A Bad Loss, A Dominating Win And A Few Statement Games In The SEC East

As we entered week four of the SEC, there were a few matchups that fans across the Eastern Division had their eyes on, potentially for upsets. Well, we got one in Boston, while we also saw Georgia separate themselves even further in Nashville. A statement game for Florida, while Kentucky looked to keep its undefeated season intact. Just another wild weekend in the East, so let’s break it down.

Starting in the Music City, as the Georgia Bulldogs had themselves a “home game” against Vanderbilt. It was a crowd clad in red, as the Dawgs absolutely destroyed the Dores, who looked helpless in the process. It got so bad that JT Daniels was able to hang up his helmet after throwing for 121 yards and two TD’s in the first quarter, as Georgia led 35-0 in the first 15 minutes. This thing was over before some folks got comfortable in their seats. In one of the most lopsided games I have ever witnessed, Georgia had 291 yards passing, compared to 24 yards for the Dores. To make things even worse, the Dawgs rushed for 241 yards, while holding Vandy to 53 yards rushing total. The Dawgs had themselves an easy day at the office, while Vanderbilt looks like a program in shambles. There was not one thing you could get excited about if you were a Vandy fan, besides the halftime show. Now, the Dawgs will prepare for Arkansas, who travels to Athens next weekend with a 4-0 record, after beating Texas A&M on Saturday. This might be the Dawgs first real test, and yes that’s a shot at Clemson.

Traveling up to Boston, as Missouri took the field as 1.5 point favorites over Boston College. This one didn’t turn out the way the Tigers expected, especially on defense. The Eagles rushed for 275 yards and 3 TD’s, while holding Missouri to 88 yards on the ground. The Tigers had 23 attempts on the ground. Tyler Badie rushed for three touchdowns, but this team struggled on the offensive line, especially in protection. The Eagles only had 175 yards passing, but controlled the clock and were getting pressure on Connor Bazelak. Just when you thought Missouri could get things going on offense, Bazelak threw two interceptions that ruined two impressive drives. I don’t care to hear about how hard they played, as Missouri simply got punched in the mouth and struggled to put anything substantial together. Eli Drinkiwitz must be better in situational coaching, as his team picked up their 2nd road loss on the season.

Heading down South to Columbia, as Kentucky took on the Gamecocks. Coming off a lackluster performance against Chattanooga, the Cats were looking for consistent play on both sides of the ball. In what ended up being a tighter game than where it looked like it was going, Kentucky found themselves in a position to win, after leading for the whole game. It was pretty obvious that Mark Stoops wanted to run the football tonight, as the Cats finished with 230 yards on the ground. One area this team must improve on is passing. Will Levis finished the game 15-22 for 102 yards and 1 interception, which won’t win you a game like next weekend against Florida. As for the Gamecocks, they still find themselves looking for offensive production. Luke Doty was 17-25 for 158 yards and 1 touchdown, but the Gamecocks only rushed for 58 yards total. This was a tale of two football teams on different paths, as Shane Beamer looks for his team’s identity and Mark Stoops is winning, but still struggling to finish. The Gamecocks will play Troy next Saturday, hoping to get back on the winning side, while Kentucky will play in a key SEC East battle against the Gators. Like I said, two programs in completely different situations.

On to Gainesville, where Tennessee was gunning for the upset. The Vols were a 20.5 underdog, according to Fanduel.com and looked like they would keep this game close for four quarters. Well, things got off to a hot start in “The Swamp” as both teams traded punches early on. The Gators were working the run game, just like they did against Alabama last weekend. Having Emory Jones run the football tonight seemed to be the key for what Dan Mullen was looking to do against the Vols. The ability of the Gators to beat you through the air, while also on the ground, was on full display tonight. Tennessee had its moments tonight, and fans were excited to see a QB complete a pass down the field to an open receiver, which ended up being a touchdown to JaVonta Payton. The Vols also had success running the football, finishing the night with 148 yards on the ground.  The Gators took the punches that were thrown, even as the Vols were only down 17-14 at halftime and seemed to have some momentum. Tennessee finished the first half with 261 yards, forcing the fans in the Florida heat to sweat a bit more than expected. Florida scored 21 unanswered points in the 2nd half and Emory Jones rushed for 144 yards and threw for 209. Both Hendon Hooker and Cooper Mays exited the game with injuries. The Gators bounced back well, winning 38-14 and will play Kentucky next Saturday in Lexington.

Next Saturday is lining up to be a crucial day in the East. Arkansas will travel to Georgia, while Kentucky will play Florida, with the only other eastern conference game being Tennessee at Missouri.

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Written by Trey Wallace

Wallace started covering the SEC in 2012, as the conference landscape was beginning to change. Prior to his time in Knoxville, Wallace worked in Nashville for The Read Optional, where he first produced content that garnered national attention. His passion for sports is evident in his work and has led him to break some of college football’s biggest stories. His social media reach and natural podcast proficiency continue to make Wallace one of SEC’s most trusted sources.

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