In what turned out to be an important day for a few teams in the division, Georgia dominated Florida, while Kentucky dropped a big game in Starkville, closing out an interesting weekend in the division. Missouri traveled to Nashville, looking for their first conference win of the season. So, let’s breakdown everything that went down in the SEC East on Saturday.
Both Missouri and Vanderbilt were looking for their first conference wins of the season, as they battled it out in Nashville. Turns out, this game was won on the ground, which was probably expected. I give a lot of credit to Vanderbilt, as they made this a game for four quarters, never letting Missouri out of reaching distance. In a game in which Missouri QB Connor Bazelak exited due to injury, the Tigers were able to rely on Tyler Badie to carry them to victory. On 31 carries, Badie rushed for 254 yards and two touchdowns. Even with the Missouri rushing attack, the Dores still found a way to hang tough.
As Vanderbilt held a 14-10 lead, with four seconds left in the first half, Connor Bazelak connected with Keke Chism for the 45-yard Hail Mary, giving them a 17-14 lead. The Dores hung around because of Mike Wright at quarterback, as he threw 3 touchdowns and rushed for 152 yards. It turned out to be a much better game than expected, with Missouri grabbing its first SEC win of the season. We will see where this team goes at quarterback, if Bazelak misses any time. Missouri won’t get a chance to breathe next weekend, as they play #1 Georgia, in Athens.
What we thought was going to turn into a fun second half of football between Georgia and Florida, quickly went away before the first half ended. If you want a clear example of why the Dawgs are so good, just look at the final two minutes of the first half. Three turnovers by Florida, led to 21 points from Georgia. This all happened in the final 2:09 of the first half. Anthony Richardson threw 2 interceptions and fumbled once, and the Dawgs took full advantage, leading 24-0 at halftime. The game was over at this point, as Georgia’s defense continued to dominate.
Georgia now has allowed just five TD’s this year and 53 points, as they held Florida scoreless until 2:49 left in the game. This was another putrid performance from the Gators, as they looked lifeless in the second half, even before Anthony Richardson left the game due to injury. Yes, Georgia wasn’t finishing drives in the first half, but Florida never capitalized on opportunities. Dan Mullen tried a few gadget plays, which turned into nothing, just like the Gators’ season to this point. Georgia has passed Florida in so many ways and I promise they aren’t looking back. The Dawgs will host Missouri, while Florida will play at South Carolina. Two teams, going in two different directions.
We finished off the day in Starkville, as Kentucky looked to snap a road losing streak to Mississippi State, that dated back to 2008. Well, unfortunately for the Wildcats, that streak has been extended, thanks to an impressive night from the Bulldogs. After Kentucky took a 10-0 lead in the second quarter, things started to take a turn for the worse, as they couldn’t keep up with the Mississippi State offensive pace. After answering with two touchdowns, State took a 14-10 lead into halftime. It wasn’t going to get any better for the Wildcats in the 2nd half.
Will Levis was not productive tonight, as he threw three interceptions. But, to the defense of Levis, he did not get any help out of the running game. Chris Rodriguez only had 34 yards rushing tonight, and the Wildcats only produced 66 total yards on the ground. This team will not win many more games if they don’t get better production out of the run game. On the other side, Will Rogers went 36-39 for 344 yards and 1 touchdown, having complete control of Mike Leach’s offensive game plan. Mark Stoops is now 0-5 in Starkville, as head coach of Kentucky. The Cats looked gassed in the second half, as Mississippi State’s uptempo offense wore them down. They better figure out how to slow a team down, as Tennessee will head to Lexington next Saturday.
Another week in the SEC East brings us a pretty big upset, from a ranking standpoint. I can’t wait to see what next week brings us.
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