SEC Football by the Numbers: Top 10 from Week 1 – al.com

During the first week of the SEC’s 2020 season, Alabama defeated Missouri 38-19, Auburn defeated Kentucky 29-13, Florida defeated Ole Miss 51-35, Georgia defeated Arkansas 37-10, Mississippi State defeated LSU 44-34, Tennessee defeated South Carolina 31-27 and Texas A&M defeated Vanderbilt 17-12. Here are 10 numbers about the SEC’s Week 1 games:

2 SEC games had scores of 7-5 at halftime on Saturday. Georgia trailed Arkansas 7-5 at halftime before coming on for a 37-10 victory. Texas A&M led Vanderbilt 7-5 at halftime on its way to a 17-12 victory.

3 Players who started LSU’s 42-25 victory over Clemson in the CFP national championship game on Jan. 13 started the Tigers’ 44-34 season-opening loss to Mississippi State on Saturday. Right offensive tackle Austin Deculus, wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. and JaCoby Stephens, listed as a safety against Clemson and a linebacker against MSU, started both games. LSU became the first team to lose its first game in the season after earning the national championship since 1998, when Michigan kicked off with a 36-20 loss to Notre Dame after earning the last AP title in 1997 before the start of the BCS playoff. LSU became the first defending national champion to open the season with a home loss since 1978, when Notre Dame followed its 1977 title season with a 3-0 loss to Missouri.

3 TD passes were thrown by Auburn QB Bo Nix in the Tigers’ 29-13 victory over Kentucky on Saturday. That tied the school record for the most TD passes in a game against Kentucky. In Auburn’s 42-21 victory over the Wildcats on Sept. 30, 1995, the current QB’s father, Patrick Nix, threw three TD passes for the Tigers. Bo Nix also threw 27 more passes without an interception, extending his streak to 218, the fourth-longest in SEC history. Nix moved past a streak of 194 passes without an interception by Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa in 2018, 200 by Ole Miss’ Stewart Patridge in 1997, 203 by Florida’s Tim Tebow in 2008, 206 by Alabama’s Jalen Hurts in 2016 and 2017 and 214 by Georgia’s David Greene in 2004. Streaks ahead of Nix are 325 by Kentucky’s Andre Woodson in 2006 and 2007, 291 by Alabama’s AJ McCarron in 2011 and 2012 and 288 by Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott in 2015. Nix’s most recent interception came on Oct. 26, when he was picked off by LSU CB Derek Stingley at the LSU 2-yard line with four seconds left in the first half of Auburn’s 23-20 loss.

4 SEC players have passed for at least 416 yards and six TDs while completing at least 71 percent of their passes without throwing an interception in a regulation game in conference history – with two of the performances coming against Ole Miss. Florida QB Kyle Trask joined the list by completing 30-of-42 passes for 416 yards with six TDs and no interceptions in the Gators’ 51-35 victory over Ole Miss on Saturday. Last season, Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa went 26-of-36 for 418 yards with six TDs and no interceptions in a 59-31 victory over Ole Miss on Sept. 28 and LSU QB Joe Burrow completed 29-of-39 passes for 493 yards with seven TDs and no interceptions in a 63-28 victory over Oklahoma in the Peach Bowl on Dec. 28. In a 68-34 victory over Louisville on Sept. 5, 1998, Kentucky QB Tim Couch completed 29-of-39 passes for 498 yards with seven TDs and no interceptions. Trask’s passing yardage was the most for a Florida player in an SEC game since Rex Grossman threw for 464 in a 44-15 victory over LSU in 2001. Florida piled up 642 yards in the game, the most the Gators’ offense has gained against an SEC opponent (eclipsing the 640 in a 52-0 victory over Mississippi State the week before Grossman’s 464-yard passing performance against LSU).

4 Interceptions in the past two Georgia games for S Richard LeCounte. In the Bulldogs’ 37-10 victory over Arkansas on Saturday, LeCounte returned an interception 38 yards to the Arkansas 15-yard line in the first quarter (but Georgia squandered the opportunity with a turnover) and made a third-quarter interception at the Bulldogs 19-yard line with Georgia leading 27-10 in the third quarter. LeCounte ended the 2019 season by making two interceptions in the Bulldogs’ 26-14 victory over Baylor in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1. LeCounte has eight interceptions in his career.

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8 Receptions for 170 yards and four TDs for Florida TE Kyle Pitts in the Gators’ 51-35 victory over Ole Miss on Saturday. Pitts became the fifth SEC player and 41st NCAA FBS player with at least an 8-170-4 receiving line since the 2020 season, and the first tight end to do so. Pitts tied the Florida record for TD receptions in a game set by Jack Jackson against New Mexico State in 1994 and equaled by Ike Hilliard against Tennessee in 1995. He also tied the SEC record for TD receptions in a game by a TE, also accomplished by Vanderbilt’s Allama Matthews against Virginia Tech in 1982 and Kentucky’s James Whalen against Georgia in 1999 (and Kentucky’s Al Bruno against North Dakota in 1950 and Georgia Tech’s Buck Martin against Auburn in 1951, if those two players are considered tight ends and not simply ends). Pitts’ shattered the Florida record for receiving yards by a tight end in a game of 122 by Kirk Kirkpatrick against Akron in 1990.

16 SEC games between 100-yard receivers in conference competition for Arkansas. In the Razorbacks’ 37-10 loss to Georgia on Saturday, Arkansas WR Treylon Burks caught seven passes for 102 yards, including a 49-yard TD. He became the first Arkansas player with 100 receiving yards in a league game since Jordan Jones caught two passes for 122 yards (a 57-yard TD reception and a 65-yard catch) in the Razorbacks’ 48-45 loss to Missouri on Nov. 24, 2017. Two Arkansas receivers reached 100 yards in non-conference games between Jordan and Burks.

18 Years since Alabama started a season with an incomplete pass on its first play. In the Crimson Tide’s season-opening game against Missouri on Saturday, QB Mac Jones couldn’t connect with WR Jaylen Waddle on Alabama’s first snap of the season. In the Tide’s 2002 season-opener against Middle Tennessee, QB Tyler Watts failed to complete his throw to WR Triandos Luke on the Tide’s first snap. In the 17 season-opening games between Alabama’s 39-34 victory over Middle Tennessee in 2002 and 38-19 victory over Missouri on Saturday, the Tide passed on its first snap three times. Brodie Croyle and Matt Caddell hooked up for a 19-yard gain to start a 26-7 victory over Middle Tennessee in 2005, Greg McElroy threw a 5-yard pass to Julio Jones to start a 48-3 victory over San Jose State in 2010 and Blake Sims completed a 24-yard pass to Amari Cooper to start a 33-23 victory over West Virginia in 2014. On Saturday, Jones completed eight passes for 134 yards and two touchdowns to Waddle, with all but a 13-yard completion coming in the first half.

79 More passing yards for Mississippi State QB K.J. Costello in a 44-34 victory over LSU on Saturday than any other SEC player has had in a game. Costello completed 36-of-60 passes for 623 yards with five TDs and two interceptions against LSU. Costello posted the 11th-most passing yards in a game in major-college football history. The SEC record for single-game passing yards had been 544 by Georgia QB Eric Zeier in a 54-24 victory over Southern Miss in 1993. The SEC record for passing yards in a conference game had been 528, set by Kentucky QB Jared Lorenzen in a 34-30 loss to Georgia in 2000 and matched by LSU QB Rohan Davey in a 35-21 victory over Alabama in 2001. The Mississippi State record for single-game passing yards had been 508 yards by Dak Prescott in a 51-50 victory over Arkansas in 2015. Costello’s big day enabled WRs Osirus Mitchell and JaVonta Payton and RB Kylin Hill to become the second threesome in MSU history to record 100 receiving yards in the same game. The other game in which the Bulldogs had three 100-yard receivers came in MSU’s 49-34 loss to Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl on Dec. 31, 2014, when Joe Morrow, Fred Ross and De’Runnya Wilson did it.

119,860 Was the announced attendance at the seven SEC games on Saturday, each played with crowd limitations because of the coronavirus pandemic. The attendance figures ranged from 24,073 at Kyle Field for the Vanderbilt-Texas A&M game to 11,738 at Memorial Stadium for the Alabama-Missouri game.

Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter at @AMarkG1.