November 18th, 2013 04:11 PM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt
Tags: Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, South Carolina
It was a weekend filled with lackluster, blah football. The “beautiful game” it wasn’t. And that’s what makes the one classic game from Saturday — and the play that defined it — stand out. We discuss all five SEC games and Auburn’s stunning Hail Mary win below…
Ole Miss 51, Troy 21 (Our prediction: Ole Miss 52, Troy 14)
Chalk up another victory for Ole Miss and head coach Hugh Freeze. The second year coach is now 14-9 at Oxford, but just as we’ve pointed it out with Dan Mullen at Mississippi State, Freeze is certainly making the most of the cannon fodder on the Rebels’ schedule. Of Freeze’s 14 wins, only four have come against FBS teams that boasted a winning percentage of .500 or better. Troy was overmatched from the get-go allowing 751 yards of offense to Bo Wallace (272 yards passing, 66 rushing, four TDs) and crew. Defensively Ole Miss held Troy to -13 yards rushing. It was a whipping. On Saturday Missouri visits the Grove. That’ll be a bigger test for the Rebels. If they can bow up and do to Missouri’s Tigers what they did to LSU’s Tigers last month, a whole lotta folks in South Carolina are going to be very happy.
Vanderbilt 22, Kentucky 6 (Our prediction: Vanderbilt 34, Kentucky 21)
Man, this one was ugly. Watching on television and staring at the empty seats around Dudley Field I thought: “This won’t make James Franklin want to stick around.” Then I watched a few more plays and a new thought popped into my head: “If I had to spend $10 to go in and watch this mess I wouldn’t attend, either.” The good news for Franklin’s bunch is that style points have nothing to do with bowl eligibility. Yes, his team has won ugly the last two weeks, but the goal is to win the game (thanks, Herm Edwards). Franklin has done that in Nashville. His teams are now 8-2 in November and for the third year in a row the Dores are bowl eligible. Who would have suspected that when AD David Williams tabbed an assistant from Maryland — a man with no Deep South recruiting ties — to take over on the West End? Depending on your point of view, VU has forced or lucked into eight turnovers the last two weeks against Florida and Kentucky. Either way, they’ve taken advantage scoring four TDs on drives of 26 yards or less. (Points off for Franklin’s decision to throw into the end zone with the game in hand late. Why run it up on Mark Stoops?) Speaking of UK, the Cats are just a very bad football team. Period. On their first drive of the game they marched down the field and capped off a 12-play, 75-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown run by Jojo Kemp. Up 6-0, they promptly allowed a Vanderbilt defender to come through the middle of the line untouched, block the extra point, and set up a long return that cut the lead to 6-2. Only a truly snakebit team could achieve it.
Auburn 43, Georgia 38 (Our prediction: Auburn 38, Georgia 35)
Random thoughts: Yet another impressive offensive performance for Gang Gus. Malzahn’s team nailed Georgia with 43 points and 566 yards of offense. This week they were even forced to put the ball in the air (not great, but effective). Kudos to Georgia for battling back from 27-7 and 37-17 to take the lead 38-37 with less than two minutes to play. Aaron Murray’s gutsy dive for the end zone (more on that in a second) looked as though it would seal his legacy as more than just one of the SEC best all-time passers, but one of the league’s all-time best players, too. And then Nick Marshall-to-Ricardo Louis happened. Stunning. Amazing. Heartbreaking for Georgia. Exhilarating for Auburn.
The word “miracle” is used too often in sports, but Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson were correct to toss it out on Saturday. Most incredible, perhaps, was the fact that Louis somehow spotted the ball coming down into view after being batted and had enough hand-eye coordination to snare it. That was no easy catch when you lose the ball from view as Louis did. For Georgia, it was the perfect exclamation point for a season that’s just been one bad break after another. Injuries across the board. A questionable call in the Vanderbilt game (ya gotta be better than the refs). And now a bobbled Hail Mary that two UGA defenders tipped to Auburn’s receiver. As for Auburn, they’d best take the next week to get over the high of this improbable win. UGA slowed the Tiger offense in the second half. AU was not nearly as successful throwing the ball — Hail Mary aside — as they have been running it. Whether or not they can run on Alabama in the Iron Bowl will likely determine the outcome of that one.
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