Winners and losers of SEC Week 11
A comeback for the ages, the big dogs being, well, big dogs, and more than a few surprises highlight SEC Week 11. Here’s the highs and lows of the SEC’s week that was.
With a 28-3 deficit late in the 2nd quarter to an Auburn offense that was clicking on all cylinders, the outlook was far from bright for the Bulldogs. MSU’s FPI win probability had fallen to about 2% at that point. Cue Jim Carrey’s great line, “So you’re telling me there’s a chance?” There was definitely a chance, and Will Rogers’ comeback game is one for the ages. This Mississippi State season has been a pleasant surprise all around, but this comeback from 28-3 down to a 43-34 win was something special.
What a comeback by Mississippi State!!!!! The bulldogs are BARKING. pic.twitter.com/g2KvRqPbqN
— Unnecessary Roughness (@UnnecRoughness) November 13, 2021
The Ole Miss defense
Much beleaguered, the Rebel defense is always going to be the red-headed stepchild of the Ole Miss program. It’s all about offense under Lane Kiffin. The Rebels seem to often be built to win 52-51, like they did against Arkansas. So was it a surprise to see the offense held in the 20s by Texas A&M, but the Rebel defense making the difference in a victory? Because that was exactly what happened.
Speed kills. pic.twitter.com/PTx0slgpTj
— Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) November 14, 2021
First things first, the Missouri kicker would be a winner based solely off of this.
The Thiccer Kicker Burger is here! Get down to Campus to try @kickerhmevis6 creation. 2 1/3lb patties, 4 strips of bacon, 2 slices of Colby Jack, lettuce, tomato topped with a thick cut onion ring and a special sauce. pic.twitter.com/NSSxf76w2j
— Campus Bar & Grill (@CampusSECBar) November 10, 2021
But that aside, Mevis did one of those things kickers hate having to do on Saturday. Just before the half, Mizzou went down inbounds with the clock running down. Mevis hurried out and connected on a 19-yard field goal as the half ended. The Tigers won by that field goal margin, Mevis’s hurry-up kick stands out as pretty pivotal.
Or, you could single out the Mizzou running back who had his fourth 200+ yard rushing game this season. Missouri is 5-5 and Badie is the SEC’s leading rusher. Without him, the Tigers would be something like 2-8.
Barry Odom and the Arkansas defense
Or you could single out the guy who Missouri ran off, and who has built a great defense at Arkansas while the Missouri defense might keep the Tigers out of a bowl. Montaric Brown’s overtime interception in the win at LSU was a microcosm of the great work Odom and Arkansas have done. They’re all winners.
The challenge finally arrived. Tennessee led 10-7. Georgia was on the ropes.
Not really. Georgia just went back to doing what it does. The Bulldogs didn’t have to turn to J.T. Daniels, they didn’t have to massively change their defense. Sure, they gave up 17 points. But this one was never in doubt after halftime. UT rushed for 1.5 yards per carry. Georgia’s defense is all that we said it was and is. And the offense just takes care of business.
2-point play strategists
Auburn and Vandy were caught napping on this one. Auburn had already blown a 28-3 lead, so maybe Brian Harsin was dazed when the Tigers scored a late TD to cut their deficit to 43-34. Kick the extra point and make it a one-score game, right? Apparently wrong. Auburn’s failed 2-point attempt basically sealed the loss. Vanderbilt, in a similarly odd move, scored to pull within 34-17 of Kentucky. Again, kick the point, make it a two-score game, right? Wrong again. A failed 2-point attempt left Vandy behind by 3 scores. Take the easy point when it cuts into the number of possessions needed.
Florida. Just Florida.
On the week that the Gators let go of their defensive coordinator, they celebrated by giving up 52 points and 530 yards to a mediocre FCS offense from 4-6 Samford. What’s worse than playing that badly? Pretending that there was nothing wrong with it. Take a look at the postgame Florida locker room.
Florida's locker room was hype after beating FCS Samford 🐊
📹: foreignwill_ / IG pic.twitter.com/q7nODCIaWA
— The Sporting News (@sportingnews) November 13, 2021
What on Earth? Look, we get no glee from being old men squinting at the clouds and muttering at youngsters to get off the lawn. But if Urban Meyer or Steve Spurrier would have led that scene, then Dan Mullen’s job status is comfortable. What a mess.
Yes, the credit goes to Mississippi State. But how on Earth does this happen?
The Bulldogs possessions up to Auburn’s 28-3 lead: Field goal, punt, punt.
Auburn’s defensive possessions after: Touchdown, end of half, touchdown, touchdown, touchdown, touchdown, touchdown, missed field goal, end of game.
At some point in that second half from Hell, surely there was something Auburn could have done differently? MSU didn’t even reach a third down on those last 3 touchdown drives.