It’s rare for a quarterback to throw two interceptions and be named SEC Offensive Player of the Week, yet Nick Fitzgerald nabbed the honor for his four-touchdown performance in Mississippi State’s 35-28 upset win over then-No. 4 Texas A&M.
The sophomore accounted for 391 total yards in the victory. According to ESPN, Fitzgerald is only the third SEC quarterback in the last 20 years to pass for 200 yards and rush for 175 in a game. The other two are Heisman winners Cam Newton and Johnny Manziel. Fitzgerald, a dual-threat option, ranks fifth in the SEC in both rushing yards (839) and passing touchdowns (16). He’s thrown multiple interceptions in three of his last four games, however.
Florida’s Luke Del Rio and Missouri’s Drew Lock each threw a pair of interceptions in Week 10 as well. In three games since returning from a knee injury, Del Rio has six interceptions to just two touchdowns. The Gators sophomore has thrown a pick in every game but one this season (UMass).
Del Rio, in fact, tossed a pick-6 on Florida’s first offensive play of the game in the 31-10 loss at Arkansas. Here:
His first INT of the season was a BIG one that got it all going… https://t.co/FqzFZ9Ij7v
— Razorback Football (@RazorbackFB) November 6, 2016
Although the ball went in and out of the receiver’s hands, it was poor judgment to throw into double coverage, especially so deep in his own territory.
Del Rio flirted with double coverage again in the second quarter and was picked off by Josh Liddell at the Arkansas 3-yard line. Coach Jim McElwain revealed this week the signal-caller sustained a shoulder injury a few plays before the turnover after being slammed hard to the ground, which he attributed to the giveaway. McElwain has ruled Del Rio out for Florida’s home game against South Carolina on Saturday.
Arkansas’ Austin Allen also tempted tight coverage in the contest and was burned by cornerback Duke Dawson for a 37-yard interception return for a touchdown.
— UFSwampaholics (@UFSwampaholics) November 5, 2016
Allen finished with 243 yards and a touchdown on 15-of-26 passing in the victory. His 148.78 average QB rating for the season trails only Auburn’s Sean White (159.84) as best in the SEC.
Costliest INT of the Week
Vanderbilt was oh-so-close to stunning No. 8 Auburn as 23.5-point underdogs on Saturday, but any hopes of a victory was foiled by cornerback Josh Holsey’s clinching interception — his second in as many weeks.
Trailing 23-16 with 36 seconds remaining, Vandy quarterback Kyle Shurmur took the snap on second-and-10 from the Auburn 30-yard line. The sophomore attempted to find Trent Sherfield with a pass, but Holsey dropped into space and snagged the interception. “I just felt something was going to be behind me,” Holsey recalled of the play after thinking something was up with the way Shurmur continually “patted” the ball. “My instincts took me to the ball again.”
Shurmur is one of the SEC’s most stingy quarterbacks this season. His four interceptions (minimum 150 passing attempts) are tied for second fewest in conference play with LSU’s Danny Etling and Kentucky’s Stephen Johnson.
Unluckiest INT of the Week
Johnson’s lone pick of the weekend is easily the unluckiest of Week 10. Check out this NFL-caliber throw turned takeaway by Georgia’s Deandre Baker:
— GATA Dawgs (@BassinDawg) November 6, 2016
Forgivable INT of the Week
Most LSU fans will tell you Etling has been better than advertised, despite a horrid performance in a 10-0 defeat to No. 1 Alabama on Saturday night. He finished with only 92 yards on 11-of-24 passing.
Etling is more of a game manager than a game-changer. The Purdue transfer came over with a career 16-to-12 touchdown-to-interception ratio, posting a 7-to-4 mark this season with a 127.3 average passer rating.
The junior quarterback took one for the team while throwing his lone interception against the Crimson Tide, and for that the turnover can be forgiven. Etling undoubtedly saw Alabama’s Ryan Anderson bearing down on him, but stood his ground in his attempt to make something out of nothing trailing 7-0 in the fourth quarter.
Ryan Anderson’s big hit on Danny Etling leads to an interception from Minkah Fitzpatrick pic.twitter.com/EieqEEXnUx
— Chris Kirschner (@ChrisKirschner) November 6, 2016
The game marks the 29th time the Alabama defense has held a team to fewer than 100 yards passing under head coach Nick Saban — four of those against LSU.
Below is a list of the SEC quarterbacks who threw interceptions last weekend, including their total number this season:
|NAME||TEAM||WEEK 10 INTs||TOTAL INTs|
|Luke Del Rio||Florida||2||8|
|Nick Fitzgerald||Mississippi St.||2||9|
|Jake Pellerin||Ole Miss||1||3|
|Jake Hubenak||Texas A&M||1||1|