As long as no one catches the bakery on fire, there are several games around the SEC today that are de facto preseason games for SEC squads.
Entering the game, the questions for Ole Miss revolved around the three headed quarterback battle and the return of headline players from injury like Laquon Treadwell, Denzel Nkemdiche and Laremy Tunsil. Saturday morning, Ole Miss threw a wrench into that storyline by releasing that Tunsil would be held out presumably due to the allegations made earlier this summer by his stepfather and a potential ongoing NCAA investigation.
Even without Tunsil, the Rebels had no problem with UT-Martin as the Rebels racked up a 76-3 win. Chad Kelly, as expected, started and played the majority of the meaningful snaps, but Devante Kincaid and both got early playing time at quarterback. The Rebels were never really challenged by the Skyhawks, but the biggest threat was ended with a 93 yard interception return for touchdown by Trae Elston.
Perhaps the most notable on field occurrence of the game was a 31 yard touchdown catch by Robert Nkemdiche to add his candidacy for the Piesman Trophy.
The Georgia Bulldogs opened their season with a 51-14 win over Louisiana-Monroe in a lightning shortened game that was ended with just under 10 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. The game had previously been suspended for just over an hour due to another lightning delay during the third quarter.
Nick Chubb got his 2015 campaign off to a good start with 120 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries while Keith Marshall added 73 yards on 10 rushes with another pair of touchdowns. Sony Michel also tacked on nearly seven yards per carry, but on only six carries. While the Georgia passing game did not need to show much, Greyson Lambert got the start and went 8/12 with 141 yards and two touchdowns. Brice Ramsey only got two passing attempts, but hit on both.
The Georgia defense suffocated the Monroe running game as the Warhawks only gained 45 yards on 26 carries. Monroe was efficient in the passing game as they connected on 23/29 attempts, but only 206 yards.
Arkansas opened the third year of the Bret Bielema era with a a 48-13 win over UTEP. The Razorbacks scored on all except one of their non-half ending series including touchdowns on their first six offensive series. The scoring streak was only interrupted by halftime, a fumble in the second half and the end of the game.
Quarterback Brandon Allen had an outstanding day for the Razorbacks to turn in the first 300 yard passing yard performance for Arkansas since the 2012 season finale. Allen went 14/18 with 308 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions.
Arkansas controlled the tempo of the game as the Razorbacks only ran 54 plays and held the Miners to 53 plays. The difference in the class of the two teams was evidenced in that, despite only a running one play fewer, UTEP was held to 204 offensive yards compared to 490 yards for Arkansas. While Alex Collins rushed for 127 yards on 12 carries, those numbers are skewed by a 70 yard run. Outside of that long run, Arkansas labored to 112 yards on 33 carries, an average of 3.4 yards per carry.
A pair of Maty Mauk first quarter touchdown passes sparked Missouri and they coasted to a 34-3 win over Southeast Missouri State. Mauk ended up 12/22 for 181 yards with the two touchdowns and an interception. Freshman Drew Lock got significant mop up time and went 6/10 for 138 yards with a touchdown.
The running game for Missouri never really got going as the Tigers only ran for 98 yards on 33 carries. Ish Witter led the Tigers in rushing, but could only garner 33 yards on 13 carries.
Missouri's defense held Southeast Missouri State to 201 yards and only 56 passing yards. Senior linebacker Kentrell Brothers had a career high 16 tackles and blocked a punt that was returned 41 yards for a touchdown.
Tennessee beat Bowling Green 59-30 in a game that felt closer than the final scoreline. Bowling Green got as close as a one point deficit late in the second quarter and had an opportunity to cut the Vols lead to 12 early in the fourth quarter before Bowling Green quarterback Matt Johnson fumbled inside the five yard line. The fumble scarred an otherwise very good performance for Johnson as he lit up the Tennessee defense for 424 yards and two touchdowns.
For the Tennessee offense, it was the most points scored since 2009. The two teams combined for nearly 1200 yards with Tennessee accounting for 604 yards. Alvin Kamara and Jalen Hurd combined for both went over 100 yards rushing with 144 and 123 respectively, while quarterback Josh Dobbs tacked on another 89 rushing yards. Dobbs also had 205 yards passing with two touchdowns.
The game was interrupted for about an hour and a half for a lightning delay during the second half.
Kentucky escaped with a 40-33 win in the opening game of the "New Commonwealth Stadium" over Louisiana-Lafayette. The Wildcats held a 24-7 lead at halftime, but the Ragin' Cajuns scored touchdowns on three consecutive second half drives as part of a 24 point burst to tie the game at 33. Kentucky rallied to score the game winning touchdown with a 12 yard run by Mikel Horton. The Cajuns had a chance to tie, but were intercepted as time expired.
Kentucky's first home sellout since 2011 got kicked off in a big way as Stanley Williams took the first play from scrimmage 75 yards for a touchdown:
Patrick Towles added two touchdown passes of 35 yards or longer to open up the lead to 21-0 for Kentucky as a part of Towles' three touchdown day with 257 yards and an interception.
The Kentucky defense did give up 479 yards to Lafayette, and surprisingly considering they were trailing most of the game, 247 of those yards were from the rushing game (5.3 ypc).
The Jim McElwain era in Gainesville got off to a big start as the Gators beat New Mexico State 61-13. Granted New Mexico State is not exactly expected to be good, but for an opening game, it was an impressive start for McElwain. The Florida defense allowed only 200 yards, but unlike last year when Florida did that, this year kept the mistakes to a minimum with only a single turnover and single penalty.
Treon Harris drew the start at quarterback for the Gators and was an efficient 14/19 for 215 yards with two touchdowns. Will Grier drew significant playing time as well and accounted for three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing) with 164 passing yards and 43 rushing yards. The passing game distributed the ball widely as 14 different pass catchers with Demarcus Robinson having the most catches with five. C'yontai Lewis hauled in a pair of touchdown receptions.
After a four hour weather delay, it was announced at 11:35 p.m. ET that the LSU game against McNeese State was canceled and no makeup game would take place. That marks the second time that has happened with SEC teams in two years after Florida had the same thing occur on opening day last season.
What did you see from your team or any other teams? If they haven't played yet, what are you looking to see from them?