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.
Georgia Rebounds With Win Over Kentucky
The Bulldogs were smarting from the 40-17 loss to Auburn and tumbling down the College Football Playoff rankings six spots to number seven as they headed home to face Kentucky on Saturday afternoon. Georgia took out their frustrations on the Wildcats to the tune of a 42-13 win, to finish with a 7-1 record in the SEC and their 10th win of the season. Nick Chubb got back on track after being bottled up by the Tigers, rushing 15 times for 151 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the game.
Perhaps more importantly, the run defense got back on track by holding the Wildcats to just 3.4 yards per carry and 124 rushing yards in the game. Now that Georgia has wrapped up their SEC slate, they ready for a rivalry battle with Paul Johnson’s Georgia Tech squad this upcoming Saturday. The Bulldogs have lost two of the last three games in the rivalry including a 28-27 loss in last year’s game in Athens. The SEC East title and a trip to Atlanta is already locked up for Kirby Smart and company, but you know he’d love to get his first win in the “Clean Old-Fashioned Hate” rivalry game.
Other Notable Performances
With it being cupcake week for Alabama, Auburn, Florida and South Carolina, there’s not much to highlight from those teams. All four dominated, as you would expect them to, against Mercer, Louisiana Monroe, UAB, and Wofford respectively. All four will be playing rivalry games this weekend, so things are a little more exciting this week. That said, in the games featuring SEC teams pitted against each other, there were a couple of big performances to highlight.
Nick Fitzgerald helped Mississippi State overcome a fourth quarter deficit to beat Arkansas 28-21 an earn their eighth win of the year. The Razorbacks jumped out to a 14-0 lead after the first quarter, but Fitzgerald pulled the Bulldogs back to even by taking advantage of a couple of short fields to tie the game at 14. Arkansas took a 21-14 lead into the fourth with a 10-play 75-yard drive early in the third. Fitzgerald’s two touchdown passes late in the fourth gave Dan Mullen the win. On the day, he had a combined 254 yards and three touchdowns. The Bulldogs ready for the Egg Bowl this week.
Derrius Guice, Darrell Williams and Danny Etling(!!!) combined to carry 43 times for 200 yards and four touchdowns as LSU stomped Tennessee 30-10. It was a down pour in Knoxville for this game, so that passing game wasn’t really a great option for either team and that suits the Tigers just fine. Ed Orgeron and company will host Texas A&M to end their regular season.
Missouri picked off Vanderbilt QB Kyle Shurmur three times, turning one into a defensive touchdown, en route to a 45-17 win over the Commodores. Tigers QB Drew Lock wasn’t particularly efficient (10/25) but he was on target when it mattered, throwing three touchdown passes in the win. For Mizzou, the win makes it three straight victories in conference since starting the season 0-4 in SEC play. Overall, the Tigers have won five straight to improve to 6-5 as they are now bowl eligible. Vandy, on the other hand, has lost seven of eight games since starting the season 3-0. Missouri meets Arkansas on Black Friday, while Vanderbilt heads to Knoxville with both teams looking for their first wins.
Biggest Game: #1 Alabama at #6 Auburn, 3:30 p.m ET (CBS)
Here it is, the game that has been circled on the calendars for weeks now. Arguably the most heated rivalry in the country, the Tide and Tigers will meet in Jordan-Hare Stadium with the SEC West title on the line. If Auburn loses this game, it’s playoffs hopes are done. The Tide wouldn’t necessarily be eliminated from the conversation, but they’d be relying on things out of their control at that point, which would drive Nick Saban and Tide fans crazy.
As for things on the field, you know at this point in the season what each team is bringing to the table. Alabama ranks in the Top 10 in both rush offense and defense, while Auburn is Top 20 in both of those categories. Alabama is depleted at the linebacker position and in their last two SEC games, against LSU and Mississippi State, the Tide allowed over 150 yards on the ground. Granted, both teams averaged 3.6 yards per carry or less, but they were able to move the ball on Alabama. Auburn showed against Georgia that it is willing to continuously pound the football with Kerryon Johnson even if they’re not having early success. This game should be very competitive and it may come down to which QB can make a big play late.
Game(s) To Keep An Eye On: #4 Clemson at South Carolina 7:30 p.m. (ESPN), Louisville at Kentucky 12:00 p.m. ET (SEC Network)
South Carolina has a chance to play spoiler for the Tigers this week if they can win in front of their home fans. Clemson has won three straight in this rivalry, putting up 35 or more points in each game. The Tigers are already assured a berth in the ACC championship game, but in order to remain in playoff contention, they’ll need to win this game. How Gamecocks sophomore QB Jake Bentley holds up in the face of a ferocious Clemson pass rush will be interesting to watch.
Kentucky hosts Lamar Jackson and Louisville on Saturday in the latest edition of the Governor’s Cup. The Wildcats beat the Cardinals last year in a shootout, 41-38. The teams combined for over 1,100 yards of offense in the game. Jackson had 452 total yards by himself to go with four total touchdowns, but he did throw three picks. Wildcats QB Stephen Johnson threw for 338 yards and three touchdowns in the game and it’s quite possible we could see a similar type of game this year. The Cardinals and Wildcats are both allowing opponents to average more than 27 points per game this season and the offenses have plenty of explosive ability on both sides.
For the diehards: Ole Miss @ #16 Mississippi State (Thursday, 7:30 p.m), Missouri @ Arkansas (Friday 2:30 p.m.), #7 Georgia @ Georgia Tech, Florida State @ Florida, Vanderbilt @ Tennessee, Texas A&M @ #20 LSU