Welcome back to Take a Look Tuesday, a weekly look at what happened in the other games involving SEC teams. Despite how it felt, there were, in fact, several SEC games, some of which were of decent importance. (Note: I remove sacks and sack yardage from rushes and rushing yardage when necessary to put stats in appropriate context.)
Kentucky 21 at Missouri 17
This may have ended with an unfortunate situation for Missouri, but they only have themselves to blame for getting into it. After a couple weeks of converting 3rd downs, the Tigers regressed hard and went 2/13 while going an additional 1/3 on 4th down (though one of the failed 4th down conversions was on a bad snap on a punt). They also fumbled when Brady Cook decided to run the ball on 3rd and 6 and was punished for that foolishness. Kentucky missed two field goals. Missouri turned those into two punts. That roughing the kicker business (which was the correct call by the letter of the law) was very avoidable had the Tigers played any semblance of good football when it mattered. Will Levis had a classic SEC stat line: 13/19 for 170 yards and 3 TDs. Neither one of these teams crossed the 300-yard threshold, Kentucky barely hit 250, but Kentucky had just enough to get them past Missouri. As if the pain couldn’t get worse, Missouri travels to Tennessee Saturday at 11:00 a.m. Kentucky hosts Vanderbilt Saturday at 11:00 a.m., too.
Florida 41 at Texas A&M 24
Texas A&M came into this game without several players who were sick, so it was interesting to see them keep it close for the first half (though that may say more about Florida than anything else). The Aggies got the ball into Devon Achane’s hands and he made the Gator defense pay, gaining 122 yards on 16 carries and scoring 2 touchdowns. The Aggies got off to a good start, leading 24-20 at halftime. Then Florida shut them down, picked up their offense and finished them off. Texas A&M has tied their longest losing streak since 1980 and must win out to make it to bowl eligibility, just as we all expected before the season began. Texas A&M travels to Auburn at 6:30 p.m. Florida hosts South Carolina at 3:00 p.m.
#3 Georgia 27 vs #1 Tennessee 13
Well then, I think I underestimated how good Georgia was last week, because this was a dominant performance. The high-powered Tennessee offense didn’t score a TD until 4:15 remaining in the game. Hendon Hooker got stuffed, he went 23/33 for just 195 yards and 1 interception. Stetson Bennett, meanwhile, had a great game, going 17/25 for 257 yards and 2 TDs. Georgia’s leading receiver was tight end Ladd McConkey (brilliant name), who ripped through Tennessee’s defense like it was nothing. The scoreboard doesn’t do this game justice, it was pure Georgia domination, even their punter got in on the action with an absolute beauty. Also, SEC referees don’t know what a safety is, go figure. Tennessee hosts Missouri Saturday at 11:00 a.m. Georgia travels to Mississippi State Saturday at 6:00 p.m.
Liberty 21 at Arkansas 19
This wasn’t an upset, it was hilarious. Liberty earned its first win over an SEC opponent as Hugh Freeze made his return to Arkansas (a reminder that Arkansas hosted Bobby Petrino’s Missouri State Bears earlier this season). The Flames got all their scoring done in the first half, finishing up after responding to a KJ Jefferson endzone interception. The Hogs came close to tying the game at the end but failed to convert their two-point conversion by mere inches. Arkansas outgained the Flames by over 100 yards, but two picks and going 4/16 on 3rd down made things a bit harder. The Razorbacks looked like they’d turned things around, but this loss proved that just wasn’t true. Sam Pittman’s got a lot to answer for and the best way is with on-field results. Arkansas hosts LSU Saturday at 11:00 a.m.
Mississippi State 39 vs Auburn 33 OT
Props to Auburn for putting up a good fight in this game and to Mississippi State for nearly blowing a huge lead again. Each team decided against doing half of the things an offense normally does. Auburn finished with 75 passing yards while Mississippi State finished with 51 yards on rushes. Mississippi State built up a 24-3 lead midway through the 2nd quarter and went into the half up 24-6. Auburn cut that lead down to 5 toward the end of the 3rd quarter, then all hell broke loose in the 4th. Auburn scored a TD and failed a two-point conversion, Mississippi State responded with the same, Auburn responded with a TD and successful two-point conversion, and Mississippi State kicked a field goal. After all that, the Bulldogs kicked the ensuing kickoff at an Auburn player’s helmet and recovered the kick, but they couldn’t get the ball into Massimo Biscardi’s range and avoid OT. One thing that really hurt Auburn was penalties, they finished with 14 for 115 yards (40 more than Robby Ashford threw for). Auburn hosts Texas A&M Saturday at 6:30 p.m. Mississippi State hosts Georgia Saturday at 6:00 p.m.
South Carolina 38 at Vanderbilt 27
Vanderbilt is still Vanderbilt, but this game wasn’t as close as last year. That’s more of a sign that South Carolina is a better team than anything else, and it’s been very obvious. The Gamecocks clinched bowl eligibility with three games to go in this performance. Running back MarShawn Lloyd missed this game with an injury, but the Gamecocks still managed over 200 yards on the ground. Despite 12 penalties for 116 yards, South Carolina played a more disciplined game with the football by finishing with a +3 turnover differential. Vanderbilt’s defense gave up nearly 500 yards in yet another subpar performance, though the offense held their own with over 450. Vanderbilt must win out to become bowl eligible, and they’ll begin that quest Saturday at 11:00 a.m. at Kentucky. Kentucky travels to Florida Saturday at 3:00 p.m.