It took four weeks, but there’s only one undefeated SEC team left. Shocker, it’s Alabama.
The SEC-only schedule has provided plenty of atypical results, and week four of the season was no exception. For example, Arkansas is currently third in the SEC West after beating Ole Miss. That was just one of the unexpected results from a bizarre week four slate.
Kentucky (2-2) 34, Tennessee (2-2) 7
The theme of the weekend seemed to be quarterbacks who were projected to make significant improvements in 2020 falling back down to earth and reverting to their true form that we all know and love. Well, some of us love, that is.
Jarrett Guarantano reminded everyone why Tennessee fans get so frustrated by him. Guarantano threw two pick-sixes on back-to-back possessions to give Kentucky a 14-0 lead. Then, his replacement J.T. Shrout promptly threw an interception on the next drive and Guarantano was put back in.
But, enough of the, as ESPN’s Matthew Berry put it, Rocky-Flop, let’s focus on the good: Kentucky’s defense.
The Wildcats held Tennessee to 4.3 yards per pass attempt and limited the potent Vol ground game to that same total, not to mention the four turnovers created and limiting Tennessee to 3-12 on third down.
Offensively, it was another efficient game for quarterback Terry Wilson. He completed 12-15 passes for 101 yards and a touchdown while picking up 32 more yards on the ground.
With the loss, Tennessee has fallen from tied for first in the SEC East, to fifth in the division over the last two weeks.
Next up: Kentucky @ Missouri (1-2), Tennessee vs. Alabama (4-0)
South Carolina (2-2) 30, Auburn (2-2) 22
Much like Guarantano, Bo Nix reminded us why he frustrates Auburn fans so much. Nix threw three interceptions, all of which turned into South Carolina touchdowns.
He constantly bailed out of the pocket, overthrew Anthony Schwartz, somehow, often and drew the ire of top wide receiver Seth Williams after his third interception. Despite that, Auburn still had a chance to tie the game and send it to overtime as they drove inside the 10-yard line, but Nix scrambled prematurely and missed a throw, ending the game.
The biggest thorn in Nix’s side was Jaycee Horn. Horn had two picks and four pass breakups and frustrated Williams all game long.
The Gamecock run game was steady, paced by Kevin Harris’ 83 yard, two-touchdown performance.
Auburn has some serious issues, and they’re on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. Given how much better the bottom of the SEC West is now, it’s not out of the possibility that Auburn finishes below .500.
Next Up: Auburn @ Ole Miss (1-3), South Carolina @ LSU (1-2)
Texas A&M (3-1) 28, Mississippi State (1-3) 14
The Aggies did just enough to win, and deployed the same defensive tactics that everyone but LSU has thus far in slowing down the air raid.
Nothing stood out or was impressive about this game. Isaiah Spiller had a 114 yard, two-touchdown performance to pace the Texas A&M offense, Kellen Mond was 13-23 and threw a touchdown and the defense held the Bulldogs to 217 yards of total offense.
Mond did throw a pick-six though, and it brought Mississippi State back into the game in the third quarter. But, the Bulldog offense sputtered for the third straight week.
K.J. Costello threw a bad interception in the first quarter and threw for 99 yards on 22 pass attempts before being benched for Will Rogers. Mississippi State did finally score an offensive touchdown in the fourth quarter, its first since their game against Arkansas in week two.
Next up: Texas A&M: Idle, Mississippi St: Idle
Arkansas (2-2) 33, Ole Miss (1-3) 21
WOO-PIG-SOOIE!! Lots of preseason projections didn’t think Arkansas would win a game in 2020, let alone two. Let alone a game against a team that had been averaging nearly 42 points per game.
Alabama couldn’t stop Ole MIss, Florida couldn’t, nor could Kentucky. But, it was Sam Pittman and his Hogs that brought the Lane-Train to a screeching halt in Fayetteville. The Razorback secondary picked off Matt Corral six times, two of which were pick-sixes and held him to a QBR of 9 (out of 100).
On offense, Arkansas did just enough to stay on the field and distance themselves from Ole Miss. Feleipe Franks, despite turning the ball over twice, made some big throws in the fourth quarter, finding Treylon Burks numerous times, including on a top-tapping, one-handed touchdown grab that gave Arkansas a 26-14 lead.
I said it last week in the week three recap, but I’m going to say it again: Sam Pittman has been the best hire thus far by any SEC school this past offseason. Pittman now has the Razorbacks sitting at third in the SEC West, and if they beat Texas A&M in two weeks, they’d be right behind Alabama for second.
Next week: Arkansas: Idle, Ole Miss vs. Auburn (2-2)
Alabama (4-0) 41, Georgia (3-1) 24
It was a tale of two halves: Georgia looked like a slightly better team through the first two quarters, moving the ball at will on the ground and Stetson Bennett making precise throws over the middle.
However, the final 30 minutes were all Tide. Alabama outscored Georgia 21-0 over the last two quarters, and the Crimson Tide defense reverted to vintage form. They picked off Bennett twice in the second half (threw times overall), and were able to get some pressure on him that forced those mistakes. Georgia ran the ball decently, averaging nearly five yards a carry, but they abandoned it once they fell behind and forced Bennett to throw 40 times.
For Alabama, Mac Jones once again was sensational. After throwing a pick on the game's opening drive after he was hit while throwing, he threw for 417 yards, four touchdowns and averaged 13 yards per attempt. He’s thrown for over 400 yards in three straight games and has the best QBR in the nation at 96.6
Devonta Smith re-established himself as the best wide receiver in the country, hauling in 11 catches for 167 yards and two touchdowns. He routinely beat the UGA defense and the Bulldogs had no answer for him.
Georgia is still the second-best team in the SEC, but the gap between number one and number two is much bigger than it appeared before the two teams took the field in Tuscaloosa. More than likely, we’ll see a rematch in Atlanta come December.
Next up: Alabama @ Tennessee (2-2), Georgia: Idle