Monday, September 30, 2002

The lead game in the SEC had Kentucky visiting Florida. The Wildcats are no longer undefeated, but they showed they belonged, losing to Florida 41-34. Florida jumped out to a big lead, 19-0 at the half, and looked to be cruising. But Kentucky controlled the third quarter and actually led 28-25. Florida came back to take the lead, but Kentucky had cut it to 39-34 when Florida returned a two-point conversion attempt all the way back for two points of its own, to reach the final score. Florida's special teams were sloppy, but Kentucky deserves a lot of credit for going to Gainesville and playing with the Gators.

Alabama beat homestanding Arkansas, 30-12, with redshirt freshman backup Brodie Croyle playing quarterback the whole way in place of the injured Tyler Watts. Alabama's Shaud Williams scored on an 80-yard run on the first play from scrimmage; Williams and nominal starter Santonio Beard both ran for over 100 yards. Alabama continued to have trouble with mobile quarterbacks, Matt Jones in this case, who ran for a touchdown and a couple of other big gains.

Auburn got probably the SEC's best nonconference win this season with a triple-overtime win over Syracuse, 37-34. Carnell Williams ran 40 times for 202 yards, and Jason Campbell relieved Daniel Cobb at quarterback and may have won back the starting job. The Tigers trailed 17-0 early but came back to take a 24-17 lead, but the Orangemen tied it late. Both teams botched fieldgoals in the first overtime; Auburn won in the third by following a Syracuse FG with a TD.

I wrote a new fight song for Vanderbilt this weekend. Here's the chorus:

Look, here comes another
Moral vic-tor-y!
It's the only kind we
Ever get to see!
Way to keep it close, Vandy!

The Commodores actually led South Carolina 14-10 in the third quarter. But the Gamecocks of course came back with ten late points to win 20-14. Such is life in the SEC's intellectual bastion. You would think that if Vandy is such a good school they would have figured out by now that they're wasting their time trying to compete with enormous state universities cum football factories. As for South Carolina, QB Corey Jenkins ran for 97 yards to lead the team; their actual running backs didn't do much, which has to be a concern.

LSU had some early problems with Mississippi State, but pulled away as the game went on, winning 31-13. Neither team could really move the ball -- both were under 300 yards of total offense -- and both turned the ball over three times. LSU had no passing game to speak of, completing only four passes. That might work on State, which seems to be in a down year, but against Florida or Alabama they're going to need to throw.

Tennessee stunk up the joint in the first half, trailing Rutgers -- Rutgers! -- 14-7 at halftime only because the Scarlet Knights couldn't get a play off at the end to maybe put more points up. The Vols reasserted themselves in the second half and won 35-14. Georgia's overmatched opponent du jour was New Mexico State, which it throttled 41-14. The Bulldogs came up short of 300 yards of offense despite the gaudy score, and David Greene still has problems hooking up with his receivers. They'll need to do better if they want to beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa this week.


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