Conference play isn’t quite up to full song, but we got a taste of big time SEC football on Saturday. Here’s what stood out in week three.
Alabama made the trip down to Gainesville to face the Gators, and ended up escaping with a narrow win.
It was a hot start for the Tide, who looked like they were going to simply blow the doors off of Florida early. However, the Gators found a way to fight back, despite dynamic quarterback Anthony Richardson not being available. We’ll see if Richardson is available next week against Tennessee.
Florida came all the way back and had a shot to tie the game late with a two-point conversion, but failed on an ugly read-option play.
If Alabama is the clear-cut No. 1, Georgia is the clear-cut No. 2, and there seems to be a growing gap between those two and everyone else. Georgia dominated South Carolina as expected on Saturday, flashing a downfield passing attack and continuing to crush defensively. This is easily Kirby’s best roster to date.
Auburn falls to Penn State
The Tigers faced their first big test under Bryan Harsin, and ended up falling short on the road to Penn State. A subpar night for Bo Nix didn’t help Auburn’s cause, and Tank Bigsby couldn’t quite do enough to push the Tigers out front.
Penn State now sits at 3-0, already holding wins over Wisconsin and Auburn on the year. With Ohio State struggling, Penn State could find themselves in the thick of the playoff conversation. Iowa, Ohio State and Michigan remain on the schedule for the Nittany Lions.
Kentucky got a real scare from Chattanooga
Tennessee handled its business over FCS Tennessee Tech on Saturday. While that game was happening, Chattanooga nearly beat Kentucky in Lexington. The Wildcats were trailing in the fourth quarter, before quarterback Will Levis threw a touchdown pass to take the lead back.
Kentucky went on to win 28-23, in what was a clear let-down spot.
Ole Miss drops 61 on Tulane
In a game that was delayed for hours, Lane Kiffin’s rebels ended up scoring 60 points against Tulane. Ole Miss had 40 by halftime, as quarterback Matt Corral continues to hang around in some early Heisman talks. Most notable here? The Ole Miss defense held Tulane to just 21 points.
Lane has something cooking with the Rebels, who could easily now be the third best team in the West.
Memphis takes wacky game from Mississippi State
In the dumbest game of the weekend, Memphis came away with a win over Mississippi State. The Tigers ended up taking a punt back for a score after the ball appeared to be downed by the Bulldogs, which flipped this game on its head.
One of the best scoop & scores you’ll ever see @MemphisFB | @CalvinAustinIII— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) September 18, 2021
Former Tennessee punter Joe Doyle also drilled a key 51 yard field goal for Memphis to push the lead out to eight points. Mississippi State would score again after that, but fell short on the two-point conversion.