Apparently it takes high-quality quarterback play to win in college football, too. Or it least it does in the Southeastern Conference.
Only four teams remain winless in college football’s premier conference — Missouri, Kentucky and Auburn are 0-4 in the SEC, and Tennessee is 0-3 — and they are all experiencing some similar problems. Hint: It’s not defense.
While defense gets most of the attention in the SEC, the four winless teams account for five of the lowest six passer-efficiency ratings. Both Missouri quarterbacks — James Franklin and Corbin Berkstresser — have enough pass attempts to qualify. Franklin is 10th; Berkstresser is 13th among 15 quarterbacks.
Speaking during a the weekly SEC coaches’ teleconference Wednesday, Kentucky coach Joker Phillips said a team’s passing problems are often related to its inability to consistently run the football. Kentucky, which Missouri plays on Homecoming Oct. 27 in Columbia after a bye week, is starting freshman quarterback Jalen Whitlow.
“I’m pleased with the way he’s handling things, but we’ve got to make more plays,” Phillips said. “And we have to do a better job in the running game to take a lot of pressure of (our quarterback).”
The same could be said for other winless teams. Missouri is next to last in SEC rushing offense, averaging only 91 rushing yards per game and 2.7 yards per carry.
“We’re going to have to play better, especially on offense,” Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. “As we continue to struggle, we’re going to have to find a way to score more points.”