South Carolina 14 – Mississippi St. 12: In a game that seem to lack the luster it did before the season started, it was a hard fought contest that went right down to the wire. The Gamecocks (6-1) won the war but may have lost the battle; RB Marcus Lattimore was lost for the remainder of the season with a knee / leg injury. In a contest where the defenses ruled and neither offense looked particular sharp, South Carolina made one more big play than Mississippi St. (3-4) did. The Bulldogs are now 0-4 in conference play and but can all but just about bury their bowl chances needing to win 3 of their final 5 to be eligible. For the Gamecocks, the win keeps them ahead of Georgia in the SEC East but now you have to wonder what they will do for a ground attack with Lattimore done for the season. He was held to just 39 rushing yds and 1 TD before going out so State did a great job of containing him. Both QBs, Connor Shaw for South Carolina and Tyler Russell for Miss. St. threw for 1 TD & 2 picks but Shaw had the last laugh when hit Alshon Jeffery with a 4yd TD pass with 3:50 to go in the 4th. Both teams will be off this coming weekend.
LSU 38 – Tennessee 7: The good news for Vol fans was that RB Tauren Poole was able to play after all (19 carries, 70 yds & 1 TD); the bad news was it was against LSU (7-0). The Tigers led 17-7 at the half and then defense pitched a shut-out after intermission as Matt Simms only completed 30% of his pass attempts. Tennessee (3-3) knew this would be a tough task on the road in Baton Rogue but without QB Tyler Bray, the task got just that much tougher. The Vols were limited to less than 250 yds of offense an LSU continued to strengthen their hold on the #1 spot in the Polls. Tiger’s QB Jarrett Lee passed for 115 yds and 2 TDs while the defense hounded his counterpart all game long. LSU will host Auburn this Saturday while UT will travel to Tuscaloosa to play Alabama.
Alabama 52 – Ole Miss 7: For the 1st quarter, Ole Miss (2-4) was just as good as Alabama (7-0); for the rest of the game, the Tide was on a different plateau than the Rebels. Bama would finish the game on a 52 – 0 run after spotting Ole Miss a TD on their opening drive. Alabama RB Trent Richardson ran for 183 yds and 4 TDs and QB A.J. McCarron passed for 224 yds and 1 TD. Ole Miss was held to less than 200 yds, most of which came on the opening series of the game. For Houston Nutt, it continues to be a problem to find any source of offense as his time in Oxford appears to be about over. The Rebels will host Arkansas Saturday and I would not expect the home fans to hold back in voicing their displeasure with how this season is going.
Auburn 17 – Florida 6: The Auburn Tigers (5-2) have been able to consistently prove the skeptics wrong this season as they took care of the Gators on Saturday. In a game that featured shaky QB play from both sides and good defensive play from both, it was poor special teams play from Florida (4-3) that proved to be the difference. The Gators muffed or bobbled 4 different punts and a pair of them led directly to Auburn scores. Without John Brantley under center, the Gators have not scored more than 1 TD in a game. They tried three different guys under center Saturday and none of them were very effective. They also had to play the game without RB Jeff Demps who was out with an injury. Add to that, RB Chris Rainey was held to just 33 yds on 16 carries and the Gators tallied less than 225 yds of offense for the 3rd consecutive week. Auburn was not much better on offense as QB Barrett Trotter continues to struggle in the passing game. He would give way to Clint Moseley who managed to pass for only 90 yds himself. Bottom line is the Tigers just made less miscues than the Gators.
Georgia 33 – Vanderbilt 28: In what proved to be the most entertaining game of the day in the SEC, the Bulldogs (5-2) held off the Commodores (3-3) in wild game. Georgia led 20-7 at the half and appeared to be on their way to an easy win. But in the second half, Vandy’s special teams (a KO return for a TD) helped ignite a Commodore rally that would eventually fall short. After Vandy had been embarrassed in its last two outings, they actually showed a lot of moxie after falling down 13 in the 1st half. RB Zack Stacy ran for 97 yds and 1 TD but the Commodores struggles can be found at the QB position where neither of the two they used were very effective. For Georgia, QB Aaron Murray passed for 326 yds & 3 TDs, because Vandy shut-down the Bulldog’s ground game. Georgia will be off this week while Vandy will host Army as they try to get that elusive 4th win of the season.