There were fans calling for Towles to be benched for redshirt freshman Drew Barker, but Towles answered the call in an impressive game against one of the better defenses in the SEC. Towles was great as he went 22/27, with two touchdown passes, no interceptions, 21 yards and one touchdown on the ground. The Kentucky quarterback was efficient, patient, and did not force throws. He got rid of the ball or tucked it and ran instead of settling for sacks as he did in the previous game.
Gamecocks fans certainly had to have been very encouraged by what they saw from Lorenzo Nunez. The true freshman was poised and confident in the pocket during his first career start, going 12-22 for 184 yards and two touchdowns, one to Cooper (who finished with 69 yards on four carries and atoned for his bad miscue earlier in the game). But Nunez' skill at running the ball was impressive: eighteen carries and 123 yards. In a game where the rushing attack was lacking one of its weapons (Brandon Wilds), Nunez filled a significant void.
But the Gators, with 10 minutes to play and two touchdowns to score, did not give in or up, though their defense still gave ground. Grier piloted the Gators to an insane five-for-five performance on fourth downs, throwing for 100 yards on those plays alone, and saved his best throw for Florida's last offensive snap of the day.
The Bulldog quarterbacks were once again brutally efficient against a Jaguar defense that stacked the line to stop the run often. Starter Greyson Lambert was 9 of 10 for 146 yards and 2 touchdowns. He now has 7 touchdown passes versus 0 interceptions on the season. Brice Ramsey continued to show why the quarterback race took a while to decide, hitting 11 of 14 in reserve duty for 125 yards (though a couple of those incompletions were risky throws a better defense might have made him pay for). All told they dealt the ball to 11 different receivers, led by Malcolm Mitchell (5 receptions, 96 yards, 1 TD). Mitchell is playing with great confidence right now, and it will be interesting to see him matched up against an Alabama secondary that this season is merely very good instead of its customary "legendary" status.
Offensively, starting QB Johnny McCrary continues to improve as both a passer and a decision maker, so much that the announcers during tonight's game referred to him as a "game manager" at one point because he was not afraid to check down and live for another play like he had been before. McCrary ended up going 23-42, throwing for 194 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. Leading the way for the Commodores in receiving was TE Steven Scheu, who had 5 catches for 57 yards, including several crucial catches that kept drives alive and created momentum for this offense. Trent Sherfield followed up last weekend's record-breaking performance with a 7 catch day, and Caleb Scott added 5 catches of his own as well.
The BYU offense only had 105 total yards of offense. Quarterback Tanner Mangum was under constant pressure and only completed 12 of his 28 attempts for 55 yards. The rushing game didn't do much either as there were only 50 yards on the ground. The offensive line looked completely overmatched in both pass protection and in the running game.
1. Our offense is more successful when it is focused on throwing the ball. It's different from what we're used to seeing from Mullen, but looking at how this game went, our offense was able to move the best when passing the ball. As much as fans like to complain about the offensive line's blocking ability, they were able to keep Dak upright most of the night and kept pressure off of him when pass blocking.
Instead, the Vols got confused at best and overwhelmed at worst. Moments like this are when you need your coaches the most. And in this moment, the clock started ticking and the Vols had no plan. Dobbs went to spike it, but a 12th man ran onto the field, which is a substitution infraction. And instead of getting one play to get closer or settling for 50, the Vols went backwards and had to burn their last timeout, leaving Aaron Medley with 55 yards.
He played really well until the end. He finished 20-of-25 for 225 yards and a touchdown. He made some great plays with his legs as well, including trucking an A&M defender in the fourth quarter and knocking him out of the game. But at the end, on Arkansas' last drive of regulation, he fumbled the one time Arkansas allowed Myles Garrett to get to him. And then in overtime, he underthrew Jeremy Sprinkle again. That's what will get talked about all week.
Kyle Allen was 21/28 for 358 yards and 2 TDs. That's damn good. Allen is a very solid quarterback when he's given the opportunity. Christian Kirk had 8 receptions for 173 yards. That's also damn good. Kirk will go down as the best wide receiver to come out of Texas A&M.