Sunday, November 3, 2013
What we learned in the SEC: Week 10
By Sam Khan Jr.
Even with two league powers off this weekend, there was some interesting football in the SEC on Saturday. Here are some takeaways from the action in Week 10:
Florida-Georgia is still compelling: Even with a pair of unranked teams beaten up by injuries, Florida and Georgia provided great theater. Georgia took a commanding 20-0 lead and made it 23-3 at the half, but Florida charged back into the game and even possessed the ball in the fourth quarter down only three points. In the end, Georgia hung on for the 23-20 victory. Florida, for all of its struggles, showed tremendous fight in its second-half rally, but now the Gators are pretty much out of the mix for anything meaningful in the SEC East. The Bulldogs, meanwhile, kept alive their faint division title hopes, which are heavily dependent on Missouri taking a late dive. What added to all the fun on Saturday was the chippy attitudes on both sides, including pushing and shoving after the whistle on several occasions and multiple personal fouls.
QB Maty Mauk had 277 total yards and three TDs as Missouri bounced back against Tennessee.
No hangover for Mizzou: If anybody thought last week's tough, dramatic loss to South Carolina in double overtime would have lingering effects for Missouri, guess again. The Tigers took care of business against Tennessee, rolling to a 31-3 win. Freshman quarterback Maty Mauk accounted for 277 total yards and three touchdowns, as the Tigers were up by three touchdowns at the half. They handled the Volunteers on defense, too, holding Tennessee to just 2-of-13 on third downs, 334 total yards and just 94 rushing yards. There's still a tough finishing kick left on the Tigers' schedule, but they looked the part on Saturday.
Johnny Manziel looks like his old self: For the late-nighters, Texas A&M rolled UTEP 57-7, and while the game itself wasn't necessarily compelling, those who tuned in saw a familiar performance by Manziel. Last week, he stayed in the pocket to protect an injured throwing shoulder, but on Saturday night, he cut it loose, zigging and zagging through the UTEP defense like the player who won the Heisman Trophy last season and led the SEC in rushing. He finished with 67 rushing yards and two touchdowns on the ground, one of which was a 49-yard sprint that looked like 2012 Manziel. For the game, he accounted for six total touchdowns. He's still in the thick of the Heisman Trophy race, though he might need some others to falter in order to become the consensus front-runner again.
South Carolina can put a team away: There was a time when the Gamecocks seemed to let teams back into games after getting big leads. However, after their 34-16 win over Mississippi State on Saturday, which came three weeks after a 52-7 blowout of Arkansas, South Carolina is showing it can handle business and close teams out in the end. SEC leading rusher Mike Davis moved past the 1,000-yard mark with a 128-yard effort, and quarterback Connor Shaw threw for four touchdowns despite not having to throw for much yardage (147). The Gamecocks' defense also came to play and held Mississippi State to 10 points when it mattered.
Tre Mason got it done, again: A couple of weeks ago, in Auburn's upset win at Texas A&M, Mason had his best game of the season, rushing for 178 yards. On Saturday, the junior was again big-time to help the Tigers hold off Arkansas 35-17. Mason finished with 168 yards and four touchdowns on 32 carries. In the four games he has reached at least 100 rushing yards this season, three have been in SEC play and two have come against ranked opponents (he rushed for 132 against LSU). He's a workhorse who's coming through in the clutch for the Tigers.