In this day and age of the BCS the one thing you can count on is that the preseason rankings mean nothing. When this season began a team like Ole Miss was in the mix for a top 10 ranking. They were one of the teams to watch for. Well somebody forgot to tell the Gamecocks last Thursday. The Rebels started the scoring with a Joshua Shene 42 yard field goal for a 3-0 lead. That would just about do it for Ole Miss. Their much heralded QB Jevon Snead would be hounded all game long and could never get on track. He missed six consecutive passes at one point and finished 7-21 for 107 yards and one touchdown. His team was having trouble getting first downs in the first half and could not capitalize on any other chances. They were 1-13 in third down efficiency and had nine penalties for 70 yards. A running game that been so productive was only able to get 139 yards. When things seemed to go right they went wrong. Running back Brandon Bolden ran away for a 59-yard touchdown that was negated by a holding penalty. They had to settle for the field goal. In their final four possessions the Gamecocks went three and out and the Rebels could not answer. Snead showed that there can be too much hype given to any player at any time. He does have the ability for a promising future but this is the SEC. Here you have to prove your value every Saturday against some of the best the country has to offer. As for the Gamecocks it was just their second win in 33 tries against a top five team. Their only other win came in 1981 at North Carolina and after this game they partied like there was no tomorrow. It was not an easy win as quarterback Stephen Garcia fumbled to end one drive and a penalty led to their first field goal. They had to settle for two more Spencer Lanning field goals when they could have gotten more. Still it was enough to stop a team that was probably ranked higher than it should have been. Yet, late in the game Ole Miss found itself with a chance to go ahead, but a sack and a batted away fourth down pass sealed the win for South Carolina. The celebration was a big one they could relish but there is still work to do cause one win won’t cut it here. The two teams have work to do now. Ole Miss must regroup as their season is far from over. They have big games at home where they can make some noise. As for the Gamecocks they had a big win here but know that they still have work left. Garcia must put in a better performance week in and week out. He was 16-34 for 220 yards with only one touchdown pass but must improve his completion percentage. The offense will have to do more because teams won’t play as poorly as Ole Miss did on this day. Stay tuned as the national and SEC pictures begin to take shape.
LSU 30 Mississippi 26
This game had a little bit of everything with special teams play as well as mistakes. The Tigers of LSU were looking for a pretty easy game against a team that should not have given them much of a test. Chad Jones returned a punt 93 yards and wide receiver Brandon LaFell caught two touchdown passes from QB Jordan Jefferson. The game came down to the last minutes, as the Tigers needed a goal line stand to preserve the win. It would have been easier for them had they not missed an extra point and a chip shot 19-yard field goal. They could not run on the Bulldogs defense all day as holes were plugged up and back could not break tackles. Senior Bulldog running back Anthony Dixon had a great day as he ran for 106 yards 27 carries with two touchdowns. But when his team needed him the most he could not score given two chances from inside the three. Quarterback Tyson Lee went 15-38 for 172 yards one touchdown and three interceptions. He made the first mistake of the game when Patrick Peterson picked off his pass and ran it back 37 yards on the Bulldogs first offensive play. Another mistake he will have a hard time getting over will be the one he made late. There was 1:12 left in the game and it was fourth and goal with the score 31-24 LSU. Lined up in the wishbone Lee ran the sneak and failed to get the touchdown that could have tied the game late. On the ensuing Tiger possession LSU punter Derek Helton killed a few seconds running around in the end zone and then ran out of it for the safety. With the score now 31-26 State got the ball back but Lee threw four incomplete passes ending any hope of a wild finish. LSU made this game harder for them than it should have been. Mistakes in the kicking game and shabby play all day leaves the Tiger head coach Les Miles wondering if his team is ready to take that leap in the polls they are about to take. The schedule will not get any easier and if LSU hopes to play in Atlanta they cannot afford to continue this type of play on the field.
Tennessee 34 Ohio 24
Just when they thought it was safe to get back on the field the Vols nearly laid an egg. It was raining all day and it stopped just in time for kickoff. This was supposed to be an easy win after playing Florida so close to the vest. The defense that showed up in the swamp was mired with injuries to three starters. By games end they lost two more and were unable to stuff the Bobcats. Ohio managed to get 340 total yards mostly on the arm of quarterback Theo Scott who threw for 319 of those yards. The Vols were tough against the run holding Ohio to 21 yards on 17 carries. Vols quarterback Jonathan Crompton threw two touchdown passes but also threw pick number eight on the young season. The running game was a little better with Montario Hardesty rushing for 140 yards on 20 carries including an 11-yard touchdown. Freshman Bryce Brown added 56 yards and 60 receiving to help out. It was still a rather disappointing performance for a team that needs to play with much more consistency to win ballgames. Next week they have Auburn and the defense will be shorthanded. Special teams will have to improve as well. After Hardesty’s touchdown the Vols could be seen celebrating and just like that the ensuing kickoff was run back 95 yards by Ohio’s Chris Garrett for the tying touchdown. Mistakes have been killing the Vols and continued in this game. The defense came in ranked fifth in the nation in total defense but gave up all those passing yards. They must find a way to get better coverage as opposing receivers are still catching the ball a little too wide open. Crompton still has much work to do as he has proven that he cannot be counted on when the passing game is needed. It’s back to the drawing board for the Vols and there is much work to do.
Alabama 35 Arkansas 7
Razorback quarterback Greg McElroy has career high of 291 yards and three touchdowns to nine different receivers. The tide is now 4-0 and poised for some votes for the top ranking in the nation. Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett went 12-35 for 160 yards with one touchdown and one pick. Arkansas defense folds once again.
Georgia 20 Arizona State 17
A.J. Green had the game of his young career catching eight passes for 153 yards including a beauty of a 56 yarder for his touchdown but it was his blocked field goal that helped the Dawgz win. The game was not decided until kicker Blair Walsh hit the game winner as time ran out.
Auburn 54 Ball St. 30
Well this was one of those easy ones folks. QB Chris Todd passed for 287 yards and tied a school record with five touchdown passes. The Tigers got nearly 500 yards of offense and are now 4-0. WR Terrell Zachery showed out with five catches for 122 yards and two touchdowns. Both scores came in the second quarter from 46 and 65 yards.
Vanderbilt 36 Rice 17
This was one the Commodores needed badly so they ran for 216 yards and four touchdowns for the win. Warren Norman had 11 carries for 119 yards and a 58-yard score. Quarterback Larry Smith bounced back going 23-41 for 268 yards and a rushing touchdown. The Dores got almost 500 yards of offense and moved the ball virtually at will. The win snapped a two game losing streak to put them at 2-2.
Florida 41 Kentucky 7
The one thing the Gators worry about is losing AT&Tebow to some sort of injury. It would appear it’s the only thing that could stop them. Well it finally happened when he took a hard hit to the chest and then his head hit the turf. He was taken to the hospital and stayed overnight for observation. The game itself was no contest as Florida jumped out to a 31-0 lead and never looked back. Tebow ran 16 times for 123 yards and two touchdowns. That gives him 48 rushing touchdowns for his career. That is just one short of the SEC record held by Hershel Walker. He also passed for 103 yards and one touchdown before being injured.