Think one loss doesn’t matter? Ask former LSU coach Les Miles, who was one second away from beating Auburn and instead finds himself unemployed in the wake of a disappointing defeat.
Now, all losses aren’t that critical, but they all matter to some degree.
So, we played the blame game, and here’s where we’re pointing fingers for each SEC school’s Week 4 loss:
Pass defense (50 percent): Ole Miss had its way through the air against Georgia. Chad Kelly completed 75 percent of his throws for 282 yards and a pair of touchdowns on the day. The Bulldogs’ pass rush was nonexistent, and the coverage on the back end wasn’t much better.
Offensive line (30 percent): The final numbers (230 yards rushing) suggest that Georgia moved the ball well enough. But both of the touchdowns and many of the yards came after Ole Miss built a 45-0 lead. The Rebels also had 3 sacks and 9 quarterback hurries, underscoring issues on the offensive line.
Coaching (20 percent): From the outside looking in, it didn’t seem like Georgia’s players were ready for what the Rebels threw at them schematically. After the game, coach Kirby Smart confirmed that suspicion.
“Obviously, a very disappointing performance,” he said. “I’m in charge of the whole organization, team and coaching staff. We didn’t have them prepared today.”
Second-half defense (40 percent): Florida entered the game with gaudy defensive statistics and played up to them in the first half en route to a 21-3 lead. It was a different story after intermission, when Tennessee scored 35 points and piled up 336 yards of total offense.
Second-half offense (40 percent): For two quarters, Austin Appleby was outstanding. He had 213 yards and 2 touchdowns at the half, but only 83 yards after the break. The ground game managed only 19 yards in the last two quarters as well.
Momentum (20 percent): Once Tennessee got that third-quarter touchdown, Neyland Stadium came alive. The defense fed off that momentum, which in turn, fueled the offense. Once the Volunteers got rolling, Florida had no answers.
Offense (80 percent): The same woes that have plagued this team for years cropped up again in the heart-stopping loss to Auburn. The lack of a consistent passing game and the inability to keep Auburn defenders away from quarterback Danny Etling loomed large.
Coaching (20 percent): Les Miles was fired on Sunday, but it was his offensive coordinator Cam Cameron that lit the match. A confusing lack of touches (16 runs, 2 catches) for Leonard Fournette boggles the mind, and he didn’t help Etling very much with some of his play calls. Miles takes some blame for the final sequence. LSU simply has to get that last play off.
Lack of playmakers (40 percent): Even at full strength, the South Carolina receiving corps is not exactly loaded with difference-makers. In the loss at Kentucky, the Gamecocks were missing Deebo Samuel and Randrecous Davis because of injuries. Samuel’s absence was especially glaring.
Lack of depth (40 percent): The Gamecocks played well enough defensively but wore out late under the pressure of Boom Williams and Benny Snell’s one-two punch in the running game. Of Kentucky’s 216 rushing yards, 157 came after halftime.
Key penalties (20 percent): T.J. Brunson’s block-in-the-back penalty behind Rashad Fenton’s would-be punt return for a touchdown wasn’t a big deal on the scoreboard, since South Carolina scored on the ensuing drive. But it did rob the Gamecocks of some momentum.
Jamarcus King also had an interception taken off the board by a pass interference call away from the play, which would have given South Carolina a shot at some late second-quarter points.
Rushing defense (70 percent): The Aggies had a field day on the ground against the Razorbacks. Trevor Knight had 157 yards and 2 touchdowns while Trayveon Williams added 153 yards and 2 more touchdowns. In total, the Aggies had 388 yards and averaged almost 10 yards per carry.
Offensive line (30 percent): Austin Allen was under duress all night, and with 10 tackles for losses, Texas A&M defenders were living in the Arkansas’ backfield. A 3-yard average per carry was pretty poor, too.