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Around the SEC: College Football Week 4

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
Win-Loss Record key:
  • SEC - conference record
  • P5 - non-SEC record against Power 5
  • MM - record against Mid Majors/Non-Power 5 but projected bowl participant
  • CC - record against cupcakes
Florida Gators (2-0, SEC 1-0, P5 0-0, MM 0-0, CC 1-0)

Florida at Alabama 2:30 PM CT / 3:30 PM ET CBS

In the last meeting between the Gators and Crimson Tide in 2011, highly touted freshman quarterback Jeff Driskel was thrust onto the field because of an injury to starter John Brantley. The results were 2 for 6 passing for 14 yards, a fumble, three sacks, a sprained an ankle, and a 38-10 home loss to the eventual national champions. Three years later, he will arrive in Tuscaloosa as a senior with 17 starts under his belt. In two games he is 56 of 88 for 543 yds, 4 TDs, but 1 glaring INT that is very un-seniorlike.

Georgia Bulldogs (1-1, SEC 0-1, P5 1-0, MM 0-0, CC 0-0)

Troy at Georgia 11:00 AM CT / 12:00 noon ET SEC Network

There is something to be said for the pious life that Mark Richt leads as he seemingly can do no wrong in the eyes of UGA fans. Whenever the Bulldogs have a big win, Richt is showered with praise. When they take a loss, it is always the coordinators' fault. Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo is getting the brunt of the criticism from Monday morning quarterbacks despite scoring 35 points in a hostile environment. OCs may call the plays but it is still the head coaches' final say in big moments. Richt is a quarterbacks coach. I would think it would be on him to teach a QB how to throw a ball away and not get an intentional grounding call in a key situation.

Georgia could've put an end to South Carolina's season on Saturday but for now, it is a wide-open SEC East.

South Carolina Gamecocks (2-1, SEC 1-1, P5 0-0, MM 1-0, CC 0-0)

South Carolina at Vanderbilt 6:30 PM CT / 7:30 PM ET SEC Network

Despite the big upset win over UGA punctuated by the 4th quarter goal line stand, the Gamecocks are still struggling with keeping opponents out of the end zone. In three home games, the defense has given up 52, 33, and 38 points for an average of 36.7 points per game - good for 108th in the nation.  They are 93rd in rushing yards given up (173 ypg), but 125th out of 128 teams in passing yards given up (341 ypg), and 123rd in total defense (514 ypg). But credit defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward for having the sense to stack the box and dare Georgia QB Hutson Mason to beat them.

The Gamecocks have a practice game this week in preparation for a visit from QB Maty Mauk and the high-scoring (41.7 ppg) Mizzou Tigers on September 27.

Missouri Tigers (3-0, SEC 0-0, P5 0-0, MM 1-0, CC 2-0)

Indiana at Missouri 3:00 PM CT / 4:00 PM ET SEC Network

Don't look now, but Missouri is back in the SEC East catbird seat. Granted, their competition has not been the best but you know the saying: Just Win, Baby! After a visit from the Hoosiers, Mizzou has a crucial three game stretch that just might clear up the East picture: @ South Carolina, vs. Georgia, @ Florida.

Maty Mauk threw 11 touchdowns in 2013 and already has 12 for this season. He has thrown at least 3 TDs in three consecutive games this year. All this with the Tigers losing their top three pass catchers from a year ago.

Ole Miss Rebels (3-0, SEC 1-0, P5 0-0, MM 1-0, CC 1-0)

Ole Miss has a bye week followed by visits from Memphis (1-1) and Alabama.

For all of Ole Miss' success through the air so far this season, they have yet to get their running game going. No one running back has really stepped up and taken charge of the position.

Jaylen Walton 19 121 6.4 71 (TD) 2
I'Tavius Mathers 17 94 5.5 56 (TD) 2
Eugene Brazley 12 63 5.3 17 0
Mark Dodson 16 58 3.6 19 (TD) 1
Jordan Wilkins 14 47 3.4 9 0

Despite a balance of 110 passing plays to 119 rushing plays, the Rebs have amassed 1,094 yards passing to only 465 rushing. The word out of Oxford is that I'Tavius Mathers (toe) and Jordan Wilkins (ankle, knee) will not practice this week.

Ole Miss has found their way into the AP Top 10 for the first time since the 2009 season.

Texas A&M Aggies (3-0, SEC 1-0, P5 0-0, MM 0-0, CC 2-0)

Texas A&M at SMU 2:30 PM CT / 3:30 PM ET ABC or ESPN2ABC/ESPN2

True freshman receiver Speedy Noil will not play Saturday against SMU (0-2) due to an unspecified injury. Coach Kevin Sumlin would not elaborate on the specifics. Noil limped to the sideline and left in a golf cart during the Aggies' 38-10 win over Rice on Saturday. The injury can be seen here on a non-contact play (watch for #2 blocking downfield). Only moments before, fellow Aggie receiver Edward Pope took up a big chunk of sod with his knee seen here. Sideline reporter Jessica Mendoza noted that the sod has only been down 35 days and has not taken deep root.

Arkansas Razorbacks (2-1, SEC 0-1, P5 1-0, MM 0-0, CC 1-0)

Arkansas at Northern Illinois 6:00 PM CT / 7:00 PM ET ESPNUESPNU

The Razorbacks had a big win road at Texas Tech last Saturday but need to avoid the letdown. The Huskies (3-0) were 12-2 a year ago including wins at Iowa and at Purdue. They already have a win at Northwestern showing they are not afraid to go into a Power 5 team's stadium. Don't be surprised if NIU wins this game.

Mississippi State Bulldogs (3-0, SEC 0-0, P5 0-0, MM 0-0, CC 3-0)

Mississippi State at LSU 6:00 PM CT / 7:00 PM ET ESPNESPN

Saturday will be a special game for Dak Prescott as the Louisiana native returns to his home state for the first time as the Bulldogs starter. Prescott was a 3-star dual threat QB from Haughton High School outside of Shreveport. As a recruit, he was unranked nationally. MSU and LSU were the only two Power 5 teams to offer him.

LSU Tigers (3-0, SEC 0-0, P5 1-0, MM 0-0, CC 2-0)

Mississippi State at LSU 6:00 PM CT / 7:00 PM ET ESPNESPN

LSU's defense has pitched back-to-back shutouts against Sam Houston State and La.-Monroe. They have a streak of 31 consecutive possessions without allowing a point. The TIgers own the nation's #3 defense allowing 205.7 yards and 8.0 points per game. I have a feeling that stat will change with Mississippi State who scores 43.7 per game, good for 19th in the nation.

Alabama Crimson Tide (3-0, SEC 0-0, P5 1-0, MM 0-0, CC 2-0)

Alabama vs. Florida 2:30pm CT / 3:30pm ET CBS