Star LSU running back Leonard Fournette was out for another week with an ankle injury, but backup Derrius Guice made fans forget about the Heisman Trophy hopeful against Missouri.
However, not every player stepped up to the spotlight in a big slate of Week 5 matchups. Three SEC East quarterbacks struggled against elite SEC West defenses, and two of them made our list. The poor efforts showed up in a big way in the final box score.
Here are a few of the top studs and duds from Week 5 of SEC play.
Stud: RB Derrius Guice, LSU
Fournette who? Guice, the Tigers’ top backup RB made sure LSU fans didn’t miss the Heisman-caliber star at all in a dominant 42-7 win over Missouri. The backup rushed for 163 yards and 3 scores on a ridiculous 9.6 yards per carry, doing nearly all of his damage in the first half.
Missouri had been improving quietly on both sides of the ball, but Guice made them look like an FCS team. The sophomore blew through tacklers, tiptoed around linemen and showed that LSU is in good hands after Fournette likely enters the NFL draft next spring.
Dud: QB Drew Lock, Missouri
He came into the game as the SEC’s leading passer, but Lock looked pedestrian against a strong LSU defense. The sophomore completed just 46 percent of his passes, averaged 4.5 yards per passing attempt and threw a pick in the crushing defeat to the Tigers.
Missouri had played well the past few weeks, but Lock’s disastrous play all but ensured Mizzou would get blown out. He struggled against LSU’s pressure, finding star receiver J’Mon Moore just once for 16 yards. Lock also proved he is completely unequipped to throw on the run, giving up one of the ugliest interceptions of the season after missing tight end Sean Culkin.
Stud: WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama
Ridley had yet to post a signature game this season, but his explosion against Kentucky qualifies with ease. The sophomore caught 11 passes for 174 yards and 2 touchdowns in a 34-6 win over the Wildcats. He was responsible for two-thirds of quarterback Jalen Hurts’ passing yards in the win.
Alabama has a talented offense with weapons spread throughout. But with starting running back Damien Harris limited, offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin opted to feed Ridley, perhaps the most talented receiver in the nation. He and Hurts are still working to build a consistent partnership, but the flashes are blinding.
Dud: QB Brandon McIlwain, South Carolina
Granted, this game pitted a true freshman quarterback against one of the more fearsome defensive lines in college football, even without All-American Myles Garrett. However, McIlwain’s production was vastly unimpressive.
The dual-threat quarterback threw for just 34 yards on a paltry 2.3 yards per attempt and added 7 rushing yards on 0.6 yards per attempt. He added a costly interception that wasted a productive first-quarter drive into Aggies territory. Ultimately, he was pulled in favor of the older Perry Orth in the fourth quarter. Orth failed to lead a touchdown drive, but at least he averaged 7.7 yards per pass attempt.
Stud: DE Derek Barnett, Tennessee
Vols quarterback Josh Dobbs and wide receiver Jauan Jennings have gotten the lion’s share of attention this week, and for good reason. However, the Volunteers would not have been positioned for a game-winning Hail Mary had it not been for Barnett’s heroics. The unquestioned leader of the defense with Jalen Reeves-Maybin out had perhaps the second biggest play of the game late in the fourth quarter.
With Georgia backed up in its own territory, Barnett blew through the left side of the offensive line and caught UGA QB Jacob Eason in the end zone. Eason tried to throw it away, but Barnett blasted the ball out of his hands before he could. The ball rolled to Corey Vereen, who pounced on it for a go-ahead touchdown. Barnett ultimately was credited with 2.5 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks and a forced fumble.
Dud: Kentucky’s running game
Kentucky’s defense did an excellent job matching up with Alabama and keeping this game closer than it probably should have been. Mark Stoops’ influence on the defense finally started to take some effect. But consequently, the offense completely fell apart, especially the running game. Granted, the Wildcats were playing perhaps the best front seven in the nation, but the results still were disappointing.
Kentucky managed 36 carries for just 72 yards. True freshman running back Benny Snell was the only player to clear 4 yards per carry, and he managed it over just 8 carries. No individual player managed more than 40 rushing yards as the Wildcats squandered the strong defensive stand.