Here’s a look at the top three individual performances by SEC players from the weekend.
3. Missouri RB Ish Witter
The skinny: It was “Senior Night” for Mizzou, making it apropos that Witter, a senior from Tampa, had the best game of his career. He rushed for 216 yards and a TD on 24 carries as the Tigers ran all over the Vols. He scored Mizzou’s first TD on a 7-yard run in the first quarter; the TD capped off the Tigers’ second drive, and Witter – setting the tone for the game – had six carries for 70 yards on the possession. Mizzou rushed for 433 yards on the night. It was the fourth 100-yard game of his career and the first time the topped 200; two of the four 100-yard outings came against the Vols.
2. Alabama QB Jalen Hurts
The skinny: At first blush, Alabama’s offensive output in its 31-24 win over Mississippi State is nothing special. The Tide managed 444 total yards and the point total is eight below its season average. But Alabama ran just 57 plays and had the ball for only 21:04 as its defense couldn’t get Mississippi State off the field. And of the 57 plays, Hurts was involved in two-thirds of them. He had 19 of the Tide’s 38 rushes and threw 19 passes. He rushed for just 40 yards, but scored once. He completed just 10 passes, but those completions went for 242 yards and a TD, which was the game-winner with 25 seconds left. Hurts guided two scoring drives in the final 10 minutes to help the Tide rally for the win. On the game-tying drive, Hurts rushed for 37 yards. On the game-winning drive, he was 3-of-4 for 72 yards and the TD. He also led the Tide on another drive in the fourth quarter that ended with a missed field goal. In short, he was clutch late to keep the Tide unbeaten. In the fourth quarter, Alabama had the ball for 9:33, a bit more than 42 percent of its total for the game.
1. Auburn RB Kerryon Johnson
The skinny: Johnson was an offensive force as the Tigers crushed top-ranked Georgia. He had 233 yards from scrimmage against the Bulldogs, the most against the Bulldogs in the past 10 seasons. He rushed for 172 yards on 32 carries (the rest of the team combined for 14 rushing attempts) and had two receptions for 66 yards, including a 55-yard TD catch in the fourth quarter. While the outcome long had been decided by the time of his TD reception – it gave the Tigers a 40-10 lead – his tough running was the key offensive factor in the rout. It was Johnson’s sixth 100-yard game of the season, and he leads the SEC with 1,035 rushing yards and in rushing yards per game (129.4); he is bidding to become the fifth Auburn player to lead the SEC in rushing yards per game this decade. Auburn coach Gus Malzahn: “He needs to be in the Heisman talk. I don’t know if there’s a better running back out there.”
(You can follow Mike Huguenin on Twitter @MikeHuguenin)
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