May 21, 2024

Around the SEC: Week nine

Two SEC teams took on non-conference games, one was upset and another made its case by moving even closer to the top of the standings.

COLUMBIA, SC - OCTOBER 29, 2016 - defensive back Evan Berry #29 of the Tennessee Volunteers during the game between the South Carolina Gamecocks and the Tennessee Volunteers at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, SC. Photo By Hayley Pennesi/Tennessee Athletics

Kentucky tops Missouri

The Wildcats (5-3, 4-2 SEC) picked up a 35-21 victory over Missouri (2-6, 0-4), giving them their third straight conference win, a feat Kentucky hasn’t seen since 1997.

Kentucky went into the half up 21-7 and never looked back. The running backs led the way for the Wildcats, collecting 377 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. It was a record day for running backs Benny Snell Jr. and Stanley “Boom” Williams — the first time in school history where two running backs ran for at least 175 yards each in a conference game.

The Tigers were able to outscore the Wildcats 14-7 in the fourth quarter, making a late surge. But the comeback was short-lived, as Kentucky kept Missouri in its own territory during the Tigers’ last drive down the field.

With the win, Kentucky now finds itself sitting in second place in the SEC East.

Powerful defense pushes No. 14 Florida past Georgia

In the “World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party,” Florida’s (6-1, 4-1 SEC) defense found itself leading the way again for the Gators’ win over Georgia, 24-10.

Georgia (4-4, 2-4 SEC) faced seven three-and-outs, managed just eight first downs and collected only 164 total yards at the hands of a dominant Florida defense.

The Bulldogs kept things close early on, going into the half down just 14-10. But it was all Florida from there, as the Gators shutout Georgia in the second half.

The loss marks the fourth loss in the past five games for the Bulldogs, while Florida maintains its spot at the top of the SEC East standings.

Mississippi State edges Samford

It was an offense-heavy matchup in Starkville as Mississippi State (3-5, 1-3 SEC) was able to outlast Samford, 56-41.

Both starting quarterbacks had big days, racking up a combined 885 passing yards. Hunter Fitzgerald had a record day, tying a Bulldog record with seven touchdowns on the day. Three of those touchdowns landed in the hands of junior receiver Donald Gray, who hauled in a career-high 207 receiving yards.

Samford did all it could to keep up with Mississippi State, running 104 total plays and racking up 627 total yards of offense.

Mississippi State snapped a three-game losing streak with the win.

 No. 15 Auburn runs past Ole Miss

After what was a fairly close game, Auburn (6-2, 4-1 SEC) was able to pull away in the fourth quarter on its way to a 40-29 win in Oxford.

Ole Miss (3-5, 1-4 SEC) had a tough time containing Tigers’ running back Kamryn Pettway on his career night, rushing for 236 yards. Saturday’s performance beat his previous career-high of 192 that was set just last week.

Rebels’ quarterback Chad Kelly threw for 465 yards, setting a school-record that was held by Archie Manning since 1969.

Ole Miss was able to edge the Tigers in total yardage in the game, 570 to 554.

Aside from the strong offensive performances, both teams saw impressive outings from their kickers too. Auburn’s Daniel Carlson was 4-4 on field goals, including a 47-yarder in the fourth that would help the Tigers pull away from the Rebels. For Ole Miss, Gary Wunderlich was 3-3, including one from 49-yards out, setting a new career-high.

South Carolina upsets No. 18 Tennessee

Tennessee (5-3, 2-3 SEC) came into Columbia as the favorite, but was not able to fight off the Gamecocks as South Carolina (4-4, 2-4 SEC) pulled off the upset, 24-21.

The storyline heading into the half was one the Vols had become familiar with — being down and expecting to make the comeback.  Going into the final 30 seconds of the game,  Tennessee had one final chance to fulfill that expectation. The Vols drove 46-yards downfield to leave the game in the hands of Aaron Medley. The kicker lined up for a 58-yard field goal that would fall well-short.

South Carolina edged the Vols in total yardage on the day, 325 to 297. Freshman quarterback Jake Bentley threw for 167 yards and two touchdowns in just his second start. For the Vols, Josh Dobbs had a tough outing, completing just 12 of 26 passes for 161 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.

The loss is the third straight for the Vols, while the win gives Gamecocks’ coach Will Muschamp his biggest win at South Carolina yet, putting him at 5-0 against the Vols in his career.

 No. 9 Texas A&M dominates New Mexico State

Texas A&M (7-1, 4-1 SEC) took a break in conference play on Saturday in a 52-10 rout of New Mexico State (2-6) in what was a battle of the Aggies in College Station.

Texas A&M’s Christian Kirk had quite the day returning two punts for touchdowns. He also had a receiving touchdown late in the second quarter that would put the Aggies up 24-0.

A&M had momentum on its side heading into the half up 24-3 and never looked back, outscoring New Mexico State 28-7 in the second half.

Texas A&M outgained New Mexico State in total offense, 515 yards to 316, with 204 of those yards coming from Trevor Knight through the air. The quarterback had a strong outing, completing 15 of his 24 attempts with two touchdowns.

Edited by Dalton King 

Featured image by Hayley Pennesi, courtesy of Tennessee Athletics

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Danielle is a senior studying Journalism and Electronic Media. Before coming to UT, she was a student intern for 106.3 ESPN Radio where she assisted in the broadcasts and productions of Pigeon Forge High School football and basketball. She is also a former sports correspondent for The Mountain Press and worked as a promotions assistant for the Tennessee Smokies. If she's not busy with the Triple Play podcast or writing sports stories, you'll most likely find her at St. John XXIII Catholic Center on campus or watching sports somewhere while she sips on an Arnold Palmer. Follow her on Twitter: @Dani_Marie_15