Gamecocks beat Georgia – SEC East up for grabs
After being embarrassed on opening night at home by Texas A&M, many people had written off the South Carolina Gamecocks. That sentiment was solidified further when they struggled in week 2 against East Carolina. If we learned one thing this weekend, it’s to never count out a Steve Spurrier coached team. The Gamecocks are very much alive in an SEC East that is very much up for grabs after beating Georgia. In other action, Missouri kept roaring along. The SEC split against the Big 12 (10). But, in what surprisingly turned out to be the game of the day, Kentucky pushed the Gators to the limit before finally falling at The Swamp. Great weekend of action. Let’s take a look back at Week 3.
South Carolina 38 Georgia 35
Unfortunately, waking up Sunday morning felt very familiar for Georgia fans. The Bulldogs have been in prime-time games many times over the years. But, so many times have come out with heartbreaking losses. Whether, it was 2013 at Clemson to start the season. Whether, it was in the 2012 SEC Title game against Alabama, or whether it’s been other times to these same Gamecocks. Going into last Saturday, there were whispers that maybe the Dawgs were not only the best team in the SEC, but maybe the nation. All of that came to a screeching halt Saturday night in Columbia. The game was certainly there for the taking. But, questionable play-calling and a missed field goal late in the 4th quarter sealed their fate. After making the score 38-35 on a Quayvon Hicks TD run, Georgia got the ball right back after a Dylan Thompson interception deep in South Carolina territory. With first-and-goal at the 4, instead of handing the ball off to Todd Gurley, Georgia got cute and tried to use him as a decoy. The only ones fooled were themselves. The end result was an incomplete pass, and an intentional grounding penalty on Hutson Mason. Second and Third down also failed. So, with no touchdown to take the lead, Georgia was forced to attempt a game tying field goal. But, Marshall Morgan’s kick was wide right. The Gamecocks ran out the clock after Steve Spurrier’s gamble on 4th and inches at mid-field was successful.
For the Gamecocks, it was a obviously a great win. After losing the way they did to Texas A&M, it could have been easy for this season to get pretty ugly if they hadn’t beaten Georgia. All seems to be well now. All of their goals are still attainable and a win like this has to be a big confidence booster. Spurrier, has to be happy about his offense. But, there are still questions about the D. Same goes for Georgia. The Bulldogs young secondary looked lost much of the afternoon. Fair or unfair, the talk will continue about Mark Richt and his coaching staff not winning the big games. Nonetheless, both these teams are very much in the SEC title and Football Playoff races, but there is much improvement needed. …Next up: Georgia vs Troy……South Carolina at Vandy.
Florida 36 Kentucky 30
You couldn’t blame Florida coach Will Muschamp for sweating bullets on the sideline Saturday night, as he watched Mark Stoops’ Kentucky Wildcats nearly pull off the unthinkable upset. That’s not to say Muschamp would have been fired if the Gators had lost. It also doesn’t mean he’s off the hot seat since they won. But, I can’t imagine how much of a relief it was to see Kentucky miss the field goal in the third overtime to basically seal the win. Much of the talk after the game has been negative. Understandably so. How could the Wildcats come into The Swamp and nearly win the game? That’s one way of looking at it. On the other hand, wins like this can have a way of bringing a team together. Last year, the Gators probably would have lost this game. This season, they found a way to win. Plus, Kentucky is an improved ball club in their own right. Another positive for Muschamp, is finally finding a play-maker on offense. Demarcus Robinson looks like that guy the Gators offense has missed for a long time. Probably since Urban Meyer left. Robinson, went over 200 yards receiving on 15 receptions and 2 TD’s. He’s definitely turning into a player that will keep defensive coordinators up late at night, and strike fear into the defense’s that line up against him. We’ll see if he can keep up his outstanding play against Alabama this week. For Kentucky, it was a great effort that came up just short. There’s plenty to build on from that. Namely, quarterback Patrick Towles, who threw for 369 yards and 3 TD’s. The future looks bright in the Bluegrass………………. Next up: Florida at Alabama Kentucky: Idle
Arkansas 49 Texas Tech 28
Looking for the most impressive SEC team over the weekend. Call the Hogs! Arkansas went to Lubbock Texas and ran over, around, through, and past the Texas Tech Red Raiders in route to over 400 yards rushing and a 49-28 victory. Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams gained the majority of those yards. Collins rushed for 212 and 2 touchdowns, while Williams rushed for 145 and 4 TD’s. Head coach Bret Bielema has definitely put his imprint on the team and because of that, the Hogs are headed in the right direction. The schedule gets tougher from here on out, and more will be needed from Brandon Allen and the passing game. For now, the Razorbacks are a fun team to watch and a threat to beat someone really good on their schedule…….Next up: vs. Northern Illinois
Missouri 38 UCF 10
Again Mizzou plays against a pretty formidable foe that many know little about, and they come way with a nice win. UCF, a team out of the AAC is not a pushover. As we’ve discussed, the Tigers won’t get a whole lot of credit for winning games against UCF, South Dakota State, or at Toledo. But, there are few teams around the country that would think of playing a schedule like that. Mizzou, has passed the first three tests with flying colors. Quarterback, Maty Mauk has had a very nice start to the season and has made the transition from ex-QB James Franklin, a smooth one. Of course, the schedule will get much tougher down the road, but right now the Tigers are quietly chugging along and look more and more like a serious threat to return to Atlanta for the SEC Tittle game………………………………. Next up: vs. Indiana
Oklahoma 34 Tennessee 10
The Vols trip to Norman Oklahoma went about as expected. Sure, the Sooners were never truly in danger, but the game was a lot closer than the final score would suggest. Two interceptions in the endzone ended Tennessee scoring drives. One of those picks was returned 100 yards for a score. Give OU credit, but take those costly turnovers away and we’re talking about a game that may have gone deep into the 4th quarter. Nonetheless, it was a much better trip to Norman than it was to Eugene Oregon last season. The Ducks were very rude hosts in beating UT 59-14. There is no doubt Butch Jones has this team going in the right direction. Saturday night proved that. Justin Worley didn’t have a terrible game, but the two picks were killers. One bright spot offensively was Jalen Hurd rushing for 97 yards on 14 carries. A huge question mark for the Vols was would they be able to run the ball on a pretty stout OU defense. They did well, which could bode well for them going into SEC play………………..Next up: Idle
Rest of the SEC:
Texas A&M 38 Rice 10 – QB Kenny Hill passes for another 300 yards and 4 TD’s in win over Rice. Next up: at SMU
Alabama 52 Southern Miss 12 – Another solid game for Blake Sims. Another 100+ yards for Amari Cooper. Next up: vs Florida
Ole Miss 56 Louisiana-Lafayette 15 – Bo Wallace goes for 300 yards passing and 4 TD’s. Ole Miss D impresses. Next up: Idle
LSU 31 Louisiana-Monroe 0 – Tigers defense impresses. Leonard Fournette leads stable of backs with 52 yards rushing in Ho-hum victory. Next up: vs Mississippi State
Vandy 34 UMASS 31 – Commodores get first win of the year in comeback fashion after trailing 31-20 going into 4th. Next up: vs South Carolina
Player(s) of the Week: Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams (Arkansas)
With all due respect to performances by Florida wide receiver Demarcus Robinson, Kentucky QB Patrick Towles, and Ole Miss QB Bo Wallace, the player(s) of the week is the Arkansas backfield. Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams. All this duo did was combine for 357 yards rushing, 6 TD’s and a lot of battle wounds and missed tackles for the Texas Tech defense. The Hogs run game under Bret Bielema was devastating and a lot of fun to watch steamroll over the Red Raiders. Time will only tell whether or not the Hogs will be able to run wild like this against SEC caliber defenses without a consistent passing game. On this past Saturday however, the Hogs ran wild over what looked like an over-matched Texas Tech D.
1. Texas A&M – We’ll keep the Aggies here for now. The Win over South Carolina looks even better now.
2. Auburn – We’ll find out more about the Tigers when they travel to K-State. Auburn is still SEC’s best team right now.
3. Alabama – The QB battle continues and questions remain about the D. Difference between Bama and Auburn? QB
4. Ole Miss – Rebels continue to impress. Don’t worry Rebel fans. October 4th is chance to prove your case.
5. Missouri – Very impressed with Mizzou. I’m not so sure they’re not the best team in the east right now!
6. LSU – The Tigers are very talented. But, to be honest, I haven’t been very impressed. We’ll see more against the Bulldogs
7. South Carolina – I still think Georgia is the better team. But, what do I know. Gamecocks are back in the hunt.
8. Georgia – Hutson Mason has to be better for the Dawgs to get where they want to go. Tough schedule remains.
9. Mississippi State – Opportunity knocks for Dan Mullen and company. I think Dak Prescott has big game at LSU. Upset?
10. Arkansas – Hogs running game impressive as they come. Can they throw it? If they can, look out.
11. Florida – Opportunity knocks for the Gators also after escaping Big Blue. Defense should keep trip to T-Town interesting.
12. Kentucky – Wildcats are headed in the right direction. That should be good enough for Big Blue fans right now.
13. Tennessee – Same goes for Volunteer fans. Many more opportunities remain on the schedule for a signature win
14. Vanderbilt – Huge win for Derek Mason and the Commodores. Still a long way to go to be competitive in SEC though.