Vanderbilt got a signature win over a ranked team, Alabama rolled over Colorado State and Mississippi State routed LSU — all thanks in part to strong quarterback play.
Meanwhile, Missouri and Tennessee experienced life on the other end of that scale in disappointing losses.
Here is a grade for every SEC starting quarterback for Week 3:
Jalen Hurts, Alabama: A-plus
Stats: 12-for-17 passing for 248 yards, 2 TDs; 11 rushes for 103 yards, TD
Another day, another ruthlessly efficient game from Jalen Hurts. He topped 100 yards on the ground for the second game in a row, didn’t take a sack and has yet to give away the football this season. He also averaged more than 20 yards per completion as he carved up the Rams, tossing touchdown passes to Calvin Ridley and Robert Foster.
Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi State: A-plus
Stats: 15-for-23 passing for 180 yards, 2 TDs; 14 rushes for 88 yards, 2 TDs
Anyone who expected Nick Fitzgerald to come back down to earth a bit against LSU got quite a shock Saturday night. The junior piled up 268 yards of offense and accounted for 4 touchdowns in a romp over the Tigers. It was a huge win for the Bulldogs, who look intent on defying the modest preseason predictions many had for them.
Kyle Shurmur, Vanderbilt: A
Stats: 14-for-23 passing for 205 yards, TD; 2 rushes for 0 yards, 1 TD
Kyle Shurmur’s stats from a 14-7 win over Kansas State aren’t eye-popping, but they’re the perfect compliment for the stellar defensive effort turned in by his defensive teammates. He hit C.J. Duncan for a first-quarter touchdown pass, scored what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter and took care of the football against a solid Kansas State defense.
Kellen Mond, Texas A&M: B-plus
Stats: 21-for-34 passing for 301 yards, 3 TDs, INT; 7 rushes for 4 yards, TD
Aside from a first-quarter interception, Kellen Mond had himself a nice day against the Ragin’ Cajuns. He spread the ball around, hooking up with 11 different receivers on his way to a 300-yard passing day. It’s a day that Mond can build on as the Aggies get ready to start SEC play next week against Arkansas.
Jarrett Stidham, Auburn: B
Stats: 32-for-37 passing for 361 yards, INT
It’s tough to argue with Jarrett Stidham’s yardage total or his 85.5 completion percentage, but it would have been nice to see him find the end zone against a FCS school like Mercer. It was a dramatically better effort than the one he turned in against Clemson, but it’s not one we’ll remember a month from now.
Feleipe Franks, Florida: B
Stats: 18-for-28 passing for 212 yards, 2 TDs, INT
In a vacuum, Feleipe Franks’ stat line from the win against Tennessee isn’t overwhelming. But his 63-yard touchdown pass to Tyrie Cleveland as time expired has to be worth at least one letter grade.
— SEC Country (@SECcountry) September 16, 2017
The throw illustrates Franks’ raw ability, as the ball traveled 66 yards in the air on a line to a criminally wide-open Cleveland in the end zone.
Jake Fromm, Georgia: B
Stats: 8-for-13 passing for 165 yards, 3 TDs
Jake Fromm made his completions count against FCS Samford, picking up large chunks of yardage and tossing 3 touchdown passes with only 13 attempts. The freshman continues to build a good rapport with Terry Godwin, who had 98 yards and a pair of touchdown grabs.
Jake Bentley, South Carolina: B-minus
Stats: 24-for-36 passing for 304 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INT; 7 rushes for 19 yards
Jake Bentley is a talented quarterback, but some of his throws in a 23-13 loss to Kentucky show that he’s still learning on the job a bit. His first interception was thrown into triple coverage, and the last was tossed in desperation as time wound down. In between, he did some nice things — including a perfectly thrown ball to OrTre Smith in the end zone to get the Gamecocks back within seven in the fourth quarter.
Stephen Johnson, Kentucky: B-minus
Stats: 16-for-25 passing for 169 yards, INT; 7 rushes for 74 yards
Last week, Drew Barker got a bit of playing time to spark the Kentucky offense. That wasn’t required in a 23-13 road win at South Carolina. Stephen Johnson, aside from an interception, played a solid game. He hit nine different receivers, and his 54-yard run on the Wildcats’ final drive set up a field goal that put the game out of reach.
Shea Patterson, Ole Miss: C-plus
Stats: 26-for-44 passing for 363 yards, 2 TDs, 3 INT
Shea Patterson didn’t have his best night in a 27-16 loss at California. The Rebels were outscored 20-0 after halftime, Patterson was sacked 5 times and he served up 3 interceptions — one of which was returned for touchdown. In fairness, he didn’t get much support from his offensive line or the running game.
Danny Etling, LSU: C-minus
Stats: 13-for-29 passing for 137 yards; 4 rushes for 10 yards
Danny Etling had a rough night in Starkville, getting sacked twice and rarely getting to throw from a clean pocket. He didn’t handle it very well, but managed to at least take care of the football. The offensive line had a night to forget in a stunning 37-7 loss to Mississippi State, and LSU fans will be hoping that this sort of thing doesn’t become a habit.
Quinten Dormady, Tennessee: D
Stats: 21-for-39 passing for 259 yards, TD, 3 INTs
If we’re being fair to Quinten Dormady, we need to point out that he had a couple of passes dropped in or near the end zone. That said, the junior struggled for most of the day against the Florida defense. All of the interceptions hurt, but Duke Dawson’s pick on the Florida 1-yard line was particularly damaging. Dormady isn’t going to see too many defenses or road environments to match what he faced on Saturday, but more is needed from the quarterback position.
Drew Lock, Missouri: F
Stats: 12-for-28 passing for 133 yards, 2 INT
Drew Lock had a nightmare of a game at home in a 35-3 loss to Purdue. He never found a rhythm, serving up a pair of interceptions. Offensive coordinator Josh Heupel even tried leaving the sideline for the coaching box midway through the game. Nothing worked for the Tigers, whose season suddenly seems to be in real peril.