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 four times and has been inducted to the Arkansas Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame.
SEC Report: Beamer tries to replicate No. 1 success
South Carolina coach Shane Beamer is shown during a game against Arkansas on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, in Fayetteville.
South Carolina Coach Shane Beamer was an assistant for the Gamecocks in 2010 when they beat No. 1 Alabama 35-21.
“That was certainly a fantastic day and a special environment in Williams-Brice Stadium,” Beamer said. “A great day for our program, the city of Columbia, the university. Shoot, the entire state of South Carolina that day.”
It is South Carolina’s only victory over a No. 1 team in six tries.
In other games against No. 1 teams, the Gamecocks lost to Maryland 27-0 in 1955, to Florida State 28-10 in 1991, to Florida 52-25 in 1996, to Florida 24-14 in 2009 and to Clemson 37-32 in 2015.
South Carolina will get another chance to beat a No. 1 team when Georgia plays at Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday.
“Any time you have the No. 1 team in the country coming into your stadium, certainly you don’t have to try to motivate your guys to get excited for that game,” Beamer said. “Georgia certainly has our respect, and they’re very deserving of that No. 1 ranking.”
The Bulldogs opened the season by beating No. 11 Oregon 49-3, then blanked Samford 33-0 last week.
Georgia is the only team in the country that hasn’t allowed a touchdown.
“I’m still trying to find a weakness on their football team,” Beamer said. “I’m having a hard time.”
Alabama’s 20-19 win at Texas extended the Crimson Tide’s winning streak in regular-season games against nonconference opponents to 54.
Louisiana-Monroe handed Alabama its last nonconference loss in the regular season when the Warhawks beat the Tide 21-14 on Nov. 17, 2007, at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala., during Nick Saban’s first season.
Louisiana-Monroe is No. 2 Alabama’s opponent Saturday.
“I don’t forget things,” Saban said. “So I remember when these guys beat us.
“I know that our players won’t remember that because history sometimes is not that important. And they were probably only, what would you say, 5-6 years old when that happened. But it kind of is what it is.”
This will be the second time Louisiana-Monroe has played Alabama since pulling the upset 15 years ago. The Tide beat the Warhawks 34-0 in 2015 en route to winning the national championship.
First Big Ten visitor
When No. 22 Penn State plays at Auburn on Saturday, it will mark the first time a Big Ten opponent has visited Jordan-Hare Stadium.
It’s a return game after Penn State beat Auburn 28-20 in State College, Pa., last season.
“There’s only so many times you get to do something for the first time, right?” Tigers Coach Bryan Harsin said of the game. “It doesn’t really change the fact we’ve got to execute our assignments and make sure that we’re ready for a very good football team, but I think it’s something neat for the fans.
“It just adds to the whole excitement of the game. I think for the fans that have supported this program for a long time, it’s something that they can look forward to as another experience.”
Penn State is 24-24 against SEC teams, including a 24-10 loss to Arkansas last season in the Outback Bowl.
Alabama is Penn State’s most frequent SEC opponent. The Crimson Tide have a 6-3 record against the Nittany Lions.
Auburn and Penn State split two Outback Bowl matchups — with the Nittany Lions winning 41-14 in 1995 and the Tigers winning 13-9 in 2002 — before last year.
Penn State has played all 14 teams currently in the SEC at least once.
Auburn is 12-11-2 all-time against Big Ten teams.
No OU … yet
With Oklahoma and Texas joining the SEC no later than the 2025 season, the conference office has directed Georgia and Tennessee to postpone previously scheduled games against the Sooners, it was announced Wednesday.
Georgia was scheduled to play at Oklahoma in 2023 and the Sooners at Tennessee in 2024.
According to the SEC release, those games need to be postponed because the return matchups should be part of the conference rotation in future years.
Passing the Bear
Kentucky’s 26-16 victory at No. 12 Florida made Mark Stoops the all-time winningest coach for the Wildcats.
Stoops improved to 61-53 in his 10th season — the longest head coaching tenure in program history — and passed Bear Bryant.
Bryant, an Arkansas native from Fordyce best known for winning 232 games and six national championships in 25 seasons at Alabama, had a 60-23-5 record at Kentucky in seven seasons from 1946-53.
“Obviously it was really big to accomplish that feat in such a big game, especially against Florida,” Stoops said.
Florida was a long-time nemesis of Kentucky and won 31 consecutive games in the series from 1987 through 2017 before the Wildcats pulled out a 27-16 victory in 2018 at the Swamp.
Including that win, No. 9 Kentucky is 3-2 in its past five games against Florida with two victories on the road.
Stoops, who is from Youngstown, Ohio, said about 130 family members, including his mother, and friends will be at Saturday’s Kentucky-Youngstown State game in Lexington.
“Half of Youngstown will be here this weekend,” Stoops said. “It’ll be a lot of fun.”
The Stoops family now boasts two coaches who are the all-time winners at Power 5 schools.
Bob Stoops, Mark’s older brother, retired at Oklahoma after the 2016 season with a 191-48 record.
Like Mark Stoops, Bob Stoops also passed an Arkansas native to achieve his record.
Barry Switzer, a Crossett native who was a player and assistant coach at the University of Arkansas, had a 157-29-4 record as Oklahoma’s coach and now is No. 2 on the all-time victories list.
QB starter uncertain
Jaxson Dart started at quarterback for Ole Miss in the opener when the Rebels beat Troy 28-10.
Luke Altmyer started in the Rebels’ 59-3 victory over the University of Central Arkansas.
Who will start at quarterback when No. 20 Ole Miss plays at Georgia Tech on Saturday?
Rebels Coach Lane Kiffin isn’t saying.
“We have not made that decision,” Kiffin said Wednesday. “Both guys have done some good things, and some things they need to do better.
“They’re both still young in their second year in college. So we hope they improve this week.”
Dart, a sophomore transfer from Southern California, completed 18 of 27 passes for 154 yards and 1 touchdown with 1 interception against Troy.
Altmyer, a sophomore who was Matt Corral’s backup last year, completed 6 of 13 passes for 92 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception against UCA before he sustained an upper-body injury.
Dart replaced Altmyer and completed 10 of 15 passes for 182 yards and 2 touchdowns without an interception.
Altmyer has practiced this week and Kiffin said he expects him to be ready to play on Saturday.
“I think he’s fine,” Kiffin said. “He understands it’s a competition and it’s still wide open, so I anticipate both guys playing.”
Kiffin was asked if it’s important to settle on a starter before opening SEC play against Kentucky.
“I think it would be better to [have a clear-cut starter],” Kiffin said. “I’ve always thought that.
“But at the same time, you’ve got to make the right decision. Those guys being young and the battle being so close, we need more information.”
Kiffin said he doesn’t expect to have a two-quarterback system throughout the season.
“I wouldn’t anticipate that being long term,” Kiffin said. “That’s not ideal. It’s still a positive there’s competition going on, but that’s not our long-term plan.”
In Brian Kelly’s first 20 seasons as a head coach, he competed in a conference.
First Kelly coached Division II Grand Valley State in Allendale, Mich., in the Midwest and Great Lakes conferences, then with Central Michigan in the Mid-American and with Cincinnati in the Big East.
Over the previous 12 seasons, Kelly led Notre Dame, which always has competed as an independent except in 2020 when the Fighting Irish played an all-ACC schedule due to covid-19.
On Saturday, Kelly will coach in his first SEC game when LSU opens conference play against Mississippi State at Tiger Stadium.
“It certainly gives you more to look forward to, other than just playing for a national championship every year, which was quite unique,” Kelly said of moving from Notre Dame to LSU. “Adding this to the goal chart makes each SEC game special.
“When you get to SEC play, it heightens everyone’s awareness. So I love the opportunity to be in a conference, especially one like the SEC.”
The Irish went 10-2 in 2020, including 10-0 in ACC games. They lost to Clemson in the ACC Championship Game 34-10, then lost to Alabama 31-14 in the College Football Playoff semifinals.
Over a 10-play stretch in the third quarter, two Missouri quarterbacks combined to throw four interceptions in the Tigers’ 40-12 loss at Kansas State.
Starter Brady Cook threw the first two interceptions, then backup Jack Abraham threw two.
LSU scored a school-record 37 points in the first quarter of its 65-17 win over Southern.
According to records dating to 1944, the most points LSU had scored in a quarter was 35 in the fourth quarter when the Tigers beat Tulane 62-0 in 1958 and 35 in the third quarter when they beat Rice 77-0 in 1977.
Bob Holt's SEC Rankings
1. Georgia (2-0)
2. Alabama (2-0)
3. Arkansas (2-0)
4. Kentucky (2-0)
5. Tennessee (2-0)
6. Mississippi State (2-0)
7. Florida (1-1)
8. Ole Miss (2-0)
9. Texas A&M (1-1)
10. South Carolina (1-1)
11. Auburn (2-0)
12. LSU (1-1)
13. Vanderbilt (2-1)
14. Missouri (1-1)
Player to Watch: Mississippi State QB Will Rogers
Rogers, who makes fast reads and gets rid of the ball, has put up impressive numbers entering the SEC opener at LSU. He has completed 77 of 98 passes for 763 yards and 9 touchdowns with 2 interceptions in 2 games.
Game of the Week: No. 13 Miami at No. 24 Texas A&M
The Aggies don’t have to wait long for some national redemption after their shocking 17-14 home loss to Appalachian State. They can regain some respect by beating Miami.
The pressure is on Aggies Coach Jimbo Fisher, who calls the plays, to generate more points after the Aggies scored one offensive touchdown to go with a kickoff return score last week.
Fisher knows how to beat Miami. He was 7-1 against the Hurricanes at Florida State.
By the Numbers
3-2 Kentucky’s record against Florida in the past five meetings after the Gators had won 31 in a row
105,213 Attendance for the Alabama-Texas game. It was the largest home crowd ever at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, surpassing 103,507 for the Longhorns’ 37-14 victory over Southern Cal on Sept. 15, 2018;
1.5 Points allowed per game by Georgia
186 Total yards Texas A&M on 38 plays against Appalachian State. The Mountaineers gained 315 yards on 82 plays.
“Stop doing that s***!”
Alabama Coach Nick Saban yelling at his players when they did the downward hook ‘em horns sign after beating Texas 20-19
“I’m responsible for this team. Everything that happens under this football team is my fault.”
Missouri Coach Eli Drinkwitz after Kansas State beat the Tigers 40-12
“You can’t let one loss become two.”
Texas A&M Coach Jimbo Fisher on bouncing back against Miami from a 17-14 loss to Appalachian State
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