SEC news and notes

SEC news and notes

News and notes from around the sec after week nine of the season.
ALABAMA: The nation's No. 1 team continued its dominance over the weekend, as the Alabama Crimson Tide downed Tennessee at home, 45-10. A.J. McCarron was his usual efficient self, completing 19-of-27 passes for 275 yard, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. Kevin Norwood shined as McCarron's top target, hauling in six passes for 112 yards and a touchdown, while Amari Cooper (five receptions, 75 yards, TD) was also active. The ground game, which racked up 204 yards, was paced by Kenyan Drake with 89 yards on 14 carries, although it was T.J. Yeldon (15 carries, 72 yards) who was called upon as the closer with three touchdowns. The 'Bama defense held the Volunteers to just 322 total yards and 14 first downs, with Landon Collins leading the way with six tackles, a forced fumble, and an 89-yard interception return for a touchdown. Alabama (8-0, 5-0 SEC) will have off this week and will face one its most difficult tests yet when it hosts LSU on Nov. 9.

ARKANSAS: The Razorbacks (3-5, 0-4 SEC) used an open date to recover from five straight losses. They have another difficult task ahead, as they host nationally-ranked Auburn this Saturday.

AUBURN: The Tigers continued their hot streak in a non-conference bout with Florida Atlantic, claiming an impressive 45-10 home victory. The nation's fifth-ranked rushing attack continued to do damage, racking up 422 yards on 59 carries. Cameron Artis-Payne was the top performer with 93 yards on 13 attempts, while Corey Grant (75 yards), Nick Marshall (73 yards) and Tre Mason (60 yards) all scored as well. Freshman quarterback Jeremy Johnson saw plenty of action in the blowout win, completing 10-of-16 passes for 192 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Both of Johnson's scoring strikes found their way into the hands of Sammie Coates, who finished with 113 yards on just three catches. The defense held up its end of the bargain as well, holding FAU to just 247 yards. Auburn (7-1) returns to SEC action this Saturday when it travels to Fayetteville for a showdown with Arkansas.

FLORIDA: The Gators (4-3, 3-2 SEC) slid into their bye week with back-to-back losses, which effectively bounced them from the national polls. UF will face rival Georgia on Saturday afternoon in Jacksonville.

GEORGIA: The Bulldogs (4-3, 3-2 SEC) had off last week on the heels of two straight losses to Missouri (41-26) and Vanderbilt (31-27). UGA will try to get back on track on Saturday afternoon in its annual grudge matchup with Florida in Jacksonville.

KENTUCKY: After falling behind by two touchdowns early on, the Wildcats managed to make it a two-point game late against Mississippi State, but their comeback attempt fell short as they lost on the road last Thursday night, 28-22. Maxwell Smith earned the start under center, and while he went without a turnover, he completed just 18-of-34 passes for 160 yards and a touchdown. Jalen Whitlow, who has been splitting time with Smith under center, was limited by an ankle injury with just five passing yards and 12 rushing yards. Raymond Sanders (86 yards) and Jojo Kemo (63 yards, TD) were both effective in the ground game. Ryan Timmons led the receiving corps with five receptions for 69 yards, including a 51-yard touchdown in the first quarter. UK (1-6, 0-4 SEC) will try to halt its five-game losing streak this Saturday when it returns home to take on FCS foe Alabama State.

LSU: The Tigers had little problem rolling over FCS foe Furman on their Homecoming night, winning in blowout fashion, 48-16. The 672 yards of total offense was the third-most in school history. Zach Mettenberger was 16-of-24 for 328 yards and three touchdowns, but his final stat line was marred by the inclusion of two interceptions. Odell Beckham had a career night by turning six catches into 204 yards and two touchdowns. The LSU rushing attack was outstanding, with the team averaging more than nine yards per carry. Jeremy Hill led the way with 14 carries for 143 yards and two touchdowns, while Terrence Magee was also strong with 108 yards and two score on just seven carries. LSU (7-2) has off this week, next returning to action at No. 1 Alabama on Nov. 9.

MISSISSIPPI STATE: The Bulldogs were able to win their first SEC contest of the season and surge above .500 overall with a 28-22 win over Kentucky last Thursday night. For the second time this season, Jameon Lewis scored a touchdown three different ways. Not only did he run in a 19-yard score in the first quarter and was on the receiving end of a 17-yard scoring strike in the second, but he also threw a 17-yard touchdown pass in the third. The jack-of- all-trades finished the night with 121 all-purpose yards. Dak Prescott was also outstanding in the victory, completing 23-of-34 passes for 268 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions, rushing for 33 yards and catching Lewis' scoring toss. Malcolm Johnson made the most of his four receptions, tallying 79 yards and a touchdown. Mississippi State (4-3, 1-2 SEC) will try for its third straight win this Saturday when it visits South Carolina.

MISSOURI: Despite holding a 17-0 lead in the fourth quarter, Missouri let it slip away down the stretch and eventually lost to South Carolina in overtime, 27-24, to put an end to its unbeaten campaign. Maty Mauk threw for 249 yards and a touchdown in his second start in place of the injured James Franklin, but he was ultimately ineffective, completing just 10-of-25 passes with an interception. The huge chunk of Mauk's production came on one play, as he hooked up with L'Damien Washington on a 96-yard touchdown strike in the second quarter. It was Washington's only catch of the game. The Mizzou rushing attack was bottled up for the most part, gaining 155 yards on 41 attempts (3.8 ypc). Henry Josey finished with 79 yards on 15 carries, while Marcus Murphy (53 yards) scored a pair of touchdowns. Missouri (7-1, 3-1 SEC) will try to get back on track this Saturday when it closes out a three-game homestand against Tennessee.

OLE MISS: The Rebels made easy work of Idaho on Homecoming over the weekend, taking a 59-14 decision in their highest-scoring contest since 2008. Bo Wallace played well under center, going 15-of-22 for 186 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions, while Barry Brunetti was perfect in limited action with 94 yards and two scores on 7-of-7 passing. I'Tavius Mathers paced the rushing attack with 138 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries, while Jaylen Walton (86 yards, two TDs) was also explosive on just 11 totes. Ja-Mes Logan finished with six receptions for 122 yards, including a pair of long touchdown catches (37, 65). The Ole Miss defense held the Vandals to only 253 total yards. The Rebels (5-3, 2-3 SEC) continue their six-game homestand on Nov. 9 versus Arkansas.

SOUTH CAROLINA: The Gamecocks seemed dead in the water late in the game versus Missouri over the weekend, trailing 17-0 heading into the fourth quarter, but with the return of its senior leader under center, they were able to orchestrate an improbable comeback to capture a 27-24 victory. Connor Shaw did not play in the first half due to a sprained knee, but he heroically entered the game late and was outstanding down the stretch, completing 20-of-29 passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns. Dylan Thompson started the game at quarterback, going 15-of-27 for 222 yards with an interception. Bruce Ellington (136 yards, two TDs) and Mike Davis (99 yards) tallied 10 receptions apiece, while Davis also led the team in rushing with 51 yards. Kelcy Quarles paced the USC defensive effort with a pair of sacks, and the unit held Missouri quarterback Maty Mauk to just 10-of-25 passing. South Carolina (6-2, 4-2 SEC) hopes to keep the momentum going this Saturday when it returns home take on Mississippi State.

TENNESSEE: After picking up an impressive win over nationally-ranked South Carolina last week, the Volunteers ran into a buzz saw in the form of No. 1 Alabama, losing on the road by a 45-10 final. Justin Worley had a tough time getting anything going against the stout Crimson Tide defense, completing just 8-of-15 passes for 120 yards with two interception before being replaced by Joshua Dobbs, who went 5-of-12 for 75 yards in his team debut. The lone touchdown on the afternoon came on a three-yard run by Raijon Neal, who finished with 70 yards on 13 carries. Marquez North had a strong showing at receiver, tallying four receptions for 87 yards. Tennessee (4-4, 1-3 SEC) will face its fourth straight ranked opponent this Saturday when it plays Missouri on the road.

TEXAS A&M: Although Johnny Manziel was listed as questionable all week with a shoulder injury, the quarterback suited up on Saturday afternoon and led the Aggies to a 56-24 win over Vanderbilt. In less than three quarters of work, Manziel completed 25-of-35 passes for 305 yards and four touchdowns with an interception. Matt Joeckel (3-of-6, 28 yards, TD) and Kenny Hill (5-of-5, 43 yards) also saw action under center. Malcome Kennedy led the A&M receiving corps with eight receptions for 83 yards, while Mike Evans (five receptions, 77 yards) and Derel Walker (four receptions, 59 yards) each hauled in a pair of touchdowns. The ground game was led by Trey Williams, who piled up 65 yards and a touchdown on only six attempts, while Brandon Williams (11 carries, 61 yards, TD) was also effective. Texas A&M (6-2, 3-2 SEC) steps out of conference this Saturday to entertain UTEP.

VANDERBILT: The Commodores dug themselves a 28-0 hole in the first 17 minutes of their contest at Texas A&M and could never recover, as they lost by a final score of 56-24. Jordan Matthews led all players in receptions (eight) and yards (92), and with his impressive day became the SEC's all-time leader in receiving yards with 3,172, breaking the previous record of 3,093 held by Georgia's Terrence Edwards. Patton Robinette earned his first career start at quarterback in place of the injured Austyn Carta-Samuels, finishing with 216 yards on 15-of-28 passing with two touchdowns (one rushing) and two interceptions. Jerron Seymour logged 53 yards on 16 carries, including a four- yard touchdown run late in the first half, and Jonathan Krause tallied 89 yards and a score on just three receptions. The Commodores defense had no answer for A&M's offense, which racked up 558 total yards. Vanderbilt (4-4, 1-4 SEC) has an open date this week and will play at Florida on Nov. 9.
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