Week 6 SEC report card: Georgia, South Carolina, LSU lead honor roll
Week six featured a couple of upsets, a near knock-down of the top dog, and a couple of TCB games for the next teams up. If you’re struggling to figure it all out, never fear, grade cards are coming out. We grade all the teams, then honor (or dishonor) the best and worst teams in all three main areas of the game. Whether your team is headed to the honor roll or detention, it’s grade card time:
When life gives you lemons, you drink a week’s worth of lemonade, go into The Swamp, and show what your team is. LSU threw 16 passes in this game. Completed nine. It didn’t matter. They rushed 48 times for 216 yards, and ground out a win with everybody short of Shaquille O’Neal getting a couple of carries. Defensively, they sacked Florida five times and held the Gators to 108 yards passing. That’s an A effort.
The Tigers took care of business at home against Ole Miss. They did get sloppy, and Shea Patterson cashed that in for 346 passing yards and a closer-than-it-really-was final of 44-23. On the upside, the air and ground games were both humming.
Texas A&M: A-
Sure, they lost. But the Aggies fought like crazy. After Alabama scored to go up 24-3 with 11 minutes to play in the third quarter, A&M could have thrown in the towel and lost by 40. Instead, they scratched and clawed and lost by a 27-19 margin that left the Tide looking (gulp) human. Kellen Mond was superb, and if only the execution had been a little sharper, this could have been the effort of the season.
It’s not that the Tide were bad … it’s that the killer instinct seemed to waver a bit in this one. The offense was a bit plodding, the defense gave some ground up to Kellen Mond. If Alabama plays like this, there are a dozen or so teams that could beat the Tide with a particularly sharp performance. If Alabama plays their A game, there’s maybe one.
Ole Miss: C+
The Rebels didn’t pull off a monumental upset but did avoid embarrassment. Their run defense — predictably — was gashed. They’re a fun team to watch, but they’re not a meaningful factor in the West.
Speaking of not a factor in the West. Playing ugly is one thing. Nearly losing the game purely to the South Carolina defense is another. Carolina can’t score any points without Deebo Samuel. So what did the Razorbacks do? Give up three scores to the Gamecocks’ defense. Bielema is 10-24 in SEC games at Arkansas. Hard to see that improving.
Mississippi State: Incomplete
Bye week for the Bulldogs.
Pure domination in the run game. Sure, Vanderbilt isn’t Alabama. But it did beat the No. 18 team in the nation within the past month. Georgia absolutely imposed its will, and looked like a team that could give Alabama a game.
South Carolina: A
This was a statement game for a team that has been a bit disappointing and a bit unlucky. Sure, the offense is limited without Deebo Samuel. But if the offense can just be okay and cash in on that defense, the Gamecocks are still a factor in the East.
The Gators didn’t do anything terrible, other than miss an extra point. But the game plan that had worked so far — stay pedestrian, lean on your defense, find a way to win — suddenly didn’t work so well. It’s a very thin margin for this Florida team between success and defeat. The back end of the schedule doesn’t look very kind.
This Kentucky season has very much been a Rorschach test. You show the picture to one person, they see a team whose offensive line and secondary have both been putrid, despite the fact they were alleged strengths. You show the picture to another person, they see a team that is 5-1, has found a way to win, and could pick up 3-4 more wins. Who’s right and who’s crazy? Maybe both.
The Tigers offense found some rhythm: 355 passing yards wasn’t a surprise, but 213 more yards on the ground really was. If only this defense was even as good as a decent non-P5 defense, this team would be fine. But it isn’t, and they aren’t.
Losing the last three games wasn’t shocking. Losing in a way that only one of the three was faintly competitive was surprising. Georgia can run, but giving up 423 yards on the ground is just never a good sign.
Like a Dormady pass.
Auburn: They could run (326 rushing yards, 6.4 per carry), and they also could pass (235 yards on 21 attempts). Given how good the Tigers’ ground attack was last season, the addition of a competent passing game was the Auburn fanbase’s lost dream. Looks like it might be here now.
Georgia: 549 total yards against a team that has shown big-time defensive talent … and that beat this UGA team in its house last season. The real story here is 423 yards rushing. When we all looked at the list of who Georgia brought back, this was the game plan we envisioned.
Texas A&M: A couple of big runs aside, the Aggies did about as good of a job on Alabama as can be done. You hold the top team in the nation to 355 yards, you gave your offense a chance to win. The lack of a victory doesn’t reflect on the defense.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks totaled three defensive touchdowns, covering 152 yards. This was some Alabama-type work on defense, which didn’t seem especially likely coming in.
Kentucky: Four field goals from the school’s all-time leading scorer, Austin MacGinnis, a blocked Mizzou field goal, and a crucial fake punt were key to a 40-34 win.
Texas A&M: They hit a 52 yard field goal, punted well, and blocked an Alabama punt. Nice week!
Vanderbilt: The offense that was shining late last season is just brutal now. The Commodores averaged under 3 yards per run and totaled 236 yards for the game.
Arkansas: 3.3 yards per carry, four turnovers, and an absolute lack of any identity on offense? That’s the kind of performance that gets coaches fired.
Kentucky: Giving up 568 yards in any other week is going to spell a loss. Got eaten up on the ground (213 yards, 6.5 per carry) and in the air (355 yards). Three 50+-yard touchdown passes in a season is a lot — Kentucky gave that up in one game.
Missouri: The only reason Kentucky’s defense didn’t give up a win was that Mizzou’s defense was almost as bad. Kentucky, which hasn’t resembled the 1990s’ Buffalo Bills, rushed for 188 yards and passed for 298 more.
Florida: Eddy Pineiro’s leg is as strong as any in football. He does occasionally struggle with accuracy, as with the missed extra point that spelled doom in a 17-16 loss.
Ole Miss: A missed field goal, a long kick return allowed. Special teams haven’t been very special for the Rebels/Landsharks.