Around the SEC: Week 12

While several SEC teams played against non-conference opponents in Week 12, there were some major in-conference showdowns, including one that decided the winner of the SEC East.

Photo by Ben Proffitt.

Tennessee running back #6 Alvin Kamara weaves through Missouri's defense during the Vols' game against the Tigers on Nov. 19, 2016, at Neyland Stadium.

Chattanooga at No. 1 Alabama

It was a slow start for Alabama standards, but the Tide eventually moved past the Mocs to remain undefeated on the season, winning 31-3. The Tide only led 14-3 at the half, which was odd given the way this Alabama team has been playing this season. Jalen Hurts threw for 136 yards and three touchdowns while also rushing for 68 yards. Damien Harris added a touchdown and ran for 91 yards on just 13 carries.

Alabama (11-0, 7-0 SEC) will next host Auburn in its regular season finale.

No. 13 Florida at No. 25 LSU (16-10)

It was a must-win game for the Gators on Saturday in Baton Rouge — they had to win to win the SEC East, and they did just that, defeating the Tigers 16-10. In a game that had been pushed back because of Hurricane Matthew, Florida used a strong defensive performance to secure its berth in the SEC Championship Game. LSU took the lead early, but the Gators regained the lead in the third quarter on a 98-touchdown pass from Austin Appleby to Tyrie Cleveland. The Tigers tied it up in the fourth quarter again, but the Gators took the lead back with a field goal. After another Gator field goal increased the margin to six, LSU failed to score on four plays after driving inside of Florida’s 10-yard line.

The Gators moved to 8-2 (6-2 SEC) with the win and will take on non-conference rival Florida State in Tallahassee next week. LSU fell to 6-4 (4-3 SEC) with the loss and will travel to College Station to face Texas A&M on Thanksgiving night.

Alabama A&M at No. 16 Auburn

The Tigers steamrolled their FCS opponent last Saturday, 55-0, in their final game before the Iron Bowl against Alabama. Jeremy Johnson accounted for 189 total yards and three scores on the night in replacement of the injured Sean White. The Tigers rushed for 451 yards in the game, with Kam Martin and Kerryon Johnson leading the way in the absence of star running back Kamryn Pettway. This was the first shutout of the season for the Auburn defense.

Auburn moved to 8-3 (5-2 SEC) with the win and will now travel to Tuscaloosa for the Iron Bowl.

UTSA at No. 22 Texas A&M

UTSA made it interesting for the Aggies, but Texas A&M closed out the win to halt their losing streak — the Aggies won 23-10. After getting torched by both schools from Mississippi, the Texas A&M defense responded well on Saturday. Myles Garrett had four and a half sacks in the game, which is his new career high in a single game. The Aggies held the Roadrunners to only 48 rushing yards and were able to make timely plays on offense. Jake Hubenak threw for 248 yards and a score, while Trayveon Williams had 80 yards rushing and a touchdown. Kicker Daniel LaCamera  also nailed three field goals for Texas A&M.

The Aggies moved to 8-3 (4-3 SEC) with the win and will take on LSU at home on Thanksgiving night.

Missouri at No. 24 Tennessee

Senior day in Knoxville was a mix of disappointment and celebration for Tennessee. The Vols defeated the Tigers in Neyland Stadium, 63-37, but missed out on the opportunity to go to the SEC Championship Game with Florida’s win against LSU. Josh Dobbs finished off his last home game at Tennessee with a big performance.

Dobbs led the Vols’ in both rushing and passing — he threw for 223 yards and three scores and rushed for 190 yards and two scores. The game was a back-and-forth affair for the first three quarters, and Tennessee only led by eight at the end of the third. Missouri closed the gap to within five, but the Vols finished strong and won by 26. As good of a day as it was for the Tennessee offense, it was an equally as bad day for the Vols’ defense. Tennessee allowed the most yards to an opponent in the history of the program. Damarea Crockett and Ish Witter each rushed for over 160 yards, and the Tigers rushed for 420 yards as a team. Drew Lock also threw for 320 yards.

Tennessee moved to 8-3 (4-3 SEC) with the win and will travel to face Vanderbilt in Nashville on Saturday. Missouri fell to 3-8 (1-6 SEC) with the loss and will host Arkansas on Friday.

Lousiana-Lafeyette at Georgia

Georgia took on Sun Belt opponent Louisiana-Lafayette Saturday following a big win against the Auburn Tigers last weekend. Isaiah McKenzie got the Bulldogs started early with two big plays in the first quarter, including a 55-yard touchdown run on his first touch. What happened on his second touch? He scored on an 82-yard punt return touchdown. The Bulldogs only led by two scores at the half, but they ended up scoring twice in the second half to take a 28-point lead. Jacob Eason was 13-for-19 for 165 yards and two scores on the afternoon. Nick Chubb led the Bulldogs in both rushing and receiving, and he had two touchdowns and 157 total yards. The Bulldogs won, 35-21.

Georgia moved to 7-4 (4-4 SEC) with the win and will take on ACC rival Georgia Tech in Athens next week.

South Carolina vs. Western Carolina

South Carolina defeated the Catamounts on Saturday by a score of 44-31. The win was the Gamecocks’ sixth, which means they are now bowl eligible. The game was close through the first quarter, but the Gamecocks grabbed a big lead by halftime and controlled the rest of the game. Both Deebo Samuel and Rico Dowdle had big games for South Carolina. Samuel had three touchdowns in the game, including a 100-yard kick return in the first quarter. Dowdle rushed for 226 yards and two touchdowns. Freshman Jake Bentley also had 154 yards passing on the night.

The Gamecocks moved to 6-5 (3-5 SEC) with the win and will now travel to Clemson to face off against their in-state rivals.

Kentucky vs. Austin Peay

Like South Carolina, Kentucky also secured bowl eligibility with a non-conference win against Austin Peay, winning by a score of 49-13. Surprisingly, the Governors scored the first 13 points of the game and held the lead until just before halftime. The Wildcats’ defense played much better after that point, though, and held Austin Peay scoreless in the second half.  Benny Snell Jr. and Jo Jo Kemp led Kentucky in the rushing attack Saturday night. Snell Jr. and Kemp combined to rush for 206 yards and four touchdowns.

With the win, Kentucky moved to 6-5 (4-4 SEC) and will take on Lamar Jackson and Louisville on Saturday.

Arkansas at Mississippi State

In what turned out to be a major shootout, the Razorbacks defeated  the Bulldogs 58-42. The game was close through the first quarter, but Arkansas ran away with it in the second with four scores. The Razorbacks had 661 total yards of offense on the night. Rawleigh Williams had 205 yards rushing and four touchdowns. Williams also threw for a touchdown in the third quarter on a trick play. Austin Allen had 303 yards passing and two touchdowns for Arkansas as well. Mississippi State had a good day offensively too, albeit with much of their production coming later in the game. Nick Fitzgerald had 459 total yards of offense as he led the Bulldogs in both rushing and passing. He also accounted for six total touchdowns on the night.

Arkansas moved to 7-4 (3-4 SEC) with the win and will travel to Missouri on Friday. Mississippi State fell to 4-7 (2-5 SEC) with the loss and will travel to Oxford to take on Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl.

Ole Miss at Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt used 31 unanswered points to defeat the Rebels in Nashville last Saturday, 38-17. Ralph Webb had 123 yards on the ground and added three touchdowns as well. Kyle Shurmur also had a good game throwing the football — he threw for 273 yards and two touchdowns. After leading the comeback against Texas A&M the week before, freshman Shea Patterson struggled a bit against the Commodore defense. Patterson ended up throwing for 222 yards and two touchdowns, but most of that came when the game was out of reach. The Rebels were only able to rush for 90 yards on the night.

With the win, Vanderbilt moved within one win of being bowl eligible at 5-6 (2-5 SEC) with a game against in-state rival Tennessee at home on Saturday. Ole Miss fell to 5-6 (2-5 SEC) and will also take on their in-state rival in Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl.

Edited by Adam Milliken

Featured image by Ben Proffitt