SEC News and Notes
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
ALABAMA: The Crimson Tide's perfect season came to a screeching halt as it fell at home to Texas A&M on Saturday, 29-24. For the second straight week, the vaunted Alabama (9-1, 6-1 SEC) defense looked vulnerable, as it allowed Johnny Manziel and company to get out to a 20-0 lead after the first quarter. The defending national champs climbed back into the game in the fourth quarter, but A.J. McCarron threw an interception in the red zone inside of two minutes to end the threat. McCarron threw for 309 yards and a touchdown on 21- of-34 passing, but he threw two picks, snapping his school record of consecutive pass attempts without an interception at 292. Amari Cooper caught six passes for 136 yards and a touchdown for his second career 100-yard receiving day. The usually-potent rushing attack was held in check as the team averaged fewer than four yards per carry, but Eddie Lacy (92 yards) and T.J. Yeldon (29 yards) both scored touchdowns. The loss causes major shakeups at the top of the polls, but Alabama still controls its own destiny in the SEC West. The team will close out the regular season with home games against Western Carolina (Nov. 17) and Auburn (Nov. 24).
ARKANSAS: Despite a record-breaking game for two of the Razorbacks' offensive stars, they fell at home to the nationally-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks over the weekend, 38-20. Tyler Wilson completed 26-of-41 passes for 277 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and he also completed his 529th career pass, which moved him into first place on the program's all-time list. It wasn't all smiles for Wilson however, as he was victimized by the USC defense with a pair of interceptions and four sacks. It was a modest day receiving by Cobi Hamilton's standards (four receptions, 72 yards), but the effort was still enough for him to join the record books as well, becoming the school's all- time single-season yards king with 1,149. Jonathan Williams was the leading rusher on the day with 61 yards on just six carries. Arkansas (4-6, 2-4 SEC) will need to win its last two games to become bowl eligible, starting with this Saturday's clash with Mississippi State.
AUBURN: The long and painful season for the Tigers continued as they were shut out by Georgia in their own building on Saturday, 38-0. The offense gained just 238 total yards, while the Bulldogs marched up and down the field for nearly 500 yards. Making his second start of the season at quarterback was Jonathan Wallace, who finished with 181 yards and an interception, but his 15 completions was the most by any AU quarterback in a game this season. Emory Blake posted his eighth career 100-yard receiving game by hauling in six balls for 104 yards. The rushing attack, which has been the team's strength all season, had nowhere to run on the day with just 57 yards, with 33 coming from Tre Mason. Auburn (2-8, 0-7 SEC) will host Alabama A&M on Saturday before finishing up at Alabama on Nov. 24.
FLORIDA: The Gators suffered a major scare at home against the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns, as they found themselves down, 20-13, late in the fourth quarter, but they scored a pair of touchdowns in the final two minutes to squeak out a 27-20 win. Filling in for an injured Jeff Driskel, Jacoby Brisset threw a touchdown pass to Quinton Dunbar to tie the game at 20-20, then on Louisiana's ensuing possession the Gators blocked a punt and Jelani Jenkins returned it 26 yards with just two seconds remaining for the go-ahead score. Driskel completed 13-of-16 passes for 98 yards and a touchdown, and he rushed for another 76 yards before his exit. Brisset led the comeback charge with 64 yards on 6-of-8 passing. Jordan Reed was the leading receiver on the day with five receptions for 85 yards. Mike Gillislee was bottled up all afternoon, gaining just 45 yards on 14 carries. Florida (9-1) takes on Jacksonville State in Gainesville this Saturday.
GEORGIA: With a dominating 38-0 road victory over the Auburn Tigers, the Bulldogs clinched the SEC Eastern Division and have earned the right to play for the conference championship. For the third time this season, freshman running backs Todd Gurley (116 yards. TD) and Keith Marshall (105 yards, TD) each topped 100 yards rushing, and they only needed a combined 19 carries to do so. Aaron Murray didn't need to do much as he attempted just 24 passes, but he made them count by completing 18 of them for 208 yards and three touchdowns and no interceptions. The three touchdown tosses went to three different receivers, with Malcolm Mitchell (five receptions, 47 yards, TD) coming away as the top performer. The Georgia (9-1, 7-1 SEC) defense continued its outstanding play of late, holding Auburn to 238 yards while forcing two turnovers. The team will close out the regular season with a pair of in-state non-conference games against Georgia Southern (Nov. 17) and Georgia Tech (Nov. 24), respectively.
KENTUCKY: The Wildcats (1-9, 0-7 SEC) were off this week, and the good news is that they appear to be in line to snap their eight-game losing streak this Saturday night when they take on FCS foe Samford at home.
LSU: The Tigers climbed out of an early hole to come back and defeat Mississippi State on Saturday, 37-17, to claim their 13th straight victory over the Bulldogs. Zach Mettenberger continued his late-season emergence by completing 19-of-30 passes for 273 yards with two touchdown and no interceptions. Jarvis Landry set career-highs in both receptions (nine) and yards (109) while also hauling in a 19-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter. Spencer Ware (two receptions, 32 yards) also caught a Mettenberger touchdown, and J.C. Copeland punched in a one-yard rushing score late in the game. The defense also got into the scoring act, as Craig Loston tied a school record by returning an interception 100 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. LSU (8-2, 4-2 SEC) will play its final home game of the season this week when it hosts Ole Miss.
MISSISSIPPI STATE: For the third straight week, the Bulldogs lost to a ranked opponent as they traveled to Baton Rouge and were handed a 37-17 defeat at the hands of LSU. Against the second-ranked pass defense in the nation, Tyler Russell put together an impressive game, completing 26-of-38 passes for 295 yards with a touchdown and an interception. His completion and yardage totals were career highs, and the TD strike was his 17th of the year, breaking the single-season school record. Chad Bumphis caught a career-high nine balls for 140 yards and a touchdown, as he extended his school record with his 20th career TD catch. There wasn't much to praise about the defensive effort, but senior linebacker Cameron Lawrence recorded a career-high 15 tackles. Mississippi State (7-3, 3-3 SEC) will try to stop the bleeding this Saturday when it hosts Arkansas.
MISSOURI: Dorial Green-Beckham hauled in a 25-yard touchdown pass from James Franklin in the final minute of regulation to tie the game, then four overtimes later, Andrew Baggett kicked the game-winning 35-yard field goal to give Missouri the 51-48 win over Tennessee. Despite a dreadful first half (2- of-8, 18 yards, INT), Franklin came on late and completed 19-of-32 passes for 226 yards and four touchdowns. Green-Beckham also hauled in a touchdown pass in the third overtime, giving him two catches for two scores on the afternoon. Kendial Lawrence was spectacular out of the backfield, gaining 153 yards on 21 carries while punching in two touchdowns. Missouri (5-5, 2-5 SEC) forced Tennessee into a turnover on downs in the fourth overtime, which led to the game-winning kick. The Tigers will try to become bowl eligible this week when they host Syracuse in a non-conference bout.
OLE MISS: The Rebels held a six-point lead in late in the fourth quarter, but Vanderbilt connected on a game-winning touchdown pass with less than a minute remaining to hand them a heartbreaking 27-26 home defeat. Bo Wallace put together one of the best games of his career by completing 31-of-49 passes for a career-high 403 yards with two touchdowns (one rushing) and no interceptions. Vince Sanders (five receptions, career-high 96 yards) was on the receiving end of Wallace's touchdown pass in the first quarter, and Ja-Mes Logan also had a career-day with eight receptions for 160 yards. Ole Miss (5-5, 2-4 SEC) scored on each of its trips to the red zone, but it had to settle for four field goals from Bryson Rose. It will need to win one of its remaining two games, either against LSU (Nov. 17) or bitter rival Mississippi State (Nov. 24) to become bowl eligible.
SOUTH CAROLINA: The Gamecocks put together a sound all-around effort to pull off an impressive road victory over Arkansas, 38-20. The offense gained 383 yards, led by Connor Shaw who completed 14-of-22 passes for 272 yards with a pair of touchdowns and an interception, and while he was held to just 10 rushing yards on eight attempts, he also found the end zone on the ground. Mike Davis (53 yards) and Kenny Miles (37 yards) split carries in the backfield in the absence of Marcus Lattimore to marginal success, with Davis scoring a third quarter touchdown. Bruce Ellington caught five passes for a career-high 104 yards and a touchdown. The defense was impressive as well, forcing three turnovers and sacking Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson four times. South Carolina (8-2, 6-2 SEC) will host FCS foe Wofford this Saturday.
TENNESSEE: The Volunteers took a 21-7 lead into the break, but the defense collapsed in the second half as Missouri battled back to tie the game in regulation, and eventually win in four overtimes, 51-48. Tennessee scored touchdowns on its first three overtime possessions, but in the fourth overtime elected to go for it on fourth down rather than kick a field goal and came up short. Missouri made the Vols pay for their decision by kicking the game- winning field goal on its next possession. Tyler Bray was impressive despite the defeat, throwing for 404 yards and four touchdowns on 37-of-54 passing. It was his third game this season with at least 400 yards passing and his fifth game with at least four TD passes. For the second straight week, Tennessee (4-6, 0-6 SEC) had two receivers post 100 yards, as Mychal Rivera (10 receptions, career-high 129 yards, TD) and Justin Hunter (nine receptions, 141 yards, TD) were both outstanding. The UT rushing attack combined for 153 yards and three scores. The Vols will try once again to record their first SEC win of the season when they play at Vanderbilt this Saturday.
TEXAS A&M: The Aggies pulled off the unthinkable by going into Tuscaloosa and knocking off No. 1 Alabama, 29-24, for their second win ever over a top-ranked team. They got off to a fast 20-0 lead in the first quarter, and even though the Crimson Tide climbed back into the game late, the A&M defense came up with a few key interceptions to seal the victory. Johnny Manziel has had much better days yardage wise, but it was his poised performance against a great defense that put him square in the Heisman race. The freshman finished by completing 24-of-31 passes for 253 yards and two touchdowns, and he also led the team in rushing with 92 yards. Ryan Swope was once again Manziel's favorite target, as he hauled in 11 balls for 111 yards and a touchdown, and in the process broke Jeff Fuller's school record for career receptions (233). Christine Michael didn't do much on the ground (12 carries, 27 yards), but he cashed in with two touchdowns. Texas A&M (8-2, 5-2 SEC) will step out of conference this Saturday when it hosts FCS foe Sam Houston State.
VANDERBILT: The Commodores trailed Ole Miss for nearly the entire game, but their quarterback came up with a clutch play when they needed it most. Down by six points in the final minute of regulation, Jordan Rodgers completed a 26- yard touchdown pass to Chris Boyd to lift Vanderbilt (6-4, 4-3 SEC) to a 27-26 victory as it notched its fourth straight win and became bowl eligible in the process. Rodgers completed 20-of-35 passes for a season-high 267 yards and a pair of scores. Boyd finished with five receptions for 64 yards and the score, but it was Jordan Matthews who had the biggest day receiving with nine grabs for a career-high 153 yards and a touchdown. Star running back Zac Stacy needed to leave the game after just two carries due an injury. He was replaced by Wesley Tate (43 yards, TD) and Brian Kimbrow (41 yards). Vandy will play its SEC finale this Saturday against rival Tennessee.
11/12 10:47:09 ET