What we learned about the SEC East in Week 10
The Florida Gators made it official, despite its sloppy play against Vanderbilt, claiming the program’s 13th SEC East title.
Here’s a look at what we learned about each SEC East team during Week 10 action.
Week 10 Result: Defeated Vanderbilt 9-7
What we learned: If Florida can get the same kind of pressure on quarterbacks as they did in Week 10 against Vanderbilt, the Gators are going to be tough to handle in the SEC Championship Game. Florida is heading to Atlanta courtesy of a tenacious pass-rush attack that shut down Vanderbilt to the tune of 175 total yard, including just 30 in the air. The Gators flustered Vandy quarterback Johnny McCrary so badly that the sophomore completed just three of his 14 attempts. Caleb Brantley had 3 of the squad’s 5 quarterback hurries. All told, the Gators tallied 9 tackles-for-loss and 5 sacks, led by Alex McCalister (3 TFL, 2.5 sacks). With their ticket to the title game punched, the final three games for Florida (9-1, 6-1 SEC) should be all about getting healthy and building momentum toward the postseason.
Week 10 Result: Defeated Kentucky 27-3
What we learned: Mark Richt lives to fight another week in Athens … maybe. Turns out the answers to Georgia’s maligned quarterback situation was to just give everyone a shot. Greyson Lambert joined Brice Ramsey, Sony Michel and Terry Godwin in taking snaps for the Bulldogs in Week 10 against Kentucky. Granted, they only threw for 90 combined yards, but they had the wherewithal to turn around and hand the ball off frequently, as Georgia got back to doing what it does best, running the football. The Bulldogs trampled the Wildcats with 300 rushing yards as a team, with 165 of them coming from Michel. Richt & Co. quieted their detractors for now, but not forever. Up next are chances to keep that momentum going against Auburn, Georgia Southern and Georgia Tech.
Week 10 Result: Lost to Georgia 27-3
What we learned: The wheels have come off for the Kentucky Wildcats, who have now lost four straight games. Mark Stoops’ squad simply had no offense against Georgia, as no player finished with more than 100 yards passing (QB Patrick Towles, 96 yards), rushing (RB Jojo Kemp, 48 yards) or receiving (WR Garrett Johnson, 49). Once 4-1, the Wildcats (4-5, 2-5 SEC) are now below .500 and have three games against Vanderbilt, Charlotte and Louisville to pick up the two wins needed to become bowl eligible.
Week 10 Result: Lost to Mississippi State 31-13 Thursday night
What we learned: The 2015 season took on a new spin after the Wildcats’ Week 10 loss to Mississippi State as the team’s African-American players walked away from the program in protest over what they perceive to be mishandling of several racially-motivated incidents on campus. The players have the support of head coach Gary Pinkel in their quest to make Missouri president Tim Wolfe resign from his post. The players have vowed not to practice or play until the situation is resolved. Stay tuned as this story is only just beginning.
South Carolina Gamecocks
Week 10 Result: Lost to Tennessee 27-24
What we learned: Shawn Elliott is making a case to become the Gamecocks full-time coach. South Carolina is 1-2 under the interim coach, but has been in every game he’s coached — all of which have been settled by a touchdown or less. The Gamecocks were in a position to beat Tennessee – or at least send the game to overtime – toward the end of regulation, had it not been for a devastating fumble by tight end Jerell Adams on the Vols’ 13-yard line. South Carolina has two tough tests ahead of them in Florida and Clemson. How Elliott’s squad performs could go a long way toward determining his future on the sidelines in Columbia. The coach is getting maximum effort from his Gamecocks team.
Week 10 Result: Defeated South Carolina 27-24
What we learned: Tennessee is just about as talented as anyone in the SEC, but the young Volunteers will never be elite until they can play a complete game. Butch Jones’ squad coughed up its fourth second-half lead of more than 14 points this season. Only this time, the Vols were able to hang on for the win thanks to a game-sealing fumble by South Carolina. Tennessee is the quintessential first quarter team, outgaining its last two opponents – Kentucky and South Carolina – by a 321-30 margin (177-to-28 differential with USC). If Josh Dobbs and the UT offense can maintain that intensity for four quarters, the Volunteers would be almost impossible to beat.
Week 10 Result: Lost to Florida 9-7
What we learned: The Vanderbilt defense is legit, and it’s time we started recognizing them as such. The Commodores proved that in Week 10 against Florida, despite losing to the No. 10 Gators. Vandy gave Florida a scare in Gainesville in a game that was supposed to be an easy coronation of the program’s first SEC East title since 2009 — and first clinched in the Swamp since the 2000 campaign. The Vanderbilt defense sparkled in spite of the Commodores’ dreadful offense, holding the Gators to 93 total rushing yards (258 total yards). Derek Mason’s squad is painful to watch on offense, but the Commodores defense ranks No. 18 in the nation and is especially tough against the run, ranking No. 14 in the country and second in the SEC behind Alabama.