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This is the CBS Local SEC Football Report. Every week, this space will recap the results and top performances from the Southeastern Conference and look ahead to key match-ups the following week.
LSU Keeps on Winning
It was just three weeks ago that the Tigers were coming off a loss to Troy that had folks around the program grumbling about whether or not Ed Orgeron was the right fit for the program. Since then, LSU won a hard-fought 17-16 game on the road against Florida, roared back from a 20-0 deficit against Auburn to win 27-23 and this week, buried Ole Miss 40-24. They pressured Rebels QB Shea Patterson into three interceptions and allowed him to complete just 10 of 23 passes before he left the game with an injury.
On offense, running back Derrius Guice erupted for 276 yards on 22 carries with one touchdown. He was gashing the Rebels defense all night long for big chunk runs like this one.
Guice had a big night, but lost in the shadow of his night was fellow running back Darrel Williams who also broke 100 yards rushing (103 on 22 carries) and added 100 yards receiving as well (105 on 4 catches). The LSU running backs accounted for 484 of the team’s total 571 yards. That’s a full 85% of the offensive production coming from the running back spot. That’s a good way to go into the bye week for the Tigers before they get ready for the trip to Tuscaloosa to face the Tide.
Tide Rolls over Tennessee
Speaking of Nick Saban’s group, they continued their rampage through the SEC with a 45-7 stomping of Butch Jones’ Tennessee team. The line on the game had Alabama as 34.5 point favorites and amazingly enough, the Tide covered that number. It was the typical dominant Tide performance, winning the first down battle (35-7), out-gaining the Vols 601-74 and forcing a couple of turnovers. The game was out of hand by halftime at 21-0 and by the latter half of the third, Alabama was playing its backups.
However, in typical Saban fashion, he found plenty of things to dislike about the team’s performance. Most notably, the slow start to the game.
The good news is, Coach Saban has a full two weeks to get his team’s heads straight before the Tide face LSU in what will be their first test within the conference so far this year.
Other notable performances:
Kamryn Pettway made his presence felt in Auburn’s 52-20 rout of Arkansas as the big back rolled up 90 yards on 11 carries with three rushing touchdowns. Pettway has been injured for much of the season and has been on a “pitch count” the past couple of weeks. Getting him healthy will be huge for Auburn’s chances of knocking off the Tide to win the SEC West. He wasn’t the only guy doing damage on the ground as four other players had 45 or more rushing yards with Kerryon Johnson and Jarrett Stidham adding rushing touchdowns.
Mississippi State shut down Kentucky 45-7 with the Bulldogs defense looking like the dominating unit that held LSU to 7 points in Baton Rouge earlier this year. The Bulldogs allowed just 249 yards, forced two turnovers, and racked up three sacks. The Bulldogs are just one win away from bowl eligibility with five games still left on the schedule.
Drew Lock just missed tying his own single-game record for touchdown passes when he threw for six in Missouri’s 68-21 win over Idaho. Lock completed 23-of-33 passes for 467 yards with 11 of them going to receiver J’Mon Moore who racked up 174 yards and caught one of those TD passes on the day as well.
Florida, Georgia, Vanderbilt, South Carolina and Texas A&M were off this week.
Biggest Game(s): #3 Georgia @ Florida; 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS
This doesn’t look like a great slate of games with three of the conferences top four teams on a bye. But, we do get the latest edition of the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party with the Bulldogs and Gators meeting in Jacksonville to renew their rivalry. This game was circled prior to the season as a potential deciding game in the SEC East race. Instead, it’s “just” a rivalry game, but the Dawgs still have plenty to play for. Kirby Smart’s team is unbeaten this year and seems to be on track for a potential playoff berth. The best way to remain on that track is getting a win this week against Florida for the first time since 2013.
Keep an eye on: Mississippi State @ Texas A&M
Mississippi State and Texas A&M have played fairly well so far this year with their four combined losses coming against UCLA, Alabama, Auburn and LSU. Each team has a dual-threat style of QB with Nick Fitzgerald and Kellen Mond and they play a swarming style of defense that can be stifling. This should be an interesting one in College Station.
For the diehards: Arkansas @ Ole Miss, Missouri @ UConn, Vanderbilt @ South Carolina, Tennessee @ Kentucky