No loss is ever fun, but a few were particularly painful for SEC schools over the weekend.
Mississippi State came up short in double overtime, Georgia fell in its homecoming game and Tennessee got blasted by Alabama at Neyland Stadium.
So, with the benefit of hindsight, let’s hand out some blame for each SEC school’s Week 7 loss:
Execution (40 percent): Late in the fourth quarter, Mississippi State faced a fourth-and-2 from the BYU 31-yard line. The Bulldogs had the perfect play called — a read option, which was diagnosed correctly by quarterback Nick Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald pulled the ball and started toward the first-down marker.
He tripped before reaching it, however, snuffing out Mississippi State’s last chance to win the game in regulation.
Wrong place, wrong time (40 percent): There were a few factors working against the Bulldogs in this contest. They had a short week of preparation, a cross-country flight and a kickoff time of 10:15 p.m. ET.
They still had a chance to win the game, but the circumstances were indeed difficult.
Miscues (20 percent): Mississippi State had 7 penalties, 2 interceptions and a missed field goal. In a double-overtime game, any little edge can be crucial.
Offensive line (60 percent): It’s been a season-long issue for the Bulldogs — a lack of push from the line in the running game. It reared its head again, as Georgia managed only 75 yards rushing on 35 carries in the loss to Vanderbilt.
Maybe that’s why offensive coordinator Jim Chaney didn’t want to run between the tackles late (more on that below).
Red-zone efficiency (20 percent): Three trips inside the Commodores’ 20-yard line resulted in two field goals and a touchdown. Turning another one of those drives into six points might have made all the difference.
Play-calling (20 percent): When Georgia needs 3 feet on fourth down, as it did on its final drive, Nick Chubb or Sony Michel are naturally strong options to get the football.
Chaney opted instead to pitch it to Isaiah McKenzie, who was dragged down short of the sticks by Zach Cunningham. Cunningham made an unbelievable play, but one of the running backs would have been tougher for him to tackle.
Rushing defense (60 percent): Alabama piled up 438 yards on the ground, with nearly 9 yards per carry. Bo Scarbrough and Jalen Hurts each had long touchdown runs and rushed for more than 100 yards each, and Damien Harris nearly cracked the century mark himself.
Slow start (40 percent): The Volunteers have started slowly all season, but they always fought their way back into games. That is, until the 49-10 demolition on Saturday. The Tide had a 21-7 lead at the break, and a 309-41 edge in yardage. Unfortunately for Tennessee, things got even worse in the second half.
Turnovers (65 percent): Missouri committed three turnovers, which Florida converted into 21 points. Teez Tabor (39 yards) and Quincy Wilson (78 yards) accounted for two of those scores on back-to-back interception returns in the second quarter.
The two scores broke open a close game and turned out to be all the margin the Gators would need.
Passing offense (35 percent): Missouri quarterbacks were awful in The Swamp. Aside from the two pick-6s, Drew Lock and Marvin Zanders completed only 7 of their 22 attempts for 98 yards.
Rushing defense (60 percent): Austin Allen leads the SEC in both passing yards and passing touchdowns, so it’s not surprising that he added to both totals against the Rebels (229 yards, 3 TD).
The inability to stop the Razorbacks’ ground game was a bigger concern. Arkansas rushed for 200 yards, with 180 of those coming from Rawleigh Williams III. The Razorbacks are 4-0 when rushing for 121 yards or more and 0-2 when they don’t.
Chad Kelly (40 percent): Kelly is among the conference leaders in completion percentage, which makes his 18-of-39 performance all the more puzzling.
He looked a little off Saturday night. He was involved in an off-the-field drama last week, and one wonders if that affected him.