The freshman movement has been going on all season, but Saturday was a showcase of the SEC’s young, talented arms.
One true freshman led his team on a game-winning drive, while another scored a vital touchdown that separated the top team in the nation from one of its biggest rivals. Meanwhile, another true freshman led his team to an improbable third straight win.
See how every SEC quarterback graded out during Week 10’s games:
Nick Fitzgerald: A-
Stats: 18 of 31 for 209 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs; 20 carries for 182 yards, 2 TD
Fitzgerald had put up great numbers against mediocre competition, but he finally got a chance to play against an elite defense for the first time in a month. He did not disappoint. His passing still is inconsistent, but Fitzgerald is starting to develop the kind of playmaking ability Mississippi State has been searching for this season. His 2 interceptions are forgivable, considering he led the Bulldogs to a 35-28 win against fourth-ranked Texas A&M.
Jalen Hurts: A-
Stats: 10 of 19 for 107 yards, INT; 20 carries for 114 yards, TD
The stats aren’t kind, but Hurts was the difference in this game. LSU was unable to counter the quarterback run, which helped lead Alabama to the road win. Hurts ran for the game’s only touchdown and had another 23-yard run on third down to set up a field goal in a 10-0 victory. His poise as a true freshman is astonishing.
Jake Bentley: B+
Stats: 22 of 28 for 254 yards, 2 TDs
Bentley wasn’t expected to be part of the freshman movement this season, but South Carolina is thrilled he is now. Bentley threw for 2 touchdowns for the third straight game in a 31-21 win against Missouri and is still the only USC quarterback to toss a touchdown at Williams-Brice Stadium this season. The Gamecocks offense is almost unrecognizable from when he took over.
Josh Dobbs: B+
Stats: 12 of 13 for 183 yards, 3 TDs
Dobbs played pretty much a perfect game against a bad opponent. He did what he was supposed to do in Tennessee’s 55-0 rout of Tennessee Tech.
Jacob Eason: B+
Stats: 17 of 31 for 245 yards, TD
Georgia needed a late drive to sneak past Kentucky, and Eason was the man for the job. He completed all 4 of his passes for 40 yards during the final drive to set up a game-winning 25-yard field goal as time expired in a 27-24 win in Lexington.
Austin Allen: B
Stats: 15 of 26 for 243 yards, TD, INT
After he got a bad pick-6 out of his system, Allen was very good against one of the best defenses in college football. He built a steady connection with Drew Morgan and finally received some help from the run game in Arkansas’ 31-10 win against No. 11 Florida. Allen continues to make his case as the best in the SEC.
Sean White: B
Stats: 10 of 13 for 106 yards, TD
Auburn hoped to be able to rest White as he dealt with a shoulder injury, but John Franklin III was a virtual non-factor as Vanderbilt took an early lead. However, White stepped into the game and threw a critical score and led a pair of field goal drives to keep Auburn’s SEC title hopes alive after a 23-16 victory.
Jake Hubenak: B-
Stats: 11 of 17 for 222 yards, 2 TDs, INT
Let’s be clear, Hubenak is not the reason Texas A&M lost to Mississippi State. In fact, the backup quarterback was excellent after Trevor Knight went out for good with an apparent shoulder injury. Hubenak is a significantly better passer than Knight, but the offense just didn’t have enough to overcome a 28-7 deficit in a 35-28 loss.
Chad Kelly: B-
Stats: 16 of 23 for 226 yards, TD; 6 carries for 23 yards, 2 TDs
Ole Miss’ defense struggled mightily against a Georgia Southern team whose best win is against Louisiana-Monroe. Fortunately, Kelly was there to bail them out. After the Eagles took a 14-3 lead, Kelly ran for a pair of scores and threw for another to Evan Engram that helped give the Rebels a 24-21 advantage en route to a 37-27 victory.
Stephen Johnson: C-
Stats: 10 of 20 for 103 yards, INT
The interception wasn’t his fault, but Johnson’s performance has been extremely inconsistent, even though the team success has been there. Mark Stoops picked a good time to figure out the Wildcats have an elite stable of running backs, because Benny Snell kept Kentucky in the game, not Johnson, in a 27-24 loss to visiting Georgia.
Drew Lock: C-
Stats: 23 of 40 for 302 yards, TD, 2 INTs
Lock was slightly more effective than usual against a Power Five team, but still threw two costly interceptions in Missouri’s 31-21 loss at South Carolina. Missouri is still winless against Power Five opponents in 2016.
Kyle Shurmur: C-
Stats: 24 of 36 for 221 yards, TD, INT
Shurmur might be all that is standing between Vanderbilt being inconsistent and decent. Shurmur had an OK game in a 23-16 loss at Auburn, but 50 of his yards came on 2 throws down the stretch, right before throwing a game-clinching interception. Vanderbilt can’t win these games without getting more from him.
Luke Del Rio: D
Stats: 19 of 37 for 229 yards, 2 INTs
Del Rio started the game with a pick-6 and somehow led Florida to just one scoring drive against an inconsistent Arkansas defense — a 49-yard field goal from Eddy Piniero. Ultimately, UF coach Jim McElwain probably will ride with Del Rio to close the year, but he’s looking less like the long-term answer every week.
Danny Etling: F
Stats: 11-24 for 92 yards, INT
Granted, it was against the best defense in the SEC, but Etling was awful. He looked like the quarterback who lost his job at Purdue, averaging fewer than 4 yards per pass attempt, getting sacked 5 times and throwing a costly interception that all but sealed LSU’s 10-0 loss to Alabama. LSU’s defense had a masterful performance, but Etling failed to lead the Tigers even within field goal range.