The Missouri Tigers ended Georgia's 15-game home winning streak and in doing so put themselves in the driver’s seat for the Southeastern Conference East Division title. It did not come without a heavy price as quarterback James Franklin was knocked out of the game in the fourth quarter with a shoulder injury.
The Tigers now have Florida and South Carolina in back-to-back games at home, and do still have to play Texas A&M and Ole Miss from the West. But if they win the next two they could lock down the division before October is over. Give Gary Pinkel and his staff plenty of credit for getting their team to this position. Let’s see if they can overcome a major injury to finish the job.
Missouri is 6-0 for the first time since 2010 as the Tigers forced four turnovers and the defense got its 13th interception of the season. It was the first win over a top 10 team on the road since 1981. The improving Tiger defense held Georgia to 4-for-11 on third down and to just three touchdowns in six red-zone trips.
The defense also scored a touchdown as the Tigers avenged last year's loss to the Bulldogs in Columbia. It will be interesting to see the offense with May Mauck in charge. The freshman pushed Franklin for the starting job, but it is evident that the right guy has been running the show. Gary Pinkel said Sunday that James Franklin has a Grade 2 shoulder sprain and his status of being lost for the season is being overhyped.
Georgia did turn the ball over and was not sharp on offense, but the defense continues to look subpar. The Dogs are the third-worst team in the country at forcing turnovers and have created just five so far this season. The scoring defense is at No. 105, allowing nearly 34 points per game. They will get running back Todd Gurley back at some point, but the lackluster play on the defensive side of the ball forces the offense to be perfect every time out.
LSU showed Florida it can beat them at their own game, and I was very impressed with the Tiger offense and, in particular, the offensive line. Jeremy Hill battered the Gator defense for 121 yards and LSU stayed in the national championship discussion. John Chavis was very aggressive on defense causing plenty of issues with Florida's protection. It was the first time the Tigers have held the Gators without a touchdown since 1979. Tyler Murphy lost for the first time as the Gator starting quarterback. The Gators are now 1-4 against their last five ranked opponents.
Interesting Note: Missouri, Texas A&M, Alabama and South Carolina all won league games on the road.
Wow! I was wrong about South Carolina and the distractions that Jadeveon Clowney presented as the Gamecocks let the clutch out on Arkansas, 52-7. It was the largest road win of the Steve Spurrier Era as the Gamecocks totaled 537 yards. The offense has now gone over 400 yards in every game this season. The offense held the ball for 43-plus minutes and had 32 first downs.
Texas A&M knocked off an upset-minded Ole Miss team, 41-38, in Oxford. Johnny Manziel, who tweaked his left knee in the first half causing him to put a brace on it, threw for 336 yards and ran for 114 more. It was the fourth time he had gone over 300 yards passing and 100 yards rushing in his career. The Aggies have won 10 in a row on the road and Kevin Sumlin coached teams have won 15 in a row away from home.
Alabama won its 17th game the in a row away from Bryant Denny Stadium with a 48-7 thumping of Kentucky. AJ McCarron had a career-best 389 yards as the offense rolled up 688 total yards. The defense held Kentucky under 300 yards total offense. The Crimson Tide has done this 66 percent of the time under Nick Saban.
Mississippi State improved to 3-3 with a hard-fought 21-20 win over Bowling Green. The Bulldog offense continues to shine at home, averaging 6.4 yards per play. The offense has scored on 22 of its last 25 trips to the red zone. Dak Prescott had a career high 139 yards rushing giving him 428 on the season. His 75-yard touchdown run was the longest by a Bulldog since 2010.
Auburn is now one win away from going to a bowl after a 62-3 win over Western Carolina. Freshman quarterback Jeremy Johnson played for the injured Nick Marshall and had four touchdown passes, the most by a Tiger quarterback since 2011. The Tiger offense had 712 total yards of total offense, the ninth most in SEC history. The defense held the Catamounts to just 66 yards rushing.
Ole Miss was beaten in the fourth quarter by Texas A&M for the second year in a row. The Rebel offense had five passing touchdowns in a game for the first time this season. Bo Wallace has had back-to-back 300-yard passing games and now has five in his career, trailing Eli Manning who has 10. Laquon Treadwell had his first two touchdown receptions of his career.
Kentucky has now played four ranked opponents in a row for the first time in its history. Of course they went 0-4 against Louisville, Florida, South Carolina and Alabama. The Cats did become the first team to hold Bama scoreless in the first quarter.
Arkansas scored first and that was it at home as the Razorbacks were routed by South Carolina. It looks like this team has run out of gas seven games into the season after three ranked teams have beaten them by double digits each, South Carolina being the worst. It might be time for Bret Bielema to self-scout his offense. He may not have enough horses to run his style of offense this year and might need to improve the passing game that had just 40 yards against South Carolina.
This and That
Auburn is ranked for the first time this season and will travel to College Station to take on Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M. Gus Malzahn actually mentored coach Jake Spavital (quarterback coach at Texas A&M) before Sumlin hired him at Houston. This game will be won or lost on the ground game of both teams.
Florida travels to upstart Missouri in another ranked vs. ranked matchup. The Tigers should have a new quarterback for this game, but the key will be Florida’s rush defense, which struggled against LSU. If Missouri can run successfully (second in the SEC at 239 yards per game) then Florida could be in trouble.
The gauntlet continues for Ole Miss, losers of three in a row. This Saturday the Rebels get LSU in Oxford but are thinning out on the depth chart with injuries. The passing game gives them a shot at home against an LSU team that seems to be getting better every week, especially on defense.