It was a rough week to be a top-three SEC quarterback, as both Trevor Knight and Chad Kelly suffered injuries and Jalen Hurts had to survive a swarming LSU defense. Hurts got out unscathed and we hope to see Knight back on the field again this fall, but Kelly’s season (and college career) is over.
That makes us sad. Kelly did plenty of boneheaded things, both before and after he arrived at Ole Miss, but boy was he fun to watch. SPOILER: While Hurts had surged ahead of him in these rankings recently, it feels right this week, as we say goodbye, for Kelly to occupy the top spot one more time.
10. DREW LOCK, Missouri
Last week’s ranking: 10
Stats vs. South Carolina: 23 of 40 for 302 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT
Why he’s here: He’s second in the league in passing yards (2,517) and tied for first in passing touchdowns (19). But in five conference games, Lock has thrown just 6 touchdowns against 8 interceptions. The Tigers have lost five in a row, and for the most part Lock has hurt more than he’s helped, but some of that is due to volume. No QB in the league has thrown more passes this season than Lock (36.4 per game), though Chad Kelly is tied with him.
9. JOSH DOBBS, Tennessee
Last week’s ranking: 9
Stats vs. Tennessee Tech: 12 of 13 for 183 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT
Why he’s here: The Volunteers’ mercurial senior quarterback enjoyed a nice get-well game against Saturday’s cupcake. Now it’s back to the ugly business of trying to win the woeful SEC East. The good news is Dobbs has lit up this week’s opponent, Kentucky, in three career games: 880 total yards, 11 total touchdowns, 2 interceptions. This season, he’s produced 23 total TDs for Tennessee – but also thrown 11 picks.
8. JAKE BENTLEY, South Carolina
Last week’s ranking: 8
Stats vs. Missouri: 22 of 28 for 254 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
Why he’s here: What a revelation the true freshman has been, prompting the obvious question: Why didn’t Will Muschamp go to Bentley sooner? The Gamecocks have won three straight since USC burned his redshirt. Bentley has completed 73 percent of his passes for 622 yards, 6 touchdowns and zero interceptions. With a game against Western Carolina still to come, the Gamecocks have all but clinched an improbable bowl berth.
Nice play by Jake Bentley on South Carolina TD pic.twitter.com/PgOjDu6lxO
— Patrick Murray (@PatMurrayWBIR) November 3, 2016
7. JACOB EASON, Georgia
Last week’s ranking: 6
Stats vs. Kentucky: 17 of 31 for 245 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
Why he’s here: The true freshman stayed cool in the final two minutes of a tie game on the road Saturday, helping lead a long drive to the winning field goal as time expired. It was another important step in the former 5-star recruit’s development — his second game-winning drive of the season (it would’ve been his third if not for Tennessee’s Hail Mary). He’s thrown for 1,754 yards, 11 touchdowns and just 5 interceptions in nine games.
6. NICK FITZGERALD, Mississippi State
Last week’s ranking: 7
Stats vs. Texas A&M: 18 of 31 for 209 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT; 20 for 182 yards, 2 TD rushing
Why he’s here: Dak who? We’re kidding, but Fitzgerald is really coming into his own, having rushed for 100-plus yards in three straight games and rushed for 2 touchdowns in four straight. After leading a stunning upset against the Aggies, he’s thrown for 1,705 yards, rushed for 839 and produced 24 total touchdowns. He’s tracking for a 1,000-yard rushing season which his famous predecessor, Dak Prescott, never accomplished.
— ESPN CollegeFootball (@ESPNCFB) November 6, 2016
5. SEAN WHITE, Auburn
Last week’s ranking: 5
Stats vs. Vanderbilt: 10 of 13 for 106 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
Why he’s here: He didn’t practice all week. He didn’t start the game. He was nursing a shoulder injury. But when the Tigers struggled early against the Commodores, White asked coaches to put him in, and he delivered. His value likely has been dramatically underrated so far. White continues to lead the league in completion percentage (69.1) by a wide margin, and he’s produced 11 total touchdowns with just 2 interceptions. His last pick was Oct. 8.
Darius Slayton's first career touchdown grab: He breaks wide-open on a blown coverage by Vanderbilt, and Sean White gets it to him for six. pic.twitter.com/IOE4HOZYl4
— Justin Ferguson (@JFergusonAU) November 7, 2016
4. AUSTIN ALLEN, Arkansas
Last week’s ranking: 4
Stats vs. Florida: 15 of 26 for 243 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Why he’s here: He (and the Razorbacks) bounced back in a big way from their shellacking at Auburn two weeks earlier. Minus his early pick-6, Allen was poised and picked his spots against the nation’s stingiest pass defense. He’s third in the SEC in passing yards (2,291) and tied for the lead in touchdown tosses (19). Allen has been a steady hand for an Arkansas team that now could easily win eight games in a rebuilding season.
3. TREVOR KNIGHT, Texas A&M
Last week’s ranking: 3
Stats vs. Mississippi State: 5 of 14 for 43 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT; 5 for 54 yards, 1 TD rushing
Why he’s here: The Aggies were lost without their offensive leader in a stunning upset loss to the Bulldogs. Knight hurt his throwing shoulder while diving for the end zone in the first half Saturday, and the extent of his injury is unclear. He did not return to that game. Knight has thrown for 1,911 yards, rushed for 583 and accounted for 23 total touchdowns, but after staking A&M to a 6-0 start, two losses in the last three games dashed any College Football Playoff hopes.
2. JALEN HURTS, Alabama
Last week’s ranking: 1
Stats vs. LSU: 10 of 19 for 107 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT; 20 for 114 yards, 1 TD rushing
Why he’s here: Hurts started out shaky and struggled to get anything going in the passing game against the Tigers’ ferocious defense, but he once again dazzled with his legs and delivered the only touchdown the Crimson Tide needed to stay unbeaten with a 21-yard scoot in the fourth quarter. He’s averaged 113 rushing yards the last three games — all against teams ranked at the time — and has 635 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground for the season, in addition to 1,685 yards passing, 12 touchdowns and 6 interceptions.
— Campus Insiders (@CampusInsiders) November 6, 2016
1. CHAD KELLY, Ole Miss
Last week’s ranking: 2
Stats vs. Georgia Southern: 16 of 23 for 226 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT; 6 for 23 yards, 2 TD rushing
Why he’s here: A torn ACL and meniscus mean Kelly’s college career is over abruptly. He’d produced more than 3,000 total yards and 24 touchdowns in nine games this season and will finish with 6,800 yards passing, 832 yards rushing and 65 total touchdowns in less than two full seasons with the Rebels. Here’s hoping the injury doesn’t dramatically damage his NFL draft stock, because Kelly is as talented and exciting a QB as there is in college football. He’ll be missed.