Grading the SEC quarterbacks in Week 5: Alabama, Auburn QBs set the pace

Teams can win without good quarterback play, but it’s easier to notch victories with solid play behind center.

Alabama and Auburn proved that point in Week 5, getting outstanding play at the position in blowout wins. Of course, there were some subpar efforts from the league’s signal callers, as well.

Here is a grade for the SEC’s quarterback for Week 5:

Jalen Hurts/Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama: A-plus

Stats: Hurts — 12-for-19 passing for 197 yards, 2 TDs; 10 rushes for 101 yards, TD; Tagavailoa — 3-for-5 passing for 51 yards, TD; 4 rushes for 37 yards, TD

When you’re hot, you’re hot. And Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa are just that. Hurts played at a Heisman Trophy-contender level, piling up almost 300 yards of total offense and 3 scores against Ole Miss, while Tagovailoa continued to show his promise with a couple of touchdowns in relief.

Jarrett Stidham/Malik Willis, Auburn: A-plus

Stats: Stidham — 13-for-16 passing for 264 yards, 2 TD; Willis — 1-for-1 passing for 3 yard; 1 rush for 67 yards, TD

Jarrett Stidham is in the top 10 nationally, completing 72 percent of his throws. He showed why against Mississippi State, with a sparkling 13-of-16 effort. He wasn’t dinking and dunking, either, hitting 4 passes of more than 40 yards. It’s hard to play much better. Malik Willis put a cherry on top with a 67-yard touchdown scamper in the final minutes.

Austin Allen, Arkansas: A

Stats: 19-for-26 passing for 264 yards, 3 TDs, INT

Austin Allen was hot early in a win against New Mexico State, completing 13 of his 15 attempts for 203 yards in the first half. Aside from an overthrow that led to an interception, he was virtually flawless. And on a day when some of his SEC counterparts struggled with non-league opposition, he made sure the Razorbacks did not.

Jake Bentley, South Carolina: B

Stats: 17-for-30 passing for 256 yards, 2 TD

Playing behind a patchwork offensive line, Jake Bentley did all he could to orchestrate a road win for the Gamecocks on Saturday. He threw for 256 yards and 2 touchdowns despite being sacked seven times. He did enough, but an inconsistent ground game and a defense that wilted late doomed South Carolina to a narrow loss.

Kellen Mond, Texas A&M: B

Stats: 19-for-27 passing for 159 yards; 16 rushes for 95 yards

Kellen Mond continued his maturation process in a come-from-behind win against South Carolina. He didn’t find the end zone, but he avoided negative plays and turnovers. His 95 yards led the team in rushing, and his ability to create yardage with his mobility kept those key second-half drives alive.

Kyle Shurmur, Vanderbilt: B

Stats: 18-for-40 passing for 264 yards, 3 TDs

The running game never got in gear and the Vanderbilt defense had trouble getting off the field against Florida. With those things working against him, Kyle Shurmur pretty much kept the Commodores in the game by himself. He misfired on a few throws, but still tossed three scoring passes in the face of constant pressure from the Gators. It was a nice response to the nightmare effort against Alabama.

Jake Fromm, Georgia: B-minus

Stats: 7-for-15 passing for 84 yards, TD, INT; 7 rushes for 20 yards, 2 TDs

Jake Fromm’s passing stats were nothing special, but his 2 touchdown runs on read-option plays against Tennessee in the second quarter helped turn a defensive struggle into a rout. He now owns road wins over Notre Dame and Tennessee in his young Georgia career, and if the defense continues to play as well as it did against the Volunteers, they’ll be more notches on that belt before the season is done.

Stephen Johnson, Kentucky: B-minus

Stats: 18-for-27 passing for 175 yards, 2 TDs

Stephen Johnson didn’t have much success rushing the ball, but he made up for it with an efficient day through the air. He connected with six different receivers, threw a couple of first-half touchdown passes to Greg Hart and Tavin Richardson and helped Kentucky avoid an embarrassing home loss to Eastern Michigan.

Danny Etling/Myles Brennan, LSU: C-plus

Stats: Etling — 17-for-25 passing for 198 yards, 2 TDs, INT; 5 rushes for 57 yards; Brennan — 4-for-7 passing for 68 yards, TD, INT

LSU fell victim to a stunning loss at home to Troy on Saturday night, and while Danny Etling and Myles Brennan shouldn’t share as much blame as a suddenly lifeless defense should, they deserve some. Etling wasn’t playing badly when he took a wicked hit on the last play of the first half. He didn’t come back until midway through the fourth quarter, when he threw 2 touchdown passes. His interception came in the final seconds when the Tigers were trying to get into field goal range.

Brennan was OK, throwing a touchdown and an interception in roughly a quarter-and-a-half of work. But as a three-touchdown favorite, we were expecting more from both of them.

Feleipe Franks/Luke Del Rio, Florida: C-plus

Stats: Franks — 10-for-14 passing for 185 yards; Del Rio — 7-for-11 passing for 64 yards

Luke Del Rio’s reemergence as Florida’s starting quarterback was cut short Saturday when he departed with a left collarbone injury that will require season-ending surgery. Before his departure, he was steady against Vandy. Feleipe Franks came in off the bench and created a few big plays in the passing game as well. The rushing game produced all the points, but the quarterbacks helped set the table.

Nick Fitzgerald/Keytaon Thompson, Mississippi State: D

Stats: Fitzgerald — 13-for-33 passing for 157 yards, TD, 2 INT; 13 rushes for 56 yards; Thompson — 0-for-4 passing; 4 rushes for 28 yards

Nick Fitzgerald and Keytaon Johnson are probably among the most excited players in college football after finishing back-to-back road trips to face Georgia and Auburn — two of the nation’s top 10 defenses in yards allowed. Fitzgerald was slightly better against Auburn than he was against Georgia, but still struggled to find receivers while serving up a pair of interceptions. The Bulldogs have an off week before welcoming BYU to Starkville, and here’s hoping they make good use of it.

Shea Patterson, Ole Miss: F

Stats: 14-for-29 passing for 165 yards, 2 INT

It was a long night for Shea Patterson against a smothering Alabama defense. One of his interceptions turned into a pick-six, he was sacked five times and the Rebels were 0-for-13 on third-down conversions. It was a night to forget for Patterson and the program.

Quinten Dormady/Jarrett Guarantano, Tennessee: F

Stats: Dormady — 5-for-16 passing for 64 yards, 2 INT; Guarantano — 6-for-7 passing for 16 yards

It’s hard to play much worse than Quinten Dormady and Jarrett Guarantano did against Georgia. In addition to his two interceptions, Dormady failed to recover a botched shotgun snap. Guarantano wasn’t much better in mop-up duty, completing only short throws while being sacked twice. Tennessee was awful in every way possible Saturday, and the quarterbacks were very much a part of that.

The post Grading the SEC quarterbacks in Week 5: Alabama, Auburn QBs set the pace appeared first on SEC Country.

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