10 Things We Learned About Missouri and Texas A&M in Their SEC Debut
Texas A&M and the University of Missouri both made their SEC debuts this weekend, and while both put up a good fight, each came up a little short in the end.
However, SEC fans certainly got to know both of these programs a lot better after their respective games against Florida and Georgia.
Here are 10 things we learned about Texas A&M and Missouri from their first SEC contests.
Texas A&M Has a Quarterback
Redshirt freshman Johnny Manziel played in his first college football game on Saturday, and boy did he open some eyes in SEC country.
Manziel went 23-of-30 passing, gaining 173 yards through the air and 60 more on the ground, including an 11-yard touchdown run.
Perhaps what was most impressive was Manziel's ability to escape pressure and make plays outside the pocket. He routinely complete passes on the run and was able to gain yards with his feet when he needed to.
One issue seemed to be protecting the football. Manziel did fumble, but he looked pretty careless with the ball on some of those runs and I wouldn't be surprised if he puts it on the ground some this season if that doesn't get fixed in a hurry.
James Franklin May Not Be Such a Dual Threat in the SEC
A lot has been made about James Franklin's ability to make plays with this legs, but we didn't see a lot of that on Saturday night against the Bulldogs.
The combination of size up the middle and speed on the edge for the Dawgs kept Franklin's rushing in check for most of the night. Franklin was held to only 20 yards rushing for the entire game, though sacks skew that stat a little.
Look for other SEC defenses to game-plan around how UGA was able to stop Franklin's rushing this season.
The Aggies Need to Improve Rushing Attack
Senior Christine Michael is a good running back. He ran all over Arkansas last season for 230 yards on 32 carries.
But Michael couldn't seem to get going against the Gators on Saturday, tallying only 33 yards on 13 carries.
The Aggies have another option in junior Ben Malena who looked impressive against the Gators, but was limited to only three carries.
Whoever is going to carry the load is going to have to step up against stout SEC defenses.
Old Man Football Wins Games
I know, I know. This is getting to be a little stale of a topic, but I'm still not sure what "old man football" is.
But if it is indeed what Georgia plays, it seemed to work out just fine. Perhaps Aaron Murray was more accurate when he held up the white board that read "grown man football" after the victory.
Texas A&M's Jonathan Stewart Is Scary
Linebacker Jonathan Stewart had quite a day Saturday against the Gators, racking up 17 total tackles and was in on a sack as well.
That was a career day for Stewart, whose previous best single game tally was 13 tackles, which he did twice in 2011. Unfortunately for Stewart, all his best games have come in losses, with this weekend being no exception.
Still, take note SEC offenses, Stewart is a force to be reckoned with for sure.
Missouri's Offensive Line Had No Answer to Jarvis Jones
To be fair, not many teams have had an answer for Jarvis Jones, but still, he wreaked havoc on the Tigers all night.
With the exception of a relatively quiet third quarter, Jones was all over the place and caused two turnovers in the fourth quarter that were probably the difference in the game, as both set up UGA inside Missouri's five-yard line and both led to Georgia touchdowns.
But as good as he is, Jones isn't the only SEC defender with speed around the edge. Missouri's offensive line is going to have to address this or it could be a long season for the Missouri backfield.
Texas A&M's Damontre Moore Can Get After It
In addition to Jonathan Stewart, another Aggie with a great day was junior defensive lineman Damontre Moore.
Moore had 10 total tackles and three sacks in the loss to the Gators. Now, the Florida offensive line left a little something to be desired and Jeff Driskel often held the ball a little too long, but still, Moore made them pay big time.
Missouri Is Going to Miss Elvis Fisher
Offensive tackle and senior team leader Elvis Fisher was granted a sixth year of eligibility after missing all of last season from surgery to repair an injured left knee.
Unfortunately for Missouri, Fisher had to leave the game after suffering an injury to his right knee in the second quarter. It's not known when Fisher will return, but his play and leadership will be sorely missed.
Kyle Field Fits Right into SEC Atmosphere
Whatever adjustments A&M needs to make to transition into the SEC, Kyle Field, the "Home of the 12th Man", isn't one of them.
The crowd in College Station is loud and proud. With a butt in every one of the more than 82,000 seats, A&M's fanbase already rivals most SEC schools.
The Tigers Could Be Ready to Compete in the SEC East Now
Anyone who watched this game knows it was a lot closer than the final score would indicate. Georgia is the highest ranked team in the SEC East and Missouri was definitely in this game into the fourth quarter.
If this game is any indicator, the Tigers are probably ready to compete for the East title now. This loss will make it harder to win the East this season, but anything can happen.
The main question to be answered is how Missouri will handle the gruel of an SEC schedule. If they can hold up, the Tigers will be a threat to get to Atlanta sooner than later.