Beyond the SEC boxscores: The first Saturday

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The first week of SEC play saw the league do well, especially compared to the Big 10 (Appy State rules) and the ACC (Al Groh Watch is on after loss to Wyoming). But then came Tennessee.

The Vols embarrassed Cal a year ago, but on Saturday night it was the Bears who looked like the dominant team. We keep hearing about SEC speed, but the Volunteers looked slow compared to Cal, especially on DeSean Jackson’s 77-yard punt return. The man started giving five to a teammate before he scored, he had so much time.

THE FIRST WEEK OF THE LEAGUE

Best game:
By default, it would be Auburn’s rally against Kansas State. The Tigers trailed 13-9 late but pulled out the win at home. For almost four quarters, we were starting to understand why the Tigers have been under the radar.

Best quote: Shocking that it comes from Steve Spurrier. After his team slid past Louisiana-Lafayette and gave up 252 rushing yards, Spurrier said, “This was probably good for us. We know we’re just a bunch of average stiffs.”

Player of the week: Let’s pass on the guys who lit up inferior opponents and give the first award of the season to Georgia’s defense. In a 35-14 win over Okie State, the Bulldogs limited the highly-touted Cowboy offense coached by Larry Fedora to 266 yards.

Worst performance:
Had to be the Tennessee defense. The Vols looked like a Pac-10 team, all offense and no defense. “I can’t wait to get back on the field and work,” said defensive coordinator John Chavis. “Because we have a lot of work to do.” Cal did score on special teams and a fumble return but had five touchdown drives.

Worst best game:
Ole Miss 23, Memphis 21. Great finish to a lousy game as Memphis missed on a two-point conversion to tie it. Ole Miss almost gave up a 23-0 lead built on five Memphis turnovers. The Tigers missed a 25-yard field goal, had a punt blocked for a touchdown and an interception returned 99 yards for a score.