Coping style: Denial. Last night never happened. I haven't looked at a single stat sheet. Couldn't tell you what the overall numbers were or how many yards our frightening defense gave up. I look away and move on to next week. The "idea" of an SEC Championship remains a pretty neat idea, but I won't set myself up for such heartbreak. Let's just see if Nosovitch can play corner and try and beat ECU. That's a start.
Here's the thing, and I say this more as a statement of possibility than even one of probability: South Carolina still has a chance to win the SEC East and still has a (much smaller) chance of winning the SEC. It wouldn't even be all that unusual. In fact, there are 13 teams that lost at least one game in the SEC or against a major non-conference opponent in embarrassing fashion and went on to win their division.
Todd Gurley set a Georgia all-purpose yards record with 293 on the game, 198 of them on the ground (besting Rodney Hampton's record of 290). And it could have been more. Heck, backs not named Todd Gurley had 134 rushing yards. Only a very technical illegal shift penalty prevented Georgia from jamming it into the end zone for a seventh time with less than a minute left.
Hutson Mason was a workmanlike 18 of 26 for 131 yards. He threw no touchdowns, but he likewise threw no interceptions. And I would be perfectly pleased for him to replicate that performance 14 more times this season. There will come weeks when we need Mason to take the pressure off the tailbacks and loosen up the defensive front. But in this game, with no Malcolm Mitchell or Justin Scott-Wesley, Mason was tasked with not losing it for the first 45 minutes of the game, and he responded beautifully.
14. Okay, I coined it so I'm gonna say it again: We've got the Four Dawgmen of the Apocalypse in the backfield. Todd Gurley IS the best running back in America. And he should get a minimum of 20 touches/game. Sony Michel is not a finesse runner; on the contrary. He's very fast and very strong. Once he learns the playbook, he'll be exceptional - especially as a receiving option. Nick Chubb is as advertised. I could watch this over and over and over...
Update II, 11:40pm: From the NCAA rulebook per @RagjUF, the Gators have four options: 1) Resume at later date. 2) Terminate the game with a determined final score. 3) Forfeit of game. 4) Declare no contest.
Vanderbilt committed seven turnovers and gained just 278 yards on the evening. Their only points came thanks to a botched punt that safety Oren Burks fell on in the end zone in the second quarter. While the Owls were able to recover from a shaky start, Mason's team never found its footing en route to an embarrassing loss.
Temple ruined Derek Mason's debut as Vanderbilt head coach with a 37-7 mollywopping on Thursday. The loss ended Vandy's five-game winning streak and cast major doubts about this team's ability to make a fourth-straight bowl game this winter. The Owls are the toughest opponent on the team's non-conference schedule, but Matt Rhule's program is also coming off of a 2-10 season in which they lost to Idaho and FCS foe Fordham. While Temple was a better team than anyone expected on both sides of the ball, it was clear that the 'Dores were unprepared for their week one challenge.
The Cats were 20-point favorite and that seemed about right for a mediocre SEC team to outclass a team like UT-Martin. While optimism was high for the Cats, I cannot help but think many people saw this coming. Stoops promised that we would be playing faster today than at any point all of last year. Being UK fans, we immediately thought of Coach Tubby Smith's annual pledge of running faster and took it with a grain of salt at best. As I was listening to a few podcasts of Kentucky Sports Radio on the way up, the show yesterday was filled with predictions of the game. Most people were optimistic, but cautious, generally predicting a win but nothing more than 20-28 points. The Cats came out today and made a statement by getting the win over UT-Martin 59-14.
67. Yards rushing by South Carolina. Granted, they had to sling it most of the second half because they were behind and also their star running back was hurt BUT STILL.
102. Rushing yard advantage for the Ags. See #10s above, etc.
511. Passing yards from Kenny. On the road. Against an SEC team. A Top 10-ranked SEC team. In his first start ever. Yep, that's a school record.
680. Total yards of offense. That's the most South Carolina has ever given up in a game ever in history. Have we mentioned you should be optimistic about this season yet? Because it might be an option considering...
Below is an image showing the Tennessee offensive starters lined up against the Utah State defensive starters. The numbers below the names are a representation of that player's experience and recruiting rankings. How did I arrive at the number? Well, let's just call it proprietary for now and agree that it's a work in progress.
The running game in the first half, especially the 2nd quarter, was a glimpse of the type of football Bret Bielema is building toward. The offensive line was creating gaping holes and all three running backs were running straight through them. It was glorious.
Unfortunately, they couldn't keep it up in the 2nd half. What's sort of amazing is that Arkansas' points all came off lengthy drives. When Arkansas had a short field after securing an Auburn fumble the Hogs ended up punting from the 34-yard line. The couple of times receivers got behind the Auburn defense, the passes didn't connect.
The formula for beating us right now is simple, aside from playing pitch and catch when you're on offense - more on that in a sec - win first down. If Arkansas has a big first down, then buckle in, ‘cause we're fixin' to take your defense on a march down the field. You know, "move that ball right down the field" and all. (The "Never Yield" part remains a work in progress. Again, more on that forthwith.)