With a conference as deep and talented as the SEC, there are bound to be a few players who fly under the radar in terms of their production.
Everyone knows that Chad Kelly leads the SEC in passing, but did you know that Arkansas QB Austin Allen has thrown the most touchdown passes? Or that the conference’s leading scorer is Auburn kicker Daniel Carlson?
After eight weeks, there are quite a few of these instances, both on the team and player levels. We’ve compiled 10 of the most surprising stats of the season so far:
10. Arkansas has given up the most sacks in the SEC.
The Razorbacks have given up 21.0 sacks through their first eight games. For a program that prides itself on its offensive line play, this comes as a shock to many. Last season, the Razorbacks gave up the fewest sacks in the SEC with 14.0.
9. A tight end is the SEC’s leading receiver.
The SEC’s leading receiver isn’t Alabama’s Calvin Ridley or Texas A&M’s Josh Reynolds. It’s Ole Miss tight end Evan Engram. Through seven games, Engram has hauled in 40 catches and 605 yards. Despite Engram’s production, Ole Miss is just 3-4 on the season.
8. Vanderbilt’s Ralph Webb leads the conference in rushing.
A Vanderbilt running back is leading the SEC. Not Leonard Fournette, who has missed four games with an ankle injury, or Georgia’s Nick Chubb. The Vanderbilt running back has 855 yards while helping the Commodores to a 4-4 record.
7. Auburn has the No. 2 scoring defense in the SEC.
Since Gus Malzahn took over as Auburn’s head coach, the Tigers have never finished higher than ninth in terms of points allowed per game. Through the Tigers first seven games this season, they’ve surrendered just 14.1 points per game, good for second in the conference. The Tigers gave up 26.0 points per game last season under then defensive coordinator, Will Muschamp.
6. Despite a game with zero carries, Auburn’s Kamryn Pettaway leads the conference in rushing yards per game.
The Auburn sophomore recorded zero carries in the Tigers season opening defeat. Since then he has become the conference’s most dominant rusher. He’s racked up 697 yards on the season, good for fourth in the SEC. He’s averaging 116.7 rushing yards per game.
5. Two quarterbacks are tied for the most rushing touchdowns. And neither played in the SEC last year.
Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts and Texas A&M quarterback Trevor Knight have both shown that they are dual threat options. The two each have nine rushing touchdowns on the season. LSU’s Derrius Guice and Missouri’s Damarea Crockett lead all running backs with seven touchdowns.
4. Missouri has the league’s worst defense in terms of yards per game.
Last season, the Tigers ranked second in the SEC in yards allowed per game with 302. After Gary Pinkel stepped down, Barry Odom, the team’s defensive coordinator, was promoted to head coach. But the Tigers have really struggled on the defensive side of the ball, giving up an average of 458 yards per game. To make things worse, Missouri gave up 51 points to Middle Tennessee State in a loss.
3. Missouri has the league’s best offense in terms of yards per game.
One bright spot for the Tigers this season has been its offense. The Tigers have gone from worst to first in yards per game, as the Missouri offense averages over 505 yards per game. That’s more almost double what they averaged last year, which was 280 yards per game.
2. Auburn quarterback Sean White leads all SEC quarterbacks in completion percentage, yards per attempt and quarterback rating.
Some would say Allen or Kelly has been the best quarterback in the SEC this year. But Sean White has put forth a great season. He isn’t asked to do as much as the other two, but he’s led Auburn to a 5-2 record and a huge turnaround from the beginning of the season. White has completed 68 percent of his passes. He has the best yards per attempt average of 8.8 and the best quarterback rating in the conference.
1. Alabama lost a Heisman Trophy winner and it’s starting quarterback, and it’s scoring more points than it did last year.
Alabama lost a quarterback and two running backs that led the team to a championship last year. It would be fair to assume that offense might drop off a little bit. Instead, the Crimson Tide are averaging 43.9 points per game, up from their average of 35.1. Of course, it helps when you score 12 non-offensive touchdowns on the year.