Auburn makes another strong statement
With the favorite winning all four of the SEC games on Saturday, there wasn’t much movement in the weekly Power Rankings. Arkansas, which has lost six straight game, did fall from No. 13 to No. 14.
SEC Post-Week 10 Power Rankings
|1||1||Alabama (8-0, 5-0): Alabama had the week off before its huge showdown with LSU in Tuscaloosa. The Crimson Tide, who have allowed 10 points or fewer in all but one game this season, lead the nation in scoring defense (9.8 ppg). Next Week: LSU|
LSU (7-2, 3-2): After playing nine straight weeks, LSU had its first bye of the season leading up to next Saturday’s trip to Alabama. The Tigers have lost two of their last three on the road — at Georgia and Ole Miss, by three points each. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger has thrown five interceptions in the last two games after throwing a total of two in his first seven games. Next Week: at Alabama
|3||3||Auburn (8-1, 4-1): Gus Malzahn is making a strong case for National Coach of the Year. Auburn improved to 8-1 overall with a relatively stress-free 35-17 win over Arkansas in Fayetteville. The Tigers only attempted nine passes, but they completed eight for 135 yards — an average of 14.8 yards per attempt. Tre Mason led a productive running attack with a career-high 32 carries for 168 yards and four touchdowns. Quarterback Nick Marshall added 59 yards rushing on nine attempts. Auburn’s offensive production is up by nearly 200 yards per game this season. Next Week: at Tennessee|
Texas A&M (7-2, 3-2): It was a slow start on a late kickoff (8 p.m. local time), but the final result was no surprise: Texas A&M 57, UTEP 7. The Aggies only led 9-7 at the end of the first quarter but outscored the Miners 48-0 over the next 30 minutes to take control of the game. Johnny Manziel threw for 273 yards and four touchdowns and added 67 yards and two scores on the ground. Mike Evans, who was getting some recent Heisman talk, only had 46 yards on four receptions. UTEP was without starting quarterback Jameill Showers, who began his career at Texas A&M but transferred following the 2012 season. Showers was sidelined with a shoulder injury. Next Week: Mississippi State
|5||5||South Carolina (7-2, 5-2): The Gamecocks only had 307 yards of offense (on 54 snaps) and converted just 1-of-11 on third down yet had little trouble with Mississippi State in a 34-16 win in Columbia. Quarterback Connor Shaw, the hero in Carolina’s win at Missouri last week, threw for 148 yards and a career-high four touchdowns. Mike Davis was terrific on the ground, rushing for 127 yards on an 8.5-yard average. He leads the SEC with 117.6 yards per game. The Gamecocks have next week off then close out their SEC season with a home against Florida. Next Week: Bye|
|6||6||Missouri (8-1, 4-1): The Tigers bounced back from an excruciating overtime loss to South Carolina with an impressive 31-3 win over Tennessee. Mizzou controlled the line of scrimmage, which led to a productive night running the ball. Surprisingly, quarterback Maty Mauk was the Tigers’ leading rusher with 114 yards on 13 carries. Henry Josey, Russell Hansbrough and Marcus Murphy combined for 179 yards on 31 carries. Mauk threw three touchdowns and did not have a pass intercepted, but he completed only 12-of-25 attempts. In his three starts, Mauk has completed 46.6 percent of his passes. Starting quarterback James Franklin could possibly return next week, but the Tigers may opt to keep him out another game since they have a bye following their trip to Kentucky. Next Week: at Kentucky|
|7||7||Georgia (5-3, 4-2): Georgia needed a big win to lift its spirits following consecutive losses to Missouri and Vanderbilt. Mission accomplished. The Bulldogs surged to a 20-0 lead on rival Florida but had to hold on for a 23-20 win — their third straight in the series. The final offensive numbers weren’t overwhelming (414 total yards), but the Bulldogs were terrific in the first half when they grabbed the big lead. The return of All-America tailback Todd Gurley was a big boost; he rushed for 100 yards on 17 carries and caught three passes for 87 yards, highlighted by a 73-yard catch-and-run in the first quarter. Wide receiver Michael Bennett, who missed two games with a knee injury, returned and caught five passes for 59 yards. Next Week: Appalachian State.|
|8||8||Ole Miss (5-3, 2-3): Ole Miss did not play. The Rebels are 5-3 overall after ending a midseason three-game slide with wins over LSU and Idaho. The Rebels are out of the SEC West race but are set up for a strong finish, with Troy and Missouri at home followed by a season-ending trip to Starkville for the Egg Bowl. An 8-4 regular season against a difficult schedule — not to mention a slew of key injuries — would be a huge accomplishment for Hugh Freeze’s team. Next Week: Troy|
|9||9||Florida (4-4, 3-3): Give the Gators credit for a spirited comeback against Georgia in Jacksonville, but this is a team with a ton of problems right now — most notably on the offensive side of the ball. The Gators had only 319 yards against Georgia and have not topped the 400-yard mark in a game since beating Kentucky 24-7 on Sept. 28. Quarterback Tyler Murphy, who played well in his first three games after replacing Jeff Driskel, has completed only 50.6 percent of his passes and averaged 4.5 yards per attempt over the last three games. The Gators have now lost three straight games and have to win two of their final four games — Vanderbilt, at South Carolina, Georgia Southern, Florida State — to become bowl-eligible. Next Week: Vanderbilt|
Vanderbilt (4-4, 1-4): The Commodores did not play last weekend. At 4-4, they need to win two of their final four games — at Florida, Kentucky, at Tennessee, Wake Forest — to become bowl-eligible for the third straight season. Vanderbilt has lost 22 straight games to Florida and has only won one time in Gainesville — in 1945, the first game between the two programs. Next Week: at Florida
|11||10||Tennessee (4-5, 1-4): The Vols lost 31-3 at Missouri in Josh Dobbs’ first start at quarterback. The true freshman threw for 240 yards and completed 61.9 percent of his passes, but he tossed two interceptions and lost a fumble. Marlin Lane ran well, averaging 6.2 yards on six carries, but Rajion Neal was limited to eight yards on eight attempts. The Vols had trouble slowing down Mizzou’s rushing attack, giving up 339 yards on 54 carries. Since upsetting South Carolina on Oct. 19, Tennessee has been outscored 76-13 in losses at Alabama and Missouri. Next Week: Auburn|
|12||12||Mississippi State (4-4, 1-3): Mississippi State outgained South Carolina 385-to-307 in Columbia and converted 6-of-13 on third down but never really threatened the Gamecocks because it lost the turnover battle 5-to-0. Dak Prescott did some nice things at quarterback (235 yards passing, 78 rushing), but he threw three interceptions. The Bulldogs are 2-7 in their last nine SEC games dating back to the middle of last season. Next Week: at Texas A&M|
|13||14||Kentucky (2-6, 0-4): Kentucky climbs out of last place in our weekly power rankings for the first time this season. The Cats rolled past FCS foe Alabama State 48-14 on Saturday, but their move to No. 13 has as much to do with Arkansas’ struggles as their improvement. UK used a balanced attack (233 yards rushing, 189 passing) to wear down Alabama State after a tight first quarter. Jalen Whitlow played most of the way at quarterback, throwing for 186 yards and two TDs and rushing for a game-high 101 yard and two more scores. Former Georgia tailback Isaiah Crowell led Alabama State with 84 yards on 12 carries. Next Week: Missouri|
Arkansas (3-6, 0-5): Arkansas’ losing streak is now at six games after a 35-17 loss at home to Auburn. The Hogs did a decent job on the ground, with 222 rushing yards, but they continue to get subpar play from the quarterback position. Brandon Allen completed only 10-of-22 passes for 112 yards. In SEC games, Arkansas is averaging 138.2 passing yards per game (13th in the league) and has four touchdown passes and seven interceptions. Overall, the Hogs only have eight touchdowns in five SEC games; to put that in perspective, Texas A&M has 30 touchdowns in five conference games. Next Week: at Ole Miss
SEC Week 10 Recap and Awards
Offensive Player of the Week: Tre Mason, Auburn
He doesn’t often get mentioned with some of other elite backs in the SEC, but Mason is enjoying a tremendous junior season under first-year coach Gus Malzahn. On Saturday night in Fayetteville, Mason rushed for 168 yards and four touchdowns on 32 carries to lead Auburn to a 35-17 win over Arkansas. In SEC play, Mason is averaging 117.8 yards per game with a league-best eight rushing touchdowns.
Defensive Player of the Week: Garrison Smith, Georgia
Smith, a senior defensive end, had the most productive day of his career in a very important game for the Georgia program. The Atlanta native had nine tackles and was credited with 2.5 sacks (for 12 lost yards) in the Bulldogs’ 23-20 win over Florida — their third straight over their rivals from Gainesville. Georgia held the Gators 319 total yards and allowed only one drive that went for more than 50 yards.
Team of the Week: Georgia
The Bulldogs survived a spirited second-half comeback to edge Florida 23-20 in a battle of proud programs seeking a feel-good win. Georgia dominated the first half and appeared on its way to a lopsided win until one play — a lateral that tight end Arthur Lynch failed to pick up — changed the complexion of the game. Florida outscored the Dawgs 17-0 the rest of the way but came up just short and lost for the third straight time in the series. The win keeps Georgia in the hunt in the SEC East. The Bulldogs and South Carolina each have two losses. Missouri has one loss. The Tigers, however, still have to play Ole Miss on the road and Texas A&M at home.
Coordinator of the Week: Mike Bobo, Georgia
It might seem odd to give Bobo the nod here since Georgia only scored 23 points and was shut out in the second half. But consider a few stats: The Bulldogs had 414 total yards and averaged 6.8 yards per play (only Missouri has done better against Florida this season), and Georgia averaged 9.9 yard per pass attempt — the most against Florida since October 2011. The Bulldogs also converted 7-of-12 on third down — their first game over 50 percent for the season — and ended the game on a 67-yard drive that ate up the final 8:17 of the game.
Freshman of the Week: Kelvin Taylor, Florida
It was far from a banner week for the league’s freshman. We’ll give the nod to Taylor, who rushed for 76 yards on 20 carries against Georgia in his first career start. The son of former Florida star Fred Taylor has been forced into a prominent role due to injuries at the tailback position. He has rushed for 202 yards on 42 carries in the last three games.
• Tyler Russell, Mississippi State’s starting quarterback at the beginning of the season, did not play a snap in the Bulldogs’ 34–16 loss at South Carolina. Coach Dan Mullen said Russell, who has been dealing with an ankle injury, was cleared to play “but if he didn’t have to play he wasn’t going to, which (will allow) him to be very healthy getting into next week.” Dak Prescott threw for 235 yards and rushed for 78 yards and two scores, but he threw three interceptions.
• South Carolina’s Connor Shaw has 17 touchdowns and only one interception in seven SEC games. Only two other quarterbacks have more than 10 TDs in league games — Johnny Manziel (15) and Aaron Murray (15).
• Missouri rushed for 339 yards in a 31-3 win against Tennessee, the Tigers’ highest single-game total in SEC play since joining the league last season. Mizzou was led by quarterback Maty Mauk, who had a career-high 114 yards on 13 attempts, and Henry Josey, who ran for 74 yards on 16 carries.
• Arkansas is averaging only 4.8 yards per passing attempt in SEC games. Only two teams nationally are worse in league play — Purdue (4.5 in the Big Ten) and Syracuse (4.1 in the ACC). Two years ago, in the final year of the Bobby Petrino era, the Hogs averaged a league-best 7.7 yards per pass attempt in SEC games.
• Auburn had a season-low 366 total yards (on a season-low 55 snaps) yet still beat Arkansas with ease, 35-17. The Tigers’ previous season low was 375 yards in a 30-22 win at home against Ole Miss.