Five SEC teams tasted defeat in Week 8, and those losses came in all shapes and sizes.
Arkansas was on the wrong end of a 53-point deficit against Auburn, but Mississippi State lost to Kentucky because of Austin MacGinnis’ 51-yard field goal as the clock hit zero.
The other three losses fall somewhere in between those extremes.
With that in mind, let’s play the blame game for each SEC school’s Week 8 loss:
An untimely turnover (40 percent): Late in the third quarter, the Aggies were down 20-14 and had the football. They tried a running play to the right with Keith Ford, but Ryan Anderson met him about the time Ford took the handoff from Trevor Knight.
The ball came loose and Jonathan Allen took it 30 yards for a Crimson Tide touchdown. It doubled Alabama’s lead, effectively putting the game out of reach.
Wrong place, wrong time (30 percent): Texas A&M was undefeated and ranked sixth in the AP poll, but it was still an 18.5-point underdog at Alabama.
It’s sounds obvious, but it’s hard to win at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Rushing defense (30 percent): Damien Harris led Alabama with 128 yards, while Jalen Hurts added 93 yards and a touchdown.
All told, the Aggies allowed 287 yards on the ground at an average of 5 yards a carry.
Defensive attrition (60 percent): Missouri’s 51-45 loss to Middle Tennessee State is a bad one, but the Tigers defense was a little short-handed.
During the game, linebacker Michael Scherer (knee), corner John Gibson (knee), lineman Terry Beckner Jr. (knee) and safety Thomas Wilson (undisclosed) all left the contest with injuries. Toss in defensive end Marcell Frazier’s ejection for targeting, and it was hardly the first-team unit out there.
Rushing defense (20 percent): Even the reserves are, for the most part, SEC scholarship athletes, however. So, allowing 300 yards on 7.3 yards per carry to a Conference USA school is shocking regardless of who’s out there.
Sloppiness (20 percent): Middle Tennessee State didn’t have any giveaways and turned the two Missouri turnovers into 10 points. The Tigers were also whistled for 13 penalties for 125 yards.
Rushing defense (70 percent): Have mercy. Auburn rushed for 543 yards in their romp over the Razorbacks. It’s an amazingly high figure — the most allowed by any FBS school in a game this season.
With a yards-per-carry average of 9.5, the Tigers nearly picked up a first down every time they rushed the ball.
Offensive line (30 percent): It might be time to panic about the state of this unit. Arkansas rushed for 25 yards on 31 carries, and Austin Allen was sacked 4 times and hurried on half of his 30 passing attempts.
The Razorbacks are 12th in the SEC in rushing and are last with 21 sacks allowed — hardly what’s expected from a Bret Bielema-coached team.
Defense (75 percent): Forget the last-second field goal, this game was lost on defense for the Bulldogs.
Kentucky’s Stephen Johnson threw for 292 yards and 2 scores. In the three games before, he threw for a combined total of 273 yards and no scores.
The rush defense wasn’t much better. Kentucky ball carriers averaged 6 yards per try on their way to 262 yards.
Passing offense (25 percent): Quarterback Nick Fitzgerald was 13 of 21 for 81 yards, a touchdown and an interception. It was a season low in attempts and yardage for the Bulldogs.
Defense (60 percent): It’s hard to say which was worse about the Rebels defense against LSU — the yards allowed or the sideline squabbling that resulted.
Leonard Fournette rushed for 284 yards and 3 scores and the Tigers rolled up more than 500 yards of total offense as they broke open a tie game at halftime with 17 unanswered points.
To make matters worse, linebacker Terry Caldwell was sent to the locker room early while Myles Hartfield and Marquis Haynes argued after a second-quarter LSU touchdown pass. Not a great look there.
Inconsistency (40 percent): For the first two quarters, Ole Miss was in the game. The Fournette show was well under way, but aside from that, the Rebels managed to play LSU to a 21-21 draw.
Things broke down after halftime, and the offense managed only 94 yards and six first downs in the last two quarters. That kept a struggling defense on the field far too long (32:13).