We’re now one-fourth of the way through the season, and almost every team has played at least one conference game (Ole Miss is the only team who hasn’t). Both divisions still have three undefeated teams: South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida in the East and Alabama, LSU, and Mississippi State in the West. Of the 13 teams who have played an SEC opponent, six are still winless in conference play. Each division has two teams – Kentucky and Vanderbilt in the East and Arkansas and Auburn in the West – who continue to struggle week in and week out. Teams will now start getting a little bit of rest, as bye weeks are about to begin. Read on to find out what went on around the conference in Week Four.
(14) Florida 38, Kentucky 0
It took the Gators a little while to get started, but once they found a groove, they had no trouble taking care of the struggling Wildcats. UK was without starting QB Maxwell Smith, and unfortunately for them, backup Morgan Newton wasn’t quite ready for primetime. UF was already up 10-0 in the second quarter when Newton was picked off for the second time, and UF took it to the house for a TD. The Gators led 24-o at the half and scored once more in the both the third and fourth quarters as they shut down Kentucky entirely. The Wildcats tried to score twice – both field goals – in the first half, but Craig McIntosh missed both.
Gators QB Jeff Driskel went 18-of-27 for 203 yards, one touchdown, and a pick. Newton finished the day a paltry 7-of-21 for a meager 48 yards and three interceptions. Mike Gillislee had 13 carries for 56 yards and a TD and Omarius Hines had three receptions for 52 yards to lead UF. Jonathan George had 52 yards on 13 carries and one catch for 24 yards to lead UK. The Cats mustered only 60 yards on the ground while the UF had more than three times that. The Gators also were 12-of-17 on third down conversions. The Gators had 22 first downs to the Wildcats’ 12 and outgained them 403-219 in total yardage.
Florida improves to 4-0 overall and 3-0 in the SEC. They’ll be home next weekend to face off against No. 2 LSU. Kentucky drops to 1-3 overall and 0-1 in conference play. They’ll be on the road at No. 7 South Carolina next Saturday.
Ole Miss 39, Tulane 0
With this victory, the Rebels have now surpassed their entire win total from last season. Ole Miss got the scoring started early Saturday, putting up their first TD two and a half minutes into the game, after the Green Wave lost the ball at their own 23-yard line. The Rebs put up another touchdown six and a half minutes later, and for some reason, went for two-point conversions on both (neither try was successful). They added two more TDs in the first quarter, one with three minutes to go and one with less than a minute and a half. They didn’t score again until the second half, when they tacked on another touchdown and two field goals.
Rebels QB Bo Wallace was 7-of-16 for just over 100 yards and a TD. His Tulane counterpart, Devin Powell, finished 22-of-41 for 145 yards and three interceptions. Turnovers were an issue for both teams, as Ole Miss coughed it up three times and the Green Wave gave it up four. Backup QB Barry Brunetti had 67 yards on 13 carries and Randall Mackey had one reception for 30 yards to lead the Rebs. Robert Kelley had 14 carries for 33 yards and Ryan Grant had six catches for 55 yards to lead Tulane. The Green Wave totaled 14 first downs (the Rebels had 25) and managed only 14 yards on the ground. They were outgained in total yardage 450-159.
Ole Miss is now 3-1 overall. They’ll begin SEC play next weekend on the road against No. 1 Alabama.
QB Connor Shaw marked his place in the conference history book by completing 20 straight passes as the Gamecocks dominated this “Battle of the Columbias” by shutting down Mizzou’s offense and keeping the Tiger defense relatively quiet. Marcus Lattimore scored on back-to-back possessions in the first half and USC finally saw some special teams production from a unit who’s struggled in recent seasons. Missouri couldn’t get anything going, despite a few miscues by the Cocks, and that showed on the scoreboard. They found the end zone only once, late in the fourth quarter when it was much too little, too late.
Shaw finished the day 20-of-21 for just under 250 yards and two touchdowns. He also had 41 yards on 12 carries. His Tigers counterpart, James Franklin, was 11-of-18 for 92 yards. Lattimore had 21 carries for 85 yards and two TDs and seven receptions for 78 yards to lead the Gamecocks. He also set a school record for rushing touchdowns with 33. Kendial Lawrence had 67 yards on 11 carries and Marcus Lucas had nine catches for 78 yards and a touchdown to lead the Tigers. USC outgained Mizzou in total yardage 396-255.
South Carolina improves to 4-0 overall and 2-0 in conference play. They’ll host Kentucky next weekend. Missouri falls to 2-2 overall and 0-2 in the SEC. They’ll be on the road next weekend against Central Florida.
(1) Alabama 40, Florida Atlantic 7
The Tide continued to roll this weekend, routing the Owls on Saturday night. Bama dominated in all facets of the game and FAU really never had a chance. The Tide got out to an early 7-0 lead thanks than an 85-yard TD pass from AJ McCarron to Kenny Bell less than two minutes into the game. They scored five more times before the half, taking a 30-0 lead into the locker room. Alabama tacked on two more scores, a field goal and a touchdown, before the Owls finally got on the board late in the fourth quarter. Eddie Lacy rushed for over 100 yards in the first half and the Crimson Tide rolled up 353 yards to FAU’s 23.
McCarron, who did not play the whole game, was 15-of-25 for 212 yards and three TDs. Owls QB Graham Wilbert finished the night 7-of-13 for a meager 34 yards and the touchdown. Lacy’s 106 yards on 15 carries led the Tide, as did Bell’s one catch for 85 yards and the score. Jonathan Wallace had 12 carries for just under 50 yards and Alex Deleon had four receptions for 24 yards and the TD to lead FAU. The Owls managed only six first downs (Bama had 25) and they did not reach 100 yards on the ground or through the air. The Tide outgained them 503-110 in total yardage.
Alabama is now 4-0 and 1-0 in conference play. They’ll be at home against Ole Miss next Saturday.
(2) LSU 12, Auburn 10
This was a much closer game than the purple and gold Tigers would’ve liked, but they pulled out a win on the plains Saturday night. The orange and blue Tigers never let themselves get too far out of it, and had it not been for a solid performance by the LSU defense, Auburn might’ve come away with the victory. LSU got on the board first with a safety halfway through the first quarter, then scored a touchdown to take a 9-0 lead. Auburn responded with a TD as time expired in the first half to cut the score to 9-7. They tacked on a field goal late in the third quarter, giving them a 10-9 lead. LSU rallied for one more score, a field goal with just under five and a half minutes left in the game, and the struggling Auburn offense couldn’t manufacture anything before time ran out.
Zach Mettenberger finished the night 15-of-27 for 169 yards while Auburn’s Kiehl Frazier went 13-of-22 for 97 yards and two picks. Spencer Ware had 90 yards on 16 carries and Kadron Boone had three receptions for just under 50 yards to lead LSU. Tre Mason had nine carries for 54 yards and Emory Blake had four catches for 56 yards to lead Auburn. Turnovers plagued both teams, as LSU coughed it up twice and Auburn did so three times. LSU notched 15 first downs to Auburn’s nine and outgained them in total yardage 351-183. Auburn did not crack 100 yards through the air or on the ground.
LSU improves to 4-0 overall and 1-0 in the SEC. They’ll host Towson next weekend. Auburn drops to 1-3 overall and 0-2 in conference play. They’ll be off next Saturday before hosting Arkansas in two weeks.
Arkansas 26, Rutgers 35
The problems continue for the Razorbacks, who lost another game they probably should have won. Not even the return of starting QB Tyler Wilson or a record-setting performance from senior WR Cobi Hamilton was enough to propel the Hogs to victory. Arkansas scored twice in the first quarter to build a 10-0 lead, but by halftime, they trailed 14-10. Rutgers scored twice in the third quarter and the Razorbacks scored once, making it 28-13 Scarlet Knights heading into the fourth quarter. Arkansas rallied for two TDs, but a failed two-point conversion left them down 28-26. They allowed Rutgers to score once more, making it 35-26, and then failed to do anything offensively themselves.
Wilson was 20-of-39 for over 400 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions. His Scarlet Knights counterpart, Gary Nova, finished the night 25-of-35 for just under 400 yards and five TDs, a career-best. Dennis Johnson had 47 yards on six carries and Hamilton had 10 receptions for 303 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Hogs. Hamilton’s totals were a career-high and an SEC record. Jawan Jamison had 33 carries for 118 yards and Brandon Coleman had six catches for 89yards and two TDs to lead Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights had 26 first downs (Arkansas had 17) and the Razorbacks were held to just 73 yards on the ground. They were outgained 525-492 in total yardage.
Arkansas falls to 1-3 overall and 0-1 in the SEC. They’ll be on the road against Texas A&M next weekend.
Texas A&M 70, SC State 14
The Aggies scored early and often on Saturday night in College Station. Their first TD came before the midway point of the first quarter, and they added another one about five minutes later. The Bulldogs scored a touchdown of their own to cut the lead to 14-7, which was the closest they’d get for the rest of the night. Texas A&M scored five TDs in the second quarter and took a massive 49-7 lead into the half. A 96-yard punt return midway through the third quarter made it 56-7, then a touchdown to open the fourth quarter bumped the score up to 63-7. Each team added one more TD before all was said and done.
Aggies QB Johnny Manziel was 15-of-20 for 174 yards and three touchdowns. He also had eight carries for 78 yards and two TDs. South Carolina State’s Richard Que finished the night 17-of-32 for 189 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. Ben Malena had 11 carries for 88 yards and two TDs and Uzoma Nwachukwu had two receptions for 46 yards and two touchdowns to lead Texas A&M. Jalen Simmons had seven carries for 20 yards and a TD and Lennel Elmore had two catches for 51 yards and a touchdown to lead the Bulldogs. SC State had 11 penalties and recorded only 11 first downs (the Aggies had 23). The Bulldogs managed just 23 yards on the ground and were outgained in total yardage 448-223.
Texas A&M is now 2-1 overall and 0-1 in conference play. They’ll host Arkansas next Saturday.
(23) Mississippi State 30, South Alabama 10
It wasn’t necessarily pretty, but the Bulldogs topped the Jaguars to keep their undefeated season alive Saturday night. Both teams were scoreless in the first quarter, but MSU had plenty of offensive output in the second quarter. After South Alabama missed a field goal early in the quarter, LaDarius Perkins got things started for the Bulldogs with a 44-yard TD run just over two and a half minutes into the quarter. Mississippi State followed that up with another touchdown and two field goals, giving them a 20-0 lead going into the half. The Jaguars finally got on the board, with a field goal, in the third quarter. MSU answered with a TD, then opened the fourth quarter with a field goal. South Alabama scored a touchdown of their own late in the game, but their deficit was too big to overcome with so little time remaining.
Bulldogs QB Tyler Russell was 13-of-27 for 171 yards and an interception. His Jaguars counterpart, C.J. Bennett, finished the night 14-of-26 for 154 yards, a TD, and a pick. He also had 29 yards on three carries. Perkins had 11 carries for 69 yards and the touchdown and Brandon Heavens had three receptions for 55 yards to lead MSU. Demetre Baker had 49 yards on 12 carries and Bryant Lavender had six catches for 8- yards to lead South Alabama. The Bulldogs had only 15 first downs (the Jaguars had 21), but South Alabama turned the ball over three times and were outgained 356-347 in total yardage.
Mississippi State improves to 4-0 overall and 1-0 in the SEC. They’ll be off next weekend before traveling to play Kentucky in two weeks.
Tennessee 47, Akron 26
Most of the game was closer than the Vols would’ve liked, but they pulled away in the fourth quarter to solidly beat the Zips. Akron got on the board first when Avis Commack returned a Tyler Bray pass 44 yards to the house, but Tennessee quickly put up a touchdown and a field goal. The Zips added a field goal of their own, which tied the game at 10-10 after one quarter. The teams went into the locker room tied at 23-23, but the Volunteers found plenty of offensive success in the second half. They scored a touchdown in the third quarter, but Akron added a field goal to open the fourth, which brought them within four points. UT answered with three scores, a field goal and two TDs, to stifle any chances of an upset.
Bray finished 27-of-43 for just over 400 yards, four touchdowns, and the pick. Zips QB Dalton Williams went 27-of-49 for 229 yards and three interceptions. Raijon Neal had 151 yards on 22 carries (a career-high) and Justin Hunter had eight receptions for 115 yards and a TD to lead the Vols. Quentin Hines had six carries for 76 yards and a touchdown and Marquelo Suel had 12 catches for 92 yards to lead Akron. Turnovers were an issue for both teams, as UT had two and the Zips had three. The Volunteers had 33 first downs (Akron had 18) and rolled up 633 total yards compared to the Zips’ 344.
Tennessee is now 3-1 overall and 0-1 in conference play. They’ll be on the road next weekend against No. 5 Georgia.
(5) Georgia 48, Vanderbilt 3
Despite head coach James Franklin’s hopes, the Commodores are not yet new and improved. After suffering a close loss to South Carolina in the season opener, they’ve won only one game and continue to struggle on both sides of the ball. The Dawgs missed a two-point conversion and took a 13-0 lead after one quarter, then were up 27-0 before Vandy scored their only points, which came with just 20 seconds remaining in the first half. UGA added three more touchdowns in the third quarter, while the Dores couldn’t get anything going. Their best drive of the day came when they scored the field goal, though the inability to get a TD was a bit of a letdown.
Bulldogs QB Aaron Murray was 18-of-24 for 250 yards and two touchdowns, while Vanderbilt’s Jordan Rodgers finished the night 13-of-23 for 218 yards. He also had nine yards on 13 carries, which was good enough for second on the team. Todd Gurley had 16 carries for 130 yards and two TDs and Marlon Brown had five receptions for 114 yards and a touchdown to lead Georgia. Zac Stacy had 83 yards on 12 carries and Jordan Matthews had eight catches for 119 yards to lead the Commodores. The Dawgs recorded 27 first downs (Vandy had 15) and outgained the Dores 567-337 in total yardage.
Georgia improves to 4-0 overall and 2-0 in the SEC. They’ll host Tennessee next Saturday. Vanderbilt drops to 1-3 overall and 0-2 in conference play. They’ll be off next weekend before going on the road to play Missouri in two weeks.
For a complete recap of the game between No. 7 South Carolina and Missouri, visit Cocky Country.