The road teams came out with victories in the Southeastern Conference this past weekend, but the most impressive was Missouri's dismantling of Vanderbilt in Nashville. The Tigers 51-28 win left them with as many wins (5) as they had all last year.
The offense is rolling and ranked just behind Texas A&M in total offense and scoring offense. Quarterback James Franklin led the offense to six straight scores to open the game and don’t look know, but the Tigers travel to a wounded Georgia team with a ton of confidence.
LSU's offense kept rolling over Mississippi State, setting a season high for yards with 563 in a 59-26 win. Georgia had to gut one out in overtime against Tennessee 34-31 after three players, including running back Keith Marshall, left the game with injuries. The offensive explosion continued in the SEC throughout the weekend and it doesn't appear to be slowing down.
Auburn won a big game at home over West rival Ole Miss and for the first time this season the defensive line showed promise. The Tigers had six sacks and proved they are headed in the right direction under Gus Malzahn. Auburn has surpassed last year's win total with four and not only will head to a bowl but could make some noise in the West. Ellis Johnson's defense held Ole Miss to 5-of-19 on third downs and scored as well on Robinson Therezie's 78-yard interception return.
South Carolina has major issues on defense after a 35-28 win over Kentucky. Jadevon Clowney did not play and the question remains: Could he have? I think there is a divide developing with the defense that started back in the Georgia game. The Gamecocks controlled the game but they don't remotely resemble a championship contender right now.
Florida won its 10th in a row at home over Arkansas 30-10 and held its 13th straight SEC opponent to under 21 points. Quarterback Tyler Murphy is now 31-for-40 with four touchdowns in his two starts for the Gators. Loucheiz Purifoy returned his first career interception for a touchdown and forced his fifth fumble of his career to lead the Gators.
Georgia got the win, but not without a price in Knoxville. The good news is they still have Aaron Murray who took the team down the field in under two minutes to tie the score. Murray who is the SEC's all-time leading passer now must shoulder more of the load going forward, or until top back Todd Gurley returns.
It only took Arkansas seven rushing attempts to surpass the typical output Florida’s defensive allowed. But after a good first quarter the ground game stalled to the tune of 111 yards. The Hogs were 2-for-3 in the red zone making them 17-for-21 on the season. Arkansas 275 yards of total offense was the most against the Gator defense this season.
Kentucky rallied from a 24-7 deficit to cut the lead to 27-21 but came up short 35-28 in Saturday’s loss to South Carolina. Jalen Whitlow looked good at quarterback, throwing for 178 yards and rushing for 69 yards and a touchdown on the ground, giving him a rushing touchdown in three of the five games. Alvin Dupree has had four consecutive games with a sack.
Alabama made quick work of Georgia State as AJ McCarron was 15-of-16 and broke a school record for completion percentage in a game. McCarron actually tossed four touchdowns in just 26 minutes of action. Alabama under Nick Saban has held opponents to 10 points or less in 44 games since 2007.
Tennessee played its heart out but suffered another crushing loss in a big game to Georgia, 34-31.The Vols defense held Georgia to a season low in points and total yardage. Rajon Neal went over the 100-yard mark for the third time this season, but just the fifth time of his career. The Vols finished 3-for-3 on fourth down in the game.
Missouri is 5-0 for the fifth time under Gary Pinkel and served notice to the rest of the East that the Tigers are serious contenders. Linebacker Kentrell Brothers had an interception which extended Missouri’s NCAA best run of forcing a turnover in 35 straight games.
This and that
Don’t look now but Missouri is locked and loaded for a banged up Georgia. The Dogs lost Keith Marshall and Justin Scott-Wesley to ACL injuries, thinning their depth chart. They still have Aaron Murray and when he gets a 100 percent Todd Gurley the offense takes a step in the right direction. The defense for Georgia and the offense for Missouri is what makes this game interesting. The Tigers are balanced and Georgia is 10th in total defense and 11th giving up nearly six yards per play.
Florida and LSU are 5-5 in their last 10 matchups. The Gators have not allowed 20 points to an SEC team for 13 straight games. LSU’s offense is record setting, coming off the most points against an SEC opponent (59) that it has scored since 1997. The Tigers have scored 40-plus points in consecutive SEC games for the first time since 2007. Florida leads the SEC in total defense, scoring defense, rushing defense and third-down defense.