After having a tough time finding any quality games in week four, this past weekend proved to be very therapeutic for SEC fans. LSU’s trip to Athens lived up to the hype and then some, Alabama found its defense against Ole Miss, Florida did a nice job of managing the attrition and getting an SEC road win, and oh yeah, that Johnny Football guy can throw in the rain.
Surprise of the week: Florida quarterback Tyler Murphy did a really good job in his first outing as a starter. He put up 156 yards through the air, 36 yards on the ground and two touchdowns.
Disappointment of the week: Coming into the season, I didn’t think the Tennessee program could reach depths any lower, but it did Saturday when South Alabama had a chance on the Vols’ 10-yard-line to tie the game with minimal time remaining in the fourth quarter. I realize Tennessee doesn’t have a lot of talent, but Butch Jones’ team should be able to beat the Jaguars any day.
Performance of the week: LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger and Georgia’s Aaron Murray competed in one of the great SEC duels of all time. The two threw for a combined 670 yards and seven touchdowns.
Alabama 25 Ole Miss 0
It looks like Alabama has solved some of their issues on the defensive side of the ball. The Tide held an Ole Miss offense that is putting up 418 yards and 28.5 points per game to 205 total yards and zero points. This is Alabama’s first shutout of the year. The bright spot for Ole Miss was on defense. The Rebels only trailed Alabama by three field goals at halftime. And if not for the offensive struggles, which resulted in a safety, they may have had a chance to get back into it late. On three possessions when Ole Miss was in the red zone, Hugh Freeze elected to go for it on fourth down instead of kicking a field goal. The Rebels were 0-3 on those plays, forfeiting scoring opportunities. Alabama gets an off week next; in other words, Georgia State comes to Tuscaloosa. Ole Miss stays in the state of Alabama to play Auburn in a very important game for both teams.
Florida 24 Kentucky 7
I really wondered how the injuries to Jeff Driskel and Dominique Easley would impact Florida’s state of mind and the Gators’ gameplan going into Kentucky. Perhaps I overestimated the Wildcats, but I thought they could keep this one close. The truth is it was never really competitive. Even the kicker got to score for the Gators. Next up for Florida is a home game against Arkansas, and Kentucky travels to South Carolina before a home game against Alabama.
Georgia 44 LSU 41
This was truly an epic football game. In terms of being a fantastic game for fans to watch, this one picked up whre Alabama and Texas A&M left off. Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger were both sensational, throwing for a combined 670 yards and seven touchdowns. At the end day, Murray made the last best touchdown pass, giving his team a 44-41 win. With the victory, Georgia firmly plants itself atop the SEC East and is still very much in the thick of the national title discussion. The Dawgs travel to Knoxville next week. LSU is not eliminated from BCS Championship talk either, but the Tigers will have to run the table and get some help. Getting to the SEC Championship Game will be a key. The Tigers are on the road at Mississippi State next week.
South Carolina 28 UCF 25
South Carolina did not get off to a good start at all in this one, falling behind 10-0 in the first half. Credit goes to Steve Spurrier, though, for halftime adjustments that allowed the Gamecocks to take control and get the win. South Carolina will now play Kentucky at home, which is as easy as it gets for an SEC game.
Tennessee 31 South Alabama 24
If there was ever a demonstration of how deep Tennessee’s problems are, it was Saturday. After having a lead of more than three touchdowns early in the game, the Vols gave up big play after big play to allow South Alabama back into the game. The Jaguars could not convert a fourth down near the Tennessee goal line that would have tied the game. Tennessee now gets a Georgia team coming off of an emotional victory over LSU, but if the Volunteers can’t play better, they will have no shot at home.
Texas A&M 45 Arkansas 33
Johnny Manziel led his team to their first road victory of the year Saturday night in a rainy Razorback Stadium. Arkansas was competitive very late in this game, but that was mostly due to the lack of tackling and overall defensive execution by Texas A&M. I do think the Aggies are a top team in the SEC and a top 10 team nationally. However, the defensive play is cause for alarm if they expect to have a chance to compete for some kind of championship.
Vanderbilt 52 UAB 24
After losing a couple of tough games early, Vanderbilt has done what it needed to do to get its season on track. The Commodores now have a winning record after crushing UAB. The ‘Dores now get ready to face an undefeated Missouri team at home. This will be a big test for James Franklin’s team as they look for their first conference win.