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It was another wild day in the SEC East, as multiple teams were upset and we had one game go down to the wire. If you thought today wouldn’t consist of many good games, you were somewhat right, but we did see a few big upsets. Thanks to a wild ending between Tennessee and Kentucky, the Eastern division provided some nice fireworks on Saturday, along with one big dud for Florida.
We started off the day in Athens, as Missouri was looking to establish some kind of rushing attack against Georgia. If you were looking for some kind of outburst from the Dawgs rushing attack, you were watching the wrong game as well. Overall, this came down to the Georgia defense and Stetson Bennett. controlling the football game. Bennett finished the day 13/19 for 255 yards and 2 touchdowns, controlling the pace of play. The Dawgs rushed for 168 total yards, but Cook and White only had 18 combined carries for 55 yards, with 2 touchdowns.
The Georgia defense held Missouri without a touchdown in the 43-6 win, but the Tigers had a chance. In the final minute, the Tigers had to ball inside the Georgia 5-yard line, looking to punch it in. But, Georgia stopped them on four straight plays and the Dawgs held another team without a touchdown. The Dawgs defense has only allowed 5 touchdowns this season, while scoring three themselves. Now, Georgia will head to Knoxville next Saturday for a matchup with the Tennessee Vols.
Then, we headed over to Columbia, as Florida traveled to play South Carolina. The Gators entered the game as 18 point favorites, and ended the game with another embarrassing loss. The Gamecocks were forced to start Jason Brown at quarterback, but it didn’t seem to hurt Shane Beamer and his team much at all. The transfer finished the night 14-24 for 175 yards and 2 TD’s. The story of the game turned out to be how bad this Florida team looked, as they allowed 264 yards rushing, while the Gators could only muster 82 yards on the ground. This was an embarrassing performance for the Dan Mullen led Florida team, who looked completely outmatched for most of the game. The final score of 40-17 doesn’t truly do it justice, as the Gamecocks controlled the Gators from the start.
As you would think, Florida fans are fed up with the Gators coaching staff, as they lost another game they shouldn’t have. This time though, it came in an embarrassing manner, as South Carolina shouldn’t have been able to go toe-to-toe with Florida, from a talent standpoint. We will see what happens with this Gators team, as they looked to have checked out tonight. I expect some major changes to this staff and it couldn’t come quick enough. Florida fans are done with the excuses and I am right there with them.
Finally, we ended the night in Lexington, as Tennessee took on #18 Kentucky. In what turned into a shootout, without much defense, the Vols pulled the upset, winning 45-42. This game started out hot, as Hendon Hooker connected with Javonta Payton on the first play from scrimmage for a touchdown. This would set the tone for what we were about to witness all game. Credit to Kentucky, as they racked up 612 yards of total offense, while running 99 plays, compared to 47 from the Vols. The Tennessee defense was up against the ropes, until Alontae Taylor took a Will Levis pass to the end zone for the pick-six. After this, it was still a back and forth fight between these two offenses.
Even though the Wildcats went 12-17 on third down attempts, it still wasn’t enough at the end, as Kentucky was 1-4 on fourth down. It came down to the final possession for Kentucky, as they converted a 4th and 24 to extend the game. But, the Wildcats were again forced into a fourth down, and the Vols defense finally made the stop of the night. The Tennessee defensive unit bended a lot of Saturday night, but they finally didn’t break, on the final play. Looking back, both defenses struggled tonight, but this high-octane offense from Josh Heupel prevailed by opening things up down field, causing Kentucky multiple problems. The Vols snapped a 31-game losing streak against top-20 teams on the road. A big night for the Vols, while the Wildcats are now riding a 3-game losing streak and things continue rolling in the opposite direction for Kentucky.
A big night in the SEC East, that provided us with two upsets, and the Florida Gators trying to figure out what’s to come for the rest of the season.