Last week LSU exposed Alabama’s weaknesses but couldn’t stop the Tide’s rally, tis week Johnny Football and the Aggies were exploit the Alabama defense and more importantly hold off another comeback. Freshman Phenom Johnny Manziel was once again magical, passing for 292 yards and rushing for 92 the redshirt freshman scored the game’s first 20 points as A&M jumped on the Tide early. Alabama mounted a comeback but three turnovers including two turnovers from AJ McCarron, the most costly on Alabama’s final drive, sealed the Tides fate. Fret not SEC fans at one loss Alabama doesn’t control its BCS destiny, but with the unpredictable nature of College Football the Tide are far from eliminated from title contention. Both Teams step out of SEC play next week as Alabama host Western Carolina and Texas A&M welcomes Sam Houston State to College Station.
#5 Georgia 38 Auburn 0
The Dawgs jumped on Auburn quickly with a scripted, six-play scoring drive and never looked back, winning big to claim their second straight SEC East title. Aaron Murray passed for 208 yards and three touchdowns, freshman tailbacks Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall each ran for more than 100 yards as Georgia overwhelmed the hapless Tigers. Meanwhile the UGA defense was just as strong holding the Tigers to just 208 total yards, (81 less than the Bulldogs rushed for) and posted the first shut out in the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry since 1976. Both Georgia and Auburn step out of the SEC to face FCS competition next week as the Bulldogs host Georgia Southern and the Tigers face Alabama A&M.
The Gators struggle on offense once again and appeared to be in serious jeopardy when Jeff Driskel left the game with a sprained right ankle, however back up Jacoby Brissett shook off a rough start and rallied the gators. Then Jelani Jenkins returned a blocked punt 36 yards for a touchdown with 2 seconds remaining, completing Florida’s 4th quarter comeback. While the Gators avoided the biggest upset in program history it wasn’t enough to win the SEC East. The Gators needed Auburn to upset Georgia later in the day, but the Bulldogs won 38-0 and clinched a spot in the league title game. Up next the Gators close out their home schedule when they host FCS foe Jacksonville State
#7 LSU 37 #21 Mississippi State 17
The Tigers bounced back from an emotional loss to Alabama in big fashion Saturday night. Zach Mettenberger’s hot streak continued as the junior signal caller put the ball wherever he wanted racking up 273 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Tigers to a 20 point Victory over slumping Mississippi State. Tyler Russell was 26-38 for 295 yards, (both career highs) and a touchdown that pulled Bulldogs with a field goal early in the third before they faded in their third straight loss, all against ranked teams. In their three game losing streak Mississippi State has been outscored 113-37. Up Next LSU Host Ole Miss and Mississippi State welcomes Arkansas to Starkville.
It wasn’t flashy but the Gamecocks did what they needed to get the win against the Razorbacks. Connor Shaw threw for two touchdowns and ran for another score, going 15 of 23 for 279 yards. In their first game without Marcus Lattimore South Carolina didn’t run the ball to the Ole Ball Coach’s standard but did post 104 yards. The win gives the Gamecocks six SEC wins for the second straight year and eight wins for the third straight year, both first for the program. With the loss Arkansas’s razor thin bowl hopes seem all but gone. The Razorbacks (4-6, 2-4) will now have to beat both Mississippi State and LSU to make a bowl game after starting the season ranked No. 10 in the AP poll. Next week South Carolina host Wofford and Arkansas visits Mississippi
Vanderbilt 27 Ole Miss 26
Jordan Rodgers hit Chris Boyd for a 26-yard touchdown pass with 52 seconds remaining to guide Vanderbilt to victory over Ole Miss. The Commodores are now bowl eligible for the second straight season for the first time in school history. Vandy trailed 23-6 early in the third, but Rodgers found Jordan Matthews for a 52-yard touchdown minutes later to start the Commodores’ rally. Ole Miss now must beat either LSU or Mississippi State over the final two weeks to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2009. Up next Vanderbilt host in state rival Tennessee and Ole Miss visits Tiger Stadium to face LSU.
Once again Tennessee couldn’t put together a full game. After jumping out to a 21-7 halftime lead the Vols were outscored 21-7 in the second half and then couldn’t convert a 4th down in the 4th overtime allowing Missouri to kick a 35-yard game winning field goal. After words the question in Knoxville was not why did the Vols pass on a field goal in the final OT, but rather why did the game go into overtime in the first place. With the game tied in the final minute of regulation, Dooley and the Vols decided to sit on two timeouts and run out the clock rather than take a shot with an offense that has proven quick strike ability. There’s no question now Dave Hart has a tough decision to make, not whether to fire Derek Dooley or not, but when. Up Next Tennessee plays at Vanderbilt and Missouri host Syracuse.
Rankings reflect BCS standings entering game
Will Rabb is the producer of the News Sentinel Sports Page on The Sports Animal (WNML AM/FM) in Knoxville and host of the Pit Pass Podcast on sportsanimal99.com. A University of Tennessee Graduate he is a lifelong fan of SEC Football and Basketball. You can read more of his thoughts on the SEC and everything else at twitter.com/thewillrabb.