Rapid reaction and analysis of every SEC game on Saturday’s slate.
No. 15 Texas A&M 29, No. 1 Alabama 24
SEC no longer SEC-ond to none: Texas A&M’s shocking upset damages the SEC’s chances of extending its national championship streak to seven straight. The conference has won the past six BCS titles, but that might end, with Oregon, Notre Dame and Kansas State all undefeated. The Aggies had lost to Florida and LSU in meetings with the SEC’s big boys, but proved they belong with this huge win.
There’s a D in Texas A&M after all: Who thought that the Aggies’ oft-maligned defense would save the upset, but that’s what happened when Deshazor Everett picked off AJ McCarron with 1:36 left in the game. The Aggies had sticky hands all day. They ended McCarron’s 291-pass streak without an interception moments into the game and also recovered T.J. Yeldon’s fumble with 9:10 left, ruining another drive.
Accelerating Aggies: Johnny Manziel pressed the gas early and drove Texas A&M to a 20-0 lead. It was only the third time Alabama has trailed by 20-plus points in Nick Saban’s six years there. The last time was against Utah, in that surprising Sugar Bowl game in 2009. By the way, Bama hadn’t trailed by 14 or more points since 2010. Manziel rushed for 92 yards and threw for 253 yards and two TDs, giving more oomph to already stellar freshman season.
No. 5 Georgia 38, Auburn 0
UGA heading to ATL: The Bulldogs
can go ahead and charter the buses to take them back to Atlanta for the
SEC Championship Game for the second straight year. There were no
distractions against hapless Auburn as Georgia had its most
business-like and complete victory of the season. From Aaron Murray to
the running game to the defense, all phases of Georgia’s game was
He’s no Gurley man: He’s been
spectacular all season, and it appears that Georgia’s fabulous freshman
Todd Gurley isn’t about to slow down. He entered the game second in the
SEC in rushing –- behind Johnny Manziel –- and scampered 49 yards run on
Georgia’s second play. He finished with 116 yards and a TD, and is a
huge reason why the Bulldogs are heading back to the title game.
Chizik’s sticky situation: It’s
tough to believe that this time two years ago, Gene Chizik and Auburn
were on their way to the SEC. The Tigers are terrible and didn’t appear
to even try at times against Georgia, which means Chizik could moving
from the Plains. University president Jay Gogue has begun issuing
statements, which is never a good sign for an embattled coach.
No. 7 Florida 27, Louisiana-Lafayette 20
OT? We don’t need no stinking OT: Just when it looked like Florida was headed to a loss and then to overtime, the sun set on Louisiana-Lafayette of the Sun Belt. The Gators scored 14 points in the final 1:41 to avoid what would have been a monumental upset.
Cajuns forget Swamp survival skills: Down a TD with a couple of minutes left? No problem. Starting quarterback Jeff Driskel was in the locker room with an ankle injury, so backup Jacoby Brissett promptly led the Gators to the tying TD, a 3-yard pass to Quinton Dunbar. The defense held, forced a punting situation, which turned into a TD for Florida. Loucheiz Purifoy blocked it, Jelani Jenkins caught it and easily scored with 2 seconds left.
QB switch coming? There was no immediate word on the seriousness of Driskel’s injury, but Brissett was strong in relief, leading to what be a QB controversy at Florida. Driskel had an efficient game (13-of-16 for 98 yards and a TD) before he got hurt, but Brissett quickly moved the Gators for the game-tying TD. He finished 6-of-8 for 64 yards and a score.
No. 9 LSU 37, No. 22 Mississippi State 17
Tigers regain their bite: LSU (8-2, 4-2) didn’t seem to have any hope of making it back to the SEC Championship Game after losing to Alabama last week. But with Texas A&M’s upset at Tuscaloosa, the Tigers are back in the hunt, although it appears the Tide will still make it to Atlanta, with only Auburn left on its SEC schedule. LSU still has Ole Miss and Arkansas left to play.
Mettenberger not chopped steak: Folks were besieging Zach Mettenberger before his outstanding effort in the loss to Alabama. That game has transformed him from indecisive to unstoppable. Mettenberger came through again, throwing for 273 yards and two TDs. He’s finally showing LSU fans the potential that folks had been looking for all season.
Kicking a Dog when it’s down: Mississippi State cruised through its first seven games, rolling to a 7-0 record and No. 11 ranking, but the Bulldogs then ran into Alabama and Texas A&M. LSU was their third ranked SEC opponent in a row, and the results have shown it. They averaged 36.7 points and 416.9 yards in their first seven wins, but only 12.3 and 273 in three straight losses.
No. 12 South Carolina 38, Arkansas 20
Missing Marcus: South Carolina’s band spelled out “We ‘Heart’ 21” at halftime in the absence of RB Marcus Lattimore, who is out for the year after that gruesome leg injury two weeks ago. The Gamecocks looked like they missed him, rushing for only 104 yards behind backups Kenny Miles and Mike Davis. Davis and QB Connor Shaw each ran for scores, but they couldn’t replace Lattimore.
Coaching hotspot: There were folks talking this week about Arkansas bringing back Bobby Petrino. I can’t believe that will happen, but the big-time job will attract both big names and up-and-comers. The list of experienced coaches could include Tommy Tuberville, the current coach at Texas Tech who once was at Auburn. The younger guys might include Louisiana Tech’s Sonny Dykes, Louisville’s Charlie Strong.
Swear by Swearinger: D.J. Swearinger is usually a hard-hitting safety, but don’t tell that to Arkansas. He moved to corner to help defend Arkansas’ receivers and had one of the best games of his career, despite a couple of personal fouls. He had 13 tackles, including one for loss and stepped in front of Tyler Wilson pass for an interception and 69-yard return for a TD. He then threw the ball into the stands for another penalty.
Missouri 51, Tennessee 48 (4-OT)
Dooley doomed: Is there any way that Derek Dooley survives this? Tennessee is 4-6 and 0-6 in the SEC after another defenseless loss. It’s in his third season and the Vols haven’t shown any signs of improvement, despite the success of QB Tyler Bray. They’ve lost their patience on Rocky Top after the Vols lost their seventh straight SEC game, dropping them to 1-13 in their past 14 conference games.
Franklin rediscovers electricity: Missouri QB James Franklin has been beaten up and abused in his first year facing SEC defenses. Missouri fans have questioned his toughness and his shoulders are a mess after repeated hits, but he came through against Tennessee (like many others). Franklin forced OT with his TD pass to Dorial Green-Beckham with 47 seconds left and then threw scoring passes in the first three OTs.
Jumping for Glee? Naya Rivera, who plays one of the cheerleaders on Glee, had plenty to cheer and sing about because her younger brother Mychal, Tennessee’s TE, had career highs with 10 receptions and set a school record for the position with 129 yards. His 21-yard TD catch gave the Vols a 21-7 second-quarter lead, but they couldn’t protect the margin and Rivera was forgotten about in the overtime periods.
Vanderbilt 27, Ole Miss 26
Vandy crashes bowl party again: Another sign of the apocalypse? Maybe so, or maybe it’s a sign of the times at Vanderbilt (6-4, 4-3). The Commodores are heading to a bowl for the second consecutive year for the first time in school history. They’ve won four straight games and look to finish strong with Tennessee and Wake Forest left.
Discount double check: With big brother Aaron Rodgers in the stands and prowling the sidelines, Vandy QB Jordan Rodgers engineered a comeback to make his famous bro proud. His 26-yard TD pass to Chris Boyd with 52 seconds left completed the Commodores’ rally from a 17-point deficit. Rodgers overcame a slow start to throw for 267 yards and two TDs.
No Stacy hurts: Zac Stacy is one of the most beloved and productive players in Vandy football history, so it could be especially devastating if he’s out for a while. His right leg was injured and the Commodores’ all-time leading rusher left the game with two carries for 17 yards. Vandy struggled for a while in his absence, but managed to overcome his loss.