The Gators survived in overtime down in Jacksonville.
By: Braden Gall | 11/1/10, 4:58 PM EDT
Lattimore set a personal high with 184 yards rushing.
If you were circling games on South Carolina’s schedule in August, determining importance, this Saturday’s game against Arkansas would’ve ranked highly. But it’s an odd position the Gamecocks find themselves in entering the season’s final month: Arkansas (likely) means nothing in the SEC race. Go figure.
Win or lose this week, the Florida-South Carolina winner on Nov. 13 will play in Atlanta. That’s right: If the Ball Coach wants to finally take his team to the title game, he’ll have to win in Gainesville for the first time with a team on the visitors’ sideline.
Of course, one scenario would alter all this. But Spurrier isn’t exactly expecting it to play out. He laughed at a reporter who asked him what it would be like to wrap up the East on Saturday. “So,” Spurrier hooted, “you’re telling me Vanderbilt is going to beat Florida?”
Not happening. Swamp, it is.
The Gamecocks didn’t play particularly well against Tennessee. But the Gamecocks might’ve lost — or come very close to losing — that game in the past. This season is at least different because of the ability to turn to, gasp, playmakers. Alshon Jeffery had a 12-yard catch that he turned into a 70-yard touchdown, flashing what he calls “game speed.” That was the game-winner, with 12 minutes and change to go.
Then the Gamecocks turned to a horse of a running back — Derek Dooley actually called freshman Marcus Lattimore “Secretariat”; his high school teammates called him “the Horse” — for the final minutes. Lattimore had runs of 40 and 19 yards on the final touchdown drive, on the way to a season-high 184 yards.
Will those playmakers be the difference-makers in the Swamp? Oh, that’s right. Arkansas is first.
South Carolina 38, Tennessee 24
Florida 34, Georgia 31 (ot)
Auburn 51, Ole Miss 31
Arkansas 49, Vanderbilt 14
Mississippi State 24, Kentucky 17
• Florida’s coaches have been maligned in this web space, as well as countless other places. So, give the Gators credit for throwing pretty much everything they had at Georgia to get a big lead. Play two quarterbacks? That’s for amateurs. How about three?
John Brantley’s line — 16-for-25 for 193 yards and a pick — was pedestrian, but Trey Burton (2-for-2 throwing; 110 rush yards) and Jordan Reed (three carries, 19 yards) will give future D-coordinators pause.
Maybe the Bulldogs’ secondary is still leaky, but it appeared the Gators were finally capable of a few downfield plays. Omarius Hines, Frankie Hammond Jr., Deonte Thompson … where have you been?
• Yeah, Auburn played well to win by 20 at Ole Miss. But why were national pundits so impressed with the victory? Because many of them foolishly picked the Rebels to win the game? C’mon, that wasn’t going to happen. Maybe if Ole Miss and Mississippi State merged, to form Magnolia State University.
Auburn plays very little defense. Ole Miss plays less. Advantage, Cam Newton. Newton ran for only 45 yards, but still leads the league in rushing by about 20 yards per game. He's been that good. He threw more in this one and even caught a score. Soon, he'll be kicking extra points.
• Note to Dan Mullen: Quit now and run for governor. Run on the “I Win” ticket. Mullen’s Mississippi State team has now reeled off six in a row Saturday against Kentucky — after the Bulldogs won five games all of last season. And a 17–14 loss to Auburn back in September? That’s looking more and more like a win all the time. The Bulldogs have a bunch of good players, but nothing incredible.
Mullen’s got to get some nods for SEC coach of the year — especially if the Bulldogs can do the unthinkable and topple Bama in two weeks. He's doing the most with the least. Even Gene Chizik would agree with that.
• Tennessee isn’t a very good football team. Don’t believe it? Dooley and the Vols will tell you. One Vol — a defensive player, no less — said he was pleased to score more than 10 points at South Carolina. He thought that was progress. Heck, maybe it was. Hey, Denarius Moore looked good — 228 yards for the senior receiver (most by any FBS player this season). Wait, he’s a senior? Where’s Moore been for three years? Tennessee might have found a quarterback. Stick-figure freshman Tyler Bray (6-6, 175 pounds?) had some decent moments on the road in the SEC. Well, after throwing a pick six.
• Please explain why Arkansas receiver Greg Childs — the same Greg Childs who almost didn’t play because of an ankle injury — was playing in the fourth quarter of a blowout against Vanderbilt? (It was the widest margin of victory in a Bobby Petrino win at Arkansas). The greed, stubbornness or indifference resulted in the Hogs’ top receiver injuring his knee. Now he might not be available this week against South Carolina. Clearly not helpful. In addition, Joe Adams (ankle) isn’t 100 percent. He had to sit last week against the Commodores.
• What was Georgia thinking in overtime? All right, Aaron Murray made some nice plays and throws to get the Bulldogs back in the game. But his final touchdown to A.J. Green appeared to be rather fortunate. So, then you turn the keys over to him in overtime? Murray nearly throws an interception on first down, missing on the corner-route throw in one-on-one coverage. Then, on third down, he throws off his back foot into the middle of the field, praying that Green will save him. Maybe that’s just the curse of having a franchise-type receiver. You lean too hard. But don’t be afraid to call for some safer routes, play-callers — especially when Orson Charles is the one that primarily helped you back into the game. Where was he in OT?
• It’s getting old writing this, but South Carolina’s pass defense stinks. For a team that’s flirting with a division title, it’s a major, major problem. And a huge issue considering Ryan Mallett — regardless of what receivers are healthy — is coming to town. Chris Culliver is hurt and likely done for the season. Let’s see what the Gamecocks do from here. Switching to more man coverage didn't really fix anything. Tennessee became the third team in four weeks to throw for 300 yards against the Gamecocks. Your turn, Mr. Mallett.
Stud of the Week
Cam Newton, Auburn QB. He caught a TD pass this week. That’s new.
Dud of the Week
Matt Simms, Tennessee QB. Yes, it sucks you were removed as quarterback. But the crybaby routine to the media will not do you any favors, pal.
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