Published September 26, 2011
| Sports Network
Philadelphia, PA –
ALABAMA: In a much-anticipated clash with SEC rival Arkansas this past weekend, Trent Richardson recorded 126 yards on 17 carries and added 85 yards and a touchdown on three receptions to power Alabama to a 38-14 victory to open league play. A.J. McCarron connected on 15-of-20 passes for 200 yards and two scores in the winning effort for Alabama. The Tide forced an Arkansas punt on its first possession of the second half, and Marquis Maze weaved his way down the field on the return for an 83-yard touchdown. Alabama outscored the Hogs 21-7 in the decisive third quarter to put the game away. Another highly anticipated showdown with Florida is on the docket for the Crimson Tide this Saturday.
ARKANSAS: What was expected to be a close game turned in to a romp on Saturday for Arkansas, as it was on the wrong end of a 38-14 decision against Alabama. Tyler Wilson went 22-of-35 for 185 yards and two touchdowns through the air for Arkansas, which is now 3-1 on the young season. Dennis Johnson and Cobi Hamilton caught TD passes for the Razorbacks, who failed to reach 4-0 for the first time since 2003. Trailing by a score of 17-7 at intermission, Arkansas managed just seven points in the second half against one of the better defensive teams in all of college football. The Razorbacks have to bounce back in a hurry, as they will play host to a talented Texas A&M team this coming weekend.
AUBURN: The Tigers took a break from SEC play this past weekend and earned a 30-14 victory over Florida Atlantic in front of the home crowd. Barrett Trotter threw for 178 yards and a pair of touchdowns to lead the way for the Tigers, as he connected on 16-of-28 passes. Trotter was intercepted once and sacked three times as the squad bounced back from a 38-24 loss to Clemson last week. Auburn managed to pick up the convincing victory despite registering just 315 yards of total offense. With the win the Tigers are now a perfect 17-0 against teams from the Sun Belt Conference. They will travel to Columbia this coming weekend for an SEC duel with the undefeated South Carolina Gamecocks.
FLORIDA: Against Kentucky in Lexington this past weekend, Florida gained 405 rushing yards on 46 carries by nine players, marking the sixth-best rushing performance in school history. Jeff Demps churned out 157 yards and two touchdowns to lead the spectacular ground attack, as Florida had no trouble cruising to a 48-10 victory in that tilt. Chris Rainey gained 105 yards on the ground and John Brantley threw for 115 yards and a touchdown for the Gators, who beat the Wildcats for the 25th straight time, a streak that ranks fourth all-time in the country among major conference opponents in a current series that is played annually. Behind Demps, Rainey and Mike Gillislee, who rushed for 84 yards, Florida rushed for more yards than in any game since compiling 466 against New Mexico back in 1989. The Gators will undoubtedly have their hands full this Saturday when the mighty Alabama Crimson Tide rolls into Gainesville.
GEORGIA: Freshman running back Isaiah Crowell exploded for a career-high 147 yards, as Georgia evened up its overall and SEC records with a convincing 27-13 road win at Ole Miss. The Bulldogs dominated play on both sides of the football, outgaining the hometown Rebels, 475-183. Crowell garnered many post- game headlines, but Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray was equally impressive, completing 17-of-26 passes for 268 yards and two TDs. The Bulldogs, who have now won nine straight over Ole Miss, improved to 31-12-1 in the all-time series. Georgia will play in front of the home crowd this Saturday, as the SEC's other Bulldogs, those from Mississippi State, come to town.
KENTUCKY: The Wildcats were dominated at the point of attack on Saturday by the Florida Gators, who rushed for a staggering 405 yards in a 48-10 romp over Kentucky. UF has now won 25 consecutive meetings between the two teams in what has certainly been a lopsided series. Morgan Newton threw for 124 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions for Kentucky, which has dropped two in a row after opening the season with back-to-back wins. The lone touchdown for the club came in the second quarter on a 19-yard scoring strike to La'Rod King. The Wildcats will clash with top-ranked LSU in Baton Rouge this Saturday, and there is no doubt that Kentucky will be deemed a decided underdog in that matchup.
LSU: Morris Claiborne's 99-yard kickoff return ended a West Virginia comeback attempt on Saturday night, and the Tigers rolled to an impressive 47-21 non- conference victory in Morgantown to stay unbeaten. Jarrett Lee threw for 180 yards and touchdowns to Odell Beckham, Rueben Randle and Chase Clement for the Tigers, who scored 20 unanswered points to finish the game. Michael Ford posted 82 yards and two rushing scores on 12 carries, and Spencer Ware added 92 yards on the ground. LSU extended its nation-leading, regular-season, non- conference win streak to 36, dating back to a 26-8 loss in the 2002 season opener at Virginia Tech. Les Miles' team has an outstanding opportunity to add another victory to its unblemished record when the Kentucky Wildcats come to Baton Rouge this Saturday.
MISSISSIPPI STATE: In a game that was much closer than expected, the Bulldogs managed to knock off non-conference foe Louisiana Tech in overtime by a 26-20 final. A 17-yard touchdown pass from Chris Relf to LaDarius Perkins in the extra session proved to be the difference. Relf finished the night 14-of-29 for 164 yards for MSU, spreading the ball to eight different receivers. Vick Ballard contributed with a team-best 68 yards and a score on 17 rushing attempts. Mississippi State managed to pick up the victory despite converting just 3-of-16 on third down. The Bulldogs will take on another group of 'Dawgs this Saturday as Georgia will be the opponent in Athens.
OLE MISS: Another week and another loss for Houston Nutt and his Rebels, as the team fell to Georgia on Saturday by a 27-13 final in front of a disappointed home crowd. Ole Miss was completely dominated in the clash, and it is surprising that the loss came by only 14 points considering a 475-183 margin in total yards. Ole Miss did little right offensively, as quarterbacks Randall Mackey and Zack Stoudt combined to go just 12-of-30 for 149 yards, with one TD and two INTs. The lone offensive highlight was a 38-yard touchdown pass from Mackey to Donte Moncrief. The Rebels will take a break from SEC play this week to take on Fresno State in California.
SOUTH CAROLINA: Stephen Garcia passed for 228 yards and Marcus Lattimore added a rushing touchdown and a TD reception as South Carolina eased past Vanderbilt, 21-3, at Williams-Brice Stadium. Garcia completed 16-of-30 passes and was intercepted four times, but the Gamecocks still opened the year with four straight wins for the first time since the 2001 squad went 5-0. Lattimore finished with 77 yards on 20 carries, adding 73 yards on three catches for USC, which held its foe to 77 yards of total offense. The Gamecocks claimed a 131-4 advantage, enabling them to beat Vandy for the 17th time in 21 meetings. Coach Steve Spurrier's club will return to SEC play this Saturday when the defending national champion Auburn Tigers come calling.
TENNESSEE: The Volunteers were idle this past weekend and will return to action on October 1 against Buffalo. Most recently, UT suffered its first loss of the season on Saturday, September 17th, as the club fell to rival Florida by a 33-23 final in Gainesville. Tyler Bray completed 26-of-48 passes for 288 yards and three TDs, but also tossed two interceptions in the setback. Mychal Rivera, Da'Rick Rogers and Marlin Lane Jr. each caught touchdown passes for Tennessee. Rivera caught five passes for 71 yards, Rogers pulled down five passes for 62 yards and Lane added two catches for 26 yards. Tennessee wide receiver Justin Hunter left the game early in the first quarter with a knee injury, and his team finished with minus-nine yards rushing.
VANDERBILT: The Commodore offense was completely dominated on Saturday, as the club finished with only four net rushing yards and 77 total yards in a 21-3 loss to South Carolina on the road. Vanderbilt actually led 3-0 in the first quarter but failed to score a single point the rest of the way. Larry Smith was 12-of-16 but threw for only 44 yards with one pick for the Commodores, who suffered their first loss of the season. They are now 3-1 after winning two games all of last season. Jonathan Krause totaled nine catches for 55 yards in the setback. The Commodores will be the only idle SEC team this week and will get back to action on October 8 against Alabama.