10 things I liked most about SEC football in Week 12
With rivalry week just around the corner, there weren’t many high-profile SEC games in Week 12 outside of the rescheduled showdown in Baton Rouge.
That didn’t mean there weren’t any big performances, though. Several players had games that won’t soon be forgotten and the SEC East race is finally over.
Here are 10 things that I liked about SEC football in Week 12.
1. Florida’s division-clinching goal line stand: The end of the LSU-Florida game was about as entertaining as it could be. The Tigers made one final drive in an attempt to win the game and a big fourth-down conversion helped them near the goal line.
Eventually moving the ball to the 1-yard line, LSU was stuffed on consecutive runs by Florida, which clinched the SEC East division with the 16-10 victory. There’s no question that the Gators deserve to play in Atlanta after that defensive stand.
2. Isaiah McKenzie’s two-touchdown day: McKenzie played an integral role in Georgia’s 35-21 win over Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday. The junior receiver took the pitch on a reverse and outran the defense for a 55-yard touchdown on the Bulldogs’ first play of the game.
A couple of series later, McKenzie fielded his first punt return of the afternoon and made several impressive moves to break free for an 82-yard score. McKenzie’s first two touches led to 14 points for Georgia.
Georgia's Isaiah McKenzie jukes out FOUR defenders on this punt return TD, his second score of the game! pic.twitter.com/l5WRphOc5y
— Chat Sports (@ChatSports) November 19, 2016
3. Myles Garrett can’t be stopped: Texas A&M’s hopes for a Playoff bid are a thing of the past, but Myles Garrett’s hopes for the No. 1 draft pick are very much alive. After his monster outing against UTSA, he is staking a big claim for the top pick.
Garrett practically lived in the Roadrunners’ backfield and notched a career-best 4.5 sacks in a single game, which is the second-most in a single game in school history.
Myles Garrett will sack you…
and sack you
and sack you
and sack you again.
That's 4.5 sacks today. 👀 pic.twitter.com/E2ZLONJzAw
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) November 19, 2016
4. Joshua Dobbs’ going-away party in Neyland Stadium: Tennessee fans got to watch Dobbs play at home for the final time, and it was a performance to remember. The senior quarterback was electric with his arm and legs and dazzled the crowd on hand.
Dobbs finished with 413 total yards and 5 touchdowns, including this 70-yard burst in the fourth quarter.
— SEConCBS (@SEConCBS) November 19, 2016
5. Rico Dowdle helps the Gamecocks go bowling: After a tough start to the season, South Carolina and first-year head coach Will Muschamp secured a bowl berth with a 44-31 victory over Western Carolina.
Freshman running back Rico Dowdle led the way with 2 touchdowns in a 21-carry, 226-yard performance. It was his best performance of the year and helped the Gamecocks continue to build momentum heading into next season.
6. Rawleigh Williams III’s incredible first half: Arkansas looked unstoppable on offense in the first half against Mississippi State, and Williams was a big reason. The sophomore running back gained 191 yards and 4 touchdowns on just 8 carries before halftime.
Williams’ previous single-game high was 180 yards, and he topped that in a single half of action while averaging a bonkers 23.9 yards per carry.
— CFBonESPNRadio (@CFBonESPNRadio) November 20, 2016
7. Kentucky has a pair of 1,000-yard rushers: The Wildcats have had one of the top running back duos in the SEC this season, and Saturday’s win provided further confirmation. Kentucky needed another strong performance on the ground to run away from Austin Peay and emerge with the 49-13 victory and become bowl eligible.
Benjamin Snell Jr. led the way with 152 yards and 2 touchdowns and joined Stanley “Boom” Williams as the first pair of Kentucky players to rush for 1,000 yards in a single season.
8. Tyrie Cleveland’s 98-yard touchdown sparks Florida offense: The Gators had only 60 yards of total offense in the first half against LSU, but they eclipsed that mark on their first play of the second half.
Starting at Florida’s own 2-yard line, Austin Appleby found freshman receiver Tyrie Cleveland down the right sideline for a 98-yard touchdown catch. It was the Gators’ only touchdown of the afternoon and helped get them back into the game.
Austin Appleby goes deep to Tyrie Cleveland for 98 yards
No. 23 Florida defeats No. 16 LSU, 16-10 after getting into a pregame scuffle pic.twitter.com/rCDZMtkaAq
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 19, 2016
9. Jalen Hurts’ dime to Calvin Ridley: Alabama got a surprise test from Chattanooga on Saturday evening, but Hurts delivered another brilliant moment in his freshman season.
The Alabama quarterback hit Ridley in stride with a beautifully-thrown pass for a 47-yard touchdown at the beginning of the second quarter to give the Crimson Tide their first score of the game.
10. Vanderbilt’s victory over Ole Miss: The Commodores now have their second big win of the season after they upended the Rebels 38-17. Ralph Webb had a big day for Vanderbilt, carrying the ball 20 times for 123 yards and 3 touchdowns. He needs just 27 yards next week against Tennessee to supplant Zac Stacy as Vandy’s career rushing leader.
The Commodores’ defense was stout once again against one of the SEC’s most potent offenses. This is a big win for Derek Mason, and Vanderbilt can become bowl eligible with a win against Tennessee next weekend.
There’s also a chance that the Commodores could qualify for a bowl at 5-7, based on their high APR score. They need three spots to open.