SEC's Hot and Not: Week 6
Each week, we break down who in the SEC is lighting it up and who needs to pull it together. After a wild Saturday, one state reigns supreme.
- The Magnolia State. It’s a little surprising that the state of Mississippi is still standing after all of the wild celebrations that took place in both Starkville and Oxford on Saturday. Both Ole Miss and Mississippi State climbed into the top 10 in the polls with big wins, the Bulldogs by bludgeoning Texas A&M and the Rebels pulling out a gutsy win over Alabama. After the state of Alabama decided the SEC West a year ago in the Iron Bowl, it feels like we’re on a collision course for an Egg Bowl to decide the West champion this year.
- SEC Heisman hopes. Amari Cooper’s candidacy took a bit of a blow when Ole Miss contained him about as well as any team can, but the SEC still has multiple players that will be in the conversation and could well be in New York for the trophy presentation. Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott has climbed up everyone’s rankings with two straight blockbuster performances against top-10 opponents, accounting for all 5 touchdowns the Bulldogs scored on Saturday. Todd Gurley, to no one’s surprise continues to shred defenses. He went for his fourth 100-yard game of the season against Vanderbilt, rushing for 2 touchdowns, and showed that he can pass to when he lofted a 50-yard throw downfield to a Georgia receiver.
- Auburn’s running game. It took a while, and the opponent certainly comes into play, but Auburn finally got moving on the ground, both in terms of effectiveness and tempo. They pounded out more than 6 yards per carry for the first time since waxing San Jose State in their second game of the season, and both Nick Marshall and Cameron Artis-Payne topped 100 yards for the third time this season. LSU has been porous when it comes to stopping the run this year, but Malzahn should be encouraged that his team is finding its groove.
- Texas A&M receivers. Speedy Noil might have made two spectacular catches of the season late in the Aggies’ loss to Mississippi State, but A&M’s receivers hurt the team’s cause all afternoon prior to that. Missing Malcome Kennedy, Aggies receivers failed to bring in far too many catches. Quarterback Kenny Hill was struggling with the pressure the Bulldogs were getting in his face, and he seemed to lose confidence in his pass catchers after several drops stalled drives and tipped balls resulted in interceptions.
- South Carolina’s run defense. At halftime, Steve Spurrier said that his team had to figure out a way to slow down Kentucky’s “Wildcat guy,” apparently not respecting Jojo Kemp enough to learn his name. Spurrier and defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward aren’t likely to forget about Kemp anytime soon after the way he abused the Gamecocks on Saturday. Kemp scored three times from the Wildcat formation and finished with 131 yards, including 2 TD in the fourth quarter to tie the game.
- Florida’s quarterback play. Treon Harris could run for mayor in Gainesville after completing a whopping 50 percent of his passes and leading the Gators to 10 points against Tennessee. Jeff Driskel was once again abysmal for Florida, going 11-for-23 passing the ball for 59 yards and 3 interceptions. Will Muschamp said after the game he doesn’t know what’s going to happen at quarterback, which is damning considering how vehemently he’s stuck up for Driskel in recent weeks.