SEC Football: Ranking Top 10 Performances from Week 9
Most of the SEC teams that played during Week 9 handled their business. Five of the six ranked teams won their game, and three teams that played out-of-conference teams beat up on inferior opponents. It was just another week at the office for the SEC.
But which players performed the best?
One wide receiver topped 200 receiving yards, another broke a conference record and a quarterback went from revealing his lunch on the sidelines to leading his team to victory.
10. Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt
If you're able to overlook Vanderbilt's struggles this season, you'll notice that senior wide receiver Jordan Matthews is once again having another great year.
His eight receptions and 92 yards against Texas A&M weren't earth-shattering, but he did become the all-time leading receiver (3,172 yards) in the SEC, surpassing Georgia's Terrence Edwards. That's quite an accomplishment considering he's played with quarterbacks not even diehard SEC fans can name.
Matthews now has 66 receptions, 890 yards and five touchdowns on the season. He's still one of the best wide receivers in the country.
9. Sammie Coates, WR, Auburn
Quarterback Nick Marshall suffered an injury to his throwing shoulder in a 45-10 win against Florida Atlantic. His absence forced freshman Jeremy Johnson to step in and lead the team.
Anytime a young quarterback takes over, somebody must rise to the occasion and help relieve some of the pressure.
That's what Sammie Coates did.
The sophomore only caught three passes, but two of them put points on the board. He also led both teams with 113 receiving yards. Chances are that Auburn still would have won the game against the Owls without his performance, but Coates was nonetheless key in keeping Auburn afloat without its star quarterback.
8. Kelcy Quarles, DL, South Carolina
Wait, you mean South Carolina has defensive players besides Jadeveon Clowney?
Yes, and Kelcy Quarles was one of the main guys who helped the Gamecocks upset Missouri on Saturday. The massive defensive tackle had a season-high six tackles, three tackles for loss and two sacks in South Carolina's victory. That's mighty impressive for somebody who wasn't even expected to play after suffering a knee injury in last week's loss to Tennessee.
Quarles was nearly impossible to block against the Tigers.
7. Kevin Norwood, WR, Alabama
The above reception shows you all you need to see from Kevin Norwood. This could have been his only catch of the game, and he would still be worthy of making this list.
Are you kidding?
The good thing is that it wasn't his only reception in the beating against Tennessee. Nope, the senior set career highs with six catches and 112 receiving yards as Alabama reminded Tennessee fans that their team still has a long way to go.
That catch will be remembered for quite some time.
6. Ja-Mes Logan, WR, Ole Miss
As if Ole Miss needed another offensive weapon, here you are.
Ja-Mes Logan had the best game of his senior career, hauling in six passes for 122 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the Rebels' 59-14 win over Idaho. The experienced wide receiver set the tone by scoring the first touchdown of the game on a 37-yard reception and then scored the first touchdown in the second half on a 65-yard catch.
Ole Miss continues to produce quality playmakers on the offensive side of the ball. Logan is just the latest to have a breakout performance.
5. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Just when you're used to Johnny Manziel putting on a show, he dazzles you with something you weren't quite expecting.
Nobody knew exactly what to expect from the reigning Heisman winner after he injured his shoulder in a loss to Auburn.
How does 305 passing yards and four touchdowns sound?
You've heard it before, but Manziel is absolutely ridiculous, and he's now gone four straight games with more than 70 percent of his passes being completed.
Could he really win a second Heisman?
4. Kenny Ladler, S, Vanderbilt
Even in a losing effort, safety Kenny Ladler played his heart out and gave Vanderbilt a shot to pull off the upset against Texas A&M.
Well, at least early in the game the Commodores had a chance.
Anyway, the senior was all over the field, leading the team with 10 tackles, intercepting a pass and forcing two fumbles. If the entire Vanderbilt team could have matched his intensity, the outcome of the game may have been a little different.
Loss or not, Ladler put his big boy pads on and played like a man.
3. Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State
Nobody impressed me more last week than sophomore quarterback Dak Prescott.
In a 28-22 win over Kentucky, he completed 67.6 percent of his passes for 268 yards and two touchdowns. He displayed great arm strength, made plays with his legs when he needed and really took charge of a team that was struggling to win ballgames.
As long as Prescott can continue to play at this level, former starter Tyler Russell is going to see less and less playing time. It's safe to say that Mississippi State has found its quarterback of the future in this promising dual-threat player.
2. Odell Beckham, WR, LSU
Odell Beckham could be the best wide receiver in LSU history if he continues to play at this level. Against Furman, the junior caught six passes for 204 yards and two touchdowns.
Furman, Alabama, an elementary school—those numbers are quite impressive regardless of the competition.
Beckham was a one-man wrecking crew, scoring on a 37-yard and a 63-yard touchdown pass to help the Tigers stomp the Paladins in a 48-16 victory. He now has 1,009 receiving yards and eight touchdowns on the season.
1. Connor Shaw, QB, South Carolina
Connor Shaw wasn't even expected to play against Missouri. He was nursing a sprained knee and battling a stomach virus that, per Chris Low of ESPN.com, had him throwing up three hours before the game. But with Dylan Thompson struggling, head coach Steve Spurrier decided that an injured quarterback couldn't be much worse.
He was right.
The senior completed 69 percent of his passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns. One of those touchdown passes came on 4th-and-goal to extend the game into a second overtime.
Shaw played out of his mind despite the circumstances, helped hand Missouri its first loss of the year and put the Gamecocks back in the hunt for an SEC title.