missouri defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson’s comments, but it proved to be true. The old man football method: defense, causing turnovers, and controlling the clock with the run, proved too much for Missouri. That will probably be a reoccurring theme this year.
In another case of coaching matters: the Auburn Tigers became the first team not named Ole Miss to fall to a Dan Mullen coached SEC team. Mullen had never beat Auburn as either the offensive coordinator at Florida or as the head man at Mississippi State. That all changed Saturday as Mississippi State flexed its offensive muscle and throttled Auburn 28-10. The offense didn’t need much help from the defense as Auburn was too inept to get out of its own way.
This is a huge win for Dan Mullen as he tries to change the culture in Starkville to that of a champion, but this is a bigger indictment of Gene Chizik. Excluding the Cam Newton year, Auburn is 30-12, but 7-10 in SEC play. It is becoming clear that maybe Chizik is closer to his 5-19 Iowa State record than he is to his 14-0 national championship record. If that is true Chizik’s days as Auburn coach may be numbered.
What did you think of the weekend for the SEC? Will Arkansas bounce back from this terrible loss? Let us know in the comments!