Welp, that didn't necessarily turn out the way we all thought it would. In an Iron Bowl for the ages, the SEC's best shot at another appearance in the BCS National Championship Game fell by the wayside, leaving Auburn and Missouri in the most unlikely SECCG match-up one could have imagined at the beginning of the season. Proof positive that anything can happen in any given season, on any given day, regardless of what the talking heads may think. Regardless of who you root for, you have to love college football.
Since I assume most casual readers of this post are of the Alabama ilk, so there's no need to pick the scab on this stiff fresh wound. For all the would-have-beens, just turn them loose. Alabama has had an amazing run, and if the events of the last several years, and honestly, the last several weeks, are any indication, things may not be as sewn up as they appear at this time. We can only wait and see, but until then, keep your head's up and your hearts full, and never miss an opportunity to say "Roll Tide."
As far as breaking down that game, nothing else to say there...moving on.
- The Egg Bowl shaped up to be a lot more competitive than most had imagined, as Dak Prescott channeled Connor Shaw and pulled together a wounded performance in an overtime period to beat favored Ole Miss by a score of 17-10 in what could easily be termed the most lethargic Egg Bowl ever. Offense was at a premium in this game, and after four quarters of play, the score was knotted at 10-all. Bo Wallace did not have a career day for Ole Miss, posting 182 yards passing with three critical interceptions. The game came down a gutsy call by MSU coach Dan Mullen, who in the overtime period, elected to go for the touchdown on 4th-and-1 instead of kicking a field goal. Ole Miss got their shot, but Wallace fumbled the ball away to leave the Bullies with the win and bowl eligibility on the final day of their season.
- 17th ranked LSU got more than they bargained for against a plucky Arkansas team, despite an injury to starting quarterback Zach Mettenberger in the 4th quarter. Late in the 4th quarter, Mett was injured with the Tigers trailing the Hawgs by a score of 27-24. All appeared lost when freshman reserve QB Anthony Jennings entered the game for what would be a 99-yard drive to cinch the comeback win for LSU. Jennings produced, throwing a 49 yard touchdown strike with a little over a minute remaining to cement the victory for LSU by a score of 31-27.
- Florida ran into the buzz saw that is the Florida state offense, and despite a lethargic initial effort from Nole star QB Jameis Winston, Florida couldn't capitalize and fell by a score of 37-7. Skylar Mornhinweg, the gators third string QB, got the start and was largely ineffective, putting up only 115 yards and scoring only one touchdown in the final quarter of play. As an aside, in the wake of the game, Florida OC Brett Pease was released, presumably as a result of the Gators' continuing struggles on the offensive side of the ball.
- Vanderbilt got to eight wins by pulling about a squeaker against lowly Wake Forest, beating the 4-8 Demon Deacons on a late field goal to win by a score of 23-21. Austyn Carta-Samuels had a great effort with 231 yards passing and a touchdown to go along with one interception. Jordan Matthews was one of his main targets, as usual, and Matthews had an impressive 125 yards passing. At the half, Vandy only held a slight 17-14 lead , though Wake came alive after the half to take a 21-17 lead. The ‘Dores responded in the fourth quarter with two field goals, one with 39 seconds on the clock to cinch the victory and improve Vandy's bowl prospects.
- The Georgia Bulldogs also needed a come-from-behind victory against an ACC underdog on Rivalry Saturday, storming back from 20 down to beat Georgia Tech 41-34 with reserve quarterback Hutson Mason at the helm. Mason came in relief for Murray, who was out for the season with an injury, and he performed admirably by throwing for 299 yards with two TDs and one INT. Todd Gurley showed he's back to form, as he ran for 122 yards and three touchdowns, with two of those scores coming in overtime periods after the two teams remained knotted at 27-27 at the end of regulation.
- Tennessee reclaimed a bit of pride after beating back traditional rival Kentucky, winning by a final score of 27-14. The Vols leapt out to an early lead, and though UK QB Maxwell Smith threw for 254 yards and two touchdowns, the Wildcats couldn't muster the effort needed to overcome the early deficit. Tennessee running back Rajion Neal had a big game, putting up 134 yards against a hapless Wildcat defense, while freshman QB Josh Dobbs was steady for the Vols in a 199 yard, two touchdown performance with only a single interception.
- Tenth ranked South Carolina pushed their streak of wins over rival Clemson to five with a 31-17 win over the Tigers. Connor Shaw was once again the ‘Cocks' primary offensive weapon, as he passed for 152 yards, ran for 94 and recorded two touchdowns, one of the ground and one through the air. The game was closer than the final score indicated, as the bitter rivals were knotted at 17-17 after three quarters of play. However, the ‘Cocks forced six turnovers in the game, and that would ultimately be the difference as South Carolina scored two fourth quarter touchdowns to salt away the win.
- Missouri completed a miracle turnaround season by beating Texas A&M by a score of 28-21 after a late score by Mizzou running back Henry Josey powered in late on a 57 yard run to close the game. Texas A&M led for much of the first half, jumping out to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter and holding a one touchdown lead at the half. However, a motivated Tiger team emerged from the locker room and quickly score twice to give the Tigers their first lead of the game. The Aggies leveled the score early in the fourth quarter, but Josey's break-away run was the difference in the game, thus cinching the first appearance in the SECCG for the Tigers.
It's been a crazy year folks, and there's one more week left. Interesting to see how the BCS picture will shake out, keep your eyes on the prize, everyone.
SEC Teams in the BCS Top 25
1. Florida State
2. Ohio State
6. Oklahoma State
8. South Carolina
10. Michigan State
11. Arizona State
14. Northern Illinois
23. Fresno State
24. Texas A&M