There was – once again – plenty going on in the world of college football this weekend. Here is a look at five of the best things that happened in the SEC over the last few days.
By Steve Wright
5 – Will Anderson Jr.
In a year without an elite quarterback – or three – eating up the Heisman voting it is going to be very interesting to see exactly how high ‘Bama linebacker Will Anderson Jr. finishes in voting for the trophy. In a game where Alabama needed defense to pick up for a running game that was going nowhere, Anderson was head and shoulders the best player on the field. He had 12 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and four tackles are a long including one hit in the backfield that shook the entire stadium. He has 21 tackles for a loss and 10 sacks on the season so far and he is worth the price of admission for games on his own.
4 – Texas A&M’s defense
This is a unit that has become more and more dominant as the season has progressed. Auburn had been on a streak behind the play of Bo Nix and many thought the Aggies were in trouble here. Not so much. A&M held Auburn to 226 at just 3.2 yards per play in a 20-3 win that was basically a defensive master class against an offense that can move the ball in a variety of ways. The Aggies let them move it in exactly zero of those ways, keeping their path to an SEC West win alive should ‘Bama slip up somewhere along the way.
3 – Jabari Ellis scoop and score
I have no idea what is going on at Florida, but the coolest play of their game against South Carolina was big man Jabari Ellis rumbling for a scoop and score touchdown on a fumble recovery. I think what I enjoy most about it is that the only reason Ellis was even in position to score this was because he had just been absolutely left for dead by an Emory Jones juke move and turned around to suddenly see the ball at his feet. 15 or so yards later and South Carolina was up by 20 points late in the second quarter.
2 – Georgia
This is a weird year for SEC – and for college – football with a record number of ranked teams going down. There is one constant, however, and that would be the Georgia Bulldogs. It isn’t just that the Bulldogs haven’t been upset yet, but it is that no one has even come close. They have won eight straight games by three scores or more and their 43-6 win over Mizzou feels like their 193rd win of the year holding a team to less than 10 points. The defense is NFL level good – it is going to go down statistically as one of the best ever – and they are doing all this without a starting quarterback that probably brings another two scores per game to the table. Georgia has been metronomic in 2021 and they deserve a place on this list.
1 – The best fake punt in football history
Just when you think you have seen every conceivable fake special teams play out there, someone comes up with something new. The fake punt that was converted for a first down by LSU against Alabama was an absolute doozy and should singularly keep Ed Orgeron in a job. On the play, punter Avery Atkins sprints full tilt at the mass of bodies converging on him on defense like he is channeling prime level Jim Brown. Then, just as eight of the 11 ‘Bama players on the field are within a few yards of him, Atkins jumps and hangs a Michael Jordan tear-drop in the lane over all the defenders to Jack Mashburn who had snuck out of the mess to get behind the ‘Bama cavalry charge. The 26-yard gain for a first down set LSU up to take a 7-0 lead four plays later and it is legit one of the coolest plays you will ever see.