Hutson Mason did exactly what he was asked, weaving a brilliant tapestry of not-bad-at-all quarterback play. He finished 13 of 16 for 174 yards and 4 touchdowns, once again not throwing an interception. If you're scoring at home it was Mason's fourth straight game without a pick and he now sports a healthy 5:1 TD/INT ratio (15 scores, 3 picks). Say what you will about Hutson Mason and his lack of arm strength, but I'll take him every day over Joe Cox throwing screen pass pick sixes against the Wildcats.
Harris threw for 225 yards and ran for another 49 yards and two touchdowns against the Commodores, hooking up with Quinton Dunbar (a career-high 97 receiving yards) and Ahmad Fulwood on bombs and completing 13 of his 20 passes, and he improved to 2-0 as a starter with the win.
Vanderbilt struck first when McCrary engineered an 85-yard drive that ended when the freshman QB stepped up in the face of a big hit and found Steven Scheu for a 33-yard touchdown. The Gators responded immediately with a 65-yard drive of their own. Kelvin Taylor found a seam in an otherwise stingy Vandy D to run 13 yards and make it 7-7 as the first quarter wore down.
In a word, this was a massacre. It was an across the board, comprehensive, unadulterated, unalloyed slaughter. There was not more than ten minutes of this contest where a rational fan could’ve mustered reasonable doubt that Georgia would not win. There are three words that describe Kentucky in this game, spoken by the immortal DeForest Kelley: "He’s dead, Jim."
This is Kyle Allen's team. Man, is he poised and man is he talented. Did he make a couple of boneheaded plays? Sure. But that's what true freshmen do. I remember him on the sideline bouncing around to Sandstorm and thinking to myself " that dude might want to calm down a bit...he's coming in a little hot"...and then he promptly threw an awful pick. Whatever. He was the perfect combination of game manager and game winner tonight. One thing about Allen...you know those offsides penalties that Auburn had? Pretty sure Kyle was tweaking the snap count to draw them. Heady plays by the young man.
Offensively, I'm not sure what the game plan was. On the whole Lane Kiffin has had a stellar first season in Tuscaloosa but this one raised some questions. First off, Yeldon and Henry combined for only 23 carries while Blake attempted 45 passes. Add in that LSU leads the nation in pass efficiency defense and you simply can't help but scratch your head. It appeared that the coaching staff believed that the team simply couldn't line up and run the ball right at LSU. In fairness, LSU did stuff the run well early, but that is to be expected on the road. Additionally, I had posited during the week that Blake needed 12-15 carries in this one to test an LSU defense that has been torched at times by athletic QBs. He got only five, including scrambles. Blake ran two inside zone reads early in the game on the same series, misread both, and we never saw it again. This is a mistake in my opinion as the read option game tends to work better as the game goes along and the QB gets a better feel for the defense's tendencies. To be sure, Alabama didn't find a ton of success running the football as Yeldon led the way with a pedestrian 4.5 YPC before an ugly injury that caused him to seemingly fumble the game away. Still, had Alabama lost this one the fan base would be lamenting the offensive play calling for years to come. Leon Brown's penalty problem showed up again in this one, twice moving the Tide back off of the one yard line.
Jennings did show some life in the second half after a particularly awful first half in which he went 2 for 10 for 31 yards and a pick. He gave Alabama a free three points before the half which ended up being the difference in the game. That said, he did rally in the second half and finished with a not as awful 8/26 for 76 yards. His ATVSQBPI was a 2.78, which is as bad as you think it is.
The turnovers started early, with a fumble on Auburn's first offensive possession that allowed the Aggies to jump out to a 14-0 lead. Auburn battled back, but went into the half facing a big deficit after what looked to be a good situation with a late field goal turned into tragedy with a blocked kick and a run back by the Aggies to go into the half with a 35-17 lead.
1. Brent Musberger?? Whaaaaattt? Who knew he would be calling a game between Mississippi State and UT Martin in early November. It didn't take him long before he had his weekly mess up. Apparently UT Martin is the Jayhawks now. I thought Musberger was always calling the biggest game every week, but games like these are the ones he should be calling most of the time anyway. Geez.
But if the latter happens there are real possibilities that one of four teams could win the SEC Western division, a notion that's wildly exciting considering that there's less than a month of regular season football left to be played. Winless Arkansas is obviously out of the question, as are Texas A&M and LSU who each have three conference losses. So what we are left with are the aforementioned Bulldogs and Tide as well as two-loss Ole Miss and Auburn teams. For Ole Miss to make it to Atlanta, they would need to finish in a situation where they can earn a tiebreaker by virtue of head-to-head wins. This would happen if the following take place:
Ole Miss wins out
Mississippi State loses to Alabama (or Vanderbilt, but c'mon)
Auburn loses to Georgia
Alabama loses to Auburn