Missouri transformed the SEC East from a three-team race to a four-program pileup Saturday with its win at Georgia. In the process, though, the Tigers lost their offensive leader for the remainder of the regular season. Florida and South Carolina visit Faurot Field over the next two weeks, so the viability of Missouri’s Atlanta dreams will be determined shortly.
The Tigers are the lone unbeaten in the SEC East – and only Alabama remains undefeated in the West – but they lost the interdivision lottery, drawing a road game at Ole Miss and a home contest against Texas A&M.
The West still appears to be a three-team race, though Auburn could throw a wrench in that logic Saturday when it travels to College Station for a tilt with A&M.
LSU and South Carolina thrived, Mississippi State and Texas A&M survived.
Let’s take a look at Week 7 in this week’s SEC Rewind.
Week 7 Results
No. 25 Missouri 41, No. 7 Georgia 26
No. 14 South Carolina 52, Arkansas 7
Auburn 62, Western Carolina 3
No. 10 LSU 17, No. 17 Florida 6
No. 1 Alabama 48, Kentucky 7
Mississippi State 21, Bowling Green 20
No. 9 Texas A&M 41, Ole Miss 38
Byes: Tennessee, Vanderbilt
Missouri’s defense leads win at Georgia
Several national pundits picked Missouri to defeat the beaten-up Bulldogs, but not many thought the Tigers would win the game on defense. Missouri forced four turnovers – three from Georgia QB Aaron Murray. Georgia claimed momentum in the second half, scoring 16 unanswered points. Then the Mizzou defense seized back control. The Tigers forced a three-and-out after the offense expanded the lead to eight. They then picked off Murray on each of the Bulldogs’ final two drives to seal the victory. With QB James Franklin out for the remainder of the regular season, this defense – led by DE Michael Sam and CB E.J. Gaines – will have to step up for Mizzou to win the division. The unit that played great first, second and fourth quarters on Saturday can absolutely help the Tigers find their way to Atlanta.
Florida’s offensive performance
Yes. That statement could be read either way. Florida kicked a field goal on its opening drive and then managed just one more field goal for the rest of the game during its 17-6 loss at LSU. The Tigers defense of 2013 is far from the punishing LSU defenses we’ve grown accustomed to seeing. Florida simply couldn’t muscle up to it. QB Tyler Murphy has been productive in recent weeks, but didn’t come close to mirroring those performances at Tiger Stadium. The Gators obviously planned to pound the ball and run clock. Well, they did both – running 40 times and racking up 34 minutes of possession. But they also managed just 111 yards on those 40 carries for a 2.8 average and never gained more than 14 yards on a single run. Murphy must give the Gators more balance for Florida to stay a player in the SEC East race.
Missouri QB James Franklin
Even before the Tigers could celebrate their Pyrrhic win, news started to break about just how badly Franklin injured his shoulder. After a miserable junior season, Franklin bounced back as arguably the nation’s most improved player as a senior. His development tied in directly to Missouri’s emergence in the SEC East. The Tigers tacked on two fourth-quarter touchdowns in spite of Franklin’s absence, but now face their most critical stretch of games without their offensive leader. Franklin will reportedly miss the remainder of the regular season with a separated shoulder, leaving QB2 Maty Mauk to run Gary Pinkel’s attack. Now it’s a simple question: How quickly can Mauk develop as a starter?
QB Johnny Manziel – Texas A&M
Every time the Aggies needed a big play during their 41-38 win over Ole Miss, Manziel delivered it. The 2012 Heisman Trophy winner completed 31 of 39 passes for 346 yards. He also ran for 124 yards and 2 TDs. More importantly, when Texas A&M needed to score on just about every possession, Manziel made it happen.
WR L’Damian Washington – Missouri
Washington caught 7 passes for 115 yards and 2 TDs in Missouri’s 41-26 win at Georgia. He also caught the touchdown on a double-pass that stemmed momentum the Bulldogs gained. That last score extended Mizzou’s lead to 34-26.
QB Connor Shaw – South Carolina
The Gamecocks steamrolled Arkansas because they were able to dominate time of possession (43-16, yikes). Shaw played a big role in South Carolina’s dominant performance. The senior completed 19 of 28 passes and went for 256 total yards of offense and 4 TDs.
RB Jeremy Hill – LSU
Hill didn’t reach the end-zone, but he rushed for 121 yards on 19 attempts against a tough-as-nails Florida rush defense. Hill also had a 30-yard reception.
LB Lamin Barrow – LSU
LSU downright dominated Florida’s offense on Saturday, holding the Gators to just 240 yards of total offense. Barrow led the way for the Tigers with 13 tackles, including 1 TFL. He also broke up a pass.
RB T.J. Yeldon – Alabama
Yeldon ran for 124 yards and 2 TDs on 16 attempts in Alabama’s decisive win at Kentucky.
QB Bo Wallace – Ole Miss
In a losing effort, Wallace threw for 301 yards with 3 TDs and an INT. Wallace gave Ole Miss numerous chances to pull out the victory, but ultimately his defense couldn’t find ways to take stop Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M.
Topics: Alabama Crimson Tide, Arkansas Razorbacks, Auburn Tigers, Florida Gators, Georgia Bulldogs, Kentucky Wildcats, Louisiana State Tigers, Mississippi State Bulldogs, Missouri Tigers, Ole Miss Rebels, SEC, South Carolina Gamecocks, Tennessee Volunteers, Texas A&M Aggies, Vanderbilt Commodores