Ranking the SEC's Top 10 performances from Week 10
Week 10 in the SEC is in the books.
The conference’s — and nation’s for that matter — best two teams, Alabama and Georgia, each won comfortably against inferior-but-decent opponents inside their respective divisions. Neither team was overly impressive, though.
Auburn got a nice road win at Texas A&M, while some others schools around the SEC struggled with various bad non-conference opponents. The most shocking game on Saturday was undoubtedly Missouri’s 45-16 thumping of Florida. Also, 24-10 seemed to be a popular score, as Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee all won by that margin.
Here are the top performances of Week 10 — with players, coaches and teams eligible for consideration:
Derek Mason’s Commodores got a much-needed 31-17 victory on Saturday against non-conference foe Western Kentucky. The Commodores were on a five-game losing streak coming in, with their last victory Sept. 16 against Kansas State. But Vanderbilt, a 9.5-point favorite when the Week 10 lines opened, refused to give this one away. Even Steve Spurrier’s support wasn’t enough for the Hilltoppers to get past Vandy.
9. Butch Jones
Much like Vanderbilt, Tennessee was on a losing skid coming into Saturday. Tennessee hadn’t won since edging UMass on Sept. 23. While the Volunteers’ home win over Southern Miss might not quiet Jones’ naysayers, it at least takes a bit of pressure off of him. Could that help him better prepare his team for Mizzou? We’ll see. And regardless of Jones’ future, at least the Vols got one win closer to bowl eligibility.
8. Jarrett Stidham
Auburn put away Texas A&M 42-27 on Saturday in College Station, and Stidham by far stood out the most. He completed 20 of 27 passes for 268 yards and three touchdowns. It’s hard to say whether Stidham took this game personally, considering Aggies head coach Kevin Sumlin opted for Kellen Mond over him back in the offseason. But Stidham’s performance pretty much spoke for itself.
7. Deddrick Thomas/J.T. Gray
These two were key for Mississippi State on Saturday when the Bulldogs fended off pesky UMass 34-23, especially because State had a difficult time scoring offensive touchdowns. Gray intercepted a pass and took it back for a 58-yard touchdown to give Mississippi State a 7-o lead early in the first quarter. He also had five tackles. Thomas returned a punt 84 yards for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter, sealing the deal for State; he also hauled in two catches for 18 yards.
6. D.K. Metcalf
The final score in Saturday’s Ole Miss-Kentucky game (the Rebels won 37-34) might have looked a bit different if it weren’t for Metcalf’s performance. He caught five balls for 83 yards to lead the team in receiving, and his two touchdown receptions made a real difference. His first TD catch was a 58-yarder from quarterback Jordan Ta’amu, which helped Ole Miss tie the score at 27 near the end of the third quarter. The last one was even bigger as Metcalf pulled down a sterling 7-yard grab over a Kentucky defender with 5 seconds left to give the Rebels the win.
5. Jordan Ta’amu
We can’t talk about Metcalf and his impressive catches without mentioning the guy who threw those balls to him. Metcalf made the final big play but Ta’amu, all around, was hard to ignore. The Rebels QB completed 31 of 40 passes (77.5 percent) for 382 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. Not bad for a guy making his first start away from home in an SEC stadium.
4. Larry Rountree III
Missouri is known for its passing game and the golden arm of its quarterback, Drew Lock. And while the Tigers didn’t have any trouble putting the ball in the air during Saturday’s win over Florida, they also had a running back who made some big plays. Rountree had 15 carries for 83 yards — nothing too crazy — but his three rushing touchdowns really stood out (especially with that high-powered Mizzou passing game). Rountree punched in two scores near the goal line, and had one from 21 yards in the second quarter.
3. JK Scott
It would be hard to find a better punting performance than the one Scott put on Saturday night when Alabama took on LSU. While the Alabama offense sputtered at times, Scott pinned the Tigers deep all night. As a result, LSU couldn’t move the ball very well against the Crimson Tide defense, either. Scott punted eight times and averaged 51.6 yards. And it wasn’t just the distance and change of field position that was so impressive. The punts stayed in the air for a long time, too. His longest punt was a 58-yarder.
2. Benny Snell Jr.
Big Benny Snell has been feeling it lately. Kentucky’s top running back has now made this list in consecutive weeks. Last Saturday against Tennessee, he rushed for 180 yards and three touchdowns. That performance was good enough for our top spot. This past Saturday against Ole Miss, Snell looked just as good. His numbers nearly mirrored last week’s, as he again scored three touchdowns. And his yardage total was nearly identical — 176 on 28 carries.
If folks had told you on Oct. 14 — the day Missouri was blasted 53-28 by Georgia — that the Tigers would soon put themselves in position to possibly make a bowl game, you might think they were crazy. At that time, the Tigers were 1-5 with a lone win vs. Missouri State. Since then, however, Mizzou has reeled off three wins in a row. Two of those victories were against Idaho and Connecticut, but it all came together on the SEC level Saturday when the Tigers blew out Florida. Mizzou is 4-5 with remaining games against Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Arkansas. Those are all very winnable.