Around the SEC: Week three storylines

Late-game heroics, near upsets and Nick Saban’s revenge highlight a memorable week three of SEC action.

Commodores rolled by Georgia Tech in Atlanta (38-7)

The offense was nonexistent for the Commodores against the Yellow Jackets Saturday.

Vanderbilt was held to just 275 yards on the afternoon. Ralph Webb, who had led the conference in rushing through the first two games, was held to only 69 yards on 18 carries. The Commodores actually drove down and scored on their opening drive on a pass from Kyle Shurmur, but they were held scoreless for the rest of the game

With the loss, Vanderbilt falls to 1-2 on the season. They will next face Western Kentucky in Bowling Green, a team they lost to at home last season

Vols narrowly avoid upset against Ohio; Injuries rule the day (28-19)

It was another lackluster performance for Tennessee against a much weaker opponent.

Josh Dobbs threw two touchdowns and ran for another behind an offensive line that was again a weak spot for the Vols. Tennessee went down on their opening drive and scored, but the offense was inconsistent the rest of the game. Injuries were a big part of the day for the defense. All-SEC players Cameron Sutton and Jalen Reeves-Maybin both went down early in the game. Even without their two leaders, the defense did a respectable job against the Bobcats, only allowing one touchdown all afternoon.

The Vols’ move to 3-0 on the season and will look to end “the streak” against their rival Florida in Neyland Stadium next Saturday.

Alabama comes from behind against Ole Miss (48-43)

For the Ole Miss Rebels, the third time was not the charm this time around against Alabama.

The Crimson Tide trailed 24-3 at one point in the first half, but a huge punt-return touchdown from Eddie Jackson help bring Alabama closer. A pair of defensive touchdowns by Jonathan Allen and Da’Ron Payne also assisted the Tide’s comeback.

Freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts held his own against the Rebels’ Chad Kelly, throwing for 158 yards while running for 146 more. Kelly threw for a career-high 421 yards and three touchdowns, but he committed costly turnovers later in the game. Ole Miss staged a comeback of their own with two late touchdowns, but Alabama was able to run the clock out.

The Crimson Tide move to 3-0 and will next face Kent State, while the Rebels (1-2) will have another SEC home game against Georgia.

Gamecocks barely make it by East Carolina (20-15)

It was the first collegiate start for freshman quarterback Brandon McIlwain.

McIlwain ran for 34 yards and two touchdowns while also throwing for 195 yards. Carolina’s defense was aided by turnovers from the Pirates on offense. ECU gained 519 yards on offense and without the turnovers the game may have had a different outcome.

With the win, the Gamecocks move to 2-1 on the season with a trip to Kentucky on the schedule next Saturday.

Wildcats get first win of the season against New Mexico State (62-42)

After being tied at the half, Kentucky rolled in the second half to pick up their first win.

Starting quarterback Drew Barker left the game early on with an injury. The Wildcats used two quarterbacks the rest of the way with Benjamin Snell Jr. running for four touchdowns and Stephen Johnson throwing for three more. Kentucky gained 692 yards of offense while surrendering 500 yards on defense.

The Wildcats (1-2) next host South Carolina in SEC play.

Tigers almost allow Bulldogs to come back (23-20)

It was a much closer call than LSU fans would have liked against Mississippi State Saturday in Baton Rouge.

Leonard Fournette returned from injury and rushed for 147 yards and two touchdowns. Danny Etling took over for Brandon Harris at quarterback and threw for 215 yards in his first start. The Tigers dominated the game threw three quarters, but the Bulldogs made a late rally. Nick Fitzgerald struggled at quarterback for the Bulldogs and was replaced by Damian Williams, who led three scoring drives, but LSU eventually held on.

LSU moves to 2-1 on the season and will travel to Auburn to face the Tigers next week. Mississippi State (1-2) will travel up north to face the Minutemen of Massachusetts.

Texas A&M knocks out Auburn on the Plaines (29-16)

Texas A&M picked up their first SEC win of the 2016 season with a solid win at Auburn.

Oklahoma transfer Trevor Knight passed for 247 yards, but it was Aggies kicker Daniel LaCamera who was the high scorer of the day, drilling five field goals.

The Tigers scored early on a Kamryn Pettway touchdown run, but they never got anything else going the rest of the day. Despite rushing for 236 yards as a team, the lackluster quarterback play hurt the offensive production.

Texas A&M moves to 3-0 and will next face No. 24 ranked Arkansas in Arlington, Texas. Auburn falls to 1-2 and will host the LSU Tigers next week.

Florida defeats North Texas, but lose Del Rio (32-0)

The Gators moved to 3-0 on the season, but it came at a cost.

Starting quarterback Luke Del Rio went down with a leg injury after a low hit from a North Texas player on Saturday night in Gainesville. Del Rio threw for 186 yards on the night, but won’t be available for this Saturday’s game against Tennessee in Knoxville.

The Florida defense was dominant Saturday against the North Texas offense. The Mean Green rushed for -13 yards and only threw for 66 yards. The 53 yards allowed are the fewest allowed by the Gators in their storied history.

Arkansas rolls over Texas State (42-3)

It was a dominant performance for Razorbacks Saturday night.

Quarterback Austin Allen threw for 241 yards and two touchdowns in just three quarters. Arkansas took an early lead in the game and never looked back. The defense surrendered only 105 yards of total offense on the night, including 26 yards rushing on 22 Texas State carries.

The Hogs move to 3-0 with the win and will travel to Cowboys Stadium to face Texas A&M in their first conference game next weekend.

Eason leads Bulldogs over Missouri (28-27)

Jacob Eason’s late-game heroics led Georgia to victory over an improved Missouri team in Columbia

Eason threw a 20-yard touchdown to Isaiah McKenzie on fourth down with just 90 seconds left in the game. Eason and McKenzie connected all night long in Eason’s first game where he didn’t split snaps with Greyson Lambert, throwing for 308 yards and three scores, while McKenzie received 10 of his passes for 122 yards.

The Tigers committed five turnovers that hurt an otherwise impressive offensive performance. Drew Lock finished with 376 yards through the air and three touchdowns, but also threw three interceptions. Missouri had a chance to win the game after the Bulldogs’ late touchdown, but wide receiver J’Mon Moore fumbled, giving Georgia the key SEC East victory.

The Bulldogs to 3-0 and will travel to Oxford to face Ole Miss next weekend. The Tigers fall to 1-2 and square off against Delaware State at home next weekend.

Edited by David Bradford

Featured image by Sumner Gilliam, courtesy of WUTK Sports