SEC recap (9-1-12)

#6 GEORGIA 45, BUFFALO 23

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) -- A close call against a top 10 team did nothing for Buffalo coach Jeff Quinn.

Buffalo trailed No. 6 Georgia by only eight points at halftime and posted strong offensive numbers before falling to the Bulldogs 45-23 on Saturday.

"There are no moral victories," Quinn said. "We line up, we play and we want to win."

Georgia, favored by 37 1/2 points, led only 24-16 at halftime before pulling away.

"We saw some tremendous play at big times," Quinn said. "We play these games for national exposure, to be able to play against a great team. I'm proud that these players fought hard and made some plays. We did a lot of good things."

Branden Oliver, coming off his school-record 1,395 yards rushing in 2011, had 30 carries for 111 yards and a 2-yard touchdown run for the Bulls.

"Their defense was really hyped up, but we had a lot of confidence coming into this game," Oliver said. "We came to play. We thought we had a chance to win."

Buffalo's Alex Zordich completed 14 of 24 passes for 148 yards, including a 16-yard touchdown pass to Alex Neutz in the first quarter. Zordich added 14 carries for 83 yards, including a 2-yard touchdown run late in the game.

Zordich led first-half scoring drives that covered 75 and 84 yards.

"To be able to come up with a 94-yard drive against one of the best defenses Georgia has had in a while gives us some great confidence that we can move the ball when we put our minds, heart and soul into it," Quinn said.

Buffalo couldn't stop Georgia freshman tailback Todd Gurley, who ran for three touchdowns.

Gurley had eight carries for 100 yards, including scoring runs of 10 and 55 yards, and added a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the first quarter.

Aaron Murray overcame a subpar first half to throw three touchdown passes.

Georgia coach Mark Richt said Gurley had been similarly impressive in preseason scrimmages that had been closed to the public.

"He averaged about what he averaged every scrimmage, about 12.5 yards per carry," Richt said. "I hope that's a trend in his career."

It was not an impressive showing by Georgia's defense. The visiting Bulls of the Mid-American Conference are coming off a 3-9 season that included a 41-10 loss at Tennessee, but they ran 70 plays and had 199 yards rushing against Georgia.

The Bulldogs play at Southeastern Conference newcomer Missouri next week.

"It wasn't pretty," Richt said. "We better play better than that next week, or we'll be coming back sad."

Gurley's play was the highlight for Georgia fans.

"He showed why he's special," said Georgia senior receiver Tavarres King, who had six catches for 117 yards and a touchdown. "He'll make the most of his opportunities."

Gurley (6-1, 218) showed both power and speed as he became Georgia's first freshman to run for 100 yards in his first game since Danny Ware ran for 135 yards against Georgia Southern in 2004.

"I didn't have time for butterflies; everything just came so fast," Gurley said. "I was just trying to get the plays right. I really didn't have time to get nervous."

Asked to rate his debut, Gurley said "I can't complain. ... It felt pretty good."

Another freshman tailback, Keith Marshall, had 10 carries for 46 yards and starter Ken Malcome had six carries for 32 yards before hurting his left hand in the third quarter.

Murray completed 15 of 26 passes 258 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. After his sluggish opening half, Murray threw scoring passes of 38 yards to Rantavious Wooten in the third quarter and 12 yards to Michael Bennett in the fourth.

Murray's 63-yard touchdown pass to King gave Georgia a 24-6 lead in the second quarter.

Georgia ranked fifth in the nation in total defense in 2011 but was missing several starters due to suspensions and injuries.

Three starters -- safety Bacarri Rambo, linebacker Alec Ogletree and cornerback Sanders Commings -- were held out with suspensions. Richt confirmed the Rambo and Ogletree suspensions after the game.

Georgia previously announced Commings and outside linebacker Chase Vasser would serve two-game suspensions after offseason arrests. The other suspensions were for violations of team rules.

Richt said "we'll find out next week" about the status of Rambo and Ogletree for the game at Missouri.

Georgia also was without cornerback Malcolm Mitchell, who was on crutches after spraining his left ankle in Thursday's practice, and wide receiver Marlon Brown, who has a strained left hamstring.

Freshman left tackle John Theus left with a sprained left ankle in the fourth quarter.

Buffalo also was missing a top defensive player. Linebacker Khalil Mack served a one-game suspension for violating team rules.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
#23 FLORIDA 27, BOWLING GREEN 14

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Mike Gillislee had a career-high 148 yards rushing and two touchdowns, helping No. 23 Florida beat Bowling Green 27-14 Saturday.

The performance was far from perfect for the Gators, who struggled part of the game on offense and failed to generate much pressure on defense. Still, it was enough for Florida to win its 23rd consecutive opener. The streak is the second longest in the nation behind Nebraska (27).

The Gators can thank Gillislee, Frankie Hammond and two missed field goals for the latest one.

A senior who spent the last three years playing behind Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey, Gillislee scored on runs of 15 and 38 yards in the second quarter. Hammond turned a short pass into a 50-yard score early in the fourth. Bowling Green could have had a second-half lead, but fifth-year senior Stephen Stein missed field-goal attempts of 31 and 29 yards.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
#10 ARKANSAS 49, JACKSONVILLE STATE 24

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) -- Tyler Wilson set the school record for yards passing in a season opener, finishing 19 of 27 passing for 367 yards and three touchdowns to lead Arkansas to a 49-24 win over Jacksonville State.

Two of Wilson's touchdowns went to tight end Chris Gragg, who finished with seven catches for 110 yards as the No. 10 Razorbacks (1-0) won their first game under coach John L. Smith.

Brandon Mitchell, the former backup quarterback turned starting receiver, joined in the fun with four catches for 122 yards and Javontee Herndon caught four passes for 96 yards.

The Gamecocks (0-1), coached by former Razorbacks coach Jack Crowe, led 14-7 in the first half. Marques Ivory had a pair of touchdown passes, while Alan Bonner had eight catches for 107 yards.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
MISSOURI 62, SE LOUISIANA 10

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) -- Marcus Murphy scored on punt returns of 72 and 70 yards and Zaviar Gooden and Michael Sam fueled a lightning-fast start with early defensive touchdowns in Missouri's 62-10 season-opening rout of Southeastern Louisiana on Saturday night.

Kendial Lawrence ran for a 76-yard TD and totaled 121 yards on 10 carries with two touchdowns for the Tigers, who led 28-0 after running just 12 plays in their tuneup for next week's SEC debut against No. 6 Georgia. They then stalled for nearly two quarters before turning it back on.

Lawrence, a 5-foot-9, 185-pound sophomore tailback, matched a 47-year-old school record with two scoring returns and totaled 180 yards on five punt returns. He added 32 yards on five carries.

Nathan Stanley threw a late 21-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Smiley for Southeastern Louisiana, which since resuming football in 2003 is just 8-45 on the road, including 13 consecutive losses. The Lions, picked to in the middle of the pack of the FCS Southland Conference under new coach Ron Roberts, left Hurricane Isaac behind on Friday and ran into its remnants while getting soaked in a downpour in the second quarter.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
#3 LSU 41, NORTH TEXAS 14

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- Kenny Hilliard rushed for 141 yards and two touchdowns, and No. 3 LSU opened its season with a 41-14 victory over North Texas on Saturday night.

While the heavily favored Tigers were never threatened, their performance did not always thrill a Death Valley crowd that eagerly anticipated the debut of Zach Mettenberger as starting quarterback.

Mettenberger, who was briefly sidelined by a vicious sack, was 19 of 26 for 192 yards, an interception and a touchdown. But LSU didn't really need to throw in a game decided by its overwhelming defense and a running game that accounted for 316 yards, including 123 by Alfred Blue.

Derek Thompson completed only 8 of 21 passes, but two passes were scoring strikes of 80 and 15 yards to Brelan Chancellor.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
#14 CLEMSON 26, AUBURN 19

ATLANTA (AP) -- Andre Ellington rushed for 231 yards, DeAndre Hopkins set a school record with 13 receptions and No. 14 Clemson opened the season with 26-19 victory over Auburn on Saturday night.

Playing before a 50-50 crowd at the Georgia Dome -- basically halfway between the two campuses -- Clemson shook off any hangover from last season's embarrassing 70-33 loss to West Virginia in the Orange Bowl and showed plenty of offense against Auburn (0-1) even without star receiver Sammy Watkins, who was suspended for the first two games after an offseason drug arrest.

The second half was a battle of field goals before Tajh Boyd lofted a 4-yard touchdown pass to Hopkins, who made a brilliant, twisting catch in the corner of the end zone with 9:17 remaining.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
OLE MISS 49, CENTRAL ARKANSAS 27

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) -- Bo Wallace threw for 264 yards and two touchdowns in his Football Bowl Subdivision debut as Mississippi rallied to beat Central Arkansas 49-27 on Saturday night.

The 6-foot-5, 210-pound junior college transfer was nearly flawless in first-year coach Hugh Freeze's offense, completing 20 of 24 passes, though he did have one interception. Wallace also rushed for 82 yards and a touchdown.

Despite the comfortable final margin, the game wasn't easy for the Rebels. Central Arkansas led 20-14 at halftime before Ole Miss scored 35 unanswered points in the second half.

Donte Moncrief led Ole Miss with eight receptions for 104 yards, including a 53-yard touchdown catch from Wallace in the third quarter that pushed the Rebels' lead to 28-20.

Central Arkansas quarterback Wynrick Smothers completed 25 of 32 passes for 247 yards and two touchdowns. Jackie Hinton led the Bears with 52 yards on 13 carries.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
MISSISSIPPI STATE 56, JACKSON STATE 9

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) -- Tyler Russell completed 15 of 23 passes for 175 yards and two touchdowns to lead Mississippi State to a season-opening 56-9 win over Jackson State on Saturday night.

Mississippi State (1-0) opened the game with a 35-point first half, their largest since the 2010 season. The Bulldogs finished the game with 377 yards total offense and did not punt the football until the final minute of the third quarter.

Dan Mullen's offense was at its balanced best, with 183 yards passing and 194 yards rushing. LaDarius Perkins rushed for 50 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Jackson State (0-1) managed 265 yards of offense and 16 first downs, but turned the ball over three times and struggled to sustain drives against a deeper Bulldog defense. Mississippi State returned two Dedric McDonald interceptions for touchdowns.

E.J. Drewery caught a 9-yard pass in the second quarter for the Tigers' lone touchdown of the game.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
#2 ALABAMA 41, #8 MICHIGAN 14

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- AJ McCarron threw two touchdown passes and Alabama's retooled defense showed it could still dominate as the second-ranked Crimson Tide pounded No. 8 Michigan 41-14 on Saturday night.

Even after sending three starting defenders from last year's national championship team to the NFL as first-round draft picks, the Crimson Tide threw around the Wolverines while stifling and pounding dual-threat quarterback Denard Robinson.

C.J. Mosley returned an interception 16 yards for a touchdown. Dee Milliner had four pass breakups and an interception in the first half that set up a score after he shoved the intended receiver to the ground on the sideline.

This certainly wasn't what Michigan expected coming off an 11-win season under first-year coach Brady Hoke that ended with the Wolverines' first BCS victory since the 1999 season.

McCarron no longer has Trent Richardson to hand off to, but T.J. Yeldon and Eddie Lacy both ran for scores.


Join the Conversation!

To comment, the following rules must be followed:

  • No Obscenity, Profanity, Vulgarity, Racism or Violent Descriptions
  • No Negative Community Comparisons
  • No Fighting, Name-calling, or Personal Attacks
  • Multiple Accounts are Not Allowed
  • Stay on Story Topic

Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content, but the station is under no legal obligation to do so.
If you believe a comment violates the above rules, please use the Flagging Tool to alert a Moderator.
Flagging does not guarantee removal.

Multiple violations may result in account suspension.
Decisions to suspend or unsuspend accounts are made by Station Moderators.
Links require admin approval before posting.
Questions may be sent to webmaster@wvlt-tv.com. Please provide detailed information.

powered by Disqus

WVLT VOLUNTEER TV

6450 Papermill Drive Knoxville, TN 37919 Phone - (865) 450-8888; Fax - (865) 450-8869
Copyright © 2014 WVLT-TV Inc. - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 168288386 - local8now.com/a?a=168288386
Gray Television, Inc.