Top 10 best performances by an SEC team in 2015
You would think that with six SEC vs. FCS games on the docket, we’d see a number of fantastic performances in Week 12. But in fact, most SEC wins this week were beyond ugly, and The Citadel actually upset South Carolina.
No. 2 Alabama played what was arguably its best game of the season this week, but it was against FCS opponent Charleston Southern, so it didn’t make the list.
Here are the updated Top 10 team performances of 2015:
10. NO. 22 OLE MISS 38, NO. 15 LSU 17
Date: Nov. 21
Star Player: QB Chad Kelly
Key Stat: Kelly was responsible for 4 of 5 TDs for the Rebels
Why: LSU played a terrible, penalty-ridden, offensively-weak first half. On the game, the Tigers had 13 penalties for 95 yards, and they turned over the ball the three times. The Tigers may have outdone the Rebels in every category except penalties and turnovers, but Ole Miss took advantage of every mistake and stumble that LSU made and handed the Tigers their third straight loss. Ole Miss played a strong, focused and consistent game. The Landshark defense collected seven tackles for loss and it made an impressive goal-line stand in the fourth quarter. On the other side of the ball, Kelly was 19 of 34 for 280 yards and 2 TDs, and he carried the ball 12 times for 81 yards and 2 TDs. This win keeps Ole Miss in the running for the SEC West title.
9. ARKANSAS 53, NO. 18 OLE MISS 52 IN OT
Date: Nov. 7
Star Player: QB Brandon Allen
Key Stat: Allen threw for 442 yards and 6 TDs
Why: Allen had the game of his career, going 33 for 45 for 442 yards and 6 TDs, and he played with composure, slowing down the game to the pace he wanted. The Rebels and the Razorbacks traded scores for the entire game, right up until the Hogs’ possession in OT when they went for two after the touchdown. By the way, that touchdown was scored a few plays after Arkansas went for fourth-and-25 and got it with a blind lateral pass TE Hunter Henry tossed over his shoulder. The Arkansas win pretty much took Ole Miss out of the SEC West title picture.
8. NO. 13 ALABAMA 38, NO. 8 GEORGIA 10
Date: Oct. 3
Star Player: WR Calvin Ridley
Key Stat: Alabama’s 21-point lead at halftime
Why: Ridley hauled in 120 receiving yards, QB Jake Coker continued to show why he is Alabama’s starting quarterback and the Crimson Tide spanked Georgia in Athens despite not being favored by many odds makers. The defense made Georgia QB Greyson Lambert look terrible before he was yanked for his backup. Alabama owned this game and showed it is still SEC royalty.
7. TENNESSEE 52, KENTUCKY 21
Date: Oct 31
Star Player: QB Joshua Dobbs
Key Stat: Tennessee special teams had 2 TDs on returns
Why: After falling behind early, Dobbs and the Vols went on a scoring spree in Lexington. The Tennessee quarterback accounted for 4 touchdowns, and DB Evan Berry and DB Cam Sutton scored off a kickoff return and punt return, respectively. The win pulled the Vols within two games of a second-straight bowl trip, but perhaps more importantly, it showed SEC fans what this offense could be capable of next season.
6. No. 2 ALABAMA 31, NO. 17 MISSISSIPPI STATE 6
Date: Nov. 14
Star Player: CB Cyrus Jones
Key Stat: The Tide defense amassed 12 sacks on QB Dak Prescott
Why: Alabama made big plays at every position. Mississippi State had allowed only 13 sacks all season, but the Alabama defensive line had their way with the Bulldogs, sacking Prescott 12 times, according to ESPN (nine times according to CBS). Special teams shined, too, with Jones returning a punt 69 yards for the first Tide touchdown. Jones’ explosive touchdown got the Tide rolling, and it never gave the Bulldogs another chance. RB Derrick Henry also had a big night, accumulating 204 yards on 22 carries. Coming off a big win against LSU, Alabama proved it was still focused.
5. ARKANSAS 31, NO. 9 LSU 14
Date: Nov. 14
Star Player: RB Alex Collins
Key Stat: LSU RB Leonard Fournette was held to 92 rushing yards
Why: For the second week in a row, the mighty Fournette was suffocated while the opposing team’s running back exploded. Collins had 16 carries for 141 yards and 2 TDs. Before the game, there was much debate about whether or not LSU could recover from the disappointing loss in Tuscaloosa just a week earlier, and it seems the Tigers just couldn’t get over the hump. Though Arkansas did present quite a formidable hump. The Razorbacks offense exploded, amassing 440 total yards. And unlike some of the Hogs’ most recent games, this one did not need any extra time to decide the winner.
4. NO. 10 ALABAMA 41, NO. 9 TEXAS A&M 23
Date: Oct. 17
Star Player: DB Minkah Fitzpatrick
Key Stat: Alabama returned 3 INTs for TDs
Why: The Crimson Tide entered a raucous Kyle Field with a mission to stop undefeated Texas A&M’s high-powered offense. They did just that, making Aggies QB Kyle Allen look terrible, forcing 3 INTs while limiting his completion rate to just 50 percent. Alabama RB Derrick Henry (236 rushing yards) continued to establish himself in the national awards picture, QB Jake Coker managed the game well, and perhaps most importantly, the Tide offensive line was able to fend off Aggies DE Myles Garrett and the Texas A&M pass rush.
3. NO. 15 OLE MISS 43, NO. 2 ALABAMA 37
Date: Sept. 19
Star Player: QB Chad Kelly
Key Stat: Ole Miss had 2 touchdown receptions of 60-plus yards
Why: This win was one for the ages. Ole Miss hadn’t won in Tuscaloosa since 1988 and hadn’t beaten Alabama in consecutive years in the program’s history. Behind Kelly’s 341 passing yards and WR Quincy Adeboyejo’s miracle 66-yard deflection touchdown, the Rebels did enough to upset the Crimson Tide in a back-and-forth contest. The Ole Miss victory snapped Alabama’s FBS-long 17-game home winning streak.
2. NO. 25 FLORIDA 38, NO. 3 OLE MISS 10
Date: Oct. 3
Star Player: QB Will Grier
Key Stat: Grier threw 4 TDs in the first half
Why: Grier supposedly had the flu entering Florida’s eventual upset of the Rebels, but he sure didn’t play like it. He was close to perfect (24 for 29, 271 yards) while cutting up the Ole Miss defense. The Florida offensive line did a great job of handling the Ole Miss defensive front, and the Gators defense forced 4 turnovers in The Swamp. This game was even more lopsided than the score indicated, and Florida made its case as a legitimate SEC contender.
1. NO. 4 ALABAMA 30, NO. 2 LSU 16
Date: Nov. 7
Star Player: RB Derrick Henry
Key Stat: Alabama held LSU RB Leonard Fournette to 31 yards
Why: The Crimson Tide asserted its SEC West dominance in this game, and it proved the College Football Playoff Committee was right to put them in the Top 4 of the initial poll. Henry had 38 carries for 210 yards and 3 TDs, QB Jake Coker completed his first home game without an interception, and PK Adam Griffith regained his confidence after hitting a 55-yard field goal just before halftime. The Tide defense held the Tigers to 182 total yards, and Tigers QB Brandon Harris threw his first pick of the season. This win gave Alabama the lead in the division.