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Take a Look Tuesday: Week 12

SEC-SoCon Challenge Saturday went decently well

Conner Weigman #15 of the Texas A&M Aggies with a quarterback keeper against the Massachusetts Minutemen at Kyle Field on November 19, 2022 in College Station, Texas. Getty Images

Welcome back to Take a Look Tuesday, (Wednesday night edition) a weekly look at what happened in the other games involving SEC teams. SEC-SoCon Challenge Saturday went well for those participating, but it wasn’t so great for the others. (Note: I remove sacks and sack yardage from rushes and rushing yardage when necessary to put stats in appropriate context.)

#8 Alabama 34 vs Austin Peay 0

This was a standard Alabama blowout the week before the Iron Bowl in almost every way. Alabama’s defense shut out the Governors, held them to a paltry 206 offensive yards and forced three turnovers. The Tide had 527 offensive yards despite scoring 34 points, Bryce Young had a fantastic game, Jase McClellan did a fantastic job playing for the injured Jahmyr Gibbs, I can go on and on about all of this, but this is just the expectation. One thing that stood out was the fact that Alabama finished the game even in the turnover battle. They fumbled twice and threw a late pick. The only other noteworthy thing was starting left tackle Tyler Steen twisting his ankle in the 2nd quarter. His status remains up in the air for Alabama’s final regular season game when they host Auburn in the Iron Bowl Saturday at 2:30 p.m.

Mississippi State 56 vs East Tennessee State 7

Despite this weekend earning the nickname “SEC-SoCon Challenge Week,” this was the only game between an SEC team and a SoCon team. It went about as expected. Emmanuel Forbes broke the FBS career pick sixes record thanks to one of the luckiest bounces I’ve seen. He has six in his career and broke what was a three-way tie at five. The Bulldogs outgained the Buccaneers 418-154 and had 299 more passing yards (342-43). ETSU’s only points came on a blocked punt return TD in the 4th quarter. Will Rogers threw 5 TDs, and the game got so out of hand, Mississippi State played QB Sawyer Robertson, a real person that actually exists. Mississippi State travels to Ole Miss for the Egg Bowl Thursday at 6:00 p.m.

Texas A&M 20 vs UMass 3

This game was a putrid mess. Firstly, the spread on this game was A&M by 32. Texas A&M hasn’t scored more than 31 points in a game this season, and that came against FCS Sam Houston. Once again, the Aggies struggled to score. Kicker Randy Bond missed a 47-yard field goal late in the first half and a 45-yard field goal early in the 4th quarter. A&M also lost three fumbles. Somehow, the Minutemen held onto the ball for 32 minutes despite mustering a mere 168 yards of offense compared to Texas A&M’s 404. The Aggies snapped their six-game losing streak to the worst team in FBS, what an accomplishment. They host LSU Saturday at 6:00 p.m.

Vanderbilt 31 vs Florida 24

Vanderbilt is on an SEC winning streak and is a win away from a bowl berth, just as we all expected. Vanderbilt caught a couple lucky breaks in this game, but that shouldn’t discredit what they did to win. First, they caught a break when Florida’s punt returner tipped a ball that was bouncing over his head. That fumble turned into a TD for long snapper Wesley Schelling, who was at the bottom of the end zone pile. Their second break came in the second half when Anthony Richardson threw a pass just before he hit the ground that went through the arms of Thai Chiaokhiao-Bowman and bounced up for enough time to get picked off by Jaylen Mahoney (it was wild). That pick led to a TD. Florida gave this game away. They forced two turnovers, but they failed to score off either. The Gators had two crucial penalties on Vanderbilt’s first TD drive and had a targeting ejection in the second half. Florida had their chances, but they just didn’t capitalize. The Gators travel to Florida State Friday at 6:30 p.m. The Commodores host rival Tennessee with a chance to make a bowl on the line Saturday at 6:30 p.m.

#1 Georgia 16 @ Kentucky 6

Georgia, what are these close games? Georgia had to play good defense to win this game, because their offense was giving them very little room to work. The first half had only six combined possessions, three by each team. Kentucky’s first possession ended when Chris Rodriguez Jr. failed to convert a 4th and 1 at the Georgia 31 and their second ended when Will Levis threw a pick in field goal range. Those miscues allowed the Bulldogs to get two field goals in a game where points were at a premium. Georgia running back Kenny McIntosh had a great game on the ground, gaining 143 yards on 19 carries and scoring UGA’s only TD. Georgia’s defense is still a nightmare nobody wants to face. Kentucky hosts Louisville for the Governor’s Cup Saturday at 2:00 p.m. Georgia hosts rival Georgia Tech Saturday at 11:00 a.m.

Auburn 41 vs Western Kentucky 17

Some advanced analytics models had Western Kentucky as the favorites to win this game. That did not happen. Auburn scored when they got the ball. WKU didn’t. That’s the only explanation for the margin of victory. Both teams had the ball for 30 minutes and the Hilltoppers outgained the Tigers by a mere 11 yards. The difference was that WKU threw two picks (one for a TD), missed a 50-yard field goal on their opening drive and went 2/5 on 4th down. Koy Moore led the Tigers in receiving with 2 catches for 31 yards and a TD. Good for him. Auburn’s bowl hopes are on the line when they travel to Alabama in the Iron Bowl Saturday at 2:30 p.m.

South Carolina 63 vs #5 Tennessee 38

It sucks that Hendon Hooker tore his ACL in this game for so many reasons, not the least of which is how it looked to be a freak accident. Hooker fumbled on that play and the Gamecocks pounced, taking permanent hold of the momentum they grasped on the touchdown prior. South Carolina was without star running back MarShawn Lloyd again, but they didn’t let this deter them like they had in the Florida game. South Carolina failed to gain 300 yards in three of their last four games. They had 606 in this one. Instead of relying on the run game like they had in games past, the Gamecocks decided to attack Tennessee’s weak secondary. Spencer Rattler had a remarkable game, 30/37 for 438 yards and 6 TDs. Tennessee was on the bad end of team and national history in this one. Tennessee’s previous record for most points allowed to an SEC team was 62 to Florida in 1995. South Carolina also set a record for most points by an unranked team over an AP top 5 team, breaking 1990 Hawaii’s record in their 59-28 win over #4 BYU. There go the Vols’ playoff hopes. Tennessee travels to rival Vanderbilt Saturday at 6:30 p.m. South Carolina travels to Clemson Saturday at 11:00 a.m.

Arkansas 42 vs #14 Ole Miss 27

Ole Miss had 703 offensive yards and scored 27 points. 21 of those points came in the 4th quarter, marking the first time the Rebels have scored any 4th quarter points against a team that currently has a winning record. Arkansas running back Raheim Sanders went off, gaining 232 yards on 24 carries and rushing for 3 TDs. The two teams combined for 1206 offensive yards despite going a combined 12/28 on 3rd down. Two things killed the Rebels: penalties and turnovers. Ole Miss had 12 penalties for 116 yards and turned the ball over three times (two fumbles and a pick). Still, how the heck did Ole Miss fail to put up 30 with 703 offensive yards? Long failed drives. Their only punts came after drives going 21 and 32 yards, respectively, they went 54 yards to miss a 39-yard FG, they threw a pick after gaining 32 yards, they turned it over on downs after gaining 66 yards, and they ended the game after gaining 53 yards. That’s 258 pointless yards and a great show of why yards aren’t indicative of offensive success. Ole Miss concludes their regular season hosting Mississippi State Thursday at 6:00 p.m.

Missouri 45 vs New Mexico State 14

Missouri won. Good. This was a boring blowout where nobody learned anything new. Mizzou’s 3rd down offense was good for once, finishing 9/14. Brady Cook had a good game, going 19/27 for 251 yards and 3 TDs. New Mexico State, on the other hand, had an atrocious passing performance, going a combined 8/21 for 115 yards and 2 INTs. Missouri had to win this game to remain in contention for bowl eligibility and they did. The Tigers host Arkansas with their bowl hopes on the line (the Battle Line) Friday at 2:30 p.m.