Though it feels like we just got started, the final week of the regular season has now come and gone. Of the 14 SEC teams, there are three who have only one loss overall and in the conference (Alabama, Georgia, and Florida) and two who went winless in the SEC (Auburn and Kentucky). Nine teams are bowl eligible, with the two 0-fer teams plus Arkansas, Missouri, and Tennessee failing to reach the necessary number of wins. Three coaches are out, too, as Joker Phillips of Kentucky, Derek Dooley of Tennessee, and Gene Chizik of Auburn, have coached their last game at those schools. Read on for recaps of all the action from the final games of the regular season.
It was closer than the Tigers would have liked, but they managed to do just enough to beat the Razorbacks Friday afternoon. LSU put up a first quarter field goal and a second quarter TD on a 22-yard pass from Zach Mettenberger to Jarvis Jones to take a 10-0 lead at the half, but Arkansas had three chances to score themselves in the first half. Their first opportunity came on the game’s opening drive, when they got all the way down the field before Dennis Johnson fumbled at the goal line. Kicker Zach Hocker also missed two field goals. The Hogs finally got on the board early in the third quarter, when John Henson hit a 25-yard field goal. The Tigers answered with a TD a minute and a half later, but Arkansas found the end zone themselves before the quarter was over to pull within one score. Each team scored once, both, more field
goals, in the fourth quarter. LSU’s came with just a minute and a half left, and though the Razorbacks tried to rally in the final seconds of the game, Wilson’s pass fell incomplete as time expired.
Mettenberger finished the day 16-of-29 for 217 yards and a touchdown. Wilson went 31-of-52 for 359 yards, a TD, and an interception. Jeremy Hill had 17 carries for 88 yards and a touchdown and Odell Beckham had four receptions for 112 yards to lead the Tigers. Wilson had 38 yards on nine carries and Cobi Hamilton had 10 catches for 98 yards to lead the Hogs. Arkansas turned the ball over twice (LSU didn’t do it at all), but the Razorbacks also had more first downs (24) than the Tigers (16), allowed them only 89 yards on the ground, and outgained them in total yardage 462-306.
LSU finishes the regular season 10-2 overall and 6-2 in conference play. They will await a bowl bid. Arkansas finishes 4-8 overall and 2-6 in the SEC. They will not be eligible for a bowl game.
The Yellow Jackets physically showed up for the game, but they were really out of it from the get-go. The Bulldogs took a 7-0 lead just over a minute into the game, then found the end zone again on their next possession. GT had looked ready to score on their first possession as they marched down the field, but after getting all the way to the 1-yard line, but Bacarri Rambo stole the ball from Robert Godhigh and ended that threat. The Jackets did put three points on the board as the quarter came to a close, but Georgia added two more touchdowns before the half, giving them a 28-3 lead. Georgia Tech had tried another field goal before the quarter ended, but Chris Tanner’s kick sailed wide right. The Dawgs added two more TDs in the third quarter, and the Jackets finally found the end zone themselves in the fourth. By then, though, it was obviously much too little, too late.
UGA QB Aaron Murray finished the day 14-of-17 for 215 yards and two touchdowns. Georgia Tech’s Vad Lee went 4-of-12 for 65 yards and an interception, and Tevin Washington was 6-of-9 for 55 yards. Todd Gurley had 12 carries for 97 yards and two TDs and Malcolm Mitchell had three receptions for 88 yards to lead the Bulldogs. David Sims had 14 carries for 71 yards and a touchdown and Godhigh had five receptions for 66 yards to lead the Yellow Jackets. While Georgia Tech turned the ball over twice (UGA didn’t do it once), the Jackets actually more first downs (26) than the Dawgs (18), had possession of the ball for almost 40 minutes, and outgained them 426-379 in total yardage.
Georgia finishes the regular season 11-1 overall and 7-1 in conference play. They will play in the SEC title game and then await a bowl bid. Georgia Tech finishes 6-6 overall and 5-3 in the ACC. They will play to the ACC title game and then await a bowl bid.
In the battle of SEC East teams who 1) will have new coaches next year and 2) had yet to win a conference game, the Volunteers came out on top Saturday afternoon. Tennessee opened the game with a 21-yard touchdown pass from Tyler Bray to Zach Rogers, but Kentucky answered with a TD of their own to tie things up midway through the first quarter. The Vols found the end zone again before the end of the quarter, and then each team added another long touchdown (a 42-yard throw to Justin Hunter for UT, a 45-yard run by Jonathan George for UK) in the second quarter, which left Tennessee up 20-14 at the half. The Wildcats scored only once more, a field goal halfway through the third quarter, before allowing the Volunteers to put up 17 unanswered points. Tennessee missed out on one point when a PAT was blocked, but Kentucky couldn’t get out of their own way, failing to capitalize on multiple scoring opportunities throughout the game, including a missed field goal.
Bray finished the day 20-of-34 for 293 yards and four touchdowns. His Wildcats counterpart, Jalen Whitlow, went 29-of-45 for 225 yards and a TD. Marlin Lane had 75 yards on 10 carries and Cordarrelle Patterson had four receptions for 88 yards and a touchdown to lead the Volunteers. George had eight carries for 59 yards and a TD and La’Rod King had 10 receptions for 78 yards to lead Kentucky. The teams were pretty even on the stats sheet, as they both had 23 first downs and no turnovers, but UK held the ball for almost 35 minutes. They were outgained by UT in total yardage 457-412.
Tennessee finishes the regular season 5-7 overall and 1-7 in conference play. Kentucky finishes 2-10 overall and 0-8 in the SEC. Neither team will go to a bowl game.
The Gators needed a win on Saturday to keep their slim hopes at a national title alive, and they managed to get one Saturday in Tallahassee. UF got on the board first with a field goal midway through the first quarter, then added another field goal and a touchdown in the second quarter before the Seminoles’ Dustin Hopkins hit a 50-yard field goal as time expired before the half. That left Florida on top 13-3, but the third quarter was all FSU, as they tacked on two TDs and a field goal to give them a 20-13 lead. From there, though, the Noles allowed Florida to score four times in the fourth quarter, including three touchdowns, which pretty much put the game out of reach for Florida State with two and a half minutes left. QB EJ Manuel ran 22 yards to the house for a TD as time expired, but the deficit was just too big for the Seminoles to overcome.
Gators quarterback Jeff Driskel finished the day 15-of-23 for 147 yards and a touchdown. Manuel went 18-0f-33 for 182 yards, a TD, and three interceptions. Mike Gillislee had 24 carries for 140 yards and two touchdowns and Jordan Reed had four receptions for 54 yards to lead Florida. Manuel had 12 carries for 54 yards and two TDs and Rashad Greene had five catches for 650 yards to lead Florida State. The Gators had 21 first downs to the Noles’ 20, but had possession of the ball for over 36 minutes and benefitted from FSU’s five turnovers. UF also outgained the Seminoles 394-300 in total yardage.
Florida finishes the regular season 11-1 overall and 7-1 in conference play. Florida State finishes 10-2 overall and 7-1 in the ACC. They will play in the ACC title game. Both teams will await bowl bids.
It’s been a good year for the Commodores, who closed out the regular season by dominating the Deacons Saturday afternoon. Vandy got on the board first with a touchdown a little over five minutes into the game, but Wake Forest responded with a TD of their own before the first quarter came to a close. The ‘Dores found the end zone three more times in the second quarter, though, including once when QB Jordan Rodgers hit Jordan Matthews with a 64-yard pass. Vanderbilt opened up the second half with another touchdown when Casey Hughes recovered a blocked punt in the end zone, but the Deacons answered with another TD for themselves. The Commodores tacked on two field goals, from 50 and 52 yards out, to take a 41-14 lead with one quarter to go. Jonathan Krause then returned a punt 83 yards to the house to start the fourth quarter, then Zac Stacy ran 90 yards for another touchdown three minutes later. Wake managed to find the zone once more, but it was clearly much too little, too late.
Rodgers finished the day 17-of-23 for 229 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. Wake Forest’s Tanner Price went 17-of-36 for 182 yards and a pick. Zac Stacy had 21 carries for 180 yards and two TDs and Jordan Matthews had 10 receptions for 144 yards and a touchdown to lead Vanderbilt. Deandre Martin had 24 carries for 72 yards and a TD and Michael Campanaro had eight catches for 98 yards to lead the Demon Deacons. Both teams had 19 first downs and multiple turnovers, but while Wake had the ball for just under 33 minutes, the Commodores outgained them in total yardage 432-310.
Vanderbilt finishes the regular season 8-4 overall and 5-3 in conference play. They will await a bowl bid. Wake Forest finishes 5-7 overall and 3-5 in the ACC. They are not bowl eligible.
No one was expecting this year’s installment of the Iron Bowl to be competitive, but this was barely even a game. The Crimson Tide scored early and often Saturday, beginning with a touchdown run by Eddie Lacy less than four minutes into the game. They added another TD in the first quarter, then four more in the second quarter, including another by Lacy and two from Amari Cooper, who caught 29 and 37-yard passes for the scores. They found the end zone once more in the third quarter, and QB AJ McCarron was taken out soon after. The Tigers, on the other hand, were inept on both sides of the ball. They allowed Bama to score those seven touchdowns in seven possessions and made it into Tide territory only two times when they had the ball. Even with Alabama playing almost no starters in much of the second half, AU still couldn’t get anything positive going.
McCarron finished the day 15-of-21 for 216 yards and four touchdowns. His Auburn counterpart, Jonathan Wallace, went 5-of-14 for 71 yards and two interceptions. Lacy had 18 carries for 131 yards and two TDs and Cooper had five receptions for 109 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Crimson Tide. Tre Mason had 82 yards on 21 carries and Emory Blake had three receptions for 56 yards to lead the Tigers. Alabama racked up 25 first downs compared to Auburn’s seven. The Tigers turned the ball over three times (Bama did so once). The Tide did not allow AU to reach 100 yards on either the ground (92) or through the air (71), and outgained them 483-163 in total yardage.
Alabama finishes the regular season 11-1 overall and 7-1 in conference play. They’ll play in the conference title game and await a bowl bid, possibly for the national championship game. Auburn finishes 3-9 overall and 0-8 in the SEC. They will not go to a bowl game.
The Rebels needed a win in the Egg Bowl to become bowl eligible and they got it, topping the visiting Bulldogs Saturday afternoon. Ole Miss got on the board first with a touchdown less than two minutes into the game, but MSU’s Jameon Lewis promptly returned the kickoff 100 yards to tie things up, and then Chad Bumphis hauled in a 42-yard pass from Tyler Russell to give the Bulldogs a lead at the end of the first quarter. The Rebs opened up the second quarter with a field goal, then found the end zone and took the lead when Wallace hit Donte Moncrief with a 77-yard pass. Mississippi State tacked on a field goal to tie the game at the half, but Ole Miss scored three times in the third quarter, including two more TDs for Moncrief, plus a fourth quarter touchdown, which made the score 41-17, before Bumphis and the Bulldogs found the end zone one more time with just seven seconds remaining in the game.
Wallace finished the night 15-of-22 for 294 yards, five touchdowns, and two interceptions. Russell went 18-of-33 for 268 yards, a TD, and two picks. Jeff Scott had 111 yards on 28 carries and Moncrief had seven receptions for 173 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Rebels. LaDarius Perkins had 45 yards on 16 carries and Bumphis had six catches for 146 yards and two TDs to lead Mississippi State. Ole Miss had 28 first downs compared to MSU’s 17, but the teams had fairly equal times of possession and both had multiple turnovers. The Bulldogs managed only 30 yards on the ground, though, and they were outgained by the Rebs in total yardage 527-333.
Ole Miss finishes the regular season 6-6 overall and 3-5 in conference play. Mississippi State finishes 8-4 overall and 4-4 in the SEC. They will both await bowl bids.
(12) South Carolina 27, (11) Clemson 17
The Gamecocks won their fourth straight Palmetto Bowl Saturday night, and they did it with their backup QB. Clemson was first to score, when quarterback Tajh Boyd took the ball in for a TD with about five minutes to go in the first quarter, but USC responded with a touchdown of their own to even the score at 7-7. The Tigers found the end zone again on their next possession when Boyd his DeAndre Hopkins with a 43-yard pass, putting CU back on top. The Cocks put up a field goal in the second quarter to pull within four points before the half, then tacked on another TD, this time on a 34-yard pass from Thompson to Ace Sanders, plus a field goal, giving them a 20-14 lead in the third quarter. The Tigers added a field goal of their own, but that was the end of their scoring. South Carolina managed one more TD, which came with just over four minutes remaining in the game. On the defensive side of things, Jadeveon Clowney had 4.5 sacks on the night and broke USC’s single-season sack record and the Memorial Stadium sack record.
Thompson finished the night 23-of-41 for 310 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception. Boyd went 11-of-24 for 183 yards, a TD, and two picks. He also had the rushing touchdown. Kenny Miles had 45 yards on 16 carries and Sanders had six receptions for 119 yards and the TD to lead the Gamecocks. Andre Ellington had 72 yards on 15 carries and Jaron Brown had three catches for 68 yards to lead Clemson. USC had possession of the ball for almost 40 minutes and totaled 26 first downs (CU had 18). The Cocks outgained the Tigers 444-328 in total yardage.
South Carolina finishes the regular season 10-2 overall and 6-2 in conference play. Clemson finishes 10-2 overall and 7-1 in the ACC. Both teams will await bowl bids.
(9) Texas A&M 59, Missouri 29
The two SEC newcomers had very different first seasons in the conference, and the gap between the two was evident Saturday night, as the Aggies crushed the visiting Tigers. Texas A&M got the scoring started with a touchdown less than two and a half minutes into the game, then added two more TDs in the first quarter, including one on a 38-yard run by Christine Michael, and three more in the second quarter before Missouri finally got on the board with a touchdown of their own, which made the score 42-7 with seven seconds remaining before the half. The Tigers opened up the third quarter with a field goal after Aggies QB Johnny Manziel threw a rare interception, but Manziel responded by running 18 yards to the house later in the quarter. Taylor Bertolet hit a 50-yard field goal for the Aggies and then L’Damian Washington caught a 74-yard pass for a Tigers TD before all was said and done in the third quarter. Mizzou tacked on two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter, but Manziel rushed for another one, too, and the Tigers were in too deep of a hole to make a comeback.
Manziel finished the night 32-of-44 for 372 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception. His Missouri counterpart, Corbin Berkstresser, went 20-of-38 for 276 yards, two TDs, and a pick. Manziel had 12 carries for 67 yards and two touchdowns and Malcome Kennedy had seven receptions for 110 yards to lead Texas A&M. Kendial Lawrence had 16 carries for 87 yards and a TD and Washington had four catches for 89 yards and a touchdown to lead the Tigers. Both teams had the ball for about half of the game, but the Aggies racked up 33 first downs compared to Mizzou’s 21 and outgained them in total yardage 647-465.
Texas A&M finishes the regular season 10-2 overall and 6-2 in conference play. They will await a bowl bid. Missouri finishes 5-7 overall and 2-6 in the SEC. They will not be eligible for a bowl.
For a full recap of the game between No. 12 South Carolina and No. 11 Clemson, visit Cocky Country.