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Another weekend in the SEC East has come and gone, and while we witnessed few surprises, some teams made a mid-season statement. As the day started in Gainesville and Knoxville, a few things were starting to become clearer about the direction of the division as the day got older. Turns out, a former walk-on quarterback might be able to lead a team to a championship and a transfer quarterback has brought life to Josh Heupel’s offense.
Let’s start things off in Florida, as the Gators hosted Vanderbilt on homecoming. If you were looking to see if Dan Mullen wouldn’t have his team ready, you were sorely disappointed. But, how much can we really take away from a dominating win over the Dores? Well, Emory Jones had himself a nice outing, recording four touchdowns, while throwing for 273 yards. Surprisingly, we didn’t see much of Anthony Richardson, who only threw the ball six times and ran it five times. Both teams had two turnovers each, while Florida was penalized 8 times for 80 yards. They’ll have to clean that up before heading to Baton Rouge. Overall, the Gators handled their business and sent Vanderbilt home with a 42 point loss. As for the Dores, well they are struggling to keep their head above water. This is a program that is struggling to maintain any kind of consistency and honestly, they’re just a bad team.
We head to Knoxville next, as the Vols hosted South Carolina. This turned into another breakout first half for Tennessee, as they led 38-7 at halftime. They’ve led 80-16 over the past two first halves, giving their opponents not much hope going into the locker room. It wasn’t different today for the Vols, as they scored on 6-7 first half possessions. Tiyon Evans rushed for 119 yards and 1 touchdown, while Hendon Hooker and Len’Neth Whitehead reached rushed for one. Speaking of Hooker, the quarterback was 17-23 for 225 and 3 TD’s. The Vols were dominant in the first half, but only had one TD in final thirty minutes. The Gamecocks couldn’t take advantage of the Vols being hurt by injuries today, as they only had two offensive TD’s. with one coming on a fake punt. Simply put, the Vols handled business, while South Carolina looks like a team struggling to find an identity. The Tennessee offense has been impressive, but I think the defense has taken the challenge and succeeded. Give credit to Josh Heupel for putting his players in the right position. As for the Gamecocks, it’s back to the drawing board. Tennessee will host Ole Miss next Saturday, in what should be a shootout.
Well, the Auburn Tigers tried to keep it close, actually leading 3-0 at one point. But, turns out, it doesn’t matter who is playing quarterback for Georgia. Whether it be Stetson Bennett or JT Daniels, this team has enough in the run game and on defense to win any game. Lets give the credit to Stetson Bennett, who was 14-21 for 231 yards and 2 TD’s, as he handled the Dawgs passing offense. In the run game, the Dawgs were led by Zamir White, as they rushed for a total of 201 yards. The story of the season could be the Georgia defense, who suffocated Auburn on Saturday, only allowing 46 yards rushing and one touchdown. Also, they Dawgs only allowed 6.3 yards per pass, as Bo Nix threw it 38 times. This looks to be a team that can get by without JT Daniels, as long as Bennett keeps doing his job, by handling the simple things. Next week could possibly be a test for Georgia, as Kentucky heads to Athens. But if today was any proof, the Dawgs won’t be tested until the SEC Championship.
Over in Missouri, the Tigers hosted North Texas. Coming off consecutive losses and looking to get back on track, the Tigers fed the ball to Tyler Badie on Saturday, in the 48-35 win. Badie rushed for 217 yards and two touchdowns. As for the entire running back room, they had over 314 yards on the ground. As for the entire game, North Texas actually out-gained Missouri 493-474, with 305 of those yards coming through the air. Also, Missouri gave up 188 yards rushing, but did force 3 turnovers. As for Connor Bazelak, he threw for 160 yards and 2 TD’s. The Tigers will host Texas A&M next Saturday, as they look for their first conference win. I wouldn’t hold my breath.
In Lexington, the LSU Tigers rolled into town, looking for some kind of positives on offense, after a rough second half against Auburn. As for Kentucky, well they were coming off a huge win over Florida and were tied for first with Georgia in the SEC East. Well, I figured Kentucky would win, but I sure didn’t expect the lopsided rushing stats. The Wildcats rushed for 330 yards, with three combined TD’s from Will Levis and Chris Rodriguez, while LSU had only 147 yards on the ground. Kentucky’s Will Levis was 14-17 for 145 yards and 3 TD’s, for a combined five touchdowns for the quarterback. As for Chris Rodriguez, it was just another night at the office, as he rushed for 147 yards on 16 carries, with 1 TD. Oh, and how about Kavosiey Smoke, who rushed for 104 yards, on 12 attempts. Simply put, the Wildcats dominated LSU and sent them back home to Baton Rouge with their third loss. Now, Kentucky will prepare for a trip to Athens, where they will face Georgia next Saturday for first place in the SEC East.
Just like we all predicted, huh? Another wild weekend in the SEC, which sets us up for a few big games next weekend.