Beatdown in Jacksonville.
The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party did not disappoint again this year—that is if you’re a Florida fan. Georgia is the one team that Florida loves to beat, and Florida is the one team that Georgia hates losing to. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, their three-game winning streak against the Gators ended in disappointing fashion as Will Muschamp’s squad dominated in all phases.
Georgia seemed to be on their way to a nice afternoon after Nick Chubb ran one in from 39 yards, but Muschamp converted on a fake field goal to tie the game at 7-7, and then everything went downhill from a Bulldogs’ perspective. Whether the Gators were playing for their coach, or whether they simply felt like they had something to prove—or both—their energy level was noticeably higher than Georgia’s throughout the game.
Treon Harris had a solid afternoon, and certainly looks like a force to be reckoned with during his tenure at the University of Florida. Outside of his one turnover, he managed the game well and showed off the game-changing athleticism that won him the starting job. Muschamp and his staff did a good job of keeping the gameplan simple—like let’s run the ball 60 times today simple—and they deserve credit for sticking to their run game, because Georgia’s defense certainly had no answer for it.
The Bulldogs gave up a whopping 418 yards on the ground (second most in school history) as Kelvin Taylor and Matt Jones both totaled over 190 yards rushing on the afternoon with two scores a piece. This is the second time this year that the Bulldogs’ defense has given up 38 points, and both instances came after bye weeks. Prior to this game, Georgia’s defense was only allowing 101.5 rushing yards per game—a total that was good enough for second in the SEC—but they simply got overpowered play after play on Saturday.
The Bulldogs better fix their issues against the run quickly, or else they could be in for a long afternoon in two weeks against an Auburn team that ranks 9th nationally in rushing offense. Believe it or not, the Bulldogs playoff hopes are still alive, but they’re going to need Missouri—who now controls their own destiny to Atlanta—to lose again, and they’re going to have to convincingly beat whomever they would potentially play in the SEC Championship game. Crazier things have happened… right?
Bo was good, but not good enough.
On the morning of Saturday October 25, the Ole Miss Rebels were 7-0 and well on their way to a historic season. Fast forward two weeks, and the Rebels have dropped two straight—albeit by a total of seven points—to SEC West foes and are almost certainly out of the College Football Playoff discussion, let alone an SEC West title.
Things change at a rapid pace in the SEC. The conference devours itself each and every year, and the Rebels are the latest sacrifice to the beast that is the SEC West. Their game against Auburn was a mighty clash between a high-powered offense and a suffocating defense, and Auburn’s offense proved to be too much for the Landsharks.
Gus Malzhan had Nick Marshall operating at a dizzying pace throughout the game on Saturday as the Tigers put up over 500 yards and 35 points against the #1 scoring defense in the country. The Tigers were incredibly balanced on the day, totaling for 254 yards passing and 248 yards rushing. There’s no question that the offense has the ability to put up points, but in order for this team to be successful, their defense doesn’t have to necessarily dominate, but rather be opportunistic.
Although one could make the argument that Laquon Treadwell (we all are wishing him a speedy recovery) would not have fumbled the ball if he was not injured, the Auburn defense was still in the right place at the right time. On the flip side, they gave up more than 450 total yards for the third game in a row and haven’t really showed any signs of improving. Auburn will get burned if their defense continues to play with fire like they have been, but if the ball continues to bounce their way then the Tigers could be in for another special season.
Tennessee breaks through; Arkansas plays in the wrong division.
Tennessee got their first conference win of the season this past Saturday, and it’s only fitting that the Volunteers won in overtime after scoring 14 points in the final 4:30 of the fourth quarter.
As good as Pharoh Cooper was for South Carolina—four total touchdowns on 286 yards of total offense—Joshua Dobbs was that much better as he not only threw for 301 yards and two scores, but he also broke the single-game rushing record for a Volunteer quarterback after wracking up 166 yards on the ground and three scores to go along with it.
After Dobbs capped off a 9 play, 85 yard drive with a touchdown pass to Jason Croom to send the game into overtime, the Vols were only able to get a field goal and South Carolina had a chance to make up for losing their 14-point lead late in the fourth quarter. However, as bad as the Volunteer defense had played up to that point, they put everything together when it mattered the most as their pass rush was able to get to Dylan Thompson on first and second down, and really killed any chances South Carolina had of making the game-tying field goal. This was the third game this season in which they have given up double-digit fourth quarter leads and lost the game. The previous two were against Missouri and Kentucky.
On the other side of the conference, Arkansas wasn’t as fortunate. For starters, they were playing the #1 team in the country on the road, but they certainly held their own against the Bulldogs in Stark Vegas.
Arkansas did everything necessary in order to put themselves in a position to win the ball game; they dominated in time of possession, they forced three turnovers, and they ran the ball effectively. The Razorbacks were on the verge of heading into overtime with the Bulldogs when Brandon Allen threw an interception in the last couple of seconds, bringing every Arkansas fan tumbling back down to earth. The Razorbacks have not won an SEC game since 2012.
Dak Prescott had a few uncharacteristic mistakes early on in the game, but he threw for a career-high 331 yards and was money when his team needed him the most. Dan Mullen’s squad did not play their best, but they overcame their mistakes and did what all good teams do: win.