Taking a look back at the top SEC story lines of the past weekend …
It’s not a new storyline, but just another chapter in the unfolding drama that is the Arkansas Razorbacks season. How bad can this season get for the Razorbacks? Check in Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium and find out.
Over the last three games, all losses, Arkansas has been torched for 145 points while scoring just 36 points — with 26 of those coming against Rutgers.
On the bright side for Arkansas, Cobi Hamilton broke the school record for receiving yards in consecutive games. With 162 yards against Texas A&M added to his SEC-record 303 last week vs. Rutgers, Hamilton has 465 in the last two games. He also extended his streak to 27 consecutive games in which he has caught at least one pass.
Somehow Hamilton’s record-setting season does little consolation to Arkansas fans that would rather have wins on the scoreboard rather than records in the record book. …
One highlight of this past weekend came from Ole Miss. Despite losing to top-ranked Alabama 33-14, the Rebels can take some comfort in the fact that they actually led Alabama 7-6 at one point. It’s the first time this season that anybody took a lead over the Crimson Tide. Of course it didn’t last long, 15 seconds to be exact. That’s how long it took for Christion Jones to return the ensuing kickoff 99 yards for the touchdown that put Alabama back on top to stay.
“Our special teams were atrocious and we turned the football over being greedy,” Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said.
Because of Bo Wallace’s injured shoulder, the Rebels wound up playing Wallace, Barry Brunetti and Randall Mackey at quarterback and none were able to sustain offensive consistency.
“With Bo’s (Wallace) shoulder the way it was, we wanted to be careful not to do certain things with him and try and get him totally healthy,” Freeze said. “That was the reason behind playing all of them.”
Ole Miss’ up-tempo, no-huddle offense caused Alabama some problems.
“Defensively, we were in some tough spots out there. It was really difficult to sub players,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “At times, I think we got tired on the longer drives when we couldn’t sub players because if they don’t sub, you really can’t sub because when they snap it quick, you aren’t ready. We weren’t ready to play when they hit the first big touchdown on their first drive. Guys were still looking at the bench trying to get a signal. We got better as coaches as the game went on.” …
The biggest story of the weekend took place in Athens where Georgia and Tennessee cranked out 95 points and 1,038 yards of total offense between them in the Bulldogs’ 51-44 victory. It was a game that might have driven Tennessee defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri and his Georgia counterpart Todd Grantham to look for a high bridge and a long fall.
“A lot of things in the first half deflated us, but we realized where we were, we knew we had to play another 30 minutes, and we rose to the occasion when we needed to,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “We kept them out of the end zone when we needed to, we got turnovers when we needed to and we did what we had to do to win. I’m going to focus on the positives because we got the win.
“We’re 5-0 and 3-0 in the SEC, so we’re exactly where we want to be. We’re going to enjoy the victory and make the corrections we need to make.”
For Tennessee coach Derek Dooley it was a disappointing end to what turned out to be a very frustrating afternoon.
“There is a lot of disappointment. We kept hanging in there but couldn’t get over the hump and get a stop when we needed it,” he said. “We had the ball in the last possession and had an opportunity to score, but we didn’t get it done. We haven’t been in those situations a lot. We are going to learn from it and next time execute it better.”
Dooley knows his defense will take a lot of heat from Vols fans over giving up 51 points to Georgia, especially since the two leading Bulldog rushers were freshmen Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, both of whom rushed for over 100 yards.
“We are better in a lot of areas, but we have to shore up the run defense,” Dooley said. “Georgia is a great running team but we are a lot better than what we showed out there today. It was frustrating. We have to go back, watch some film and look at our personnel. If we have to make some changes, then we will make changes. We have to learn to play better.” …
Around the rest of the conference, South Carolina overcame a sluggish first half to easily dispose of Kentucky. Missouri followed the same script by beating UCF. LSU had an uninspired win over Towson and the Texas A&M Aggies celebrated their first SEC win by beating Arkansas.
“We are still a work in progress,” Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin said. “We got a lot of young guys that are contributing. We got a monkey off our back. We’re getting a great effort out of our guys. We’ve got to continue to improve but it’s like I tell our team, it’s not about the opponent it’s about us.”
“I’m excited. I’m overwhelmed right now. Everybody was overwhelmed,” said junior defensive lineman Damontre Moore about getting the first SEC win.
“The coaches have been telling us stuff like this could happen. The past three years they have beaten us. Just to get this win against Arkansas; I’m just speechless.”