Well we are in the heart of the SEC schedule, and that means that virtually every week, there is a huge matchup to review. This week was no different, as LSU and South Carolina did battle. We’ll get to them eventually, but let’s look through the other games first.
Auburn vs. Ole Miss
The countdown clock has come down; Ole Miss has won their first SEC game since 2010. The Rebels have shown marked improvement through the season, but that has not translated into wins, until Saturday. Ole Miss was able to abuse Auburn in the second half to win 41-20. Auburn has now taken on the role of “SEC Train Wreck Disaster” of the year, a title Arkansas looked like a shoe in for. If not for an overtime win against ULM, Auburn would be winless on the year. This team has been shaky on defense and nonexistent on offense. The groans are growing on the Plains and they will only get louder.
Florida vs. Vanderbilt
Meet the new #2 team in the country. The Florida Gators showed why they have shot to the top of the ranking with a dominating performance against Vanderbilt, winning 31-17. Vandy took an early 7-0 lead in the first quarter, but it was all Florida after that. A fake punt and two Jeff Driskel runs lifted Florida to the 31-17 score. The Gators are hoping they can keep this offensive efficiency going as the next two games will probably determine the SEC East.
Kentucky vs. Arkansas
Don’t look now, but Arkansas has its first winning streak of the season, as they dismantled Kentucky 49-7 last week. The Wildcats woeful season slowly continues. Kentucky has not had many balls bounce its way, especially with injuries, but that won’t be a very good excuse for Coach Joker Phillips. Kentucky is just awful, and Tyler Wilson had his best game of the season, passing for five touchdowns and 372 yards. The defense also did their part, only giving up 170 yards total. After two dominating performances, Arkansas may finally have the confidence to actually compete for the remainder of the season.
Alabama vs. Missouri
The latest victim on Alabama’s list was the hapless Missouri Tigers. The Crimson Tide rolled into the Zou and demolished Mizzou 42-10. Even a lightning delay could not slow down the machine that is Alabama. The biggest news to come out on the Crimson side of things was the injury to AJ McCarron. Reported as a bruise, McCarron did finish the game, but it could be an issue later. As for Mizzou, it was another example of the team not being there, physically, to compete with the better teams in the SEC. The best they can do is get quarterback James Franklin back healthy and try to make a run of it.
Texas A&M vs. La. Tech
Two ranked teams, two of the better offenses in the nation, two teams that don’t really believe in defense. Wrap it all together and you have Texas A&M surviving against Louisiana Tech 59-57. That’s 116 points that all happened in regulation. Think that is crazy? This game could have gone to overtime. Imagine that. Johnny Manziel, who has earned the nickname “Johnny Football”, had six total
touchdowns and 576 total yards. The Aggies continue to bring a little offense to the SEC brand this season. It will be interesting to see how they fare in the next few weeks.
Tennessee vs. Miss. St.
Tennessee was the only SEC foe that stood between Mississippi State and a potentially undefeated date with Alabama on October 27th. Tennessee needed this win to help Derek Dooley keep his job. Dan Mullen needed this win to continue his team goal of playing in Atlanta. There could be only one left standing and the Fighting Mullens pulled it off. Tennessee’s inability to stop anyone on defense reared its head, again. Tennessee was able to keep it close in the fourth quarter, staying within three until the final nine seconds when State passed for another touchdown (not really sure why, since the game was won, maybe Mullen wanted to rub it in). Tennessee is still looking for a SEC win, or a quality win over anyone with a pulse, this season. Time is running out on Derek Dooley to make it happen.
South Carolina vs. LSU
Last week, LSU was left for dead. The Tigers had no offense, and that was causing the defense to be worn out on the field. Unless they made wholesale changes, the season looked bleak for LSU. South Carolina was the toast of the East. They just thrashed Georgia and looked sensational doing it. LSU had no chance. All of that went out the window when LSU defeated South Carolina 23-21. The source of most of LSU’s problems last year, a battered offensive line, turned in their best performance of the year. They paved the way for 258 yards on the ground and only gave up one sack on the night. With the running game working and a clean pocket to work from, Zach Mettenberger was able to throw just enough to keep South Carolina honest. The Gamecocks were able to capitalize on the few mistakes LSU did make. Both touchdowns came from short fields off of LSU mistakes (a long interception return and a long punt return). Besides those plays, Carolina had a difficult time moving the ball and was held to 35 yards rushing. Neither one of these teams is out of the championship picture now. They both have to win out and winning will take care of itself.
Lastly, we have our play of the week, and of course, it comes from the big game. Even though South Carolina lost the game, they did register the best play of the game. Justice Cunningham (awesome name btw), shows incredible speed, strength, and athleticism, all in one play. The touchdown was later overturned, but the effort is still worth the watch.
[springboard type=”youtube” id=”liB3l1drVTk” player=”spin001″ width=”560″ height=”315″ ]
What did you think of the weekend for the SEC? Is there still a chance of another all SEC National Championship? Let us know in the comments!