This past Saturday was supposed to be a boring day of college football, but we should know better by now. Auburn and Texas A&M — both ranked in the top 10 in the College Football Playoff rankings — lost, and the entire SEC landscape changed.
There were several impressive performances from middling teams, but the top of the SEC underwhelmed and suffered embarrassing losses. After Saturday’s upsets, only one SEC team still ranks in the top 15 of the AP poll — that’s tied with the Mid-American Conference.
Here are the biggest studs and duds from Week 11 of SEC play:
Stud: Shea Patterson, Ole Miss
When Chad Kelly went down with a knee injury last week, it was thought that the Rebels could have some issues even making a bowl game. It took just one half for Patterson to prove that his name already belongs among the best in the conference.
Facing a 21-6, fourth-quarter deficit, Patterson led three touchdown drives and a game-winning field goal drive to push the Rebels past No. 8 Texas A&M at Kyle Field. The true freshman threw for 338 yards and 2 touchdowns, while running for 64 yards — not bad for his first college football game.
Dud: Late game Texas A&M
It’s hard to single out just one unit, because this Texas A&M collapse required a joint effort. Texas A&M lost its 15-point fourth-quarter lead and ultimately saw its dream season fall apart in November once again.
Jake Hubenak led a 76-yard touchdown drive in the middle of the fourth quarter to push the lead out to 28-19. From that point on, the Aggies were done. Ole Miss scored its third touchdown of the quarter in just 1:24 to cut the lead to two, and then the Aggies went three-and-out. Patterson needed just a few minutes to set up a game-winning field goal, while Hubeank threw an interception to end Texas A&M’s chances.
Stud: Charles Harris, Missouri
Missouri has consistently produced quality defensive lines, but this season has been a disappointment. Despite returning Harris, one of the best defensive ends in the conference, the line has been unable to get separation using its new defensive system.
Luckily, Harris had one of his best games of the season against Vanderbilt. The junior led his team with 9 tackles and added 3.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, two QB hurries and a forced fumble. He was all over the field and wreaked havoc on the Vanderbilt offense and led Mizzou to its first conference win of the season. Harris now has three games with multiple sacks this season.
Dud: Sean White, Auburn
White said his shoulder injury worsened in the Georgia game, but there’s no excuse for not telling the team about it. The sophomore need 20 pass attempts to throw for 27 yards and even added a pick-6 to cap off a disastrous day. On ESPN’s 100-point QBR scale, White posted a cool 1.0.
It’s become exceedingly clear that Auburn goes as White goes. The Tigers have won only two games where White has thrown fewer than 200 yards. One of those was a 543-yard rushing explosion. The other was Vanderbilt, when he was inserted in the second half. This performance cost Auburn a shot at the SEC championship.
Stud: LSU RB Derrius Guice
Most teams are lucky to have one running back who can compete at the highest level in the SEC — LSU reminded everyone on Saturday that it has two. With starting running back Leonard Fournette hobbled with a recurring leg injury, Guice was more than happy to step into the fold and change the football game.
Guice rushed for 252 yards on just 21 carries and added a pair of touchdowns in a 38-10 road beatdown of Arkansas. The highlight was easily a 96-yard breakaway, the longest rushing play in LSU history. The Tigers might have the best running back duo in college football.
If you ask me we the best duo @DhaSickest
— 7⃣ Leonard Fournette (@_fournette) November 13, 2016
Dud: Arkansas rushing
Part of this had to do with inconsistent play-calling and getting into a deficit early, but Arkansas completely abandoned the running game and left Austin Allen out to dry. The Razorbacks rushed for only 81 yards on 24 carries.
Rawleigh Williams II, the team’s leading rusher, received only 13 carries, but averaged fewer than 4 yards per carry. Devwah Whaley might have rushed for 52 yards, but 34 of them came on one carry and he lost a fumble. Allen is good, but it’s not fair to ask him to beat some of the better defenses in college football without consistent help from the running game.