Week 4 was a thriller in SEC play as Georgia football, and Alabama sailed to easy victories, given both blowouts were over in the first quarter. While there were blowouts, there were some nail biters that went down to the final minute or two, as well.
Each week we will look at the biggest storylines of the SEC and break down the conference affairs.
This week’s biggest shocker was Arkansas’ 20-10 win over No. 7 Texas A&M, giving the Aggies their first loss of the season.
Arkansas has been getting some attention since their 40-21 win over Texas during the second week of the season. Still, their other two wins were against Rice and Georgia Southern. The Hogs came into the game against A&M ranked No.16, but everyone was waiting to see how they would play against a favored SEC opponent.
We didn’t have to wait long to get an answer.
Arkansas never trailed in the game, going into the locker room up 17-3 at the half. They tossed the ball for 246 yards through the air and held the Aggies to 151 passing yards. In addition, the Hogs galloped for 197 yards on the ground, averaging four yards per carry.
In my opinion, one of the most impressive stats for the Razorbacks in the game was not having any turnovers on offense, other than a failed attempt on fourth down.
If there was an area where Arkansas needed some attention before taking the field against Georgia next week, it’s stopping the run with their defense on the field. The Hogs gave up a total of 121 rushing yards, allowing A&M to pick up an average of 5.3 yards per rush. But, other than that, Arkansas looked great this weekend and deserved the jump in the polls.
Tennessee vs. Florida
I didn’t expect this to be much of a game, but I was interested in seeing how the Gators would respond to their tough loss last week. We were all a little surprised when Florida went into the locker room up just 14-17 at the half.
In the second half, the Gators looked a little more like I expected them to as they found the endzone for 21 unanswered points en route to a 14-38 victory.
Emory Jones connected on 21 of his 27 passing attempts for 209 yards and two scores. Jones also led Florida’s ground attack with 144 rushing yards. The Gators ran for 283 yards as a team, picking up an average of 7.1 yards per carry.
On the defensive side of the ball, Florida gave up 423 total yards, 275 passing, and 148 rushing. They held the Vols to just 5 for 13 on third down attempts and 1-for-2 on fourth down tries. Next week, the Gators will be taking the field against the Wildcats in Kentucky, while Tennessee will be on the road in Missouri.
LSU vs. Mississippi State
On Saturday, the Tigers took the field at Davis Wade Stadium, looking to improve their 2-1 record against the Mississippi State Bulldogs. After finding the endzone on their opening drive, LSU would either punt or throw an interception on each drive throughout the first half. T
hey went into the locker room at the half up 7-3.
LSU scored a touchdown again on their second half’s opening drive and went on to win 28 – 25. Sophomore QB Max Johnson connected on 17 of his 27 passing attempts for 280 yards, four scores, and one interception. As a team, the Tigers ran the ball for 63 yards on 27 carries.
On the defensive side of the ball, LSU had their hands full all day. They gave up a total of 486 yards, 371 through the air and 115 on the ground.
They did manage to take the ball away from Mississippi State twice, both a fumble and an interception. Despite winning, the Aggies dominated the Tigers in time of possession. The defense was on the field for over 35 minutes. LSU will be at home next week against Auburn. They will have to be more of a threat running the ball if they want to move to 4-1.
Georgia State vs. Auburn
Another surprise for me looking across the SEC scoreboard was the Georgia State vs. Auburn game. The Tigers came into the game ranked 23 in the country following a 20 – 28 loss at Penn State last weekend. Playing the Panthers at home seemed like an excellent opportunity for Auburn to get back on track before starting SEC play at LSU next weekend.
The Tigers went into halftime down 24 – 12 before scoring 22 unanswered points in the second half for a 24 – 34 win. Still, the game wasn’t as close as the score makes it sound. Auburn scored two touchdowns in the final 3:00. They finished the game completing 22 of 43 passing attempts for 253 yards. Auburn picked up 166 yards on the ground, averaging 4.7 yards per carry.
The Tigers were strong against the pass on defense, allowing Georgia Southern to complete just 12 of 24 passing attempts for only 117 yards. But, as impressive as those numbers are, Auburn struggled to stop the run, giving up 267 rushing yards. It’s difficult for anyone to succeed in the SEC, giving up an average of over five and a half yards per carry. With LSU, Georgia, and Arkansas coming up on the schedule, the Tigers will have to toughen up against the run if they want to win games.
Kentucky vs. South Carolina
The Kentucky Wildcats are now 3-0 following a 16-10 win against South Carolina. Kentucky never trailed in the game and went into the locker room up 10 – 0 after the first two quarters.
The Wildcats had no problem running the ball, galloping for 230 yards, led by Chris Rodriguez Jr. with 144. Will Levis completed 15 of his 22 passes for 102 yards with an interception. As a team, Kentucky averaged an impressive 5.2 yards per carry.
Kentucky held South Carolina to 216 total yards, with just 58 of them on the ground. The Gamecocks had three takeaways on defense, two fumbles, and the Levis interception. Still, they didn’t have enough in the tank to catch up after giving Kentucky an early lead. South Carolina will be at home against Troy next week while the Wildcats will play host to the Florida Gators.
Next week’s Game to Watch outside Georgia Football’s showdown with Arkansas
Alabama did what they were supposed to do this weekend, beating up on Southern Miss 63-14. The Tide threw the ball for 395 yards through the air, with Bryce Young earning 313 of them, five touchdowns, and an interception. Alabama ran the ball for 212 yards, averaging 6.4 yards per carry.
The Crimson Tide will play host to 3-0 Ole Miss next week. The Rebels had the weekend off, beating Tulane 61-21 their last time on the field. While this will be Ole Miss’ first game against an SEC opponent, on paper, they look like one of the few teams who could give Alabama fits this season.
After three games, the Rebels are averaging 635 yards and 52.7 points per contest. They average 336.7 passing yards per game and 6.2 yards per carry. Quarterback Matt Corrall has thrown for 997 yards after just three games with nine touchdowns and no interceptions.
If he can find a way to lead Ole Miss to a win in Tuscaloosa next weekend, he will definitely have a place in this year’s Heisman race. With Arkansas and Georgia playing earlier in the day, this will definitely be the game to watch at 3:30.