Winners and losers of SEC Week 5
Alabama and Georgia lapped the field, Kentucky pulled off an upset, and Tennessee pulled off a beatdown. And even Vanderbilt won. SEC Week 5 was nothing if not entertaining. We’re still unstacking the pile, sorting out the mayhem and bringing you the winners and losers of SEC Week 5.
Kentucky upset Florida in a game when the Wildcats had 224 total yards and went 1 for 9 on third down conversions. How? Because the Kentucky defense bent and bent but ultimately did not break. Florida gained 382 yards, but Kentucky held the Gators to a first-quarter touchdown and a pair of field goals. And when UK needed a stop to seal the deal, the defense held Florida out of the end zone on 7 plays that started with 1st and goal from just inside the UK 10. How did Kentucky flip the script on history? With defense.
Look, Georgia has more talented players than Arkansas. This isn’t surprising or newsworthy. But holding Arkansas to 9 first downs and 162 total yards? Impressive. Grinding out 273 rushing yards and putting up 37 points while only attempting 11 passes? Daunting. Outscoring a top-10 team with your special teams? That would move the needle. Just Georgia being Georgia.
Alabama run game
Yes, Alabama’s entire effort in a 42-21 beatdown of Ole Miss was steady, reliable, and consistent. But the surprise was the re-establishment of the old Alabama ground attack. The Tide ran the ball 50 times and threw 26 passes on Saturday. Brian Robinson had 37 carries on the season coming in. He added 36 more (for 171 yards and 4 scores) against the Rebels. It was wonderfully nostalgic to see Alabama decimate a foe not by spacing and aerial bombardment, but in the old school way that made the Crimson Tide. They can still win that way, too.
The junior college transfer back came to Tennessee after the Vols lost Ty Chandler to North Carolina and Eric Gray to Oklahoma. But Saturday, Vol fans might have wondered: Ty and Eric who? Evans had 156 rushing yards on just 15 carries for his second 100-yard game of the season. Shoot, he almost reached the century on a single play, a 92-yard gallop that will put him toward the top of the Vols record book. If he can keep running like that, Evans might accelerate Josh Heupel’s Knoxville rebuild by years.
I can’t stop watching this!! Tiyon Evans is a beast. pic.twitter.com/7CrblKBRgv
— All Vol!! (@Cactus725) October 2, 2021
The MSU quarterback took after the actor who never met a man he didn’t like. MSU’s Will didn’t meet an SEC defense he didn’t like on Saturday. Texas A&M watched him go 46 for 59 for 408 yards in a road upset of the Aggies. Connecting with 9 different receivers, Rogers led a road win over a ranked team despite MSU rushing for 30 yards on the game.
We give Vandy a lot of grief, and it’s an easy target. But give Bulovas credit for being consistently excellent and for nailing the winning kick on the final play to get the Commodores a home win over Connecticut. The grind of a hopeless season has to be draining and credit is due to Vandy for holding up, competing and getting a win.
He found a way. As up and down as his time at Auburn has been, the knock on Nix has always been that he didn’t find ways to win big games. Saturday, he left his heart on his sleeve and his game on the field at Tiger Stadium in the road upset over LSU. Nix earned every minute of it.
PLAY OF THE NIGHT 🤯
Bo Nix made the entire defense miss before throwing this TD! pic.twitter.com/FGQM1JpgSK
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 3, 2021
Missouri’s defense/Steve Wilks
Barry Odom lasted only four years in Columbia; winning 7, 8, and 6 games in three seasons wasn’t enough. If Eli Drinkwitz doesn’t fix his defense, he might not last long enough to see 7 or 8 wins in a year. Missouri is awful against the run and we all knew that. But Tennessee put up video game numbers on Saturday at Columbia: 62 points, an astonishing 458 rushing yards. Losing is one thing. Losing at home by 38 points is another.
Texas A&M’s offense
Zach Calzada just looks lost right now. Playing at home against a respectable but not horrifying Mississippi State defense, Calzada threw for 135 yards, had an interception, and generally looked like there were places he’d rather be — and plenty of them. Sure, the Aggies miss Haynes King, but Jimbo Fisher’s offensive wizard reputation is in real jeopardy as we watch A&M stumble through a ho-hum season.
South Carolina’s reserve linebacker grabbed a rolling, scrambling fumble, and took it to the house … only to drop it off a yard early. Every year we have one or two of these plays. How every player doesn’t see it, and universally promise that they WILL NOT drop the ball a yard early, taxes even the wildest imagination. Brown should have sealed a Gamecocks win by giving them a 2-score cushion. Instead, Troy had two more possessions in a one-score game before South Carolina won 23-14. Plus, Brown is a defensive player. What should have been his college highlight will instead be a play he’d rather forget.
South Carolina’s Jahmar Brown appeared to return this fumble for a touchdown. But he tossed the ball up before he scored. Touchback.
Troy takes over pic.twitter.com/77GRa1OHRG
— Pickswise (@Pickswise) October 2, 2021