SEC Football Report: Georgia, Alabama Stay Unbeaten
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 and Alabama post identical 24-10 wins
The top two teams in the conference welcomed in potential divisional challengers on Saturday, and both were dispatched fairly easily as the Bulldogs and Tide remained undefeated on the season.
For Georgia, quarterback Jake Fromm has his first star performance. Sure, the Bulldogs ran 53 times for 242 yards, but it was Fromm's efficiency (16/22) and ability to finish drives (2 TDs) that helped them get the win over South Carolina. Georgia's defense shut down the Gamecocks running game (17 carries 43 yards) and turned over Jake Bentley twice with a pair of interceptions. With the win, Georgia locked up the SEC East division championship and booked their trip to Atlanta.
Their likely opponent in Atlanta, the Alabama Crimson Tide, continued their roll through the conference with a 24-10 win over 19th ranked LSU. It was another typical boa constrictor-like effort from the Tide, making enough big plays while slowly smothering the Tigers offense.
The Tide are now 9-0 on the season, have won 18 straight home games and 23 straight SEC games. The Tide now hit the road this week to take on Dan Mullen's Mississippi State Bulldogs in Starkville.
Auburn's Passing Game Shreds Texas A&M
The Tigers offense under Gus Malzahn has largely been focused on the run and mauling teams with their multiple running back, power-option style. However, this season folks on the plains were excited because the team had added QB Jarrett Stidham, who lit up opponents in Baylor's Air Raid style of offense when he was the starter for the Bears two seasons ago.
Stidham had been solid so far this year with 1,728 passing yards and eight touchdowns with just three interceptions coming into the game, but he really hadn't had a break out performance yet. That changed on Saturday in College Station as he completed 20 of 27 passes for 268 yards and three touchdowns and he was particularly good when under duress.
The win is Auburn's 7th of the year and it keeps them hot on Bama's heels in the West with the Iron Bowl coming in just a few weeks at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Other Notable Performances
Drew Lock threw for three touchdowns while Larry Rountree III added three on the ground as Missouri blasted Florida 45-16 for their first SEC win of the season. The game was Randy Shannon's first as the interim head coach for the Gators and it wasn't a strong debut. Missouri entered the game allowing opponents an average of more than 33 PPG this season. Florida is reeling entering this week's match-up with South Carolina
Jordan Ta'amu completed 31 of 40 passes for 382 yards and four touchdowns as Ole Miss knocked off Kentucky 37-34 in Lexington. Ta'amu's performance outshined Wildcats running back Benny Shell who had another big week carrying 28 times for 176 yards and three touchdowns. The Rebels now looks ahead to an out of conference date with Louisiana-Lafayette while Kentucky heads to Nashville for a date with Vanderbilt.
Nick Fitzgerald carried 17 times for 135 yards and two touchdowns as Mississippi State held off a feisty UMass squad. Fitzgerald still struggled throwing the ball completing just 14 of 25 passes for 135 yards and two interceptions. He'll need to clean that up in a big way with a visit from the Tide looming this week.
Other Results: Arkansas 39 Coastal Carolina 38, Vanderbilt 31 Western Kentucky 17, Tennessee 24 Southern Miss 10.
Game(s) of the Week: #2 Alabama at #16 Mississippi State, #1 Georgia at #14 Auburn
Once again this week, we have a pair of Top 25 match-ups in the SEC featuring the top two (presumably still top two) teams in the country. Both teams are on the road this week, which could make things a little bit interesting.
For Alabama, they'll be facing a Bulldogs attack that largely relies on the play making ability of QB Nick Fitzgerald. The Tide have dominated the series in recent years as they've won the last nine game between the two teams. The Tide defense is likely going to be missing linebackers Shaun Dion Hamilton and Mack Wilson getting hurt in the game against LSU. Those injuries aren't insignificant, but Alabama tends to always have a guy ready to step in and fill the void. The Bulldogs are 7-2, but their two losses came by a combined 80-13 score to Georgia and Auburn, the two toughest opponents they've faced so far. That doesn't bode well for the Bulldogs this weekend.
Meanwhile, Georgia heads to Jordan-Hare Stadium to face an Auburn team that they've beaten the last three times they've played. Both of these teams like to punish teams with the running game, with the Bulldogs averaging 48 rushing attempts per game and the Tigers right there with them at 47.1. If you like battles in the trenches, this game is going to be for you. For Auburn, winning this game would officially establish them as a threat to the current order atop the conference. For Georgia, who already has the East wrapped up, this game is an opportunity to prove they can handle anyone out of the West.
For the diehards- Arkansas @ #19 LSU, Louisiana-Lafayette @ Ole Miss, Florida @ South Carolina, Kentucky @ Vanderbilt, New Mexico @ Texas A&M, Tennessee @ Missouri
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