2013 was an absolutely thrilling season in the Southeastern Conference, and the league took on more of an offensive identity with several more shootouts than expected. Defense took a backseat to high-flying offenses, and many points were scored.
And because shootouts were much more prevalent, it led to incredible games along the way. SDS will count down the SEC’s top 10 games, and we start with No. 10 – No. 6:
10. Georgia 34, Tennessee 31, OT
Date: October 5th
Buzz: Vegas had the Bulldogs a slight favorite headed into Knoxville and a date with the Vols that almost ended in an upset. Georgia was without RB Todd Gurley and lost RB Keith Marshall, WR Michael Bennett and WR Justin Scott-Wesley during the game, and the Bulldogs let the Vols hang around for four quarters. Tennessee scored a late go-ahead TD to make it 31-24 with less than two minutes to play. However, Georgia’s leader Aaron Murray brought the Bulldogs back and orchestrated a 10-play, 75-yard drive that ended in a game-tying TD pass in the final seconds. Tennessee fumbled in overtime, and the Bulldogs kicked a field goal to escape in Knoxville 34-31.
9. Ole Miss 39, Vanderbilt 35
Date: August 29th
Buzz: At the time, I thought this game had a chance to be a top five game in 2013, but little did we know, several games would play out in high-scoring, late-scoring fashion. It was only getting the 2013 party started. Both teams traded scores back and forth throughout the game before Vanderbilt took the 35-32 lead in the fourth quarter with 1:30 remaining. It looked like the Dores would escape, and then the unthinkable happened. Rebels’ running back Jeff Scott housed one from 75 yards to give the Rebels the 39-35 win.
8. Texas A&M 41, Ole Miss 38
Date: October 12th
Buzz: Just survive! That was the theme of 2013. In another prolific shootout, two offensive teams put up serious numbers. The Aggies beat the Rebels in 2012 in dramatic fashion, and this one ended in drama. The Rebels and Aggies traded scores throughout the game, with Ole Miss taking the 38-31 lead with 6:05 remaining. But that’s too much time for Johnny Football. The Aggies tied it at 38 with 3:07 remaining, and the maligned Aggies’ defense forced a rare three and out to give the ball back to Manziel and the offense. Manziel drove the Aggies down and Josh Lambo hit the game-winning 33-yard field goal to give the Aggies the win. Texas A&M scored 10 unanswered points to seal the victory in back-to-back years in Oxford.
7. South Carolina 27, Missouri 24, 2OT
Date: October 26th
Buzz: If you’re a Gamecocks fan, this game ranks much higher, and it was a real thriller. Missouri seized control of the game in the first half and remained in control with a 17-0 lead before Iron Man Connor Shaw entered the game and took over. The Shaw-led Gamecocks scored 17 unanswered points to tie it with 42 seconds left. Both teams scored touchdowns in overtime, and Shaw’s 15-yard TD pass to Bruce Ellington on fourth down was one he’ll remember his entire life. The Gamecocks nailed a field goal in the second overtime, and Mizzou’s Andrew Baggett clanged it off the goal post to solidify the biggest fourth-quarter comeback win in the SEC for 2013. What a thriller!
6. Auburn 45, Texas A&M 41
Date: October 19th
Buzz: Like so many others, Auburn-Texas A&M came down to the final seconds. Both teams traded punches throughout the game, and the Aggies looked in control in the fourth quarter, leading 34-24. Auburn took the late 38-34 lead before Texas A&M and Johnny Manziel scored the go-ahead TD with five minutes to play 41-38. However, Auburn drove the length of the field and right down the Aggies’ throats on a 13-play, 75-yard drive that milked clock as Tre Mason punched it in from five yards to make it 45-41 Auburn. Dee Ford sacked Manziel on fourth down with 11 seconds to go in a play that ultimately ended the game. Auburn racked up an amazing 379 rushing yards on the struggling Aggies’ defense.
Photo Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports