It’s hard to believe, but the regular season came to an end this weekend. The most exciting game by far was the Iron Bowl, where Auburn pulled off a stunning last-second play for the win. While there are no undefeated teams remaining in the conference, ten of the SEC’s 14 teams are bowl eligible (Tennessee, Kentucky, Florida, and Arkansas are not), so they still have one game left. Two of them, Missouri and Auburn, have two, as they will play for the SEC title next weekend. There are seven teams from the conference ranked in the AP Poll, and four of them are in the top 10. Read on to catch up on the action from the final weekend of the season.
Mississippi State 17, Ole Miss 10
They needed overtime to do it, but the Bulldogs pulled off a win over the rival Rebels in the Egg Bowl to reach postseason bowl eligibility on Thursday night.
The game started off slowly and was scoreless until both teams got on the board in the final two minutes of the first half. MSU was first, taking a 7-0 lead after Josh Robinson took the ball one yard to the house, and Ole Miss answered with a touchdown of their own when Anthony Standifer recovered a blocked punt in the end zone, which tied the game heading into the locker rooms.
The Rebs tacked on a field goal in the third quarter, giving them a slim lead, but the Bulldogs put up a field goal of their own in the fourth quarter to tie things up. Mississippi State had a chance to win in regulation, but Evan Sobiesk’s field goal attempt sailed wide right. The Bulldogs also switched to the injured Dak Prescott under center in the fourth quarter, and he turned out to be the difference in the game. Prescott scored a TD in overtime, taking the ball three yards and putting his team on top. Ole Miss had a shot at tying things up again, but QB Bo Wallace fumbled and MSU recovered to seal the victory and end the game.
The Bulldogs tallied 23 first downs compared to the Rebels’ 17 and but they were outgained in total yardage, 318-296. Ole Miss turned the ball over four times while Mississippi State did so twice, and the Bulldogs had possession for close to 50 minutes (including overtime).
Damian Williams, who started at quarterback for MSU, was 8-of-18 for 82 yards and an interception, Prescott finished the night 11-of-20 for 115 yards, and Wallace went 26-of-40 for 182 yards and three picks. Robinson led the Bulldogs in rushing with seven carries for 38 yards and a touchdown and Jameon Lewis led them in receiving with six catches for 68 yards. Jaylen Walton had 37 yards on 10 carries and Laquon Treadwell had 57 yards on nine receptions to lead the Rebs.
Mississippi State finishes the regular season 6-6 overall and 3-5 in the SEC and Ole Miss finishes 7-5 overall and 3-5 in conference play. Both teams will wait to find out if they receive a bowl bid.
(17) LSU 31, Arkansas 27
The Tigers rallied to beat the Hogs and avoid an upset on Friday night, despite losing QB Zach Mettenberger to a knee injury.
LSU was first to get on the board, taking a 7-0 lead less than four minutes into the game, thanks to a 29-yard touchdown run by Terrence Magee. Arkansas tied things up midway through the first quarter, but Magee took one to the house again to give the lead back to his team. The Razorbacks scored twice in the second quarter, though, another touchdown and a field goal, to take a 17-14 lead at the half.
Zach Hocker’s 28-yard field goal gave Arkansas a little more breathing room in the third quarter, but Jeremy Hill broke off a 52-yard TD run to put the Tigers on top 21-20 midway through the quarter. The Hogs regained the lead when they found the end zone late in the quarter, but unfortunately for them, that was the end of their scoring.
LSU had two more scores in them, both of which came after Mettenberger left the game with under seven minutes remaining. A field goal brought the Tigers within three points, then backup QB Anthony Jennings found Travin Dural for a 49-yard touchdown with just over a minute left in the game, putting LSU on top for good.
The Tigers notched 25 first downs compared to Arkansas’ 17 and LSU outgained the Razorbacks 470-360 in total yardage. Each team turned the ball over twice, but the Tigers had possession for a little more than half of the game.
Before leaving with the injury, Mettenberger was 14-of-22 for 166 yards and an interception. Jennings finished 4-of-7 for 76 yards and a touchdown, and Arkansas QB Brandon Allen went 19-of-29 for 178 yards, two TDs, and a pick. Hill led the Tigers in rushing with 20 carries for 145 yards and a touchdown and Jarvis Landry led them in receiving with eight catches for 113 yards. Jonathan Williams had 58 yards on 13 carries and Keon Hatcher had 84 yards on seven receptions to lead the Hogs.
LSU finishes the regular season 9-5 and 5-3 in the SEC and Arkansas finishes 3-9 overall and 0-8 in conference play. The Tigers will await a bowl bid.
Florida 7, (2) Florida State 37
The Seminoles kept their perfect season alive as they cruised to an easy victory over the rival Gators on Saturday.
FSU took a 3-0 lead in the first quarter thanks to a 49-yard field goal from Roberto Aguayo, then found the end zone with just under five minutes remaining in the first half, when Jameis Winston and Kelvin Benjamin connected for a 45-yard scoring play. Four minutes later, Winston and Benjamin accounted for another touchdown, this one a 29-yarder, to put the Noles up 17-0 heading into the locker room.
Florida State padded their lead in the third quarter, thanks to a 40-yard field goal from Aguayo and a touchdown midway through the quarter. UF finally got on the board in the fourth quarter, when they found the end zone, but that was the only scoring they could muster. Benjamin tacked on another TD and Aguayp was good on another field goal before all was said and done.
The Seminoles more than doubled the Gators in first downs, 20-8, and also more than doubled them in total yardage, 456-193 (Florida had just 78 yards on the ground). Florida State turned the ball over once, while the Gators did so twice, and each team had possession for about half of the game.
Winston finished the day 19-of-31 for 327 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception, while his UF counterpart, Skyler Mornhinweg was 20-of-25 for 115 yards and a TD. James Wilder Jr. led the Noles in rushing with 10 carries for 63 yards and Benjamin led them in receiving with nine catches for 212 yards and three touchdowns. Trey Burton had 47 yards on two carries and Mack Brown had 25 yards on two receptions to lead the Gators.
Florida finishes the regular season 4-8 overall (3-5 in the SEC) and Florida State finishes 12-0 overall. The Gators are not eligible for postseason play, while the Seminoles will take on Duke in the ACC Championship Game and then await a bowl bid.
Vanderbilt 23, Wake Forest 21
A late rally pushed the Commodores past the visiting Demon Deacons on Saturday afternoon.
Vandy was first on the board, taking a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter. Wake Forest responded with a touchdown of their own a few minutes later, and the score remained tied until halfway through the second quarter, when the ‘Dores found the end zone again. The Demon Deacons again knotted the score, but Vanderbilt’s Carey Spear tacked on a 41-yard field goal shortly before halftime to take a slim 17-14 lead into the locker room.
Wake Forest took their first lead of the game in the third quarter, as Justin Jackson ran an interception 63 yards to the house, putting his team up 21-17. A field goal brought the Commodores within one point midway through the fourth quarter, but it looked like the Demon Deacons might pull off an upset. Spear connected on another field goal with under a minute remaining in the game, though, to give Vandy the close win.
The ‘Dores tallied 22 first downs compared to Wake Forest’s 15 and outgained them 403-266 in total yardage. Vanderbilt turned the ball over twice, while the Demon Deacons did so once, and the Commodores had possession for close to 40 minutes.
Vandy QB Austyn Carta-Samuels finished the day 24-of-33 for 231 yards, a touchdown, and an interception, while his Wake Forest counterpart, Tanner Price, went 16-of-32 for 155 yards and a pick. Brian Kimbrow led the ‘Dores in rushing with 13 carries for 45 yards and Jordan Matthews led them in receiving with 11 catches for 125 yards. Price had 47 yards and a TD on 12 carries and Josh Harris had 40 yards on three receptions to lead the Demon Deacons.
Vanderbilt finishes the regular season 8-4 overall (4-4 in conference play) and Wake Forest finishes 4-8 overall. The Commodores will await a bowl bid, while the Demon Deacons are not eligible for postseason play.
(4) Auburn 34, (1) Alabama 28
In perhaps the most exciting Iron Bowl in history, the Tigers beat the Crimson Tide in the final seconds on a play no one would’ve believed if they hadn’t seen it.
Auburn scored first, after QB Nick Marshall ran 45 yards to the end zone in the first quarter, giving his team a 7-0 lead. Bama stormed back in the second quarter, taking the lead as Jalston Foster, Kevin Norwood, and T.J. Yeldon all caught touchdown passes from AJ McCarron. The Tigers tacked on another TD of their own shortly before halftime, making the score 21-14 heading into the locker rooms.
Auburn tied the game in the third quarter, and the Tide tried to retake the lead, but a field-long drive ended with no points, as kicker Cade Foster missed his second field goal of the day. Alabama did take the lead early in the fourth quarter, though, when McCarron and Amari Cooper connected for a 99-yard touchdown. With less than a minute remaining, the Tigers tied the game again, when Marshall found Sammi Coates for a 39-yard score, and then came the play that will be on highlight reels for the rest of time (sorry, Bama fans).
Freshman Adam Griffith (in for Foster, who had failed on all three of his field goal attempts) kicked the ball from 57-yards out. It was short, and Auburn’s Chris Davis caught it, then ran 100 yards all the way down the field to give his team the victory in stunning fashion.
The Tigers notched 22 first downs compared to Alabama’s 19, but the Crimson Tide outgained them in total yardage, 495-393 (The Tigers had only 97 yards through the air). Auburn turned the ball over once while Bama didn’t do so at all, and each squad had possession for about half of the game.
Marshall finished the day 11-of-16 for 97 yards and two touchdowns, while McCarron was 17-of-29 for 277 yards and three TDs. Mason led the Tigers in rushing with 29 carries for 164 yards and a touchdown and Coates led them in receiving with two catches for 60 yards and a TD. Yeldon had 141 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries and Cooper had 178 yards and a TD on six receptions to lead the Tide.
Auburn finishes the regular season 11-1 overall and 7-1 in the SEC and Alabama also finishes 11-1 overall and 7-1 in conference play. The Tigers will play in the SEC title game next weekend, and then both teams will await bowl bids.
Georgia 41, Georgia Tech 34
It took two overtimes, but the Dawgs rallied to beat the rival Yellow Jackets on Saturday.
The first quarter was all GT, as they took a 7-0 lead two minutes into the game and scored twice more, a field goal and 26-yard touchdown courtesy of QB Vad Lee and DeAndre Smelter. Another field goal midway through the second quarter made it 20-0 before UGA finally got on the board with a touchdown of their own just before halftime, which made it 20-7 heading into the locker rooms.
A 40-yard field goal from Marshall Morgan and another TD brought the Bulldogs within three points in the third quarter, but Smelter tacked on another touchdown of his own in the fourth to widen the gap a little more. Georgia scored twice more in regulation to tie the score at 27-27, sending the game to overtime. Each team found the end zone, which forced a second OT, and Todd Gurley ran 25 yards to the house for the Dawgs to earn the win.
Both teams tallied 25 first downs, and Georgia Tech outgained Georgia 495-437 in total yardage. The Yellow Jackets turned the ball over twice while the Bulldogs did so once, and GT had the ball for just over 36 minutes.
UGA QB Hutson Mason finished the day 22-of-36 for 299 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception, while Lee went 11-of-23 for 232 yards, two TDs, and two picks. Gurley led the Dawgs in rushing with 20 carries for 122 yards and three touchdowns and Chris Conley led them in receiving with seven catches for 129 yards. David Sims had 100 yards on 21 carries and Robert Godhigh had 82 yards on four receptions to lead the Yellow Jackets.
Georgia finishes the regular season 8-4 overall (5-3 in conference play) and Georgia Tech finishes 7-5 overall. Both teams will await bowl bids.
Tennessee 27, Kentucky 14
The Volunteers earned their second conference win of the season while keeping the Wildcats winless in the SEC on Saturday night.
UT was on the board less than a minute into the game, as Raijon Neal ran the ball 60 yards to the house to give his team a 7-0 lead. At the end of the quarter, Joshua Dobbs and Jason Croom connected for the Vols’ second touchdown of the night, this one a 43-yarder. Dobbs scored a TD himself in the second quarter, going 40 yards to the end zone, before UK finally got on the board with a touchdown of their own when Maxwell Smith found Anthony Kendrick for a 19-yard scoring play shortly before the half, making it 20-7 going into the locker rooms.
Tennessee padded their lead with another TD in the third quarter, and the Wildcats found the end zone once more themselves in the fourth quarter, but that was clearly not enough to overcome the deficit they faced.
Both squads notched 23 first downs, but the Volunteers outgained Kentucky in total yardage, 417-393. UT turned the ball over twice while the Wildcats did so once, and Kentucky had possession for just over half of the game.
Dobbs finished the night 14-of-23 for 199 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception, while Smith was 25-of-38 for 254 yards and two TDs. Neal led the Vols in rushing with 20 carries for 134 yards and a touchdown and Croom led them in receiving with two catches for 74 yards and a TD. Dyshawn Mobley had 143 yards on 17 carries and Jeff Badet had 47 yards on six receptions to lead the Wildcats.
Tennessee finishes the regular season 5-7 overall and 2-6 in conference play and Kentucky finishes 2-10 overall and 0-8 in the SEC. Neither team is eligible for postseason play.
(10) South Carolina 31, (6) Clemson 17
The Gamecocks took advantage of the Tigers’ mistakes on Saturday night en route to winning their fifth straight game over their in-state rival.
After Clemson QB Tajh Boyd was intercepted on the team’s first drive, USC moved down the field and took a 7-0 lead as QB Connor Shaw ran into the end zone. Clemson answered with a TD of their own less than two minutes later though, tying things up. The Cocks opened the second quarter with another touchdown, then added a field goal midway through the quarter to increase their lead. The Tigers’ Chandler Catanzaro connected on a 38-yard field goal as time expired to make the score 17-10 at the half.
South Carolina got the ball to start the third quarter, but they couldn’t get much of anything going, and Clemson tied the game midway through the quarter. Unfortunately for the Tigers, that was the end of their scoring for the night. The Gamecocks had two more TDs in them, and they pretty much controlled the entire fourth quarter, while Clemson struggled both offensively (the Tigers’ final three possessions ended with a fumble and two picks) and defensively.
The Cocks tallied 21 first downs compared to Clemson’s 18, but the Tigers outgained USC 352-318 in total yardage. Clemson turned the ball over six times, while the Gamecocks didn’t do so at all, and South Carolina had the ball for almost 40 minutes.
Shaw finished the night 14-of-26 for 152 yards and a TD, while Boyd went 19-of-27 for 225 yards and a pick. Shaw led the Cocks in rushing with 22 carries for 94 yards and a touchdown and Bruce Ellington led them in receiving with four catches for 51 yards. Roderick McDowell had 111 yards and a TD on 14 carries and Sammy Watkins had 93 yards on seven receptions to lead the Tigers.
South Carolina finishes the regular season 10-2 overall (6-2 in the SEC) and Clemson also finishes 10-2 overall. Both teams will await bowl bids.
(5) Missouri 28, (21) Texas A&M 21
The Tigers did just enough to beat the Aggies on Saturday night and clinch their first division title as a member of the conference.
Texas A&M was first on the board, taking a 7-0 lead thanks to a 29-yard run to the house by Tra Carson midway through the first quarter. Mizzou tied things up halfway through the second quarter, as James Franklin hit Dorial Green-Beckham with a 38-yard scoring pass. Johnny Manziel and Derel Walker connected for a 32-yard touchdown a minute later, and the Aggies took a 14-7 lead into halftime.
The third quarter belonged to the Tigers, who tacked on two TDs and took the lead for the first time. Texas A&M tied the game again early in the fourth quarter, but that was the end of their scoring for the night. Mizzou had one more touchdown in them, and it came courtesy of a 57-yard run by Henry Josey. That gave them a lead which remained unthreatened for the final three minutes of the game.
The Tigers notched 22 first downs compared to the Aggies’ 18 and outgained them in total yardage, 463-379. Texas A&M turned the ball over once while Missouri didn’t do so at all, and the Tigers had possession for a little more than half of the game.
Franklin finished the night 18-of-28 for 233 yards and two touchdowns, while Manziel was 24-of-35 for 195 yards and a TD. Josey led Mizzou in rushing with 13 carries for 96 yards and a touchdown and Washington led them in receiving with six catches for 97 yards and a TD. Brandon Williams had 57 yards on six carries and Labhart had 81 yards on seven catches to lead the Aggies.
Missouri finishes the regular season 11-1 overall and 7-1 in the SEC and Texas A&M finishes 8-4 overall and 4-4 in conference play. The Tigers will play in the SEC championship game and then both teams will await bowl bids.
For a full recap of the game between No. 10 South Carolina and No. 6 Clemson, visit Cocky Country.