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College Football: Around the SEC

A look at how week 4 played out in the Southland.

Saturday Down South

We’ve reached week 4 in the college football season and this week brought us some intriguing conference match ups, some of which didn’t disappoint and some of which...did.

Two top 20 teams faced off in Athens as a Kentucky team was looking to end an historic streak. Two West teams in desperate need of a win decide a winner in OT, while a couple of teams continue to struggle as they still look for an identity. These are just a few of the headlines after another Saturday in the South.

Let’s take a look at what was yet another wild week of football in the Southeastern Conference.


#1 Alabama 59, Vanderbilt 0

A week ago, Vanderbilt was feeling on top of the world. They had cause to be, they had just knocked off 18th ranked Kansas State en route to their first 3-0 start since 2011. But for a school that is world renowned for their academics, one Commodore player should have known better than to call out the top ranked Crimson Tide.

Alabama completely destroyed Vanderbilt in a more than lopsided 59-0 shutout win in Nashville. Normally, I wouldn’t say a loss to Alabama would ruin a team’s season, especially with so much of the season left to play. However, the way Alabama won on Saturday could be enough to hurt Vanderbilt’s outlook on the rest of their conference slate. The ‘Dores travel to Gainesville next Saturday for a noon kickoff versus 20th ranked Florida. Alabama will welcome 2-1 Ole Miss to Tuscaloosa.


#11 Georgia 31, #17 Mississippi State 3

Outside of Alabama, Georgia has been the most impressive team in the SEC up to this point. After Jacob Eason went down with an injury in week one, true freshman QB Jake Fromm was thrown into a starting role. Fromm has yet to play like a guy who was playing high school football this time last fall. He has now led the Bulldogs to wins in South Bend over a top 25 Notre Dame team and a convincing win over 17th ranked Mississippi State at home. For Mississippi State, the outlook on their season changes a bit. They entered the top 25 after a big win over 12th ranked LSU in week 3, but was absolutely manhandled by Georgia for 60 minutes in a game that was never really close. Georgia heads to Knoxville on Saturday to take on Tennessee at 3:30 on CBS. Mississippi State will look to rebound at Auburn.


#15 Auburn 51, Missouri 14

There were some questions about Auburn’s offense through the first three games of the season. That offense showed up in Columbia, MO on Saturday night. Malzahn’s Tigers put up over 480 yards of offense while the defense held Missouri to just two touchdowns. While Auburn may be satisfied with the offensive performance, Missouri has statistically one of the worst defenses in the country. Not to mention playing a “road” game in Columbia is basically playing at Vanderbilt Stadium since the home crowd virtually never shows up. Auburn will host Mississippi State on Saturday while 1-3 Missouri will get a much needed bye week before playing Kentucky in Lexington.


#20 Florida 28, Kentucky 27

It is true that all streaks must come to an end. That was not the case in Lexington on Saturday as Florida, who is quickly gaining a reputation for pulling wins out of a hat, made it 31 consecutive years of misery and heartbreak for the Kentucky Wildcats. Florida trailed 27-14 in the fourth quarter before pulling freshman QB Felipe Franks and putting in Luke Del Rio. While Del Rio didn’t do anything particularly amazing, he managed Florida’s offense on two touchdown drives late in the game. The final drive that put the Gators ahead was capped off in true Kentucky fashion when Florida’s Freddie Swain went completely uncovered for the touchdown catch.

Florida has managed to pull off two miracle finishes in as many weeks. Surely they can’t do this all season, right? They’ll host Vanderbilt on Saturday while Kentucky, who was Saturday’s trendy pick, will host Eastern Michigan.


#25 LSU 35, Syracuse 26

After what appeared to be a cake walk for LSU in the first half, Syracuse made things interesting in Death Valley late. The Orange pulled within two in the fourth quarter before the Tigers put things away with a touchdown run with just under two minutes left to play. LSU will welcome Troy out of the Sun Belt at Tiger Stadium next Saturday.


Texas A&M 50, Arkansas 43

This one was a barn burner in Jerry World, as two programs in desperate need of a conference win went down to the wire and then some. If it wasn’t for the SEC logo painted on the field at AT&T Stadium, you would have thought this was a good old fashioned Big 12 shootout. Arkansas led 21-10 at one point before the Aggies came storming back. Both teams exchanged a couple of touchdowns in the final minutes of regulation before the game headed to overtime tied at 43.

In the end it came down to who’s offense could make the first mistake and that was Arkansas as Austin Allen’s pass to put it into a second OT was intercepted in the endzone. Texas A&M will face South Carolina in College Station on Saturday as Arkansas will take on New Mexico State.


Tennessee 17, UMass 13

Perhaps the most unimpressive win of the day in the SEC belonged to the Vols as it took all four quarters to put away the winless UMass Minutemen. After last week’s 26-20 loss at the hands of Florida, the very last thing Butch Jones and Company needed was to come out and struggle with 0-4 UMass on their home turf. For Tennessee, it may have never felt worse to be 3-1.

The Georgia game next week has now become a must win for Tennessee, not only to keep their hopes of Atlanta alive, but for maybe the season. Losing to what is most likely going to be a heavily favored, top 10 Georgia team normally shouldn’t make or break your season, but Tennessee is going to have to play better than they have all year to have a chance at the upset. If history is any indication, Butch Jones has done well against the Bulldogs during his tenure even when Georgia has had the better team.

South Carolina 17, Louisiana Tech 16

What happened to Jake Bentley and this South Carolina team? After a 2-0 start, the Gamecocks who looked like serious contenders for the East have looked less than average in their last two outings. After trailing 13-0 deep into the second half at home on Saturday, it took a big 41 yard pass to put South Carolina in field goal range to win the game, 17-16. The Gamecocks will be looking to get their first SEC win when they head to College Station to take on Texas A&M on Saturday.