Week 12 in the SEC

Dawgs get revenge, but it comes with a price.

The 118th installment of The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry started off like many people thought it would: Auburn’s offense drove 70 yards down the field in just over four minutes, and it looked as if the shootout had begun. Little did Auburn know, however, that they would not score any more points the rest of the evening.

Georgia’s defense—the same defense that gave up 418 yards rushing against Florida—held Auburn’s offense to 7 points, 292 total yards, and more impressively, only 150 yards rushing. Auburn’s point total and yard total on Saturday were the lowest that they have ever been since Gus Malzhan took over as head coach.

Jeremy Pruitt deserves a lot of credit for getting his guys to execute a near-perfect gameplan, and this defense showed once again just how dominant they have the potential to be. Pruitt’s squad forced three more turnovers Saturday, bringing their season total to 22.

The general consensus before Saturday’s game was that Georgia’s offense would have no trouble moving the ball against Auburn, and that was clearly the case throughout the game. If anyone had forgotten just how good Todd Gurley is, he quickly reminded them by taking Georgia’s first kickoff 105 yards to the house—it was later called back because of a penalty—and rushing for 138 yards and a score on the night, before leaving the game with a torn ACL in the fourth quarter.

As good as Gurley was in his return, Nick Chubb was that much better. The true freshmen rushed for 144 yards on 19 carries and had two touchdowns as well. Chubb has now rushed for over 140 yards in five straight games, and eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark on the season during Saturday’s contest.

Hutson Mason was sharp on the night and would’ve had at least 75 more yards and a touchdown if it weren’t for a few dropped passes, but Saturday was about the unstoppable one-two punch of Gurley and Chubb. Georgia will absolutely miss Todd Gurley’s production the rest of the season, but thankfully—or unthankfully—the Bulldogs have been in this situation before and Nick Chubb is more than capable of being the feature back in this offense. If Sony Michel can return to the form he was in earlier in the season, then this Georgia offense should keep rolling along at an SEC-leading 42.1 PPG.

Nick Chubb carries the ball for a second quarter touchdown against the Tigers. The freshmen phenom will now become the #1 guy in Georgia's backfield due to Todd Gurley's season-ending injury. Image via Heavy.com

Nick Chubb carries the ball for a second quarter touchdown against the Tigers. The freshmen phenom will now become the #1 guy in Georgia’s backfield due to Todd Gurley’s season-ending injury. Image via Heavy.com

 

Perfect no more.

You knew it. I knew it. We all knew it. Making it through an SEC schedule unbeaten is an extremely difficult thing to do, and unfortunately for Mississippi State, their perfect season ended on Saturday in Tuscaloosa.

Dak Prescott, who had been brilliant all season long, likely played himself out of the Heisman race Saturday as his three interceptions really hurt his team’s chances of winning. Prescott and this offense really moved the ball well for the most part of Saturday’s game, but giving Alabama more opportunities to score is just a recipe for disaster.

And it’s a shame too, because Mississippi State’s defense probably had their best game of the season given their opponent. They limited the Tide to 124 yards rushing on the afternoon—their third-lowest total of the season—and limited Amari Cooper to 88 receiving yards, but their offense did not help them by turning the ball over as much as they did

Alabama, on the other hand, seems to be peeking at the right moment. This is a team that was pegged as “The End of Alabama’s Dynasty,” but give Nick Saban credit for keeping this team focused and not allowing them to buy into all of the negative media hype at the beginning of the season.

Alabama leaned on their defense for the most part of this game as they jumped out to a quick lead and led 19-3 at halftime. Their offense would only end up scoring six more points on the afternoon, but the hole Alabama dug for Mississippi State proved too big for the Bulldogs to climb out of.

Big picture wise, Alabama is now the top dog—pun intended—in the SEC West and they control their own destiny to Atlanta. Their last big challenge of the year is against Auburn, but unlike last season, it’s starting to look as if Alabama is the team of destiny this year.

Amari Cooper caught 8 passes for 88 yards and a touchdown Saturday, as the Crimson Tide rolled on to beat the #1 Mississippi State Bulldogs. Image via Bleacher Report.

Amari Cooper caught 8 passes for 88 yards and a touchdown Saturday, as the Crimson Tide rolled on to beat the #1 Mississippi State Bulldogs. Image via Bleacher Report.

 

Bret Bielema and Will Muschamp can relax, but Gary Pinkel can’t.

The Arkansas Razorbacks had not won their last 17 SEC games until Saturday night. Want some perspective? That’s also how many points they scored as they went on to shutout the LSU Tigers in impressive fashion.

The Razorbacks were eventually going to win at some point, but Bielema has done a great job of keeping his kids motivated throughout this losing streak and their hard work has finally paid off. And they even won in a game where they rushed for less than 100 yards; the reason being, of course, is that their defense played lights out.

The Arkansas defense held the Tigers to under 100 yards rushing and passing on the night, and only allowed 123 yards total. The Razorbacks were simply the more physical team Saturday, but perhaps LSU’s rushing statistics are the best example of this: LSU ran the ball 32 times for a grand total of 36 yards—that’s 1.1 YPC. ‘Nuff said.

This picture sums up LSU's night, as the Arkansas defense held them to 123 total yards. This was the Razorbacks' first SEC victory since 2012.

This picture sums up LSU’s night, as the Arkansas defense held them to 123 total yards. This was the Razorbacks’ first SEC victory since 2012.

Down in Gainesville, Will Muschamp finally knows whether or not he will return next season to coach the Gators. Spoiler alert: he will not.

Muschamp’s job security seemed to show signs of hope after the Gators dominated their division foe Georgia three weekends ago, but that is an eternity in the SEC and this team is really not that good.

The defense has been solid; the offense, however, has not. All season long, Florida has been plagued by inconsistent quarterback play and not having a go-to playmaker to help them win ball games. Saturday’s loss against South Carolina proved to be the final nail in the coffin for Will Muschamp.

After a 34-0 loss at home to the Georgia Bulldogs, it looked as if the Missouri Tigers were out of the race to win the SEC East. But hey, that was five weeks ago. Things change.

A Georgia slipup against Florida gave Missouri the chance they needed to insert themselves back into the driver’s seat of the East, and from the looks of their game against Texas A&M Saturday, they intend to keep it that way.

Don’t let the score fool you, because Gary Pinkel’s squad dominated A&M for the most part of Saturday’s game. The Tigers put up more than 580 yards of offense on the Aggies, including 335 yards rushing and 252 yards passing. Thanks to their defense, the Tigers had the ball for more than 37 minutes of Saturday’s game; they held the Aggies to a 29 percent third down conversion rate and kept Kyle Allen off the field.

Saturday’s game may have been the toughest conference matchup left on the schedule for Missouri, but the Tigers still have to play Tennessee on the road and Arkansas at home. If the SEC has taught us anything, however, it’s that any team can go down on any given Saturday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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