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South Carolina, Florida on the move
There was a big shakeup in the SEC on Saturday. South Carolina climbed to No. 2 in the league power rankings (and No. 3 in the nation) with their impressive win over Georgia, and Florida moved up to No. 3 after beating LSU 14–6 in Gainesville. Also, Vanderbilt jumped from 12th to ninth after beating Missouri in Columbia.
Post-Week 6 Offensive Player of the Year Standings
1. Mike Gillislee, Florida — The senior tailback rushed for 146 yards and scored the game’s only two touchdowns in Florida’s 14–6 victory over LSU. Gillislee leads the SEC in rushing with 109.6 yards per game.
2. Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M — Manziel threw for 191 yards and rushed for a career-high 129 as the Aggies rallied from 10 points down in the fourth quarter to beat Ole Miss in Oxford. Manziel has thrown for 1,285 yards with 11 touchdowns and two interceptions and has rushed for 495 and seven scores.
3. Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina — Lattimore has rushed for 100-plus yards in three of four SEC games, including 109 on 24 carries in the Gamecocks’ 35–7 win over Georgia on Saturday. He is averaging 106.0 yards and has scored seven touchdowns in four SEC games.
Post-Week 6 Defensive Player of the Year Standings
1. Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina — The likely No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft helped shut down what had been a potent Georgia attack on Saturday night. Clowney recorded four tackles, two for a loss (plus one sack) in South Carolina’s 35–7 win over Georgia.
2. Jarvis Jones, Georgia — It wasn’t the finest moment for the Georgia defense, but Jones is still one of the elite defensive players in the nation. The junior linebacker had four tackles, including 1.5 for a loss, vs. South Carolina.
3. Kevin Minter, LSU — Minter was a monster for the LSU defense in a 14–6 loss at Florida. The junior linebacker recorded 20 tackles (including two sacks) and forced a fumble vs. the Gators. In six games, he has 54 total tackles, two tackles and three pass break-ups.
Post-Week 6 Coach of the Year Standings
1. Nick Saban, Alabama — It’s tempting to put Steve Spurrier up top, but Saban is the boss of the consensus No. 1 team in the nation.
2. Steve Spurrier, South Carolina — The Gamecocks have ascended to No. 3 in the nation in the polls after beating Georgia on Saturday night. South Carolina is playing with supreme confidence.
3. Will Muschamp, Florida — The Gators improved to 4–0 in the SEC with an impressive win over LSU. The defense was dominant and the running game was sound — just like Muschamp likes it.
1. Alabama (5–0, 2-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 1
Week 5 result: Bye
The Tide took the week off and watched three top-five teams lose on a crazy Saturday of college football. Next week, Alabama heads to Missouri, which must regroup after losing at home to Vanderbilt. Mizzou quarterback James Franklin is not expected to play.
Next week: at Missouri
2. South Carolina (6–0, 4–0, SEC)
Last week’s rank: 4
Week 5 result: Beat Georgia 35–7
On a special night in Columbia, South Carolina delivered arguably the biggest win in school history. The Gamecocks discarded SEC East rival Georgia with stunning ease and have now entered the national championship picture. “We definitely sent a message out to the whole country,” Gamecocks tailback Marcus Lattimore said. “It’s not the old South Carolina. We can play with y’all. We can play with anybody.” Lattimore led the way with 109 yards and one touchdown on 24 carries. Connor Shaw only completed six passes but he threw for 162 yards and two touchdowns and did not throw an interception for the third straight game.
Next week: at LSU
3. Florida (5-0, 4-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 5
Week 5 result: Beat LSU 14–6
The Gators passed another huge test on Saturday afternoon to improve to 4–0 in the SEC. The Florida defense, which gave up a total of 74 points in losses to LSU in 2010 and ’11, was dominant. LSU managed only 200 total yards and was held to two field goals — both in the first half. Tailback Mike Gillislee pounded out 146 yards and two touchdowns on 34 carries to lead the Florida offensive attack. “I’ll take Gilly over anybody,” UF coach Will Muschamp said after the game. “I tell him that all the time, and I mean that. I felt that way in spring and going into fall camp. He’s a Will Muschamp guy.” The Gators only had 248 total yards, but converted 7-of-14 on third down and averaged a respectable 3.2 yards per rush.
Next week: at Vanderbilt
4. LSU (5–1, 1–1 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 3
Week 5 result: Lost to Florida 14–6
LSU boasts a championship defense. The Tigers’ offense? Not so much. Les Miles’ club had only 200 yards of offense and did not score a touchdown on its way to its first regular-season loss since a 24–17 setback at Auburn in October 2010. Zach Mettenberger, who was expected to provide an upgrade at the quarterback position, completed only 11-of-25 passes for 158 yards — with 56 coming on one play that ended up with a fumble and lost possession. And the Tigers’ usually rock-solid rushing attack was limited to 42 yards on 25 carries.
Next week: South Carolina
5. Georgia (5–1, 3–1 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 2
Week 5 result: Lost to South Carolina 35–7
Time to put the brakes on the “Georgia is elite” talk. The Bulldogs, who opened the season with five straight wins and climbed into the top five in the national rankings, suffered a sobering defeat at Williams-Brice Stadium Saturday night. Georgia entered the game averaging 536.0 yards and 48.2 points per game; they had 224 and seven vs. the Gamecocks. Freshman tailbacks Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, both averaging over 85 yards through the first five games, were held to a total of 76 yards on 25 carries. And Aaron Murray, the savvy junior quarterback, had the worst game of his career, completing only 11-of-31 for 198 yards and no touchdowns.
Next week: Bye
6. Mississippi State (5–0, 2–0 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 6
Week 5 result: Beat Kentucky 27–14
With a huge home game with Tennessee looming, the Bulldogs avoided a letdown by beating Kentucky by 13 points in Lexington. Mississippi State jumped out to a 14–0 lead in the first quarter and was never really threatened. The Bulldogs outgained UK 428 to 228 and shined on third down, converting 10-of-18 (compared to 5-of-15 for Kentucky). Tyler Russell threw for 273 yards and two touchdowns, and LaDarius Perkins ran for 110 yards and a score on 24 carries. Russell, in his first season as the full-time starter, has only thrown one interception in 129 attempts.
Next week: Tennessee
7. Texas A&M (4–1, 2–1 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 7
Week 5 result: Beat Ole Miss 30–27
It’s not often that you can win a game on the road in the SEC when you turn the ball over six times. But Texas A&M did just that, thanks to a fourth quarter rally that turned a 27–17 deficit into a 30–27 victory — the first on the road for the Aggies in the SEC. Johnny Manziel, who didn’t throw an interception through his first four games, was picked off twice, but he made big plays when the game was on the line. He cut the lead to four with a 29-yard touchdown run with just under seven minutes remaining, and he put the Aggies on top with 2:33 on the clock when he found Ryan Swope for a 20-yard score. The redshirt freshman quarterback ended the game with 191 yards passing and 129 on the ground.
Next week: at Louisiana Tech
8. Tennessee (3–2, 0–2 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 9
Week 5 result: Bye
The Vols are bracing for a brutal three-game stretch that features road trips to Mississippi State and South Carolina sandwiched around a home game with Alabama. Derek Dooley cannot afford to lose all three games.
Next week: at Mississippi State
9. Vanderbilt (2–3, 1–2 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 12
Week 5 Result: Beat Missouri 19–15
Vanderbilt finally won a close game. The Commodores had lost six straight games decided by seven points or less but gutted out a four-point win over Missouri in Columbia. The Commodores struggled for much of the night on offense, but moved the ball at key times in the second half and dominated on special teams to give James Franklin his first SEC road win as the head coach at Vanderbilt. Tailback Zac Stacy’s stat line wasn’t overly impressive — he netted 72 yards on 29 carries — but he scored two touchdowns, threw a 24-yard pass to Jordan Rodgers and salted the game away with a third down run in the final 90 seconds.
Next week: Florida
10. Missouri (3–3, 0–3 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 8
Week 5 result: Lost to Vanderbilt 19–15
Missouri is still searching for its first win in the SEC. The Tigers opened strong against Vanderbilt, marching 61 yards and 90 yards on their first two possessions (both resulting in field goals) with James Franklin running the show. But after Franklin went down with a knee injury, the Mizzou offense sputtered. Backup Corbin Berkstresser, who led MU to a win over Arizona State earlier this season, completed only 9-of-30 passes in relief. Missouri outgained Vanderbilt by 100 yards (395 to 295) but the Tigers lost the special teams battle. Punter Trey Barrow dropped a snap in the end zone that resulted in a safety in the first quarter, and MU botched a potential game-tying extra point in the fourth quarter. Next week, No. 1 Alabama rolls into town, and Franklin is not expected to play. Good luck Tigers.
Next week: Alabama
11. Ole Miss (3–3, 0–3 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 11
Week 5 result: Lost to Texas A&M 30–27
Ole Miss is clearly an improved team under first-year coach Hugh Freeze, but the Rebels are still looking for their first SEC win of the season. They led Texas A&M 27–17 midway through the fourth quarter but were unable to come up with big stops when it mattered most. The Rebels’ offense did its part, with 464 total yards and a solid 9-of-19 conversion rate on third down. But the Ole Miss defense gave up 481 yards, including 290 on the ground, and allowed A&M to convert 9-of-15 on third down. Through six games, Ole Miss ranks 42nd in the nation in total offense and 56th in total defense; last year, through six games, the Rebs ranked 117th and 106th.
Next week: Auburn
12. Arkansas (2–4, 1–2 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 14
Week 5 result: Beat Auburn 24–7
The Hogs broke through with their first win against an FBS opponent this season — and it was done without breaking too much of a sweat. Arkansas pounded Auburn at Jordan-Hare Stadium, taking advantage of an inept Tiger offense that had 321 total yards and committed five turnovers. The Razorback pass defense that had been torched in the first five games “held” Auburn to only 242 yards through the air. Tyler Wilson was sharp at quarterback for Arkansas, completing 20-of-27 for 216 yards. The running attack was paced by Dennis Johnson, who had 17 carries for 76 yards and two scores. Knile Davis, a preseason All-American, only had three rushing attempts for minus-4 yards.
Next week: Kentucky
13. Auburn (1-3, 0-2 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 10
Week 5 result: Lost to Arkansas 24–7
It’s never a good sign when the head coach issues an apology to the fans who paid money to attend the game. But that’s what Gene Chizik did following his team’s 24–7 loss to Arkansas. The Tigers managed only 321 yards of offense against a Razorback defense that had given up 525 yards or more in three of its previous four games. Quarterback Kiehl Frazier, who has struggled in his first season as the starter, was pulled at the half in favor of Clint Moseley. A junior who started six games last season, Moseley completed 13-of-21 passes for 163 yards and one touchdown, but he also tossed two interceptions and was sacked four times.
Next week: at Ole Miss
14. Kentucky (1–5, 0–3 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 13
Week 5 Result: Lost to Mississippi State 27–14
There were some moments of hope — most notably when true freshman Patrick Towles guided the Wildcats on an 80-yard touchdown drive in the first half — but in the end it was another double-digit loss for Kentucky. The Wildcats were held to 228 yard of offense and are averaging an alarmingly low 230 yards in three SEC games. Towles completed 5-of-6 passes for 71 yards and one touchdown in his debut that was cut short by an ankle injury. Jalen Whitlow, the starter (and also a true freshman), completed 10-of-21 for 73 yards. On a positive note, UK did not commit a turnover for the first time since a Week 2 win over Kent State.
Next week: at Arkansas