Bob Holt is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Missouri, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and a voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 basketball poll. Holt has been awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year three times.
SEC Report: Orgeron aims to beat his son
LSU head coach Ed Orgeron will lead the Tigers on Saturday against McNeese State, whose starting quarterback is his son, Cody Orgeron. (AP/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
LSU Coach Ed Orgeron said he won’t take it easy on his son when the Tigers play McNeese State on Saturday night in Tiger Stadium.
Cody Orgeron, Ed’s son, is the starting quarterback for McNeese.
“Obviously, it’s different, but I’ve got to put that aside,” Ed Orgeron said of preparing for his son’s team. “I’ve got to put the Tigers first, he’s going to put McNeese first, and we’re going to compete like we always do. And at the end, we’re going to shake hands.”
Ed Orgeron’s background is as a defensive line coach.
“I really think my dad’s going to tell them to get after me,” Cody Orgeron said. “It’s no harsh feelings. It’s his job to do it and it’s my job to execute. I expect them to come at me full speed and I’m ready.”
West Florida sacked Orgeron four times last week in its 42-36 victory over McNeese State, so the Cowboys figure to have trouble blocking LSU’s defensive front.
The Tigers also are looking to bounce back from a 38-27 loss at UCLA.
“Cody knows, we’re coming, man,” Ed Orgeron said. “We’re hungry. We have distaste in our belly and we’re coming, and McNeese is in our way. He understands that.”
Cody Orgeron completed 30 of 48 passes against West Florida for 367 yards and 2 touchdowns without an interception.
“I was impressed with his release,” Ed Orgeron said when asked to evaluate his son’s game. “His receivers did a great job. He extended plays with his feet.”
Bob Holt's SEC Rankings
3 Texas A&M
5 Ole Miss
11 Mississippi State
13 South Carolina
Cody Orgeron figures to surpass 5,000 career passing yards against his father’s team. He has passed for 4,967 yards and 38 touchdowns.
“This is Cody’s sixth year,” Ed Orgeron said. “He weighs 200 pounds now. He went there 160 pounds soaking wet. So he’s worked very hard to get where he’s at, and he’s feeling confident right now.”
Ed and Cody Orgeron said they talk or text every day, and they’re staying in contact this week even while playing each other’s teams.
“Me and Cody are best friends,” Ed Orgeron said. “So, that ain’t never going to stop.”
Mississippi State Coach Mike Leach has now led three programs to their largest comeback victories after the Bulldogs rallied to beat Louisiana Tech 35-34 after being down by 34-14 with 13:11 to play.
The 20-point comeback surpassed the largest deficit Mississippi State previously had overcome to win, 16 points, in an 18-16 victory over Auburn in 1999.
Leach also set the mark for largest comeback victories at Texas Tech and Washington State.
“I think we need to quit chasing those records,” Leach said. “Play well and stay ahead.”
Texas Tech rallied from down 31 points to beat Minnesota 44-41 in the Insight Bowl in 2006 when Leach coached the Red Raiders. In 2017, his Washington State team beat Boise State 47-44 in triple overtime after trailing by 21 points.
Alabama sophomore quarterback Bryce Young, making his first start, passed some pretty big names when it comes to passing in the Crimson Tide’s 44-13 victory over Miami.
Young passed for more yards (344) and touchdowns (4) than any previous Alabama quarterback making his first start.
Jalen Hurts had held the mark with 287 yards in the Tide’s 36-23 victory over Western Kentucky in 2016.
Joe Namath and Mac Jones had shared the record for most touchdown passes in a first start with three. Namath threw three touchdown passes against Georgia in Alabama’s 35-0 victory in 1962, and Jones threw three against Arkansas in Alabama’s 48-7 victory in 2019.
Namath, a first-round draft pick by both the AFL and NFL, led the New York Jets to a victory over the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III and is a college and pro football Hall of Fame inductee.
Hurts, who finished his college career at Oklahoma, is the starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles, and Jones will start as a rookie for the New England Patriots. Jones was a first-round pick this year, and Hurts was selected in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft.
Ole Miss Coach Lane Kiffin couldn’t be at the Rebels’ opener against Louisville on Monday night in Atlanta because he was quarantining after testing positive for a covid-19 breakthrough coach.
Without Kiffin, the Rebels came through with a 43-24 victory, which resulted in a $100,000 bonus for their coach, USA Today reported.
Kiffin’s contract includes the bonus for a regular-season nonconference victory over a Power 5 conference opponent.
Texas-San Antonio Coach Jeff Traylor, a former University of Arkansas assistant, and Nevada Coach Jay Norvell also received bonuses of $25,000 each for victories last week, according to USA Today.
UTSA, Traylor and offensive coordinator Barry Lunney Jr. — a former Razorbacks quarterback, assistant coach and interim head coach — beat Illinois and Coach Bret Bielema, a former Arkansas coach, 37-30. Norvell and Nevada beat California 22-17.
Auburn junior quarterback Bo Nix completed 20 of 22 passes in the Tigers’ 60-10 victory over Akron for a 90.9% completion rate that set a school record.
The previous record of 86.5% was held by Jarrett Stidham, who completed 32 of 37 passes in Auburn’s 24-10 victory over Mercer in 2017.
Been a while
South Carolina’s 46-0 victory over Eastern Illinois in Shane Beamer’s debut as coach last week marked the Gamecocks’ first shutout since 2008 when they beat North Carolina State 34-0.
“I don’t care who you’re playing, it is hard to hold teams to zero points in today’s college football,” Beamer said. “To have some guys out on defense, to be a first-year staff, new defensive coordinator [Clayton White], all that, opening ball game, to have the first shutout here since 2008 … that’s pretty impressive.”
Beamer also was on the South Carolina sideline as an assistant coach for the Gamecocks 13 years ago when they shut out North Carolina State
Back in poll
Auburn moved into The Associated Press poll at No. 25 this week after beating Akron 60-10 to open the season.
It’s the first ranking for the Tigers since late last season when they were No. 22 and lost to No. 1 Alabama 42-13.
Auburn then played its final three games in 2020 as an unranked team and wasn’t in the AP poll to open this season.
Going for 100
Florida Coach Dan Mullen has a 99-55 record in his 13th season as an SEC coach going into Saturday’s game at South Florida.
Mullen went 69-46 in nine seasons at Mississippi State and is 30-9 with the Gators.
At 49, Mullen has plenty of years left to pile up the victories.
“I could see me getting, hopefully we win enough, to have the opportunity to get to 200,” Mullen said. “I don’t know that I’ll do 300.”
Mullen’s chances of celebrating his 100th victory in the South Florida game look pretty good considering Florida is a 28-point favorite.
“I’m going to do it at two different schools, which maybe that makes it a little bit easier,” Mullen said. “Because I think people maybe get bored of you after a while.”
Not social hour
Mississippi State Coach Mike Leach said he knows several members of the North Carolina State coaching staff, but he won’t be doing a lot of visiting with them before the Bulldogs play the Wolfpack.
“Be good to see them for like 30 seconds,” Leach said. “That’s about what you get. This isn’t just some wistful walk down memory lane. Maybe it would be if you didn’t have the pressure of a football game.
“I’d take them all over Starkville — ‘Hey, wait until you see this. … Have you ever had one of these?’ Trouble is, it’s 30 seconds in passing. Then you’re trying to solve problems the other team is presenting on the field.”
Let them score
Mercer figures to lose big to Alabama and fall to 0-4 against the Crimson Tide when the teams play on Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
But it would be nice if the Bears could score on the Crimson Tide.
In three previous meetings, Alabama has outscored Mercer 96-0. The Tide beat the Bears 20-0 in 1939, 20-0 in 1940 and 56-0 in 2017.
Not one, but two SEC teams will be playing in the state of Colorado on Saturday.
Texas A&M is playing Colorado in Denver and Vanderbilt is playing at Colorado State.
Player to Watch — Kentucky QB Will Levis
Wildcats Coach Mark Stoops is looking to improve the passing game, and Levis delivered in Kentucky’s 45-10 victory over Louisiana-Monroe.
Levis, a graduate transfer from Penn State, completed 18 of 26 passes for 367 yards and 4 touchdowns with 1 interception.
The Wildcats play Missouri in Lexington, and Levis figures to get a much stiffer test after the Tigers had nine sacks against Central Michigan.
Game of the Week: Missouri at Kentucky (-5), 6:30 p.m. Saturday (SEC Network)
The Wildcats (1-0) and Tigers (1-0) will play the year’s first SEC game and only conference matchup on Saturday.
It’s not going to decide the SEC East, but the winner will move up in the division pecking order behind Georgia and Florida, and position itself for a winning season and better bowl game.
New coordinators — Steve Wilks for Missouri on defense and Liam Coen for Kentucky on offense — will match wits.
By the Numbers
6 for 35 — Tackles for lost yards by Missouri linebacker Blaze Alldredge, a transfer from Rice, against Central Michigan.
91-42 — Alabama Coach Nick Saban’s record against Top 25 teams after the No. 1 Crimson Tide beat No. 14 Miami 44-13 in Atlanta.
4 — Touchdown passes thrown by South Carolina quarterback Zeb Noland, who began the season as a graduate assistant coach, in the Gamecocks’ 46-0 victory over Eastern Illinois.
“Bring your ass on, in your sissy blue shirt!”
— LSU Coach Ed Oregon in response to a UCLA fan who heckled him before the Tigers played the Bruins in the Rose Bowl. UCLA won 38-27.
“Eli and I have built a friendship and I like him. He kicked our butt [20-10 last season]. I’m not going to forget. That’s on my mind. He had his team more prepared than I was. Maybe he’ll have some compassion for me.”
— Kentucky Coach Mark Stoops on playing Missouri Coach Eli Drinkwitz
“We just need this Big Ten officiating crew to teach us how to tackle because obviously we don’t know.”
— Ole Miss Coach Lane Kiffin on a halftime interview with ESPN after Rebels linebackers Mark Robinson and Lakia Henry were ejected for targeting.
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