SEC Football: Ranking Top 10 Performances from Week 2
Arkansas RB Alex Collins is a beast
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Week 2 in the SEC may not have been quite as dramatic as Week 1, but we're starting to see previously unknown players make a name for themselves.
A great performance one week can be called a fluke, but two straight weeks with an impressive outing typically indicates a pattern starting to develop.
We saw several bounce-back performances, and defenses outside the ones in Athens, Ga. were great.
Let's take a look at the top 10 performances in the SEC from Week 2.
10. DE LaDarius Owens, Auburn
Auburn DE LaDarius Owens against Clemson last season
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Despite allowing well over 400 yards of total offense, the Auburn defense played well enough to win for the second week in a row.
Against Arkansas State, it was defensive end LaDarius Owens who stood out the most as the junior racked up eight tackles, which included two for a loss as well as a sack.
While the Red Wolves offense isn't going to turn heads compared with some of those in the SEC, it's still a fairly dangerous attack. Holding it to just nine points has to be considered a major victory for Auburn, which is starting to develop a pretty nasty defense in 2013.
9. RB Mike Davis, South Carolina
South Carolina RB Mike Davis
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Even in the Gamecocks' 41-30 loss at Georgia, running back Mike Davis showed fans that the South Carolina rushing attack is in strong hands.
Davis rushed for 149 yards on just 16 carries, and for the second game in a row he recorded a 75-yard touchdown run.
Replacing Marcus Lattimore had to be at the top of South Carolina's list of priorities for the season, and in two weeks, Davis has shown that he is more than capable of filling the role of the hard-nosed, every-down back. It doesn't hurt that he has home run abilities, either.
It's fair to say that in a league filled with NFL talent in the backfield, Davis is quickly becoming a player to keep an eye on.
8. Florida Defense
Florida DL Dominique Easley
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It's not often that a top performance will come from the losing side, but Florida's effort on Saturday was just too good to ignore.
The team lost 21-16 to Miami, but the defense allowed just 212 total yards. Against anybody else, that might be sort of expected.
But Miami running back Duke Johnson, a possible Heisman candidate, was held to just 59 yards on 21 carries. Quarterback Stephen Morris, who has an NFL future, completed less than 50 percent of his passes for just 162 yards.
The Gators defense gave the offense every chance in the world to snag the victory, and for that, it earns a spot in the top 10 performances of the week.
7. Mississippi State Front 7
Mississippi State head coach has to be happier today than he was last Sunday.
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For the second straight slide, more than one player makes the list of top performances.
In fact, Mississippi State's entire front seven gets the honor after allowing just 28 rushing yards to Alcorn State in a 51-7 victory.
Those 28 rushing yards by Alcorn State came on 25 carries for an average of 1.1 yards per carry, and the defense as a whole allowed just 163 yards to the Braves.
The Bulldogs have some work to do on offense; that much is obvious after mustering just three points against Oklahoma State last week. But after holding the explosive Cowboys offense to just 21 points, the defense came out with an even better effort Saturday against the Braves.
Mississippi State may not have the horses to hang with the top teams in the league, but this defense is off to a fantastic start and should keep the team in most of its games on the schedule.
6. QB Maxwell Smith, Kentucky
QB Maxwell Smith
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How bout a little love for the Wildcats?
After an embarrassing loss to Western Kentucky, the team responded with a 41-7 win over Miami of Ohio.
What stood out the most was the improved quarterback play from Maxwell Smith, who completed 15 of 23 passes for 310 yards and three touchdowns.
You had to wonder what kind of effort the Wildcats would give against the RedHawks after such a disappointing start to the season. But Smith and Co. answered the bell as 10 different receivers caught passes and helped the offense produce nearly 700 total yards.
Smith could have a tough time making this list once the SEC portion of the schedule arrives, but for now, he deserves some recognition for his solid outing Saturday.
5. QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
QB Johnny Manziel
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As far as victories go, this one isn't particularly memorable despite the Bearkats being one of the best teams in the Football Championship Subdivision.
But the Texas A&M offense is officially in high gear thanks to Manziel, and it sets up quite the showdown with Alabama next Saturday.
While some may disagree with Manziel's inclusion on this list, the numbers are difficult to overlook. But they still occurred against Sam Houston State.
Next Saturday will be the real test for Manziel and this Aggies offense, and college football fans everywhere are looking forward to what will happen in round two against the Crimson Tide.
4. Tennessee Defense
Head Coach Butch Jones had to love the Vols' defensive effort on Saturday.
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The Tennessee Volunteers had a fairly pedestrian 52-20 victory over Western Kentucky on Saturday.
Quarterback Justin Worley threw for 142 yards and a score, and the rushing attack produced 240 yards and four touchdowns.
But the defense, boy did it come to play. The Volunteers forced seven turnovers, which included five interceptions. Two of those picks were returned for touchdowns, and defensive back Brian Rudolph snatched a pair of his own.
It gives momentum to a defense now faced with the monumental task of slowing down the mighty Oregon Ducks, who just polished off Virginia 59-10.
It's rare that you see a defense force seven turnovers, and if Tennessee can continue to capitalize on those turnovers, it'll hang with any team it faces in 2013.
3. Arkansas RB Tandem
RB Alex Collins
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Has Arkansas found the second coming of Darren McFadden and Felix Jones?
After combining for 298 yards and two touchdowns on 31 carries in the Razorbacks' 31-21 victory over Samford, we may have an answer in Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams.
It's the second straight week that the duo has impressed, but what should really scare future opponents is how young the two backs are. Collins is a true freshman, and Williams is just a sophomore, so it's crazy to imagine what these two could be doing to opposing defenses in a couple of years.
The victory wasn't all that impressive, but after a drama-filled 2012 season, Razorback fans have to be downright giddy at what the running back tandem has produced thus far in 2013.
2. QB Aaron Murray, Georgia
Georgia QB Aaron Murray
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Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray has quickly become one of the most heavily scrutinized players in the country.
But after leading the Bulldogs to a 41-30 win over South Carolina, he should be nothing but smiles.
The talented senior completed 17 of 23 passes for 309 yards and four touchdowns in the victory. More importantly, he didn't throw a single interception.
Mistakes, and when they occur, often define a quarterback's legacy. After a disappointing loss to Clemson in the opening week, Murray bounced back in a major way.
The win should give fans hope that all of the team's goals can still be accomplished, including another appearance in the SEC Championship Game.
For Murray, it should provide confidence for the rest of the season, especially against the talented defenses of the SEC.
1. WR Odell Beckham, LSU
WR Odell Beckham celebrates a score
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Is Odell Beckham the best wide receiver in the country?
As sensationalistic as that may sound, his first two weeks are impressive as any we've seen in quite some time.
In the Tigers' 56-17 win over UAB, Beckham did it all. He caught five passes for 136 yards and three touchdowns, tacked on a 15-yard rush and returned a punt for 59 yards as well.
Clemson wideout Sammy Watkins may have something to say about the title of "best receiver," but Beckham is showing he belongs in the conversation after just two weeks.
Imagine if Beckham had been mentioned in the preseason Heisman conversation. That would probably give him an early lead at this point, especially since his first great performance came against a solid TCU defense.
As it is, he's certainly an early season dark horse. But more importantly for LSU, he's a big-time weapon in an offense that has struggled to score over the past couple of seasons. Here's a guess that future opponents will be keeping an eye on No. 3.