Georgia and LSU put up 85 combined points on Saturday, perhaps putting to rest the notion that the SEC is college football’s incubator of defensive innovation.
Instead, the nation got to see what happens when two very talented teams attempt to throw the ball down the field rather than pound it up the gut every play.
The result was a very entertaining game. And, in the end, the team with the slightly better quarterback won.
Georgia’s Aaron Murray threw for 298 yards and four touchdowns (and rushed for another) as the No. 9 Bulldogs beat No. 6 LSU in a wild one, 44-41. He carried his team despite the loss of star tailback Todd Gurley to an ankle injury. And he was clutch when it counted, leading Georgia on a game-winning 75-yard drive that culminated in a 25-yard touchdown pass to Justin Scott-Wesley with 1:48 left.
As a result, the Bulldogs are now 3-1 and sitting pretty in the SEC East after vanquishing two ranked teams. UGA will be favored against the rest of its schedule and it will take a major upset to keep it out of the SEC title game.
It almost didn’t happen. LSU put up quite a fight and almost pulled off the win. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger threw for a career high 372 yards and three touchdowns and Jeremy Hill rushed for 86 yards, but the vaunted Tigers defense couldn’t stop the Georgia offense when it truly counted.
Is Georgia a national title contender? You bet, especially with a resume that already includes two wins over ranked teams. Could Murray make it to New York as a Heisman finalist? Absolutely. The senior is on pace for another spectacular season and has finally shed his reputation for coming up short in big games.
Don’t count LSU out, either. The Tigers could conceivably win the SEC West and meet Georgia again in a rematch in the conference title game. With Mettenberger playing at such a high level this team can beat anybody.
But this day belonged to Georgia. And for the first time in the Mark Richt era, all the pieces seem to be in place for a serious run at the national title.
It appears that a former Alabama football player will remain in the Yellowhammer State to continue his collegiate playing career. Probably.
Earlier this month, it was reported that Shawn Jennings had decided to transfer from Alabama. On his personal Twitter account Wednesday, Jennings revealed that he has committed to playing football for the Sun Belt Conference’s South Alabama.
The linebacker also added a curious “[a]s of now” qualifier, indicating that, at the very least, the commitment could be described as soft at best.
If Jennings ends up on Joey Jones‘ USA team, or any other FBS program for that matter, he’d have to sit out the 2017 season.
A three-star member of the Tide’s 2016 recruiting class, Jennings was rated as the No. 21 player at any position in the state of Alabama. As a true freshman, he took a redshirt.
Jennings’ older brother, redshirt sophomore Anfernee Jennings, is in line to start at outside linebacker for ‘Bama this season.
For the second time this week, one Sun Belt Conference program has apparently landed a Power Five transfer.
Per a report from 247Sports.com, Camrin Knight has decided to transfer out of the Florida football program. The Gainesville Sun subsequently confirmed the initial report.
The recruiting website also reported that Knight will be transferring to Georgia State. Earlier this week, it was also reported that South Carolina’s Pete Leota would be transferring to GSU as well.
Barring something unexpected, Knight will be forced to sit out the 2017 season to satisfy NCAA bylaws.
A three-star 2015 recruit, Knight played in eight games as a true freshman tight end. His playing time was cut exactly in half last season, and he moved to linebacker this past spring.
It has been a busy day for Nebraska football news here at College Football Talk, but here’s one more story to fill your plate. Redshirt freshman linebacker Greg Simmons is no longer with the Nebraska program, according to reports.
Sean Callahan of Huskers Online reported Simmons has left the football team, as confirmed by a Nebraska spokesperson. No reason for his departure was given.
Simmons did not play for Nebraska in 2016, in part due to a neck injury suffered in fall camp. After the spring practice season, Simmons was buried on the depth chart. Simmons was a three-star member of Nebraska’s Class of 2016 and chose the Huskers over offers from schools like Louisville, Kentucky, Maryland, Miami, among others.
As of now, there is no indication where the Florida native will head next. Should he transfer to another FBS program, he will be required to sit out the 2017 season even though he did not play a down for the Huskers in 2016. However, if he transfers to a lower division program beneath the FBS ranks, he will be eligible to play right away in the fall. Simmons has three years of eligibility remaining after burning a redshirt season in 2016.
The ESPYS are coming. ESPN’s annual summer tradition of showering star athletes with Hollywood praise is coming in July, and fans now have a chance to vote for their picks in multiple categories. As is typically the case, the reigning national champions tend to be well-represented.
The Clemson Tigers appear multiple times among the finalists for various ESPY awards. Former quarterback Deshaun Watson, now with the NFL’s Houston Texans, is one of four finalists for the Best Championship Performance award. Despite passing for 420 yards and three touchdowns without an interception and running for 43 yards and a score against Alabama in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game last January, Watson is up against some stiff competition in the category. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant, and Los Angeles Sparks player Candace Parker are the other finalists. Topping Brady or Durant may prove difficult for Watson considering the pedigree each of those two have. A player competing in the NBA Finals has won the award each of the past four seasons (three of them won by LeBron James). The only college football player to win the award was former Texas quarterback Vince Young in 2006 following his performance in the Rose Bowl against USC. Watson’s performance against Alabama was about as close to Young’s Rose Bowl as you can get, so maybe there is a chance.
Watson may stand a better chance of being named the Best Male College Athlete. He is the only college football player in the running and may have the most well-known name recognition across the nation compared to the others in contention, although Kansas basketball player Frank Mason could stand a chance.
Clemson’s victory over Alabama is also one of three finalists for Best Upset. The only other finalists for the award are the Mississippi State women’s basketball team upsetting the UConn women in the women’s Final Four and Denis Istomin toppling Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open. Clemson has a chance here, although the UConn women losing was a stunner. No college football game is up for Best Game despite a thrilling national championship game and a Rose Bowl for the ages. But then again, it’s hard to argue against Game 7 of the World Series and the Super Bowl, with a Roger Federer vs. Rafael Nadal Australian Open Final coming out as the three finalists.
Clemson is also up for Best Team, but against the Chicago Cubs, Warriors, Pittsburgh Penguins, Patriots, South Carolina women’s basketball and the United States women’s gymnastics team. It’s a loaded field.
Louisville quarterback and 2016 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson is in the hunt for an ESPY though. His hurdle of a defender is in a tournament-style bracket of 16 plays for the Best Play ESPY. Given the No. 14 seed, Jackson is up against a pass by Aaron Rogers to Jared Cook that led to a playoff victory against the Dallas Cowboys, so once again it looks like a tough draw. Here’s the Jackson hurdle against Syracuse…
The ESPYS will air on Wednesday, July 12.