The Week 5 SEC schedule featured a couple match-ups of ranked teams, one of which was a match-up of two SEC juggernauts in LSU and Georgia, while the other match-ups produced some results that were closer than many expected:
#12 South Carolina Gamecocks 28, Central Florida Knights 25
In the 1st half, South Carolina fans saw their starting QB, Connor Shaw, go down with an injury and not return while their team went down 10-0 to an unranked, non-conference opponent at halftime. With Dylan Thompson under the center and a new offensive strategy that featured handing the ball off in the I-formation time and time again to RB Mike Davis, the Gamecocks scored 28 unanswered points in the 2nd half. Davis, who earned a helmet sticker from the ESPN College Gameday crew Saturday night for his performance, rushed for 167 yards on 26 carries with 3 touchdowns. However, the Gamecocks allowed 2 touchdowns in the last 10 minutes to let the Knights back in the ball game but with less then two minutes left, WR Bruce Ellington recovered a UCF onside kick to seal the game for South Carolina.
Tennessee Volunteers 31, South Alabama Jaguars 24
One of the newest members of the FBS, the South Alabama Jaguars, gave Tennessee quite the scare Saturday afternoon in Neyland Stadium. At one point in the 3rd quarter the Volunteers held a 31-7 lead so this game didn’t seem like it would end close but the Jaguars rattled off 17 unanswered points to cut the Vols lead to a touchdown late in the 4th quarter. South Alabama had a 1st and Goal with under three minutes left in the game, offering the Jaguars a chance to tie it up but South Alabama could not get in the end zone to seal Tennessee’s win. Tennessee scored it’s last touchdown early in the third quarter on a 11-yard run by RB Rajion Neal, who rushed for a career-high 169 yards on 25 carries.
#9 Georgia Bulldogs 44, #6 LSU Tigers 41
Georgia’s opening month in the 2013 college football season was a tough one, facing three Top 10 teams in Clemson, South Carolina, and LSU. With the ‘Dawgs win Saturday, they finish 2-1 in that stretch, a record I am sure they will gladly take. Georgia was only the fourth team since the BCS began in 1998 to face three top 10 teams in the first four games of a season. The game Saturday was a back-in-forth between two former teammates, Georgia QB Aaron Murray and LSU QB, and former Georgia QB, Zach Mettenberger. Mettenberger threw for over 300 yards and Murray thew for around 300, 298 to be exact, while both teams also had impact plays on the ground. With Aaron Murray firing a touchodwn pass to WR Justin Scott-Wesley with 1:47 remaining, LSU got one last chance but simply ran out of time. With wins over South Carolina and LSU, Aaron Murray got rid of a majority of his critics but he and the Bulldogs have bigger dreams, and this win puts them square in the National Championship picture.
#1 Alabama Crimson Tide 25, #21 Ole Miss Rebels 0
The first half in Tuscaloosa was not a great offensive half for either team but the Crimson Tide got their ground game going in the 2nd half. Alabama K Cade Foster hit three field goals of 28, 42, and a career-long 53 yards in the 1st half and then Alabama added two scores on the ground in the 2nd half, one from RB TJ Yeldon and RB Kenyan Drake. Yeldon ran for 121 yards on 17 carries, while Drake ran for 99 yards on 12 carries. Ole Miss QB Bo Wallace said earlier in the week that he believed Ole Miss could put up points against anyone, even comparing Ole Miss’ talent to Texas A&M’s, well, that wasn’t very true Saturday afternoon. Wallace was 17 of 31 for 159 yards while the whole Rebels offense only gained 205 yards of total offense. With the win, the 2-time defending champion Alabama Crimson Tide move to 3-0 and remain #1 in the AP poll.
#10 Texas A&M Aggies 45, Arkansas Razorbacks 33
You can argue that last year’s Texas A&M-Arkansas game was Johnny Manziel’s coming-out party when the Aggie QB had 557 total yards vs. John L. Smith’s Arkansas team. Manziel did it again to the Razorbacks, throwing for 261 yards, rushing for 59 yards and accounting for two touchdowns Saturday night. This game was Texas A&M’s first trip to Fayetteville since 1990, when both teams were members of the Southwest Conference. Arkansas got its QB, Brandon Allen, back after he missed last week’s loss to Rutgers but with Allen, and their rushing attack, the Razorbacks held their own with Texas A&M for awhile, entering the 4th quarter down by only 5. These teams combined for 1,006 yards of total offense with Texas A&M holding the advantage 523 to 483. After starting the season with 3 consecutive wins in Bret Bielema’s 1st season as head coach, Arkansas has now lost two in a row.
#20 Florida Gators 24, Kentucky Wildcats 7
With Florida QB Jeff Driskel lost for the year, back-up QB Tyler Murphy had his first career start Saturday night in Lexington. Murphy was a very efficient 15 of 18 for 156 yards and a touchdown, while rushing for 36 yards and adding a touchdown on the ground. The Gators also lost star DT Dominique Easley but the Florida defense still performed well, holding Kentucky’s offense to 173 yards of total offense and the Wildcats lone touchdown coming on a fake field goal. Florida RB Matt Jones out-gained the whole Kentucky offense Saturday when he ran for 176 yards on 28 carries and a touchdown. In the highly anticipated 1st year for new Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops, the Wildcats have had trouble on offensive, especially at the quarterback where the position has been a revolving door. UK QB Max Smith was 12 of 20 for 90 yards while another UK QB, Jalen Whitlow, was 5 of 6 for 35 yards. The Wildcats struggled to run the ball Saturday night as well, only rushing for 47 yards.
Missouri Tigers 41, Arkansas State Red Wolves 19
Even though they have yet to play a conference game, the only other undefeated SEC team, other than Alabama, is Missouri. The Tigers played all 4 of their non-conference games to start the season and with the win versus Arkansas State, Missouri completed a 4-0 record against their non-conference slate. That’s right, Missouri plays 8 SEC conference games in a row to end their season and in their 1st year in the SEC, the Tigers finished 2-6 in conference games. However, on Saturday, Missouri QB James Franklin had the Tigers offense humming, gaining close to 500 yards of total offense and averaging 8.6 yards per play. Franklin himself threw for 255 yards and 3 touchdowns through the air while adding 33 yards and another touchdown on the ground. Franklin brings that offense to Nashville next weekend to face the Vanderbilt Commodores to begin their SEC conference slate.
Vanderbilt Commodores 52, UAB Blazers 24
Sophomore RB Jerron Seymour had a career day versus UAB on Saturday rushing for a career-high 107 yards and a career-high 2 touchdowns. Vandy QB Austyn Carta-Samuels threw for 334 yards on 23 of 29 passing and two touchdowns, his second touchdown pass going to Vandy WR Jordan Matthews. Matthews, an All-SEC WR, caught 8 balls for 115 yards on Saturday and his touchdown catch propelled him into a tie for 1st place in Vanderbilt history for the most touchdown catches in a career. Vanderbilt, who is 3-2, has now won 7 straight against their non-conference opponents but their next 6 games are against SEC foes.
Week 6 in the SEC:
Georgia State at Alabama, 12:21 ET, ESPN3
#6 Georgia at Tennessee, 3:30 ET, CBS
#24 Ole Miss at Auburn, 7:00 ET, ESPNU
Arkansas at #18 Florida, 7:00 ET, ESPN2
#10 LSU at Mississippi State, 7:00 ET, ESPN
Missouri at Vanderbilt, 7:30 ET, ESPN3
Kentucky at #13 South Carolina, 7;30 ET, FSN