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SEC Scoreboard Wraparound: Week 4

The Return of the “Cupcake”!

On a personal side note, I would like to give a shout out to my friend who was nice enough to give me and my fiancée tickets to the LSU-New Mexico game. My fiancée is still learning about sports and I enjoy teaching her about the different aspects of each sport. She is gradually picking up football, but it can be difficult, as there are so many little nuances of the game to try to explain. Especially since many of these things are all happening at the same time! But, like I said, she’s trying to learn and I like being the “sports Sherpa” so to speak.

That to say, the fourth week of the college football season was, mostly, another round of cupcake games in the SEC. Like the aforementioned New Mexico, other overmatched teams like Kent State, Northern Illinois, Bowling Green, Charlotte and Vanderbilt all had to go toe to toe with SEC opponents this past Saturday. (*someone walks up to the author and begins whispering in ear*) Wait, what? (*more whispering*) Yeah, I know, I included Vanderbilt in the overmatched team category. (*whispering continues*) Well, weren’t they? I mean, Alabama beat the Commodores, 55-3. When you are held to only 129 yards of total offense, nine first downs and the only points you can muster is from a 40 yard field goal, you aren’t going to beat many teams and you’re definitely not going to beat the number two ranked team in the country. Up next for the Crimson Tide, a SEC game of the week matchup with the number 20 ranked Arkansas Razorbacks. Speaking of the Red Hogs…

The then number 10 ranked Razorbacks locked up with the number 23 Texas A&M Aggies last Saturday in AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. In one of the closer games of the SEC games this week, the Aggies pulled off the upset, beating Arkansas, 23-21. Arkansas’ dual threat quarterback KJ Jefferson did everything he could to help propel the Razorbacks to victory, with 171 yards passing and two touchdowns through the air along with 105 yards and one more score on the ground. Unfortunately, Jefferson also had one of the biggest mistakes of the game, fumbling the football on a first and goal from the three yard line that was returned the length of the field for an Aggies touchdown. Texas A&M still had to hang on for dear life as Arkansas’ 42 yard field goal attempt to take the lead with 1:30 left in the game went off the right upright. With the win, the Aggies have beaten two AP Top 25 teams in back-to-back weeks, although the win over Miami doesn’t look as strong as the Hurricanes were humiliated by Middle Tennessee State, 45-31, earlier on Saturday. But a win is a win, or so the saying goes…

Another team that can bask in the joys of victory from last week over another ranked program are the Tennessee Volunteers. In an offensive shootout, the number 11 Vols beat the 20th ranked Florida Gators, 38-33. The two teams combined for 1170 yards of total offense and 58 first downs! The Volunteers were paced by senior quarterback Hendon Hooker’s 349 passing yards and two touchdowns and 112 rushing yards and one TD. Hooker’s night was actually outperformed by Florida’s own signal caller, sophomore Anthony Richardson, who had an amazing 453 yards and two passing touchdowns along with 62 yards on the ground and two additional scores. The questionable call by Florida’s first year head coach Billy Napier to go for two when the Gators were down eleven points is still being debated by the so-called experts. Yes, if you convert, you only need a touchdown and a field goal to tie. If you convert the extra point after the touchdown, you have a one point lead. Of course, the Gators failed to convert on the two-point pass play and everyone and their mother had a field day criticizing the play call. As the saying goes, the idea only looks dumb because it didn’t work. If Florida would have converted the two point conversion and gone on to win the game, everybody would be praising Napier as a genius. Instead, Florida fans are grumbling in Gainesville about what could have been last Saturday…

The other games in the SEC from this past Saturday:

#1 Georgia – 39, Kent State – 22

#8 Kentucky – 31, Northern Illinois – 23

# 16 Ole Miss – 35, Tulsa – 27

Auburn – 17, Missouri – 14

LSU – 38, New Mexico – 0

Mississippi State – 45, Bowling Green – 14

South Carolina – 56, Charlotte – 20

Some of the “cupcakes” I previously mentioned did put a scare into their SEC foes, including Northern Illinois and Tulsa, both who were only a score (and a two point conversion) from tying Kentucky and Ole Miss, respectfully. Both the Wildcats and the Rebels scraped by and still are ranked in the AP Top 25 heading into their Week 5 matchup… against each other. That’s right, the number 7 ranked Kentucky Wildcats will travel to the snootiest place to tailgate, Oxford, Mississippi, and take on the number 14 ranked Ole Miss Rebels. The ironic thing about this is that for some reason both CBS and ESPN passed on this game, as a primetime game, relegating it to the dreaded 11 a.m. kickoff. So yes, LSU fans, you can be mad all you want about the Tennessee game being at 11 a.m. as well, but you see that it’s not just LSU that the networks stuck it to. It’s disappointing, but again, as we see this week, the Tigers are not alone in their misery. And honestly, in my opinion, the Rebels and Wildcats have more to complain about, since both teams are ranked in the top 15.

Lastly, yes, LSU looked impressive against the overmatched Lobos last Saturday. But that was expected. Like I said, New Mexico had about a snowball’s chance in Hell of winning that matchup. Yes, the Tigers defense was dominant, holding New Mexico to only 88 total yards – with a big chunk of that in a 38 yard pass as a result of busted coverage. Tigers quarterback Jayden Daniels was super-efficient, shredding the Lobos with 24 out of 29 passes for 279 yards and nine carries for 37 yards. Running backs Noah Cain and Armoni Goodwin both had two touchdowns apiece and wide receiver Brian Thomas, Jr. had one receiving score as well. I’m happy about the Tigers’ performance, but as we all know, the schedule only gets tougher from here.

This Saturday, the Fighting Tigers take to the road to take on “that school on the Plains”. Are they a top-tier opponent? No. But they should be at least a small step up in competition. One thought did enter my mind about this week’s game. As I’m sure all Tigers fans remember, back in 2016, LSU lost to “that school”, 18-13, which led to the Tigers falling to 2 and 2 on the season and Les Miles being fired as the head coach. Wouldn’t it be something if this time, the LSU Tigers are the victorious ones and that “they” end up firing their coach immediately after the game? One can only hope.