Monday, October 21, 2002

In SEC action, Georgia keeps rolling on, crushing Vanderbilt, 48-17. Well, who doesn't crush Vandy? The Dawgs are now 7-0, 4-0 in the SEC, and a game and a half up on South Carolina (whom they've already beaten) and Florida. If they win the Florida game the SEC East title should be theirs; the only other question is if they can win out, and if they do if they'll have a shot at the National Championship. David Greene had a nearly perfect day, completing 20-of-23 passes for 319 yards. Musa Smith did play, rushing 14 times for 102 yards, but he's expected to miss next week against Kentucky. As for Vandy... Let's just forget them, shall we?

The CBS game, and hence the putative game of the week, saw Alabama massacre Ole Miss 42-7. Santonio Beard, the power back in Alabama's three-headed RB by committee, scored five touchdowns (tying Shaun Alexander's school record) and rushed for 138 yards on only 13 carries; the Crimson Tide as a whole rushed for 234 and passed for 222. Tyler Watts started but reinjured his foot in the second quarter; Brodie Croyle replaced him and made the most of it, completing only 6 of 11 but for 179 yards. Eli Manning looked good early but spent most of the last three quarters on his back, being sacked three times after not being pressured all year and getting hit when he wasn't sacked. Manning wasn't really bad, but the Rebels had no running game (totalling four yards) and he wasn't nearly good enough to overcome that.

Florida beat Auburn in overtime, 30-23, after Auburn's Damon Duval had a potential game-winning kick blocked late in the fourth. Florida led most of the way, including 23-7 going into the fourth, but Auburn rallied to tie it behind Jason Campbell, who relieved Daniel Cobb for the third game in a row. They did it, moreover, without Carnell Williams, who left in the first half with what turned out to be a broken left leg that finished his season. Backup Ronnie Brown ran for 163 yards, though, and Campbell did well enough... Ron Zook might well have been out of a job today if Florida had lost the game after blowing a 16-point lead in overtime. Tommy Tuberville is in hot water now, not least because he called a fake punt from his own eight-yard-line that led to a Florida FG. My prediction is that Tuberville needs to beat either Georgia or Alabama to save his job. Auburn also has games against LSU and at Ole Miss left on the schedule and could easily finish 5-7.

Kentucky rallied to beat Arkansas 29-17 for its first SEC win and now needs only one more win for bowl eligibility. Well, except for those pesky NCAA sanctions that will keep the Wildcats from a trip to glamourous Shreveport, LA in late December. Kentucky got no running game (you see that a lot in teams that lose SEC games) but Jared Lorenzen was decent and the Wildcats returned a punt for a touchdown. In addition to the punt return, Kentucky also had TD drives of 12 and 17 yards. The Razorbacks, meanwhile, have lost two games (Alabama and Kentucky) they expected to win, plus one they didn't (Tennessee) in six overtimes, all in the last four weeks.

LSU, definitely in the driver's seat in the West with all the other teams in the division either reeling or on probation, thrashed South Carolina 38-14. The Tigers ran for 231 yards, but the Gamecocks had 148; the big difference between the teams is that South Carolina can't throw the ball, probably because they have no quarterback. Corey Jenkins takes snaps, but he's essentially a running back, and carried the ball (15 times for 41 yards) more than he threw it (12, completing 5 for 65 yards)... Mississippi State beat Memphis 29-17. This was State's biggest win of the season! They have three wins, coming against Jacksonville State, Troy State, and Memphis no-longer State. There's every chance the Bulldogs won't win another game.


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