A top-five team went down, courtesy of Mississippi State’s upset of Texas A&M, while a couple of SEC East schools lost ground in that division race.
There was a pretty big game down in Baton Rouge, too.
Let’s dish out some blame for each SEC school’s Week 10 loss:
Drops (35 percent): Playing on the road in the SEC as an underdog, a team has to do the little things to be successful. Kalija Lipscomb and Trent Sherfield each had a dropped pass in the first quarter that could have led to more points for the Commodores.
Officiating (35 percent): With a 13-10 lead in the third quarter, it appeared that Zach Cunningham stripped Kamryn Pettway of the football, allowing Ryan White to fall on it. It was overturned by the replay booth, and Auburn went on to score the go-ahead touchdown later in the drive.
It could have changed the momentum of the game.
Location (30 percent): Vanderbilt played well. Its offense was balanced and creative, causing problems for the Tigers. The defense held Auburn about 120 yards below its season average.
And Cunningham had one of the most athletic blocked field goals you’ll ever see.
Auburn cashed in on its home field advantage, and got a second-half boost from quarterback Sean White, to stave off the Commodores.
Passing game (50 percent): The Mississippi State secondary has been a trouble spot at times this season. In Week 9, the Bulldogs allowed four touchdowns and 468 passing yards to Samford. It should have been easy pickings for the Aggies — with or without Trevor Knight.
Instead, Knight and Jake Hubenak completed barely half their throws for 265 yards and a pair of scores — in a game they trailed from the word ‘go.’
Lack of energy (25 percent): The Aggies were fourth in the first College Football Playoff rankings, and came into Starkville as a 10-point favorite. Take that, and toss in an early kickoff, and you’ve got the makings of a trap game.
There was little urgency. The run blocking was poor, the tackling was suspect and the Aggies really didn’t look ready to play. That doesn’t work in the SEC West.
Injuries (25 percent): Knight left early with a shoulder injury, corner back Priest Williams didn’t play and defensive end Myles Garrett was far less than 100 percent.
Everybody has bumps and bruises this time of year, but Knight and Garrett are two of the Aggies’ best players.
Offense (70 percent): Florida’s offense in the last month or so, minus a game against the league’s worst defense (Missouri), has been stuck in the mud.
Against Arkansas, it sank even deeper. The Gators rushed for a season-low 12 yards. Luke Del Rio was sacked three times and tossed a couple of interceptions. The 1-of-11 conversion rate on third down was pretty awful, too.
Time of possession (30 percent): Because of the offense’s struggles, the defense got to spend the afternoon on the field. The Razorbacks ran 75 plays and had the ball for more than 39 minutes.
It’s hard for any defense to play well under those conditions.
Turnovers (60 percent): Most of the stats say that the Tigers could have won their game at South Carolina. They had more first downs and more total yards than the Gamecocks.
They also had three turnovers. Dimetrios Mason fumbled in the first quarter and Drew Lock threw two second-half interceptions to stall Missouri drives. When the defense doesn’t force any takeaways, that’s tough to overcome.
Slow start (40 percent): In Missouri’s five-game losing streak, opponents have scored at least 21 points in the first half. That hasn’t happened since 1938.
The Tigers only trailed 21-14 at the break against South Carolina, but it’s tough to play from behind all the time.
Turnovers (60 percent): Kentucky lost on a last-second field goal, 27-24, to Georgia, but it didn’t need to turn out that way. The Wildcats led, 21-13, in the third quarter, but turned the ball over on back-to-back possessions.
A Garrett Johnson fumble led to a field goal for the Bulldogs, while Stephen Johnson’s interception — off the hands of Jeff Badet — on the next possession should have been a big gain instead.
Two chances to build on its lead went by the boards, and in the end, it cost Kentucky.
Breaking new ground (40 percent): How can a team, playing in front of a large home crowd for bowl eligibility and a share of first place in the SEC East, not be fired up? Or, were they too fired up?
“I just didn’t like, just a certain look in our eye,” Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said. “I think our players wanted it to happen. I don’t know. I just got to do a better job of getting them to play with that mentality, with that edge and that urgency that it takes.”
There haven’t been many meaningful November games for anyone on this roster, or the sidelines. Sometimes, it takes a few tries for a program to start winning these kind of games.
Coaching (30 percent): For three quarters, nothing could separate LSU and Alabama. Both defenses were dominating, and neither team could consistently move the ball.
In the fourth quarter, the Crimson Tide’s coaches found a way to get Jalen Hurts loose in the running game. He had 70 of his 114 rushing yards in the final period, and his rushing success led to the only 10 points Alabama would need.
Quarterback play (30 percent): It’s hard to look good playing against Alabama’s defense, but Danny Etling had a particularly rough night. He failed to complete half of his passes (11 of 24), didn’t reach 100 yards through the air (92), took 5 sacks and threw an interception.
He also had the lowest rating, 69.7, that any Alabama opponent has had all season.
Opponent (20 percent): Sometimes, you just have to give credit to the opposition. LSU had only three penalties and one turnover, and played its best defensive game of the season.
Alabama was good enough to win anyway.