JOE BIDDLE: Sunday Notes: Nov. 6, 2016

UT Vols Football Sports Generic
(Graphic: WKRN)

Random ruminations while wondering whatever happened to Jamie Duncan…

SCARY DAY IN SEC: Texas A&M was ranked No. 4 in the initial College Football Playoff rankings. Auburn was ranked No. 9 in the poll.

Mississippi State shocked Texas A&M, 35-28, in Starkville. State’s QB Nick Fitzgerald had a field day. He was 18 of 31 for 209 yards, two TDs and two interceptions. He ran 20 times for 182 yards. His longest run was a 74- yard touchdown.

State Coach Dan Mullen was jumping with joy.

“Losing three games on the final play of the game was tough. But the attitudes of our kids, they played hard as they can, not perfect in all three phases, but they never quit,’’ he said.

State finished with 574 yards compared to A&M’s 382. The Bullies had 29 first downs to only 14 for A&M.

Likewise with Vanderbilt and Auburn, also fighting for its playoff life with the feisty Commodores.

The banged up Tigers had its quarterback Sean White on the bench in the first half, but White told Auburn Coach Gus Malzahn he wanted to get in the game after halftime. He put a spark in the Tigers offense and just in the nick of time.

“You could see the difference in our tempo and rhythm,’’ Malzahn said of White. “He’s our quarterback. He couldn’t practice, didn’t take one rep in practice this week. He got our tempo and rhythm going.’’

Vanderbilt gave one of its best efforts of the season against Auburn. Quarterback Kyle Shurmur was 15 of 19 in the first half for 97 yards and a touchdown as it was Vandy up 13-10 at intermission.

Auburn went up with a touchdown and two field goals in the second half, to beat the Commodores, 23-16.

Vandy dropped to 4-5 overall and 1-4 in the SEC.


LOUISVILLE LEADER: What else can Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson do this season?

Jackson will have to contract a severe case of vertigo to miss out on winning the Heisman Trophy. Because now, Jackson is driving his defensive opponents dizzy as a bat.

He posted only seven touchdowns Saturday in a 52-7 win over Boston College. He only played three quarters, accounted for four TDs by air, three by land. He was 12 of 17 for 231 yards and ran 15 times for 185 more yards.

Action Jackson needs only two more touchdowns and he will have the ACC single season record. He averaged 7.9 yards a play and had six scores in the first half.

After scoring one touchdown, Jackson gave what I sensed was a “throat slash’’ sign. It’s not the first time I have seen him do it. There is no reason for that and Coach Bobby Petrino for allowing it to continue. Jackson is too talented for that.


VOLS SHOOT EAGLES DOWN: I hope Tennessee Tech enjoys whatever size check it got for being a sacrificial lamb for a Tennessee team out for a Saturday night ride.

It was 55-0. Coach Butch Jones tried to throttle back the score. He took quarterback Joshua Dobbs out after a quarter and a half. Running back John Kelly, subbing for the ex-patriot Jalen Hurd and backup Alvin Kamara, who is injured.

Kelly ran seven times for 104 yards and a touchdown. His longest run was 73 yards. Josh Malone led the receivers with five catches worth 112 yards and two touchdowns. The Vols scored six touchdowns and a field goal in their first eight possessions.

What did the Vols gain by playing an OVC team? Maybe they got a good feeling after losing three games in a row against the big boys and South Carolina.

Kentucky, Missouri and Vanderbilt won’t lie down. The Vols better get off to fast starts in those games and not mess around.


WHAD HE SAY?: They needed an interpreter on the field when LSU interim head coach Ed Orgeron chatting up former Tiger star Tyrann Mathieu before the Alabama-LSU game Saturday night.

The Honey Badger has apparently cleaned up his act and perhaps the five-year $62.5 million contract ($40 million guaranteed) he signed helped him get his act together.

Mathieu has been a safety, but recently changed to a slot corner. Mathieu is among the Cardinals’ walking wounded defense. He is out now out for up to six weeks with a shoulder injury.

He was coming off an ACL injury from last season, his second in three years.


HALL OF FAME: Most colleges and universities, as well as high schools, have sports Hall of Fames.

Fisk University is the latest to initiate a Sports Hall of Fame. Former Titans star wide receiver Derrick Mason will be keynote speaker of the Hall of Fame Induction luncheon.

The luncheon will be Friday Nov. 11 at 10 a.m. in the Appleton Room of Jubilee Hall at Fisk University.

The first class will include the posthumous induction of the “Sons of Milo,’’ the undefeated 1893 team named after the first university president, Erastus Milo Cravath.

In addition they will present a short screening of “Lucky Eleven,’’ a documentary featuring 11 former high school teammates that played at Fisk and later drafted by the NFL.

Joe Biddle is a sports columnist. He is also a member of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. Contact him at