It was the best of quarterbacks, it was the worst of quarterbacks.
Saturday boasted one of the top quarterback battles of the weekend, with Austin Allen and Chad Kelly battling for SEC West supremacy. Both played outstanding games and better than their numbers show, but one made critical mistakes down the stretch. Other SEC West quarterbacks played among their best games of the year.
Conversely, most of the SEC East was exposed in big games. Luke Del Rio and Drew Lock battled to see who could turn it over more, while Josh Dobbs played one of the worst games of his career.
See how every SEC quarterback graded out on Saturday:
Jalen Hurts: A-
Stats: 16-26 for 143 yards, INT; 12 carries for 132 yards, 3 TDs
Hurts didn’t dazzle passing the ball and threw a pick, but he made up for it with a devastating performance as a runner. Hurts rushed for touchdowns of 2, 1 and 45 yards to help push Alabama to a 35-10 lead against Tennessee late in the third quarter of a 49-10 win. It’s scary to think Hurts will be terrorizing defenses for at least another two seasons.
Austin Allen: B+
Stats: 19-32 for 229 yards, 3 TDs, INT
Arkansas desperately needs to get Allen some help up front. Almost every time he dropped back, Ole Miss defenders flocked him and he had to scramble. Regardless, he still managed to have a relatively efficient day and avoided mistakes down the stretch in a 34-30 victory. Allen continues to be the catalyst for this Arkansas team.
Danny Etling: B+
Stats: 11-18 for 276 yards, 3 TDs, INT
It took a half to get going against Southern Miss, but Etling had the best game of his short LSU career. It had been 10 games since a receiver posted a 100-yard game, but Etling connected with Malachi Dupre for 3 completions for 100 yards and 2 touchdowns in the 45-10 win. He’ll need to keep building rapport with his receivers with four ranked opponents remaining with five games left on the schedule.
Jacob Eason: B
Stats: 27-40 for 346 yards, TD
Georgia’s 17-16 loss to Vanderbilt was one of the program’s worst in recent memory, but Eason showed many of the traits that make him such a highly touted prospect. He connected with fellow true freshman tight end Isaac Nauta for a 17-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter and helped set up three field goals. He ultimately was responsible for 83.6 percent of the Bulldogs’ offensive yardage, thanks to the running game’s brutal day.
Chad Kelly: B
Stats: 18-39 for 253 yards, TD, INT; 14 carries for 89 yards, 2 TDs
Kelly is one of the gutsiest players in football – that much is clear. He constantly put Ole Miss in positions to try to win, including a touchdown run late in the fourth quarter to give the Rebels a late lead. However, he also threw a costly pick and turned the ball over on the last Ole Miss play of the game in a 34-30 loss to Arkansas. He’ll bounce back, but this was a tough ending for him.
Nick Fitzgerald: C-
Stats: 17-36 for 214 yards, TD, 2 INTs; 16 carries for 41 yards, 2 TDs
Fitzgerald wasn’t consistent against BYU, but Mississippi State needs to get him more help. He was directly responsible for two-thirds of the Bulldogs’ yards and all three touchdowns in the 28-21 double-overtime loss in Provo, Utah.
Luke Del Rio: D+
Stats: 18-38 for 236 yards, TD, 3 INTs
It took the better part of three quarters for Florida to pull away from a reeling Missouri team and Del Rio was a big reason UF struggled offensively. The Gators didn’t score an offensive touchdown until 3:47 remained in the third quarter of their 40-14 win. He’s lucky he plays behind perhaps the most disruptive secondary in football or this game could have gone the other direction.
Kyle Shurmur: D+
Stats: 7-18 for 109 yards
Vanderbilt’s receivers were getting separation, but Shurmur failed to connect for completions with any consistency during the 17-16 win at Georgia. He still remains the least consistent quarterback in the conference.
Josh Dobbs: F
Stats: 16-27 for 92 yards, INT; 7 carries for minus-31 yards
The magic finally ran out in Knoxville. If you add up all the plays attributed to Dobbs, he accumulated just 61 yards on 34 plays, or 1.8 yards per play, in the 49-10 loss to Alabama. Obviously, that’s not going to cut it going against the top team in the nation. Dobbs has the bye week to prepare himself for the stretch run, but the Vols no longer control their destiny in the SEC East.
Drew Lock: F
Stats: 4-18 for 39 yards, 2 INTs
ESPN’s QBR metric rates quarterbacks on a scale from 0 to 100. Lock’s performance in Missouri’s 40-14 loss to Florida earned him a 0.8. Not good. Lock averaged a paltry 2.2 yards per attempt and threw pick-sixes on back-to-back drives in the second quarter. Once again, he looked totally overcome by the moment.