Posted: 2:55 p.m. Monday, Oct. 28, 2013
By ole whistlebritches
After yet another weekend of cannibalism in the SEC, Alabama remains the league's last, best chance of extending its streak of BCS National Championships after the league's other undefeated team, Mizzou, fell at the hands of the Ole Ball Coach's ‘Cocks, losing by a score of 27-24 in double overtime.
From the first snap, the ‘Cocks were snakebit, as a rash of turnovers in the first half, two by running back Mike Davis, kept Mizzou in the driver's seat for much of the game. With QB Connor Shaw injured with a bad left knee, SC Coach Steve Spurrier elected to start Dylan Thompson. Thompson played well enough for nearly three quarters, putting up 222 yards passing. However, the ‘Cocks couldn't penetrate the end zone under Thompson, and down 17-0 in the fourth quarter, Shaw asked Spurrier if he could give it a shot, despite the knee injury and an apparent bout with a flu-like illness.
When Shaw entered the game, South Carolina was able to move the ball and cut the Mizzou lead. Shaw led the Gamecocks on three drives that netted points in the final quarter of play, tying the game on a short two yard pass to Nick Jones with 42 seconds left to send the game into overtime.
Mizzou got the ball first, and starting QB Maty Mauk quickly led the team on a short scoring drive for the touchdown. Shaw and the Gamecocks were able to match that in the first OT period, giving the ‘Cocks the ball first in the second OT. Unable to punch it into the end zone, SC settled for a FG. The SC defense rose up and stifled the Tigers inside the 10, which led to the final FG attempt of the game. It bounced off of the upright, giving the ‘Cocks the win and extending them a glimmer of hope in regards to the SEC East title.
Mauk had a strong effort in the game, in a 10/25 performance with 249 yards, one touchdown and one interception. The usually rigid ‘Cock defense gave up 404 total yards to Mizzou, including 155 yards rushing. The win put South Carolina one game behind Mizzou in the East title race, and they will need only a Tiger loss to seize the title if the ‘Cocks can win out.
Alabama maintained its stranglehold on the top spot in the BCS and the SEC with a 45-10 drubbing of upstart Tennessee. The Tide, 8-0 with LSU, Mississippi State, Chattanooga and Auburn left on the schedule, were unstoppable early, running out to a 21-0 first quarter lead over the Vols. They never looked back, as QB AJ McCarron posted 275 yards passing in a 19-of-27 performance with two TDs Vol QB Justin Worley struggled before being injured and knocked from the game, as he managed only 120 yards on eight completions with no touchdowns and two INTs. One of those INTs came at the hands of Tide safety Landon Collins, who returned the interception 88 yards for a touchdown. Defensively, the Tide was once again dominant, holding the Vols' leading rusher, Rajion Neal, under 100 yards rushing. The win sets up the Nov. 9 showdown in Tuscaloosa between an undefeated Bama and a two-loss LSU team. The last time the Tigers visited T'town, they emerged with an ugly 9-0 victory in 2011 that was later avenged by the Tide in the BCS National Championship Game.
In other SEC action...
While the SEC prepares for the defining showdown between the Tide and Tigers on November 9 in Tuscaloosa, there will be interest surrounding Mizzou's final run to a potential birth in the SEC Championship game. That run starts against a plucky Tennessee team that, despite its loss to Bama, nearly knocked off Georgia in addition to its recent win over South Carolina. And then there's a little affair that occurs in Jacksonville, FL around this time of year...you may have heard of it, something about "The World's Biggest Cocktail Party?" Though this game won't carry the clout many thought it would at the beginning of the season with both Georgia and Florida falling on hard times, the winner could still have an outside chance at the East title. It's not likely in either case, but it could happen. That possibility will be available for the winner of this game, which is a barn-burner in most years anyway.
SEC Week 9 Schedule
11:21 a.m. Mississippi State @ #14 South Carolina
2:30 p.m. Georgia vs. Florida (neutral site)
5 p.m. #11 Auburn @ Arkansas
6 p.m. Tennessee @ #9 Missouri
6:30 p.m. Alabama State @ Kentucky
8 p.m. UTEP @ #12 Texas A&M
SEC Teams in the BCS Top 25
3. Florida State
4. Ohio State
12. Texas A&M
14. South Carolina
15. Texas Tech
17. Northern Illinois
18. Oklahoma State
22. Michigan State
25. Notre Dame