Tennessee 24 – Kentucky 14
Tyler Bray passed for 354 yards and two touchdowns to help Tennessee to its 26th straight victory of the Kentucky Wildcats. Wide-out Denarius Moore led the Vols with 205 receiving yards and 1 TD as UK had no answer for the Vol’s “air attack”. With the victory, the Volunteers got first year head coach, Derek Dooley something few thought possible when this season started…. a chance to go to a bowl game (6-6). Meanwhile, a disappointed Kentucky squad also will finish (6-6) but it is good enough to keep the Cats streak of going “bowling” up to 5 seasons now. Mike Hartline was 31/44 for 272 yds, 1 TD & 1 INT. Randall Cobb had an outstanding day catching the ball as he had 13 grabs for 116 yds but for the first time all season, he was held out of the end zone. Derrick Locke carried the ball 24 times for 97 yds but he had a costly fumble on the Tenn. 1 yd. line early in the 2nd half. It was costly miscues like this that plagued the Cats in all of their losses this season.
Auburn 28 – Alabama 27
Down 24 – 0 early in the 2nd quarter, the Auburn Tigers looked anything but a team that was #2 in the BCS and vying for a shot at a National Title. But as they say, you have to play four quarters and that is exactly the truth. Alabama played well in the first half but Auburn played better in the 2nd and the Tigers were able to pull off a dramatic come-from-behind victory over their arch-rivals in the “Iron Bowl”. Led by the hot hand of Greg McElroy (12 straight completions to open the game) and the running of Mark Ingram it appeared the Tide was set to put a serious dent in Auburn’s National Title hopes. McElroy would go on to finish the first half 19/23 for 335 yds and 2 TD. WR Julio Jones would also cash in on the porous Tiger defense in half number one and would finish the game with 10 grabs for 199 yds. The Tide easily could have been up 31 or 38 to 7 at half if not for Trent Richardson dropping a screen pass on the Tiger 3 yd line which would then be followed up later by McElroy being hit by Nick Fairley and fumbling inside of the Tiger’s 10 yd line. This was surely a sign of things to come for the Tide offense as they were completely throttled in the 2nd half (67 total yds and 3 pts) after going wild in the 1st half (379 yds and 24 pts). So once Auburn’s “D” started making plays then it was only a matter of time before Heisman front-runner, Cam Newton would do his part. Newton hit Terrell Zachery for a 75 yd TD pass to open the 2nd half and Newton would go on to throw for over 200 yds in that half to help rally his team to a narrow victory.
Arkansas 31 – LSU 23
Arkansas running back Knile Davis ran for 152 yds on 30 carries and the Razorback offense put up 464 total yds on what was the leading defense in the SEC, particularly against the run. QB Ryan Mallet threw for 320 yds, 3 TD but 2 INT as the Razorbacks appear to be in the driver’s seat for a Sugar Bowl berth if Auburn does indeed make it to the National Championship Game. Mallet hit WR Colbi Hamilton on a paid of “bombs” for TDs (80 & 85 yds respectively), the 80 yarder came with just 6 seconds remaining in the second quarter. A couple of Razorback miscues / turnovers along with the hard running of RB Stevan Ridley kept LSU close but in the end, Arkansas was just too balanced for the Tiger’s defense and kept them guessing nearly the whole game.
Mississippi St. 31 – Ole Miss 23
Chris Relf showed the Ole Miss defense that he can throw the ball when you put “8 in the box” as he ripped the Rebel secondary to the tune of 288 yds and 3 TD on Saturday. Relf was 13/20 and he did throw a “pick” but he surprised the Rebels with his “reads” as they were geared to stopping the Bulldog’s ground game. Miss. St. put up 498 total yards offensively (210 on the ground) as Houston Nutt’s team fell to 1-7 in SEC competition. Running back LaDarius Perkins picked up the slack for starter Vick Ballard (43 rush yds & 1 TD) by catching 3 passes for 140 yds while also carrying the ball 13 times for 98 yds. With Relf able to throw the ball, Ole Miss had no way of just continuing to stack 8 men at or near the line of scrimmage. Jeremiah Masoli concluded his one year in Oxford with 261 pass yds, 1 TD & 1 INT. Running back Brandon Bolen was stymied on the ground (45 rush yds & 1 TD) as was the entire Rebel ground game. Bolen did manage to catch 6 passes for 78 yds but it was not enough to help his team to a victory.
Florida St. 31 – Florida 7
Aside from one play, one pass (John Brantley’s 20 yd TD pass to Robert Clark), the Florida Gator offense looked very much like it did earlier this season…..discombobulated and stuck in neutral for much of the game. The lone bright spot was the Gators did manage to get a season high 212 yds on the ground as a team (Chris Rainey had 73 yds & Jordan Reed had 74 before he left the game with a concussion in the 3rd) but it was not nearly enough to combat their in-state rival Florida St. Seminoles who managed to beat Urban Meyer for only the 2nd time since he has been at Florida. Seminole QB Christian Ponder was 16/24 for 221 yds & 3 TD, playing mostly on a short field due to Florida’s inept offense. On top of the listless performance on offense, the Gators also suffered several key injuries including the loss of the only experienced offensive lineman they have in center Mike Pouncey to a chest injury. Florida St. used this game as a tune-up for its ACC Championship showdown this coming Saturday with the Virginia Tech Hokies.
Georgia 42 – Georgia Tech 34
Georgia Tech managed to roll-up 414 yds on the ground and 512 total yds of offense but their defense could not slow down the hot hand of Bulldog QB, Aaron Murray (15/19 for 271 yds and 3 TD) and they could not contain the Bulldog ground game led by RB Washaun Ealey (13 carries for 118 yds). Both teams were plagued by mistakes & miscues but the Yellowjackets may regret an option pitched that was fumbled and Georgia LB Justin Hamilton scooped up and went 18 yds for a TD. Even though that occurred in the first half that was the only defensive TD scored by either team and that could be deemed the difference. Georgia WR A.J. Green had 8 catches for 97 yds in what is more than likely the next to last game of his great career at Georgia. Georgia Tech RB Anthony Allen had 29 carries for 166 yds in a gallant effort that just fell short.
South Carolina 29 – Clemson 7
The Clemson Tigers continued their season of disappointment as they had little if any fight in them Saturday as they fell to in-state rival South Carolina. The Gamecocks did not look particularly sharp either but they took advantage of 3 Clemson turnovers while not committing one themselves; South Carolina must now prepare for its rematch against Auburn for the SEC Championship. Running back Marcus Lattimore was held in check (48 yds on 23 carries) but WR Alshon Jefferey had a huge day as he had just 5 catches but that produced 141 yds and 1 TD. Gamecock QB Stephen Garcia was not great (14/30 for 227 yds & 2 TD) but he didn’t throw a pick and he didn’t fumble and that will be key as he tries to atone for two costly fumbles against Auburn in their first meeting; a game which South Carolina led going into the fourth quarter but eventually lost 35-27.
Wake Forest 34 – Vanderbilt 13
The odd and turbulent football season has finally come to an end in Nashville, at least the “college” part of the deal (the woeful Tennessee Titans are still playing) and it ended in much the same fashion as the season started…….the Commodores without a coach. Interim coach, Robbie Caldwell announced his resignation just hours before kick-off (although several people with in the athletic department are admitting Caldwell was forced to resign) and his former team played like they were just dazed and confused. The Demon Deacons entered the contest on a 9-game losing streak but jumped out to a 24-3 lead before Vandy knew what had hit them. Demon Deacon RB, Josh Harris ran for 138 yds with 131 of that coming in the 1st stanza and Wake Forest also blocked a punt in the 2nd and 3rd quarters as the Commodores bungled their way to another last place finish is the SEC.