The SEC Championship Game opponents won’t be determined until the final weekend with national-title implications on the line as well. Missouri showed it is a complete team going on the road and ending Ole Miss’s four-game win streak, 24-10. The Tigers have been a team that many have doubted all season but the return of quarterback James Franklin was seamless as he began the game 8-for-8 and led the offense to an opening drive touchdown then never looked back.
Franklin is now 7-0 as the starting quarterback this season. It was also Gary Pinkel’s 100th win with the program that in just its second season in the SEC could play for the conference championship. The win moved Missouri to fifth in the BCS Standings this week.
John Chavis found the formula to stop Johnny Manziel for the second year in a row as the LSU Tigers won 34-10. First of all, some credit goes to the Tiger offense which ran 75 plays while rushing for 324 yards and holding the ball for over 40 minutes. This allowed the defense to stay fresh and attack Manziel.
The secondary did a nice job in coverage and the defense played its best game of the year in large part because they were only on the field for 59 snaps. The Aggies were just 5-for-14 on third down continuing a recent slide in that area, and only reached the red zone twice, coming away with nothing both times.
Give Les Miles credit for his game plan to avoid a passing shootout and win by running the football and keeping Manziel on the sidelines.
This and That
South Carolina tuned up for Clemson scoring 70 points on Coastal Carolina and keeping them in line for their third straight 11-win season. The win made Connor Shaw the winningest quarterback in South Carolina history. The 70 points were the most under Steve Spurrier.
Florida lost its first-ever game against an FCS opponent by falling to Georgia Southern 26-20. It assures the Gators of their first losing season since 1979. Will Muschamp’s defense gave up 429 yards rushing the most by a Gator team since 1996 against Nebraska. The offense has only scored more than 30 points twice this season.
Mississippi State got a huge road win in overtime over Arkansas, 24-17. It was a gutty performance by Tyler Russell who had 263 yards and led the Bulldogs to the first win ever by a State team in Arkansas. The win also kept alive hopes of a fourth consecutive bowl game with a Thursday matchup in the Egg Bowl against Ole Miss. The win snapped a three-game losing streak and avoided the first ever four-game losing streak under Coach Dan Mullen.
Georgia beat Kentucky 59-17 but lost record-setting quarterback Aaron Murray for the rest of the season. Hutson Mason stepped in and led the Bulldogs on a five-play touchdown drive and finished 13-for-19 for the game. He is a junior who has waited his turn and will face Georgia Tech this weekend. The Bulldogs defense held Kentucky to 3-of-12 on third down and just 62 yards rushing for the game.
Vanderbilt defeated Tennessee for the second straight year 14-10 despite having four turnovers. Jordan Matthews had 13 receptions for 133 yards and he may just win the Biletnikoff Award. The Commodores are 14-4 in their last 18 games. With a win this week they could have back-to-back eight-win regular seasons for the first time since the great depression.
Alabama tuned up for the Iron Bowl by defeating Chattanooga 49-0. This was more of a scrimmage that honored the seniors like AJ McCarron in their last home game. The Alabama defense held the Mocs to 93 yards rushing, making them the third consecutive opponent fewer than 100 and seventh for the season. AJ McCarron was 13-for-16 for the game with zero interceptions which marked seventh time in 11 games this season that he has done that.
Tennessee forced four turnovers in the loss to Vanderbilt but will miss a bowl once again this season. The Vols have forced 24 turnovers which is third best in the SEC this season. The Volunteers had a season low 53 yards passing in the game.
Arkansas ran its losing streak to eight games Saturday at home against Mississippi State. The Hogs ran for 225 yards, the seventh time this season they have gone over 200 yards. The late interception by Brandon Allen in overtime sealed their fate and marked the seventh time in eight games that he has thrown one.
Kentucky fell to 2-9 and remained winless in the SEC with the loss to Georgia. On the bright side they recovered their 11th fumble on the season to lead the conference. Javess Blue had a team high five receptions for 93 yards and a touchdown.
Rivalry week’s Big Games
- Ole Miss at Mississippi State
- South Carolina at Clemson
- FSU at Florida
- Alabama at Auburn
- Georgia at Georgia Tech