Welcome to Cocky Country’s weekly breakdown of what happened in the SEC. It’s hard to believe, but we’re a quarter of the way through the season now (crazy!). That being said, there’s certainly still time for teams to improve (or perhaps fall apart). There were only three conference games this week, and a few teams have yet to face an SEC opponent. Six teams are still undefeated, but in this conference, no perfect record is ever safe. So without further ado, here are your Week Three recaps:
(3) LSU at (25) Mississippi State
It was close for a while, but the Tigers of LSU beat the Bulldogs of MSU 19-6 Thursday night in Starkville. The boys from Baton Rouge kept Mississippi State contained offensively all night, giving up only one field goal in each half of the game. The Bulldogs came into the game leading the SEC in rushing yards per game, with an average of 321, but were held to only 52, while the Tigers had almost triple that. LSU also benefited from great play by Jarrett Lee, who has taken the reigns under center following the suspension of Jordan Jefferson. Lee was impressive, going 21-for-27 for 213 yards, a TD, and an interception. The Tigers weren’t without faults, though. In the third quarter they had a string of five consecutive penalties, which totaled 67 yards and happened in less than 10 minutes. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, LSU was still better in every category on the stats sheet and found a way to win, something that likely knocked MSU out of the rankings.
The Tigers are now 3-0 on the season and 1-0 in the conference, and will travel to take on No. 18 West Virginia next weekend. The Bulldogs fall to 1-2 overall and 0-2 in the SEC, and will be home again next weekend to play another team from the Bayou State , Louisiana Tech.
(21) Auburn at Clemson
As a South Carolina fan, I wish there had been a way for both teams to lose. Regardless of the outcome of this game, though, a Tigers team was going to win and a Tigers team was going to lose. Unfortunately for the defending national champions, they came out on the bottom, losing 38-24 in Death Valley. This ended Auburn’s 17-game winning streak and marked the first time they’ve lost to Clemson since 1951. The orange and purple Tigers had almost twice as many first downs as the blue and orange ones, and they had a grand total of 624 yards of offense, the most they’ve ever had against an SEC team. Clemson was offensively and defensively sound, pressuring Auburn QB Barrett Trotter, who was only 12 of 25 for a TD and an interception. Clemson’s Tajh Boyd, however, was 30-for-42 with four touchdowns and no turnovers. Fans in Death Valley stormed the field following the win (which was a little excessive if you ask me).
Auburn is now 2-1 on the season (and 1-o in the SEC) and will look to bounce back next week at home against Florida Atlantic.
Ole Miss at Vanderbilt
In the first conference game of the season for both teams, Rebels QB Zack Stoudt had a bad day, but it was a good one for the Commodores, who defeated Ole Miss 30-7 Saturday afternoon. Stoudt was intercepted five times by the ‘Dores, one of which was returned for a touchdown. Ole Miss looked like a hot mess for most of the game, hurting themselves more than Vandy did. The Commodores stuck to mainly a running game, getting 281 yards on the ground and about 100 more through the air. The Rebels, on the other hand, didn’t even get close to 300 total yards. Ole Miss’ only score came on a TD from Stoudt late in the fourth quarter, allowing them to narrowly avoid a shutout. Vandy even got a safety, after a snap went over Stoudt‘s head and was kicked into the endzone.
The Commodores improve to 3-0 on the season and 1-0 in the SEC, and will travel to Columbia to take on South Carolina in a battle of undefeated teams next weekend. Ole Miss drops to 1-2 overall and 0-1 in the conference, and will be home next weekend to play against Georgia in a showdown of teams with losing records.
Georgia vs. Coastal Carolina
The Dawgs finally got a win, crushing the Chanticleers 59-0 between the hedges in Athens. Coming off of a close loss to South Carolina last week, Georgia and head coach Mark Richt were looking to prove that they can still have a good season, and this was a step in the right direction. The Bulldogs had a comfortable 35-0 lead at the half, behind QB Aaron Murray who threw for three TDs and ran for one more, all in the first thirty minutes of the game. The lead was so comfortable, in fact, that Murray only played for one possession before getting to watch the rest of the game from the sideline. When all was said and done, UGA had 470 total yards, and Coastal had a measly 112. Chants QB Aramis Hillary (formerly a backup at South Carolina) had an unbelievable 27 yards, even though he was 10 of 15 on the day. Coastal turned the ball over three times and only got seven first downs, more proof that they were never really in the game.
With this win, Georgia is now 1-2 on the season (and 0-1 in conference play), and will travel to Oxford to face off against Ole Miss next weekend.
Tennessee at (16) Florida
The Vols tried to mount a comeback, but they just didn’t quite have enough to overcome the Gators, who defeated them 33-23 in Gainesville. Chris Rainey was a beast for Florida, finishing with over 200 yards of rushing and receiving combined, including a TD. and also blocked a punt which led to a Gators field goal. Vols QB Tyler Bray, who’s been red-hot, was cooled off a little by the Florida defense. Bray was 26-for-48 for 288 yards and three touchdowns, but was also picked off twice (and could have been a few other times, too). The biggest problem for Tennessee, though, was that they lost stud receiver Justin Hunter to a knee injury on their first drive of the game. He didn’t return, and the Vols offense wasn’t quite able to recover. Even though Tennessee trailed for the entire game, and at this point in the game had just missed a two-point conversion, WR Da’Rick Rogers somehow felt it was a good idea to talk smack to Matt Elam, Florida’s safety. Elam, instead of taking the bait, simply pointed to the scoreboard.
With this loss, Tennessee drops to 2-1 on the season and 0-1 in the SEC. They have a bye next weekend. Florida improves to 3-0 on overall and 1-0 in conference play. Next weekend they’ll be in Lexington to take on Kentucky.
Kentucky vs. Louisville
After a few weeks where they’ve pulled off close wins over teams they were “supposed to” beat, that luck came to an end for the Wildcats this week, as they fell to the Cardinals 24-17 Saturday night in Lexington. Kentucky had virtually no running game, gaining only 35 rushing yards and necessitating 41 pass attempts from QB Morgan Newton, though he only completed 27 of them. Kentucky got on the board first and seemed to have the early momentum, but Louisville refused to back down to their in-state rival. It was a close game for all four quarters, but the Cardinals also led for the entire game. Louisville also racked up nine penalties on the day to Kentucky’s four, but they didn’t let that stop them. Turnovers weren’t much of a factor in this game, with the Wildcats only turning it over once, and the Cardinals not at all.
Kentucky falls to 2-1 overall and will begin SEC play next weekend at home against Florida.
(14) Arkansas vs. Troy
It was a good day to be Ronnie Wingo, Jr. and the Razorbacks yesterday, as they topped the Trojans 38-28 in Fayetteville. Wingo had three TDs and 109 yards (a career best), and proved that he’s someone Arkansas can count on. The two teams had almost identical total yardage, but the Razorbacks clearly had a stronger running game, amassing 151 yards on the ground to Troy’s 84. Arky was certainly the stronger team, but they weren’t without fault. They turned the ball over three times, but only one was returned for a score. The Trojans did score 21 points in the second half, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the deficit. In a move reminiscent of Nick Saban spanking his QB last year, Razorbacks coach Bobby Petrino mocked his QB, Tyler Wilson, on the sideline after Wilson threw a bad pass. That seems like inappropriate behavior from a coach, but that’s just me.
Arkansas is now 3-0 overall and will begin conference play against Alabama next weekend in Tuscaloosa.
(2) Alabama vs. North Texas
Unsurprisingly, the Tide continued to roll this week, blanking the Mean Green 41-0. First of all, props go to whoever scheduled the Crimson Tide to play against the Mean Green and the Golden Flashes in the same season. Now, back to football. Bama racked up 586 total yards, while North Texas had 169. That’s only two more yards than Trent Richardson had rushing, and only eight more than Eddie Lacy had rushing, both for the Tide. AJ McCarron, who seems to have solidified his spot as the starter nicely, was 15-of-21 for 190 yards, no TDs, and no interceptions. The score could have been even worse for the Mean Green, but Alabama missed two field goals. North Texas also coudl’ve avoided being shutout if they’d gone for a field goal of their own late in the fourth quarter, but they opted to try for a TD instead, which was not successful. The only thing they had going for them, really, was that they had four sacks and recovered two Bama fumbles.
The Tide improve to 3-0 on the season and will host the Razorbacks of Arkansas at home next weekend to start SEC play.
For a recap of the game between (10) South Carolina and Navy, click here.