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Take a Look Tuesday: Week 8

There were other games, too!

Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker (5) takes a shotgun snap in the team’s 65-24 victory over UT Martin Saturday. Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to Take a Look Tuesday, a weekly look at what happened in the other games involving SEC teams. This was a tamer weekend in the SEC compared to last weekend. (Note: I remove sacks and sack yardage from rushes and rushing yardage when necessary to put stats in appropriate context.)

#3 Tennessee 65 vs UT Martin 24

Was this ever in doubt? Tennessee was either smart or lucky with this game sandwiched between the Alabama and Kentucky games. Hendon Hooker had another incredible game, going 18/24 for 276 yards and 3 TDs before getting pulled in the 2nd quarter. It seemed like everybody was getting a chance to do something in this game. Five players threw a pass, including TE Princeton Fant on a 66-yard trick play for a TD, nine players had a rushing attempt and 10 players had a reception. Weirdly, despite their dominance in most areas, the Volunteers only had two more first downs than the Skyhawks (27-25). Tennessee faces Kentucky Saturday at 6:00 p.m.

Missouri 17 vs Vanderbilt 14

Sometimes, two terrible teams face off against each other and create something great. This was not one of those times. The only remaining winless teams in the SEC played in a game somebody had to win. They certainly showed how desperate they were for a win with all of the punting they did. Seriously, the punters had a combined 472 punting yards while the passing offenses combined for 453 passing yards. Missouri opened the game with a 75-yard TD drive. Vanderbilt followed this up on their opening drive by missing a 45-yard field goal because you can take the kicker out of Alabama, but you certainly can’t take the Alabama out of the kicker. Missouri turned the ball over four times, one of which became a scoop and score TD for the Commodores early in the second half. Vanderbilt benched AJ Swann at halftime for Mike Wright, who ended up throwing their only offensive TD of the game, an 80-yard bomb to Gamarion Carter. Other than that, this was a blown opportunity to end the third-longest SEC losing streak in history. Vanderbilt is on bye this week. Missouri travels to face South Carolina Saturday at 3:00 p.m.

#6 Alabama 30 vs #24 Mississippi State 6

This is a series that’s more lopsided than Bedlam, so it’s not too crazy to see that Bama came out on top. However, the Tide had a major issue in this game that’s worth talking about: running the dang ball. Mississippi State finished with 92 yards on 22 rushes, which isn’t great. Alabama finished with 44 yards on 26 carries. Even after taking out an 11-yard loss on a fumble, it’s still an appalling 55 yards on 25 carries. It really begs the question: what happened? It’s not like the passing offense was doing a bunch, they only finished with 261 yards. It wasn’t an issue of time of possession, they held the ball for 29:31. Perhaps it’s one of those weird glitches after a big game, LSU fans may recall what happened in the Ole Miss game in 2019 when John Rhys Plumlee ran all over LSU’s defense the week after the Bama game. The Bulldogs only managed a late rush TD with no time left, which is a small improvement over the last two games against the Tide. Both Mississippi State and Alabama are on bye this week.

South Carolina 30 vs Texas A&M 24

South Carolina finally beat Texas A&M and now they’re ranked. First off, I get it, but South Carolina doesn’t feel like what a ranked team should feel like to me despite only having two losses with one coming to Georgia and despite being on a four-game win streak (even though two of those games were out of conference). Anyway, this game began with a 100-yard kickoff return TD for the Gamecocks and they never looked back. That’s despite being outgained 269-168 yards passing and 398-286 yards total. Haynes King had another unfortunate performance, finishing 17/32 for 178 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. Connor Weigman came in to relieve King and led the Aggies to a late field goal, but finished 8/15 for a mere 91 yards. Devon Achane had an incredible night for the Aggies, finishing with 20 carries for 99 yards and 1 TD and adding 7 catches for 57 yards. The star of this game was South Carolina RB MarShawn Lloyd, the local product who ran 18 times for 92 yards and 2 TDs, including what became the game winner, while adding 2 catches for 24 yards. A&M looks to be in dire straits, with all that money this offseason potentially going for nothing giving us all these jokes for free. Texas A&M hosts Ole Miss at 6:30 p.m. Saturday. South Carolina hosts Missouri Saturday at 3:00 p.m.