SEC Notebook: Shootouts becoming the norm in SEC

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange


What's happened to the defensive league the SEC has been noted to be?
Two years ago, when LSU and Alabama played in the November game that would decide the Western Division race, neither team could score a touchdown as the Tigers won 9-6 in overtime.
Last year didn't quite match that offensive struggle when Alabama got by LSU 21-17 and lost 29-24 to Texas A&M in the most notable games of the Tide's title run. Not exactly low scoring, but not track meets either.
But a Big 12-like shootout broke out Saturday in College Station when the Crimson Tide outscored Texas A&M 49-42. The Tide scored touchdowns on six of 10 offensive possession (not including the kneel-down at the end), the Aggies on six of 12.
Senior quarterback AJ McCarron said the extra week of practice the Tide got with an open date the second weekend paid off for Bama's offense.
"In our off week we had some of the best practices we have had as a team," McCarron said. "The first game was not perfect, and we worked to get some of the kinks out.
"The whole game coach allowed me to check in and out of plays. He would give me a run call, and I know that I have certain checks out of it. Coach left it in my hand today to get us in the right play."
And, of course, the Aggies had Heisman winner Johnny Manziel and his notable scrambling ability on the other side of the ball. Manziel had 562 yards in total offense in the loss.
"It was a lot of work chasing around Manziel," senior linebacker C.J. Mosley said.

FIVE BIGGEST TAKEAWAYS FROM WEEK 3 IN THE SEC:
1. If Alabama's offense was missing in its opener, the Crimson Tide found it in the victory over Texas A&M.
The Tide drove for touchdowns on six of eight possessions in one span and was in position for a seventh until fumbling inside A&M's five-yard line.
2. Texas A&M sophomore WR Mike Evans (seven catches for 279 yards, including a 95-yard touchdown catch, against Alabama) is going to create nightmares for opposing defensive coordinators.
He has good speed and at 6-foot-5 has the ability to jump to make catches between smaller defensive backs when double-covered.
3. Ole Miss looks to have established itself as a legitimate team in the SEC but coach Huge Freeze doesn't want fans to get too hyped up after the win over Texas, especially with Alabama coming up after an open date.
"It's a step in the right direction, but it's just one step," Freeze said of the Texas win. "We didn't take six tonight. We just took one step, but it is a step in the right direction."
4. LSU looks to be the real deal on offense this year after past struggles. The Tigers are averaging 488 yards per game in total offense, which ranks only sixth in the conference but is a big jump up from last season's average of just over 374 yards a game.
Senior QB Zach Mettenberger is a big reason why, throwing for nearly 266 yards a game (an increase of 66 yards a game) and leading the SEC on pass efficiency.
5. Vandy WR Jordan Mathews is on his way to another banner year. After catching eight passes for 106 yards in the loss to South Carolina, the senior is leads the SEC in receptions with his 8.0 average and is second in receiving yardage with his average of 131.7 yards per game.
Last year Mathews was second in the league in both categories with 7.23 receptions and 101.8 yards per game.