The SEC East Had A Few Surprises On Saturday And One Crazy Ending

Another Saturday in the SEC has come and gone, as we treated to a few surprises, coming from places you wouldn’t have imagined. As the Gators struggled in Baton Rouge, Georgia rolled in Athens and South Carolina had to hold on in Columbia. For Kentucky and Tennessee, they are looking to move on pretty quickly from a rough day at the office.

We start the day in Columbia, as Missouri continues to prove why they are so bad on defense. Again, just like previous weeks, the Tigers proved they couldn’t stop the run, as Texas A&M rushed for 283 yards. It didn’t help that Connor Bazelak also threw 2 interceptions, especially at costly times. Also, Missouri was penalized 13 times, for 106 yards. The Aggies understood they didn’t have to tru much through the air, as Zach Calzada was 13-25 for 148 yards, 2 TD’s and 1 INT. Jimbo Fisher knew he could take advantage of a bad defensive line, and they achieved that on Saturday. Connor Bazelak threw for 230 yards, but only had 2 interceptions. As for Tyler Badie, he only rushed for 68 yards on 22 attempts,

Simply put, Missouri won’t win many more games this season with these type of defensive outings. It has become common knowledge that opposing teams are going to just run the football, and Missouri still can’t stop it. Missouri will travel to Vanderbilt in two weeks.

As for the game in Columbia, SC, well things were a bit nerve-wracking for the Gamecocks, as Vanderbilt came to town. The Gamecocks held a 14-3 lead until the Dores scored a touchdown with 4:24 remaining in the 1st half. Going back & forth in the 2nd half, Vandy took the 17-14 lead, thanks to a 5-play 89 yard drive in the 3rd quarter, giving them the 17-14 lead. Mike Wright started for the Dores at QB, going 11-21 for 206 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. You have to give credit to Vanderbilt, who stepped up today and gave Shane Beamer a rightful scare. The Gamecocks got the ball with 1:36 remaining in the 4th quarter, down 20-14. Zeb Noland took control of this group and drove 75 yards on 9 plays, finishing it off with a TD pass to Xavier Legette with :37 remaining. A clutch comeback performance for Shane Beamer and his squad, as it looked like this game was over when Vandy took the lead.

South Carolina will travel to Texas A&M next weekend, looking to play better and score the potential upset. Vanderbilt will host Mississippi State next Saturday, looking for their first conference win.

Well, the Florida Gators continue to shoot themselves in the foot, which isn’t surprising. The most surprising thing that happened on Saturday was LSU scoring 49 points, while Tyrion Davis-Pearce rushed for 287 yards and 3 TD’s, breaking the record for most rushing yards in a game for LSU. As for the Gators, they fought to the end, but seem to have way too much drama on offense. Dan Mullen should figure out his quarterback situation, as Anthony Richardson replaced Emory Jones, going 10-19 for 167 yards, 3 TD’s and 2 INT’s. When Emory Jones threw a pick-6 on the Gators first drive of the 2nd half, you knew it was over for him. On the next series, Richardson replaced Jones, but was intercepted on the first play. Hell, Florida had a spurt at the end of the 1st half, as the Emory Jones hail mary pass was caught by Justin Shorter.

We can look at the moments all day, but the turnovers and LSU rushing all over them caused today’s loss and will now lead to Dan Mullen answering QB questions all week. This was another game that Florida should’ve won, especially against an average LSU team, dealing with a surplus of injuries. Now, the Gators will be out of the Top-25. The Tigers were feeling it, especially after taking the final lead with 3:30 remaining, scoring a touchdown on 4th & Goal. Now, Florida will go back to the drawing board, as they should. The Gators cannot keep losing these types of games, if they want to be relevant in college football.

Heading to Athens, as the undefeated Kentucky Wildcats took on the #1 Georgia Bulldogs. Ok, so Kentucky had the game close at halftime, and I give them credit for that, but this game still never felt in doubt. The Wildcats were held to 51 yards rushing, on 27 attempts, while Will Levis threw for 192 yards and two touchdowns.  As for the Dawgs, well they showed why they are the #1 team in the country, as they combined for 166 yards rushing and had 3 TD’s through the air. Stetson Bennett didn’t have to play perfect, but he damn sure made a case for continuing to be the starter, as he was  14-20 for 250 yards and 3 TD’s. The simple fact about this game is that Georgia did not have to do much on offense to change the game.

The defense again has proven they can win the game, especially if the offense can give you over 24 points to work with. They have proven so far this season that it doesn’t matter how good you think you are before the game, you’ll leave the game humbled. Kentucky will look to regroup, as they play Mississippi State in two weeks. The Georgia Bulldogs will next travel to Jacksonville in two weeks, as they take on Florida.

Capping off the day in Knoxville, as Tennessee hosted Ole Miss, in what turned out to be one crazy game. After what was a great game, with both teams battling it out for almost four full quarters, it took a weird turn with just under a minute to play. We’ll get back to that. Matt Corral turned in another Heisman like performance, as he rushed for 195 yards and threw for 231 yards, ending up with 2 touchdowns on the night. As for Hendon Hooker, the Vols QB rushed for 108 yards, while passing for 233 yards, finishing the night with 2 TD’s. It was a game that saw Matt Corral throw his first interception of the season. But, with just under a minute to play, after officials concluded that Jacob Warren didn’t reach the first down marker, things took a turn for the worse. As a few fans started pelting the field and Ole Miss bench with trash from the stands, officials started escorting the marching band and cheerleaders from the field, while also getting Ole Miss players away from the bench area. After the 20-minute delay, play resumed and Tennessee forced the Rebels to punt. This gave the Vols one last shot at the win. Unfortunately, Hendon Hooker went down with an injury and Joe Milton couldn’t find a receiver in the end zone, while running out of bounds on the final play. This Tennessee team fought hard for 60 minutes, never giving up on the opportunity to pull off the upset. But this team now faces major concerns on the injury front, as multiple players were hurt or didn’t play tonight. We’ll see what happens with Hendon Hooker and the other Vols, but tonight almost turned into a huge comeback victory, but the Vols came up a bit short. Next up, Alabama. Enough said.


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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