SEC News and Notes

6:27 AM, Oct 9, 2012   |    comments
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Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -

ALABAMA: The top-ranked Crimson Tide enjoyed their bye week following a dominating 5-0 start (2-0 SEC). They will return to conference action this Saturday when they travel to Columbia to take on SEC newcomer Missouri.

ARKANSAS: The Razorbacks halted their four-game losing streak on Saturday afternoon, recording their first conference win of the season in a tough road matchup with Auburn, 24-7. The defensive effort was the biggest story, as the unit forced eight sacks, the most the team has recorded since the 2000 Cotton Bowl versus Texas. Trey Flowers led the way with 3.5 sacks, and Ross Rasner, Will Hines and Alan Turner all had interceptions. Tyler Wilson completed 20- of-27 passes for 216 yards, but it was Brandon Mitchell who completed a 26- yard touchdown pass to Javontee Herndon on a trick play in the fourth quarter. Dennis Johnson paced the rushing attack with 17 carries for 76 yards and a pair of scores. Cobi Hamilton grabbed five receptions for 72 yards, giving him a catch in 28 straight games -- the longest active streak in the SEC. Arkansas (2-4, 1-2 SEC) will attempt to win back-to-back games for the first time this season this week when it hosts Kentucky.

AUBURN: The Tigers' nightmarish start to the 2012 season continued as they lost at home to the struggling Arkansas Razorbacks, 24-7. Kiehl Frazier started the game but was ineffective once again, completing 9-of-14 passes for 118 yards with an interception and he was sacked four times. Clint Moseley (13-of-21, 163 yards, TD, two INTs) didn't fare much better under center. Emory Blake was the lone offensive standout for Auburn (1-4, 0-3 SEC), hauling in 10 balls for 118 yards and a touchdown. He caught his 100th career pass in the game, becoming the eighth player in school history to accomplish the feat. Jonathon Mincy tallied eight tackles to pace the defense. The Tigers will try yet again for their first conference win this Saturday when they hit the road to take on Ole Miss.

FLORIDA: The 10th-ranked Gators proved that they are indeed one of the top teams in the nation as they pulled off a second half comeback to claim to a 14-6 win over No. 4 LSU. It marks the third time in four SEC games that they have comeback after trailing at the half. Mike Gillislee was a beast on the afternoon, rushing the ball 34 times for 146 yards and two touchdowns against one of the nation's most feared defenses. Jeff Driskel did not pass much on the day (8-of-12, 61 yards) and was sacked five times, but he otherwise kept his mistakes to a minimal. The defense shutdown the Tigers, holding them to 200 yards of total offense, 1-of-13 on third down, and a lowly 1.7 yards per carry. The unit also forced three turnovers. It was Florida's (5-0, 4-0 SEC) first win over a top-five team since 2009, and it will attempt to stay perfect on the year next week at Vanderbilt.

GEORGIA: The fifth-ranked Bulldogs put a serious damper on their national championship hopes after falling to SEC Eastern Division rival South Carolina, 35-7. After putting up 40 or more points in a school-record five straight games, the Georgia offense was stifled by the suffocating Gamecocks defense, tallying just 224 total yards. Aaron Murray had a dreadful outing, completing just 11-of-31 passes for 107 yards with an interception. Ken Malcome carried the ball five times for 45 yards, and he scored the team's only touchdown late in the fourth quarter. The rest of the Bulldogs combined for just 88 yards on 29 carries. Jarvis Jones recorded a sack, giving him a team-best 5.5 on the year. UGA (5-1, 3-1 SEC) will have to wait until Oct. 20 for a chance at bouncing back when it hits the road to take on Kentucky.

KENTUCKY: Without starting quarterback Maxwell Smith, the Wildcats managed to muster just 228 yards of total offense in a 27-14 loss to No. 20 Mississippi State. It was their third straight loss to an undefeated, nationally-ranked team. Starting in the place of the injured Smith was freshman Patrick Towles, who looked impressive before exiting prior to halftime with a sprained ankle (5-of-6, 71 yards, TD). Jalen Whitlow played the rest of the way, and he completed just 10-of-21 passes for 73 yards. He did rush for 26 yards and a touchdown. La'Rod King (46 yards) caught two passes, one of which was Towles' scoring strike. Raymond Sanders was the team's leading rusher with 43 yards on 13 carries. Kentucky (1-5, 0-3 SEC) will try once again to record its first conference win this Saturday when it plays at Arkansas.

LSU: The fourth-ranked Tigers held a 6-0 lead at halftime on the road against No. 10 Florida, but could not muster much offense in the second half as they ultimately fell to the Gators, 14-6. The defense allowed just 237 yards of offense to Florida, but 146 of those yards came from running back Mike Gillislee, who scored the game's only two touchdowns. On the other hand, the Tigers' running game could not get anything going, rushing a total of 25 times for 42 yards (1.7 ypc). Zach Mettenberger could not make up for the slow game on the ground, completing just 11-of-25 passes for 158 yards with no touchdowns and an interception in what was his worst game as a starter. Linebacker Kevin Minter did all he could to help keep his team in the game, recording 20 tackles, two sacks, and a forced fumble. The road gets doesn't get any easier for LSU (5-1, 1-1 SEC) this week as it entertains No. 3 South Carolina on Saturday night.

MISSISSIPPI STATE: The Bulldogs remained unbeaten as they went on the road to defeat Kentucky, 27-14, moving to 5-0 for the first time since 1999, a season in which they finished 10-2. They have also won seven straight games dating back to last year -- the fifth-longest streak in school history. Chad Bumphis caught nine passes for 104 yards and scored a touchdown, his record-setting 18th receiving score of his career, passing Eric Moulds and Justin Jenkins on the program's all-time list. Tyler Russell completed 23-of-39 passes for 269 yards and a pair of touchdowns. LaDarius Perkins gained 110 yards rushing and added a touchdown. His six TDs this season is already more than he had in his career entering the campaign (five). The defense was stout as well, holding UK to 228 yards while making nine tackles behind the line of scrimmage. MSU (5-0, 2-0 SEC) returns home this Saturday to host Tennessee.

MISSOURI: The Tigers came out on the losing end of a classic smash-mouth SEC bout with Vanderbilt over the weekend, 19-15. The offense moved the ball effectively with 395 total yards, but failed to cash in with touchdowns on three trips to the red zone, instead having to settle for Andrew Baggett field goals from 31, 28 and 22 yards. They also missed a PAT and bobbled a punt, which led to a Vandy safety. James Franklin (5-of-9, 56 yards) had to leave the game in the first quarter with left knee sprain and did not return. His replacement, Corbin Berkstresser, was inefficient (9-of-30), although he did throw for 189 yards, including an 85-yard touchdown strike to Bud Sasser in the fourth quarter to pull the Tigers to within one. Kendial Lawrence gained 92 yards on 21 carries, but he was held out of the end zone. The defense played well despite the loss, holding the Commodores to less than 300 yards on the day. With a Kip Edwards interception, the team has now forced a turnover in 24 straight games. Missouri (3-3, 0-3 SEC) appears unlikely to notch its first SEC win this week as it hosts top-ranked Alabama.

OLE MISS: The Rebels held a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter, but surrendered a pair of touchdowns in the final seven minutes as they fell to Texas A&M on Saturday, 30-27. They have now dropped 16 straight conference games dating back to 2010. Bo Wallace completed 20-of-34 passes for 305 yards and accounted for a pair of touchdowns (one passing, one rushing), but he also threw two interceptions. Donte Moncrief hauled in six passes for 73 yards and a touchdown, and he now has a score in five of the team's six games. Jeff Scott made the most of his 21 carries, gaining 108 yards, which included a one-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. The defense performed well despite surrendering the lead late, forcing a total of six turnovers. Ole Miss (3-3, 0-2 SEC) will try to rebound from the heartbreaker this Saturday when it entertains Auburn.

SOUTH CAROLINA: Behind a tremendous defensive effort, the Gamecocks dismissed SEC Eastern Division rival Georgia, 35-7. The defense held the potent Bulldogs to a season-low 224 yards of total offense after they scored 40 or more points in their first five games of the season. South Carolina (6-0, 4-0 SEC) scored 21 points in the first quarter and the game was never in doubt from there. Connor Shaw completed just 6-of-10 passes for 162 yards and two touchdowns, while adding 78 yards and a score on the ground. Marcus Lattimore gained 109 yards on 24 carries and also found the end zone. Ace Sanders returned a punt 70 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter. USC's 10-game win streak is the longest in school history, and the third-ranked Gamecocks will try to extend that number on Saturday night when they travel to Baton Rouge to take on No. 9 LSU.

TENNESSEE: The Volunteers (3-2) were idle this past week. After dropping their first two SEC games against ranked foes in Florida (37-20) and Georgia (51-44), they take aim at their first conference win of the season this Saturday night when they play at No. 19 Mississippi State.

TEXAS A&M: The Aggies found themselves down by 10 points in the fourth quarter at Ole Miss over the weekend, but went on a 14-0 run in the final six and a half minutes to stun the Rebels in a 30-27 final. The comeback was orchestrated by Johnny Manziel, who amassed 320 yards of total offense (191 passing, 129 rushing) and accounted for a pair of touchdowns, both a which came in the fourth quarter. Ben Malena rushed for 152 yards, which included a 59-yard touchdown run on the first drive of the game. The defense also got involved in the scoring attack with Steven Jenkins intercepting Rebels' QB Bo Wallace and returning it 37 yards for a touchdown. Texas A&M (4-1, 2-1 SEC), which enters the week ranked No. 22 in the country, managed to win despite committing a season-high six turnovers, and it now turns its attention to No. 23 Louisiana Tech, which is will face in Ruston this Saturday night.

VANDERBILT: The Commodores claimed their first conference win of the season as they squeaked by Missouri on Saturday, 19-15. The defense allowed nearly 400 yards of total offense, but it held the Tigers without a touchdown in three trips to the red zone, which proved to be the difference in the game. Zac Stacy was busy in the backfield with a career-high 29 carries, and while his yardage output was less-than-stellar considering his workload (72 yards), he scored the team's only two touchdowns of the game, and also completed a 24- yard pass. Jordan Rodgers hit the mark on 14-of-24 pass attempts for 182 yards with an interception, and Jordan Matthews (91 yards) matched a career-high with nine catches. After falling behind 6-0 early on, Vanderbilt (2-3, 1-2 SEC) took back the momentum late in the first quarter by recording its first safety of the year. Winning back-to-back games will be difficult for the Commodores this week, as they welcome the red-hot Florida Gators to Nashville.

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