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The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference

Barnhart's five burning questions for Week 2

10 days ago
Tony Barnhart | SEC Network

I don't know about you, but if the second weekend of SEC football is anything like the first, we're going to be pretty exhausted at the close of business Saturday night.

The conference was 12-2 during the Labor Day weekend and had a couple of signature wins as South Carolina upset NC State in Charlotte and Tennessee staged quite a comeback to beat Georgia Tech in double overtime at the palatial new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

This week we get into conference play (South Carolina at Missouri) and have two nonconference games (No. 13 Auburn at No. 3 Clemson, No. 15 Georgia at No. 24 Notre Dame) that will capture the imagination of the entire nation.


So let's get on with our five burning questions about Week 2:

Can Georgia's Jake Fromm get it done on the biggest stage of his young life?
Fromm, the Bulldogs' true freshman quarterback, never thought he would be the starter when Georgia went to Notre Dame on Saturday. But a knee injury to starter Jacob Eason threw Fromm, a highly-recruited player from Warner Robins, Ga., into the fire early against Appalachian State. Fromm responded by completing 10 of 15 passes and leading the Bulldogs to a 31-10 victory.

"What he did didn't surprise us," said senior linebacker Davin Bellamy. "He's got that 'it' factor. He was a leader from the first day he showed up."

Georgia and Notre Dame have played only once, that coming in the 1981 Sugar Bowl when Herschel Walker led the Bulldogs to a 17-10 win and the 1980 national championship.


Can Auburn slow down the Clemson offense for the second straight year?
Clemson went 14-1 last season and beat Alabama in Tampa 35-31 for the CFP national championship. Everybody remembers that.

What people do not remember is that only one team held the high-powered Clemson offense, led by quarterback Deshaun Watson, to less than 20 points. That would be Auburn, which held Clemson to 399 yards, more than 100 yards less than its average for the season. That Auburn defense finished seventh nationally in scoring. Clemson still won the game 19-13.

Watson is gone but in his place is Kelly Bryant who, believe it or not, may be a little more mobile than Watson. He passed for 236 yards and ran for 77 more in a 56-3 win over Kent State.

Auburn lost two of its best defenders from a year ago in end Carl Lawson and tackle Montravius Adams. Still the Tigers held Georgia Southern to a mere 78 yards, which included 12 tackles for loss.

With Clemson ranked No. 3 and Auburn ranked No. 13, this early game has playoff ramifications.


How many points are going to be scored when South Carolina goes to Missouri?
Missouri's 72-43 win over Missouri State in last week's opener was certainly entertaining, in a breathless sort of way. Missouri had over 800 yards of total offense and quarterback Drew Lock tied an SEC record with seven touchdown passes.

You may assume, however, that head coach Barry Odom, an old defensive coordinator, was not entertained in the least.

Missouri, which struggled on defense last season, gave up six plays of over 20 yards, which totaled 315 yards against Missouri State. Missouri allowed 380 yards and five touchdowns in the first half alone.

"As bad as it seemed on the field, it was that bad on video," said Odom.

South Carolina's defense gave up 504 yards on 99 plays to NC State but found a way to win 35-28.

How about first team that gets to 50 wins?


Can Arkansas control the clock against TCU?
Last season Arkansas held TCU and their splendid quarterback, Kenny Hill, to zero points in the first half.

There was just one problem. The pace of the TCU offense had completely gassed the Arkansas defense by intermission. The Hogs saw a 20-7 lead disappear into a 28-20 deficit. Arkansas tied the game at 28-28 and finally won it in double overtime 41-38.

So when Arkansas, which beat Florida A&M 49-7 in its opener, hosts No. 23 TCU (1-0) on Saturday in Fayetteville, the game plan will be simple. The Hogs have to slow things down with their running game. TCU ran 90 offensive plays in last year's game. The Hogs need to get that in the 70s.


How much gas will Tennessee have left in the tank for Indiana State?
The Volunteers came up with a major-league gut check Monday night in Atlanta when they rallied from a 14-point deficit and ultimately beat Georgia Tech 42-41 in double overtime.

Now Tennessee has to play Indiana State (0-1) of the Missouri Valley Conference in the team's home opener. Then the Vols have to get ready for their SEC opener at Florida on Sept. 16.

Obviously, Tennessee has to do what is necessary to win the game. But coach Butch Jones also needs to get some rest for the players after a long, physically tough game on a short week. How quickly will Jones be able to get his starters out of the game?

Indiana State, which was 4-7 last season, lost its opener to Eastern Illinois 22-20.