Week 3 Recap: What we learned about every SEC East team
Another week, another great day of SEC football. The SEC East had a mixed bag of results with two games between SEC East opponent. Georgia and South Carolina engaged in another classic in Columbia, while Kentucky and Florida needed three overtimes to decide the winner in The Swamp. Missouri looked strong again, Tennessee lost in Norman and Vanderbilt was…well they were just Vanderbilt.
Here’s what we learned about each SEC East team following Week 3’s action.
Week 3 result: Defeated Kentucky, 36-30 (3OT)
What we learned: Here is what we know for sure about the Gators at this point. Sophomore wide receiver Demarcus Robinson is the real deal (15 receptions, 216 receiving yards and two touchdowns last night) and the Gators’ defense is one again top-caliber. Everything else is kind of up in the air about the Gators. Quarterback Jeff Driskel looked good when he threw it to Robinson, but not so great when throwing to everyone else. Credit the Kentucky defense for making him feel uncomfortable all night, but the redshirt junior quarterback clearly still has a lot of improvements to make before this Florida offense can really take off.
Right now, the Gators are in first place in the SEC East, but in actuality the Gators are probably behind the likes of Georgia, South Carolina and maybe even Missouri in terms of the top teams in the division. Until Driskel improves and Florida works on becoming a much more disciplined team, it’s tough to imagine them any higher in the division than that.
Week 3 result: Lost to South Carolina, 38-35
What we learned: Once again, the Georgia Bulldogs blow a prime opportunity to take down the Gamecocks in Columbia. All week, Georgia had been hearing about how good they were and how they were a trendy pick for the College Football Playoff, but the Bulldogs were unable to live up to the billing last night in a 38-35 loss to South Carolina. Running back Todd Gurley continues to do Todd Gurley things – kicking butt and taking names as he plows down the football field. In the end, however, it was a boneheaded intentional grounding by quarterback Hutson Mason and a subsequent missed FG that led to the loss for Georgia. They’ll be one of the top teams in the SEC East this season, but you have to wonder if the play-calling blunders last night will come back to haunt them come December.
Week 3 result: Lost to Florida, 36-30 (3OT)
What we learned: There’s arguably not a more impressive performance in yesterday’s SEC action than what the Kentucky Wildcats did in The Swamp against the Gators. Coming into the game, everyone knew Kentucky boasted more speed and athleticism than in the past, but not many people believed they could hang with Florida for 60 minutes. UK sure proved them wrong. Quarterback Patrick Towles showed great poise and maturity leading the UK offense down the field, thanks to some more explosive plays by the Wildcats skill players. Defensively, Kentucky’s defensive line is one of the best in the country and their blitz packages really did a number on the Gators’ offensive line and quarterback Jeff Driskel.
One could argue that Kentucky was the better team in last night’s three overtime thriller, despite the loss in the end. Regardless, Kentucky turned a lot of heads last night and this is clearly not the Wildcats team of old.
Week 3 result: Defeated UCF, 38-10
What we learned: For the second straight week, Missouri defeated a quality non-conference opponent in a very convincing way. UCF hung around for about three quarters until the Tigers took over in the final quarter, scoring 24 unanswered points. Missouri’s defensive line looked explosive once again, led by Markus Golden and Shane Ray. Quarterback Maty Mauk continues to improve. He passed for only 144 yards, but he threw for four touchdowns, including a clutch 21-yard touchdown pass to Bud Sasser to go up by 11 points.
Not many people consider Missouri a real threat in the SEC, but there’s no reason the Tigers can’t repeat as SEC East champions this season, especially with the talent they have across the board.
South Carolina Gamecocks
Week 3 result: Defeated Georgia, 38-35
What we learned: The Gamecocks showed resiliency last night. After hearing for nearly two weeks about how overrated they were following the blowout loss to Texas A&M, South Carolina stepped up big time against a top-five ranked Georgia Bulldogs team and delivered a convincing win. With the victory, South Carolina showed its more than capable of competing in the SEC East this season. Quarterback Dylan Thompson threw for 271 yards and three touchdowns and the defense stepped up in clutch situations after a rough couple weeks to start the season. The Gamecocks played their way right back into the wide-open SEC East discussion.
Week 3 result: Lost to Oklahoma, 34-10
What we learned: I don’t feel like we learned a whole lot about Tennessee from last night’s loss. It wasn’t close enough to say they proved to be a much tougher opponent than originally though, but it also wasn’t a big enough of a blowout to disregard the Vols as a contender in the SEC East.
In the end, it’s clear the Vols are much better than a year ago. Last year’s Tennessee team probably gets blown out by even more in Norman, but behind a strong game from true freshman running back Jalen Hurd, the Vols kept it close for nearly three quarters. They’re probably another year or two away from being a serious threat in the SEC, but they won’t be going away anytime soon.
Week 3 result: Defeated UMass, 34-31
What we learned: The final score may say Vanderbilt won this game, but they lost. They lost this game no matter what the final score indicates. The Commodores had to storm back after trailing by 11 points in the fourth quarter, but there weren’t too many positives for Vanderbilt yesterday.
Running back Ralph Webb continues to be the only bright spot in the Vanderbilt offense as he ran for 116 yards and one touchdown. The Commodores’ defense once again looked good, scoring another touchdown on a fumble recovery and also blocking a punt and returning for a score. However, quarterback play continues to be an overwhelming disappointment for Vanderbilt. Patton Robinette threw for just 147 yards and one touchdown after starter Wade Freebeck burned his redshirt to throw just two passes for three yards and an interception.
If it wasn’t for a shanked chip shot by UMass, the Commodores could have very well lost this game in overtime. There just isn’t much to celebrate in Nashville right now with this football team.