May 27, 2024

Around the SEC: Week 11

Backup quarterbacks and defenses (good and bad) made headlines in this week’s SEC recap.

Photo by Sumner Gilliam

Tennessee players stand arm-in-arm and swing to the Tennessee Waltz after their game against Kentucky on Nov. 12, 2016 at Neyland Stadium.

Mississippi State at No. 1 Alabama

After coming off a surprising win over then-No. 4 ranked Texas A&M, the Mississippi State Bulldogs were throttled 51-3 by the undisputed No. 1 team in the nation, the Alabama Crimson Tide. Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts was the star of the game, passing for a career high 347 yards and four touchdowns as well as rushing for 100 yards and a touchdown. The most impressive thing about those numbers, however, is that he didn’t even play three full quarters of football. Cooper Bateman came in and relieved the true freshman late in the third quarter. Alabama receiver Ardarius Stewart had a solid game as well, hauling in eight passes for 156 yards and three touchdowns.

Ole Miss at No. 8 Texas A&M

It appeared as if Johnny Manziel had made a return to play at Kyle Field once again when Ole Miss squared off with Texas A&M, except he accidentally put on the wrong team’s jersey. After Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly was lost for the rest of the season, head coach Hugh Freeze was forced to burn freshman Shea Patterson’s redshirt. He didn’t disappoint. Patterson completed 25 of 42 attempts for 338 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in the Rebels’ 29-28 comeback win on the road. Going into the fourth quarter, Texas A&M was leading 21-6 before Patterson channeled his inner Johnny Football, finding Damore’ea Stringfellow for a six-yard touchdown that looked more like it came straight out of a video game. Down by two, Gary Wunderlich made a 39-yard field goal with 37 seconds left in the game to give Ole Miss the lead for good.

No. 9 Auburn at Georgia

After starting the season 1-2 with losses to Clemson and Texas A&M, not many expected Auburn to be contending with Alabama for the top spot in the SEC West in Week 11. However, the Tigers just needed to win at Georgia and stay healthy against Alabama A&M next week before the storied Iron Bowl to finish out the regular season. However, Georgia had different plans. The Bulldogs’ defense was just about as good as it could have been in the second half en route to a 13-7 win. The Tigers only managed 32 yards in the second half and didn’t convert a single first down. Despite how good the Georgia defense was, the Auburn defense didn’t play much worse. The Bulldogs’ lone touchdown was a Maurice Smith pick six from inside Auburn territory. Nick Chubb rushed for over 100 yards yet again and Jacob Eason threw for 208 yards. Kerryon Johnson was essentially the only Tiger player to do much of anything, carrying 22 times for 99 yards and the only Auburn touchdown — he even completed two passes. Starting quarterback Sean White had one of the worst passing performances of the season, only completing 6 of 20 attempts for 27 yards and an interception.

No. 24 LSU at No. 25 Arkansas

LSU didn’t have any lasting effects from its10-0 loss against Alabama last week, as the Tigers rolled over Arkansas 38-10. The Tigers boast two of the best running backs in the SEC in Leonard Fournette and Derrius Guice, and the superstar duo were essentially the entire LSU offense. Fournette had 17 carries for 98 yards and three touchdowns as well as two receptions for 44 yards, while Guice had 21 carries for a career-high 252 yards and two touchdowns of his own. In the fourth quarter, Guice broke off a 96-yard touchdown run, the longest touchdown run in school history. Arkansas just couldn’t get anything going all night, ending with less than 300 yards of offense.

South Carolina at Florida

Former Florida head coach Will Muschamp made his return to Ben Hill Griffin Stadium this week in his first year as head coach at South Carolina, but his Gamecocks were not able to keep the momentum from their win over Tennessee two weeks ago in a 20-7 loss. Florida quarterback Austin Appleby completed 17 of 21 pass attempts for 201 yards, two touchdowns and an interception to lead the Gator offense. South Carolina just couldn’t get anything going offensively, finishing the game with only 256 yards of total offense. Florida racked up five sacks, seven quarterback hurries and 12 tackles for a loss against the young Gamecocks, and reminded the rest of the SEC that the Gators still boast one of the league’s best defenses. Florida heads to Baton Rouge next week with a chance to clinch an SEC championship game berth.

Kentucky at Tennessee

Despite another slow start and a two-play, 85-yard opening touchdown drive by the Wildcats, the Vols scored big and hung on to beat Kentucky 49-36 and eliminate the Wildcat’s SEC East title chances. If you like good running offenses, this was the game for you. Kentucky had a staggering 443 rushing yards while Tennessee came in just behind with 376 rushing yards of its own. Three players in the game had over 120 rushing yards and two others had at least 90, with Tennessee’s Joshua Dobbs leading the way with 147. Tennessee captains Alvin Kamara and Cameron Sutton returned to action and made their presences felt. Kamara had 128 rushing yards on 10 carries and two touchdowns, while Sutton made three tackles and had two pass breakups.

Vanderbilt at Missouri

Missouri notched its first SEC win in over 13 months by beating Vanderbilt 24-10 Saturday. Tiger quarterback Drew Lock has looked very impressive this season for a team that just won its third game of the season and its first over a Power Five team. Lock completed 22 of 37 pass attempts for 294 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Commodores kept the game within striking distance for the first three quarters, but the Mizzou defense held Vanderbilt to three punts and -14 yards of offense in the final 15 minutes. Unfortunately for both teams, things don’t seem to get any easier in the last two weeks of the regular season. Missouri goes to Tennessee before hosting Arkansas in the final week of the regular season, while Vanderbilt gets both Ole Miss and Tennessee at home.

Edited by Nathan Odom

Featured image by Sumner Gilliam

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Matt is a sophomore journalism and electronic media major at the University of Tennessee. He enjoys watching any and all sports, and is an active member in the Pride of the Southland Marching Band. Follow him on twitter @mattraymond271