Vandy took advantage of Tyler Murphy's turnovers to fend off Florida in a 34-17 win at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. It was the 'Dores first win over the Gators since 1988 and their first win in the Swamp in 68 years. The victory improved James Franklin's team to 5-4 (2-3 SEC) on the season and leaves them just one win from going to their third straight bowl game.
On Saturday, Mark Richt secured his 124th career win, moving him to within 77 victories of tying Vince Dooley for the all-time win record at Georgia. Coach Richt currently boasts a 124-43 record and a .743 winning percentage after 167 games. At the identical juncture in their careers, Coach Wally Butts was 106-54-7 (.635) following a 6-0 loss to Texas A&M in 1954**, and Vince Dooley was 111-50-6 (.665) following a 22-22 tie with Auburn in 1978. I hate Auburn.
At the half against the Vanderbilt Commodores the Gators trailed 17-3, in part due to Tyler Murphy's lack of situational awareness, Austin Hardin's missed field goal and Antonio Morrison's inability to make even the simplest of tackles.
Connor: Coming into the year, just about everyone thought the Gamecocks would have a strong offense and a defense with a young back seven that would need to round into form in order for South Carolina to achieve its most important goals. That is almost exactly what has happened. The only major disappointment has been the loss to Tennessee, but most also thought it was pretty reasonable that the Gamecocks would drop one of its three consecutive SEC road games in the month of October. The only surprise is that it came to Tennessee, not Missouri.
The reality is deeper on all of these things, of course. Gus Malzahn's offense is so good in part because they make it look so easy, but there's a level of complex brilliance behind it. Auburn is legit, which isn't that hard to believe when you go back to 2010 and then look back at their recruiting since then. So is Missouri, a harder truth for us to embrace because they're still the new kids on the block and now they're 2-0 against us. But the quality of both Tigers can at this point no longer be denied.
It's the strength of this year's schedule after what's become the customary top two that really separates it out. Here are the other contenders for most difficult regular season schedule of all-time in Knoxville (all rankings are from the AP Poll the week the game was played):
That being said, the referees didn't help the case too much. The Wildcats make enough of their own mistakes without the refs helping in that regard. Mark Stoops was hot blooded all day and we got a full dose of the Stoops Stare. The blunders were highlighted by a series of botched calls near the end of the second quarter. At that point, Kentucky was down 21-3 and the ‘Cats were ready to punt. The Tigers received the kick, Miles Simpson punched the ball out of the arms of the returner and the ball was recovered in the red zone.
We're not so excited that the Rebs weren't able to get the ground game going. Nor are we so excited that Robert Nkemdiche was ejected for being a total badass shoving an offensive lineman to the ground after the whistle was blown. We're also not too excited that the Razorbacks were able to hang in there as long as they did either but, hey, bowling! And we've got three games to go, so we could be anywhere from Nashville to Dallas to Jacksonville at this point.
1. More years that folks want from the Johnny & Mike show. We knew the chant was coming, but it was still something to behold. And some people aren't finished with it yet, either: