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SEC Spin Zone: Week 6

What can your team take from its loss?

Auburn v Mississippi State Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Even though the season is passing us by entirely too fast, it feels great to be back in the midst of mid-season chaos. There is a robust selection of story lines from coast-to-coast following games like we hadn’t seen in the weeks prior to Week 6. In the SEC, only two undefeated teams remain as we welcome LSU and Kentucky to the Spin Zone for the first time this season.


LSU

LSU played their game on Saturday afternoon in Gainesville just as they had in the weeks before. The defense performed decently well as they held the Florida Gators to 4-13 on third downs and forced a turnover. On offense, Nick Brossette had another solid game on the ground tallying 95 yards and two touchdowns. This sounds like a recipe for a win, but this wasn’t the case as the Tigers fell by a score of 27-19

Joe Burrow played the same in this game as well, with a completion percentage in the mid-50s and 191 yards, right around his season averages. The only difference on Saturday was that he threw his first two interceptions of the year and they came on LSU’s two final offensive drives of the game. Brad Stewart Jr. essentially nailed the Tigers’ coffin when he returned Burrow’s first INT for a touchdown with 1:45 remaining in the game.

NCAA Football: Louisiana State at Florida
Influential spiritual figure and Florida Gators legend, Tim Tebow.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It’s always rough when an undefeated season comes to a screeching halt, but the loss coming at the hands of a Florida team that’s finally found itself isn’t as bad as it could be. Also, if we’re being honest, the Patriots couldn’t come into The Swamp and win on the same day as Tim Tebow’s Ring of Honor induction.

Kentucky

The Kentucky Wildcats did NOT play their game on Saturday night in College Station just as they had in the weeks before.

Going into this game, the question was if the Texas A&M Aggies could shut down the UK run game and force Terry Wilson to pass. A&M sort of did this, I guess. And no, this isn’t my UK fandom seeping out. Benny Snell ran for only 60 yards and the rest of the team only ran for 10. The Aggies shut down the run, but Snell inexplicably only carried the ball 13 times in regulation and a super inexplicable zero times during overtime in the 20-14 loss.

Kentucky’s offensive performance was bizarre as Terry Wilson finished with a 65% completion percentage (13/20 for 108 yards) and no INTs, but was uncomfortable, held the ball too long and took sacks all night. Six to be exact. With Snell’s small number of carries and A.J. Rose only toting the ball three times, it’s almost like the coaching staff didn’t even give themselves a chance to abandon the normal game plan.

A&M’s defense was flying around the football all night, so credit is certainly due there. The Aggie offense did a good job staying on the field as well. Back in Lexington, the Cats will take the bye week to figure out how to not outsmart themselves again on offense before they take on Vanderbilt on October 20. The defense is fine and 5-1 at Kentucky is always celebrated. Hopes for the East title are still alive and well.

Missouri

The Mayor’s Cup as it’s now known was the wildest game in the SEC on Saturday. The Missouri Tigers and South Carolina Gamecocks played a shootout that included a monsoon in the 2nd half. Carolina eventually won 37-35 on a 33 yard Parker White field goal with six seconds left in the game.

Things were looking up for Mizzou leading up to the game and early on during the game. By Friday afternoon, It was pretty much certain that redshirt senior Michael Scarnecchia would be making his first career start under center for the Gamecocks vs. the Tigers. Scarnecchia did indeed start and the Tigers established their offense early, scoring 17 in the first quarter.

After that, Missouri had too many drives stall for punts and field goals and let Scarnecchia carve up their defense just a little too much. Another factor that made this a head-scratching loss was that the Tigers actually out gained the Gamecocks by 113 yards. Damarea Crockett and Larry Rountree III rolled to 244 combined rushing yards, but Drew Lock threw two critical interceptions which happened in part due to the exceptionally sloppy weather conditions.

The good news for Mizzou is that the offense is still among the elite and will carry them to more victories and possibly some upsets.

Auburn

The fumble into the end zone touchback rule struck again and Nick Fitzgerald’s body didn’t quite look to be across the goal line on a fourth down touchdown. If you’re an Auburn fan, you probably don’t want to want to hear the phrase “the previous play is under further review” anytime soon.

These two plays, while controversial, didn’t necessarily decide the game for the Tigers as they fell to the Mississippi State Bulldogs 23-9. It looked like it just wasn’t Auburn’s night from the get go. Jarrett Stidham missed a wide open Darius Slayton on a trick play in the second quarter and it was all downhill from there. The Bulldogs stifled Auburn’s offense and ran over their defense with an eye opening 349 rushing yards.

The Tigers have some soul searching to do. Malzahn and company cannot get the run game established and that is the backbone of his offense. It doesn’t help that Stidham has been shaky as well. With Tennessee at home next up on the schedule, there’s an opportunity for a confidence building win or a hangover. I predict the former.

Vanderbilt

It appears that Notre Dame Vanderbilt has left the building. Between the hedges in Athens on Saturday night, the Dores could only muster one touchdown in garbage time and went on to lose 41-13. Is this shameful against a team like Georgia? No. Is it disappointing after showing so much fight against a another potential playoff team on the road earlier in the season? Certainly.

Thankfully, Derek Mason is the one of the best coaches you can have when it comes to inspiring and restoring gusto. I know how probability works, so don’t call me out on this being “obvious,” but with Mason at the helm especially, it’s highly unlikely that there are many more 28 point losses remaining on the schedule, if any.

Arkansas

You played Alabama. Something to for Arkansas fans to brag about, however is that the Razorbacks are the first team to score 30 points against Bama since... Clemson in the National Championship two seasons ago!