What are the 10 greatest single game performances in SEC football history?
The lack of college football news during the summer months encourages the mind to drift towards subjects like this. Finding an original topic with the proliferation of lists and rankings and blogs and websites has become more difficult than actually compiling the data. I think I’ve found a fresh subject here.
First, my ground rules:
- I considered only SEC conference games. I did not consider bowl games, non-conference games or games by players at schools now in the SEC before their schools were members of the SEC (Sorry George Rodgers).
- Weight was given to performances in important games. Seven touchdowns scored against Alabama plays differently in history than seven touchdowns scored against Vanderbilt. (Sorry Tim Couch)
- Defensive players were screwed. I don’t have a single defensive performance on this list and that’s my bad. There’s simply no way to research or quantify great defensive performances the way I could with offensive performances. (Sorry Reggie White, Derrick Thomas and Patrick Peterson)
Let this fool’s errand begin.
10 Showboat Boykin, Ole Miss HB (halfback), vs. Mississippi State 1951
I’m relying on the SEC Football Media Guide for this one. “Showboat” tallied seven rushing touchdowns – a conference record which still stands – on only 14 carries for 187 yards. Yes, half of his carries were touchdowns.
9 (tie) Carnell Williams, Auburn RB, vs. Mississippi State 2003
Madre Hill, Arkansas RB, vs. South Carolina 1995
Showboat stands alone with seven while two other SEC players have rushed for six touchdowns in a game. Cadillac’s six TDs came on only 15 carries with 161 yards while Hill’s six came on 31 carries with 178 yards.
8 Danny Wuerffel, Florida QB, vs. Tennessee 1995
Weurffel’s 29 completions on 39 attempts for 381 yards weren’t historic, but the six touchdown passes he dropped on the Vols certainly were. The shockingly unathletic Weurffel also ran for a score against a Tennessee team that would finish ranked 3rd in the nation.
7 Josh Reed, LSU WR, vs. Alabama 2001
Josh Reed’s 19 receptions in this game remains the high water mark for the conference and his 293 yards is second-best all-time. Bonus points: the game was in Tuscaloosa.
6 Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M QB, vs. Arkansas 2012
In the fourth game of his career against a rival Johnny Football completed 29 of 38 passes for 453 yards and three touchdowns. He added 104 yards on 14 carries and another TD with his legs.
5 Darren McFadden, Arkansas RB, vs. South Carolina 2007
Thirty-four carries for 321 yards (9.4 average) and a touchdown were memorable, a 23-yard touchdown pass puts a cherry on top. His 1-for-1 for 23-yards and a TD represents a 623.2 quarterback ranking according to sports-reference.com.
4 Cam Newton, Auburn QB, vs. South Carolina 2010
This performance occurring in an SEC Championship game further highlights it. Newton’s passing stats: 17-for-28, 335 yards, 4 TD, 0 INT, 208.4 QB rating. His rushing stats: 14-for-73 and 2 touchdowns.
3 Herschel Walker, Georgia RB, vs. Florida 1981
The most difficult aspect of selecting the Hershel Walker game to place on this list is which one to take? All three of his performances vs. the Gators were legendary with 238, 192 and 219 rushing yards gained in his three seasons. I’ll take the ’81 game: an SEC record 47 carries, 192 yards, four touchdowns and 12 runs for first down. His average per carry (4.1) was not gaudy, however, the Gators had to know it was coming and still couldn’t stop it. Furthermore, the game was close, 26-21, so every yard and score was needed.
2 Tim Tebow, Florida QB, vs. South Carolina 2007
Twenty-two for 32, 304 yards with two touchdowns through the air, 26-for-120 and five touchdowns on the ground. The Gamecocks appear frequently on this list as the opponent.
1 Bo Jackson, Auburn RB, vs. Alabama 1983
The raw data dazzles: 20 carries, 256 yards, 12.3 yards per carry, 2 touchdowns. The backdrop is more impressive. Jackson’s performance in the 23-20 victory against an Alabama team that would finish ranked 15th nationally secured the Tigers’ first SEC Championship since 1957 (!). It allowed Auburn to go on to the Sugar Bowl and a #3 ranking in the final AP and UPI polls, the team’s highest, also, since ’57.
“In your face,” Keith Jackson.
Thanks to Auburn Associate AD for Communications Kirk Sampson who provided me Jackson’s game-by-game statistics from his Auburn career. I was surprised to find it impossible to locate Jackson’s game-by-game Auburn stats on-line and that’s another blog for another day.
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