At the beginning of the season it was thought Saturday’s game between Auburn and Georgia could serve as a preview of the SEC Championship Game. That, obviously was not the case and we saw the latest exmaple of why in the afternoon’s early slate of games. Georgia (7-3, 5-3 SEC) scored 17 striaght second-half points to hand Auburn (5-5, 2-5 SEC) a 20-13 loss and drop the Tigers to .500.
Georgia’s Isaiah McKenzie returned a punt 53 yards for a go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter. Moments earlier, on Georgia’s previous possession, the Bulldogs offense got caught going the wrong way with penalty after penalty setting up a 3rd and 41. It was the second touchdown of the half for McKenzie after rushing for a four-yard score in the third quarter to tie the game at 10-10. Georgia later added a field goal to pad the lead.
Auburn lost two fumbles in the second half, including one by Ricardo Louis on 3rd and 2 at the Georgia five-yard line. With the Tigers down 10 points, the Tigers had their most promising drive of the half until Louis pushed up the middle and lost the football as he reached for a touchdown. He may have already had the first down if he held on to the football. There was a certain bit of irony in Louis being the one to lose the fumble, of course. It was Louis who caught the deflected pass from a pair of Georgia defenders two seasons ago that handed the Bulldogs a loss.
Neither offense did much to deserve a win. Auburn had three turnovers, but the Tigers outgained Georgia 275-243. Neither team eclipsed the century mark througfh the air. Greyson Lambert of Georgia completed 12 of 17 passes for 97 yards, and Auburn’s Jeremy Johnson completed 14 of 22 passes for 61 yards. Neither threw a touchdown pass.
This was Georgia’s final SEC game of the season, with Georgia Southern at home on the schedule next week and the regular season finale against rival Georgia Tech in Atlanta the following week. The Bulldogs won five games in SEC play in all but just three seasons since Mark Richt has been the head coach of the program.
Auburn was a popular preseason pick to make a run for the SEC, playoff and perhaps the national championship. The reality of this season is now that Auburn must beat Idaho next week to become bowl eligible, because a win against Alabama is probably not very likely in this year’s Iron Bowl the way Alabama has been playing.
The Bednarik Award is the first major honor to release its watch list for the upcoming season. But it certainly won’t be the last. Far from it, actually.
In a release Monday, the Bednarik Award announced a 90-player strong watch list that represents every FBS conference in the country. The Bednarik Award has been presented annually since 1996 to the nation’s top player on the defensive side of the ball.
The ACC leads all conferences with 18 watch listers, with the Pac- 12 (13), SEC (11) and Big 12 (10) the only others in double digits. The Big Ten, the remaining Power Five, placed nine players.
Wit eight, Conference USA led all Group of Five leagues. Next up was the AAC’s six, followed by the Mountain West Conference and Sun Belt Conference with five each and four for the MAC.
School-wise, reigning national champion LSU, Pitt and USC placed three players apiece. A handful of other schools put two players each on the watch list:
- Appalachian State
- Florida State
- Notre Dame
- San Diego State
- Virginia Tech
No finalists from a year ago remain as both the winner (Ohio State’s Chase Young) and the two runners-up (Auburn’s Derrick Brown, Clemson’s Isaiah Simmons) have since moved on to the NFL. There are, though, three semifinalists for last year’s award that are back this season — Penn State’s Micah Parson, LSU’s Derek Stingley and Florida State’s Marvin Wilson.
For the complete Bednarik Award watch list, click HERE.
FAU football is building up quite the surname legacy within its program. Even as a couple have recently departed.
Last month, Miami transfer tight end Michael Irvin II, the son of former Hurricanes legend Michael Irvin, announced that he was committing to the FAU football program. A little over a month later, Shedeur Sanders (pictured, left) announced on Twitter that he too has committed to FAU football.
The touted 2021 prospect is one of the football-playing sons of former Florida State All-American Deion Sanders.
Sanders is a four-star 2021 prospect coming out of high school in Cedar Hill, Texas. On the 247Sports.com composite, the 6-1, 198-pound Sanders is the No. 14 pro-style quarterback in the country. he also held offers from, among others, Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Oregon and Tennessee.
Sanders’ older brother, Shiloh, will be a redshirt freshman defensive back at South Carolina this season.
While the Sanders and Irvin surnames are in the Owls fold, a couple of famous ones have recently left. The wide receiver son of Ray Lewis left FAU football earlier this month. Originally committed to FAU, the running back son of Frank Gore ultimately signed with Southern Miss earlier this offseason.
FAU is coming off a 2019 football campaign in which the Owls tied a school record with 11 wins. Included in that was a first-ever win in the Conference USA championship game. And the program’s fourth straight win in a bowl game, a streak that stretches back to 2007.
Almost immediately after the win in the Boca Raton Bowl, Lane Kiffin left to take over as the head coach at Ole Miss. Kiffin was replaced shortly thereafter by former Florida State and Oregon head coach Willie Taggart.
The extended Kansas football family is mourning the loss of one it’s own over the weekend.
According to the Lawrence Journal-World, and citing multiple people close to the Kansas football program, Jack Roche died in his hometown of Chicago late Saturday night after being hit by a car. Roche had just turned 21 in May. He was also scheduled to graduate from the university the same month next year.
Roche had spent the past couple of years as a student manager for the Jayhawks. Les Miles just completed his first season as the Kansas football head coach, and mourned the young man’s passing in a tweet Sunday night.
“The KU football family is heartbroken to hear of the passing of Jack Roche,” the coach wrote. “Jack was a tremendous, hard-working young man who embodied what our program is all about. We will remember Jack and he will forever be a part of our family. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Roches.”
Roche was beloved by players past and present as well.
“He always had a smile on his face and was genuinely one of the best people in the entire program,” ex-Jayhawk quarterback Carter Stanley said according to the Journal-World. “We’d talk every day, but I’d go in earlier than usual on Mondays and we’d share the results of our fantasy football teams from the day before, which usually gave me a chance to give him a hard time for being a Bears fan.”
Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to all of those impacted by Roche’s way-too-soon passing.
As expected, the SEC is going to wait as long as possible until making its next decision when it comes to the fate of football.
Last week, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey warned that “we are running out of time” when it comes to the 2020 college football season. That said, Sankey reiterated Monday that his conference will still wait to make any type of decision until the end of this month.
Below is Sankey’s statement on the current state of affairs, which came after an expected face-to-face meeting of the conference’s 14 athletic directors. The biggest takeaway? Sankey allowed that the current trend of COVID-19 positives across the country must begin trending downward in order for there to be a college football season in 2020.
We had a productive meeting on Monday and engaged in discussions on a number of important issues that will contribute to critical decisions to be made in the weeks ahead. The ability to personally interact over the course of an entire day contributed to the productivity of the meeting.
It is clear that current circumstances related to COVID-19 must improve and we will continue to closely monitor developments around the virus on a daily basis. In the coming weeks we will continue to meet regularly with campus leaders via videoconferences and gather relevant information while guided by medical advisors. We believe that late July will provide the best clarity for making the important decisions ahead of us.
The Big Ten and Pac-12 have already announced they are going to a conference-only schedule for football. The ACC is in line with the SEC in making such a determination at the end of July. It’s expected the Big 12 will announce its next move around the same time as well.