The SEC East Provided A Big Upset, A Few Surprises And One Constant

Another Saturday in the SEC and another dominating performance from the Georgia Bulldogs. If you paid attention to other games in the conference, you witnessed a few close games and a unexpected blowout.

Let’s start in Athens, where Georgia continued to prove why they are one of the top teams in the country. The Dawgs defense is ferocious, which Arkansas found out the hard way today. A defensive performance that we’ve become accustomed to by the Dawgs, but lets break down the numbers. For only the third time in school history and the first time since 1976, Georgia posted a shut out a top 10 team with a 37-0 victory over No. 8 Arkansas. In what turned out to be a dominating outing, Georgia held the Razorbacks to 156 yards of total offense, with 87 of those yards coming through the air. On defense, Devonte Wyatt led the Dawgs with six tackles, which also led to five sacks for the Georgia defense. K.J. Jefferson was 8-13 for 65 yards and only 5 yards rushing, as the Dawgs defense was swarming to the Razorbacks quarterback. On offense, Georgia rushed for 275 yards, on a season high 57 attempts. It was Stetson Bennett at quarterback today for Georgia, as JT Daniels was out injured. Turns out, they really only needed Bennett to hand the ball off today, as he was 7-11 for 72 yards. Overall, Georgia started off quick, jumping out to a 24-point, thanks in-part to the blocked punt, recovered for the touchdown. All Georgia between the hedges.

We now head to Columbia, as Missouri hosted Tennessee. Well, this game felt over by the 2nd quarter, as Tennessee dominated the Tigers on the ground, while also causing problems through the air. The Vols started Hendon Hooker again today, and he showed fans why. The transfer QB was 15-19 for 226 yards and 3 TD’s, while also rushing for 74 yards and 1 TD. But today, it was more about the running game from the Vols, as they rushed for 452 yards and 5 touchdowns. The Vols were led by Tiyon Evans, who rushed for 156 yards and 3 TD’s. This was a dominating performance from the transfer running back. On the defensive side, Tennessee held Missouri to 74 yards rushing, on 30 attempts. A total domination from Tennessee today, and a complete letdown from Missouri. I’d say Eli Drinkwitz has some decisions to make when it comes to his defensive play callers, as the Tigers cannot keep these type of performances from happening. It was a great day for Josh Heupel and the Vols, but just a terrible day for Missouri. A big day for Tennessee should help their confidence, as they host South Carolina next week.

Well, speaking of South Carolina, they ended up sneaking one out against Troy. The Gamecocks hosted one of the top rated defenses in the country and it showed. I don’t know what that says about South Carolina, but they had to hang on, late in the 4th quarter. Offensively, Luke Doty was 20-34 for 255 yards and 1 TD. On the ground, the Gamecocks only rushed for 102 yards, on 27 attempts.The Gamecocks gave up 154 yards rushing and 2 TD’s, as Troy seemed to have some success at times. This was going to be an ugly game and if it weren’t for a weird call on a fumble late in the 4th quarter, South Carolina could’ve let Troy escape with the win. Overall, the Gamecocks have a lot of work to do, especially before they play Tennessee next weekend.

Heading to Lexington, as Kentucky played host to the Florida Gators.This one turned out to be the game of the day in the East. The Gators came into this game ranked #10 in the country and looking to keep things close with Georgia in the East. Turns out, Kentucky had other plans for the evening and the Eastern division. If you just look at the stats, Florida had the upper hand, but we all know you can’t depend on just stats. Kentucky found themselves in positive situations, thanks to turnovers and eight false starts by Florida. This game took a turn when Kentucky blocked a FG and returned it 78 yards for a touchdown, giving Kentucky the lead. Turns out, the Wildcats never relinquished that lead, adding another touchdown, thanks to Chris Rodriguez. After getting to the 8-yard line, with under one minute to play, the Gators couldn’t punch it in to tie up and Kentucky fans stormed the field in celebration. The Wildcats defeated Florida in Lexington for the first time since 1986, putting them at 5-0 on the season and tied with Georgia in the East. The Gators looked problematic for a good chunk of the game and Kentucky took advantage. The craziness of the SEC was on full display tonight.

Last, but not least, UConn traveled down to Nashville to take on Vanderbilt. In a game that the Dores really needed to win, for the sake of the program. Turns out, this game had everything fans could’ve wanted, if they were tuning in. The Dores were down 28-27 with just under a minute to go, after UConn drove 75 yards to take the lead. Well, Vandy got the ball back and drove down the field, thanks to their QB Ken Seals, setting them up with a chip-shot FG to win the game. After UConn called three timeouts, trying to freeze the kicker, Vanderbilt’s Joseph Bulovas drilled a 31-yard game winning FG. The Dores snapped a 8-game home losing streak and claimed the victory. It wasn’t pretty, but it lived up to the hype. Vanderbilt now has 2 wins on the season.

Just another fun weekend in the SEC East, bring on next week.


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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