SEC News and Notes
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) -
ALABAMA: The Crimson Tide's Senior Day went down as expected, as the nation's No. 1 team easily dismissed FCS foe Chattanooga at home, 49-0. A.J. McCarron had an effective and abbreviated day, completing 13-of-16 passes for 171 yards and two touchdowns before being relieved late for Blake Sims (2-of-4, 13 yards). The 'Bama rushing attack was active all afternoon, as Kenyan Drake (77 yards), Derrick Henry (66 yards), Chris Black (31 yards) and Dee Hart (25 yards) all finished with a touchdown. Kevin Norwood (four receptions, 84 yards) and Amari Cooper (three receptions, 42 yards) were both on the receiving end of McCarron scoring strikes. Chattanooga was no match for the Tide's stout defense, as the Mocs racked up only 175 yards and eight first downs. Alabama (11-0) wraps up its regular season this week at Auburn, and the annual Iron Bowl will determine the SEC Western Division champion.
ARKANSAS: The Razorbacks' disappointing season continued in heartbreaking fashion in their home finale versus Mississippi State, as they lost in overtime, 24-17, for their eighth consecutive setback. They had a chance to take the lead late in the fourth quarter, but Alex Collins lost a fumble deep in MSU territory, then in the extra session, Brandon Allen threw an interception to end the Hogs' chances. The rushing attack was solid on the afternoon, as it racked up 225 yards and two touchdowns, with Jonathan Williams (nine carries, 59 yards) and Collins (10 carries, 52 yards) leading the way. Allen completed just 10-of-17 passes for 114 yards with the costly interception. Alan Turner led a strong defensive effort with 16 tackles. The unit allowed MSU to gain 488 yards, but forced two turnovers and allowed the Bulldogs to score on just 2-of-5 trips to the red zone. Arkansas (3-8, 0-7 SEC) will try to avoid a winless league campaign when it wraps up the season with a road contest at LSU this Friday.
AUBURN: The Tigers (10-1, 6-1 SEC) used their bye week to both recover from an emotional, miraculous win over Georgia last week (43-38), as well as prepare for Saturday's showdown with No. 1 Alabama with the SEC Western Division crown on the line.
FLORIDA: Just when the Gators thought their nightmarish season couldn't get any worse, their losing streak extended to six games following a home loss to Georgia Southern, 26-20, in their first loss to an FCS opponent since 1946. The Gators' defense was torched by GSU's triple-option rushing attack to the tune of 429 yards, which was so good that it won despite competing zero pass attempts on the afternoon. Skyler Mornhinweg completed 14-of-25 passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns in the defeat, although he couldn't lead his team into the end zone on the final drive of the game despite marching down to GSU's 17-yard line. Soloman Patton hauled in four passes for 69 yards and two touchdowns, while Kelvin Taylor rushed for 92 yards on 22 carries. Florida (4-7), which will suffer its first losing season since 1979, closes out the campaign this Saturday versus No. 2 Florida State.
GEORGIA: The Bulldogs celebrated their senior day in style with a convincing 59-17 triumph over Kentucky. Aaron Murray's final game at Sanford Stadium was abbreviated in the blowout, and even though he had just 183 yards and threw an interception, he was still stellar in completing 18-of-23 passes and throwing four touchdowns. Unfortunately, the SEC's all-time leading passer suffered a torn ACL and will miss the remainder of the season. Hutson Mason saw action under center late in the UK game, and finished with 189 yards and a score on 13-of-19 passing, while adding a rushing touchdown. Todd Gurley led the team in rushing with 77 yards on just eight attempts, but he did most of his damage as a pass-catcher, as he tallied five receptions for 90 yards and two scores. Rhett McGowan (seven receptions, 90 yards, TD) and Arthur Lynch (four receptions, 42 yards, two TDs) were also busy in the passing game. Brendan Douglas (59 yards) and J.J. Green (35 yards) contributed rushing TDs. Georgia (7-4, 5-3 SEC) wraps up the regular season with a short trip west to Atlanta to take on Georgia Tech.
KENTUCKY: The Wildcats fell flat at Georgia over the weekend, suffering an embarrassing 59-17 setback for their third straight loss and their 15th consecutive defeat at the hands of an SEC opponent. Maxwell Smith earned the start under center and completed 10-of-16 passes for 149 yards and a touchdown, with the majority of his production targeted toward Javess Blue (five receptions, 93 yards, TD). The rushing attack as a whole did not perform well, as it gained only 62 yards on 30 attempts, but Dyshawn Mobley shined with 92 yards on just 10 carries, which included a 69-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter. The offense amassed only 211 yards, while the defense had no answer for UGA's potent attack, which picked up 602 yards. Kentucky (2-9, 0-7 SEC) closes out the season this Saturday in a home game against Tennessee.
LSU: The 18th-ranked Tigers used an outstanding rushing attack (324 yards) as they defended their home field against the ninth-ranked Texas A&M Aggies over the weekend, winning 34-10. Terrence Magee shined the brightest out of the backfield by gaining a career-high 149 yards on just 13 carries, including a one-yard touchdown in the first quarter. Jeremy Hill (14 carries, 76 yards), Alfred Blue (13 carries, 61 yards) and Kenny Hilliard (eight carries, 36 yards, TD) were also a factor in the ground game. Zach Mettenberger wasn't especially busy in the win, as he completed just 11-of-20 passes for 193 yards, but he tossed a pair of touchdowns to Jarvis Landry (four receptions, 87 yards) and went without an interception. The Tigers' defense was nothing short of outstanding against the Aggies, as they held Johnny Manziel to just 16-of-41 passing with a touchdown and two interceptions. LSU (8-3, 4-3 SEC) will attempt to close out the regular season on a high note this Friday afternoon when it hosts Arkansas.
MISSISSIPPI STATE: Damian Williams scored the game-winning touchdown on the very first play in overtime, as the Bulldogs slipped past Arkansas, 24-17, to snap a three-game losing streak. They were fortunate to win in the extra session after missing an opportunity at the end of regulation when Devon Bell's potential game-winning 42-yard field goal attempt was no good. Tyler Russell paced the offensive attack with 263 yards and two touchdowns on 18- of-28 passing, although he did throw an interception. Jameon Lewis hauled in six receptions for 94 yards and scored the game-tying touchdown early in the fourth quarter on a five-yard pass from Russell. Josh Robinson posted career- highs in both carries (17) and yards (101), and Damian Williams, in addition to rushing for 40 yards and the crucial score, completed 3-of-4 passes for 34 yards. Mississippi State (5-6, 2-5 SEC) has one last opportunity to become bowl eligible when it closes out the regular season with the Battle for the Golden Egg at home versus arch rival Ole Miss on Thanksgiving night.
MISSOURI: The Tigers went into hostile territory and took down the nationally- ranked Ole Miss Rebels, 24-10, behind a rushing attack that picked up 260 yards. Henry Josey was the catalyst with 95 yards on 15 carries, and he set the tone with a touchdown on the opening drive of the game before putting a stamp on the win with a score midway through the third quarter as well. Marcus Murphy was also an integral part of the ground game with 67 yards and a touchdown on 16 attempts. After missing more than a month with a shoulder injury, James Franklin was rusty under center, as he completed 12-of-19 passes for 142 yards with zero touchdowns and an interception. Maty Mauk, who impressed in Franklin's absence, took some snaps and went 3-of-7 for 83 yards. While the offense wasn't at its best, the defense managed to pick up the slack by holding Ole Miss to just 378 yards while allowing only one touchdown. Missouri (10-1, 6-1 SEC), which has four 10-win seasons in the last seven years, will earn a trip to the SEC Championship Game with a win at home versus Texas A&M this Saturday.
OLE MISS: The Rebels' four-game win streak came to a halt over the weekend, as they could not contain nationally-ranked Missouri on their home field in a 24-10 setback. Bo Wallace threw for 244 yards but he did so on just 26-of-42 passing while tossing an interception. Donte Moncrief hauled in six passes for 115 yards for his fourth 100-yard receiving performance of the season. I'Tavious Mathers turned just seven carries into 66 yards, which included a 45-yard scoring scamper early in the third quarter for the team's only touchdown of the game. The offense amassed just 378 yards and failed to score a touchdown on three red zone drives in an effort that spoiled a solid defensive performance, which held to potent Missouri attack well below its season scoring average (41.3 ppg). Ole Miss (7-4, 3-4 SEC) closes out the regular-season with a rivalry game at Mississippi State in the Battle for the Golden Egg this Thursday.
SOUTH CAROLINA: Behind 10 touchdowns and 639 yards of total offense, the Gamecocks easily dismissed FCS foe Coastal Carolina, 70-10. It was the first time they scored 70 points since beating Kent State in October of 1995, 77-14. Connor Shaw completed 8-of-11 passes for 115 yards, rushed for 39 yards and accounted for two touchdowns before being replaced by Dylan Thompson, who also had an impressive game with 140 yards on 8-of-11 passing with three touchdowns (one rushing). The USC rushing attack piled up 352 yards, with Jamari Smith (103 yards, TD), Pharoh Cooper (81 yards, TD), Brandon Wilds (62 yards, two TDs) and Shon Carson (38 yards, TD) all logging impressive days. Shaq Roland was the top target in the passing game, as he tallied four receptions for 72 yards and a touchdown. Despite holding a huge lead for most of the game, the defense held Coastal Carolina to just 294 yards and forced three turnovers. South Carolina (8-3) concludes its regular season on Saturday with a prime time showdown versus intrastate rival Clemson.
TENNESSEE: The Volunteers' disappointing season continued in their home finale versus Vanderbilt, as they coughed up a late lead on a touchdown in the game's final minute to fall, 14-10. The offense was stymied to the tune of 237 yards, which spoiled an outstanding defensive effort that forced four turnovers and held the Commodores to 285 total yards. Joshua Dobbs was ineffective under center, completing 11-of-19 passes for 53 yards with two interceptions, and kicker Michael Palardy also threw an interception in the fourth quarter on a fake field goal gone horribly wrong. Rajion Neal was the lone bright spot for the UT offense, as he picked up 95 yards on 22 carries, which included the team's only touchdown on a five-yard run early in the second quarter. Tennessee (4-7, 1-6 SEC) closes out the 2013 season this Saturday at Kentucky.
TEXAS A&M: The Aggies had scored at least 40 points in every game this season until they were stifled by LSU in a 34-10 setback over the weekend. They amassed a meager 299 yards against the stout Tigers defense, logging 17 first downs, and for the first time in Johnny Manziel's career he completed fewer than 50 percent of his passes (16-of-41). He finished with 224 passing yards and a touchdown and also led the team in rushing with 54 yards, but the Heisman hopeful was also intercepted twice for his second straight multi-pick game, and fourth this season. Other than Manziel, the running game was non- existent, as Ben Malena and Trey Williams combined for just 21 yards on six carries. Derel Walker was Manziel's top receiver on the day, hauling in six balls for 130 yards and a touchdown. In what has become a trend this season, the A&M defense played poorly, allowing 517 yards, including 324 on the ground, as it lost the time of possession battle by more than 20 minutes. The Aggies' (8-3, 4-3 SEC) BCS bowl chances have all but vanished with the loss, and they have another tough task ahead in Saturday's regular-season finale at Missouri.
VANDERBILT: The Commodores orchestrated a 12-play, 92-yard drive over the final four minutes, which was capped off by a game-winning, five-yard touchdown run by Patton Robinette to lift them to a thrilling 14-10 victory over rival Tennessee. The final possession erased the memories of a poor offensive night, as the team picked up just 285 yards and committed four turnovers. Austyn-Carta Samuels completed 21-of-27 passes for 181 yards with an interception, while Robinette was 3-of-4 passing in addition to his 33 yards rushing. Jordan Matthews caught a career-high 13 passes for 133 yards, and in the process became the SEC's all-time leader in receptions with 246, passing former Commodore Earl Bennett. The defense helped keep the team in the game, as it held Tennessee to a mere 237 yards while forcing three turnovers. Vanderbilt (7-4, 4-4 SEC) returns home this Saturday to close out the regular season against Wake Forest.
11/25 11:32:36 ET