Georgia lost on a Hail Mary to a bitter rival. South Carolina and Vanderbilt were frustrated in home defeats. And two more SEC East schools were on the wrong end of blowouts against SEC West opposition.
A big play here, a turnover there — any number of factors came into play for the losing teams last weekend.
So, with that said, let’s hand out some blame for each SEC school’s Week 5 loss:
Red zone offense (70 percent): The Commodores made two trips inside the Florida 20-yard line, and were forced to settle for two Tommy Openshaw field goals.
The 13-6 loss to Florida — Vanderbilt’s 10th straight against ranked opposition — goes down as another near miss because of a failure to convert those drives into touchdowns.
Turnovers (30 percent): Vanderbilt had more first downs and more rushing yards than the Gators, and the defense kept the Commodores in the game until the final horn.
But the offense served up three turnovers on the day. None of them directly resulted in points for Florida, but they were drive and momentum killers in a very close contest.
College football magic (60 percent): Georgia had six defenders near Tennessee’s Juaun Jennings on the fateful Hail Mary play Saturday. None of them could get a hand on the football, however, as Jennings hauled in the pass from Joshua Dobbs to give Tennessee the memorable victory.
Nine times out of 10, that pass falls to the turf or into the arms of a defender. But that’s unlikely to make Georgia fans feel any better.
Offensive line/play calling (20 percent): As exciting as the final minute of the game was, it didn’t need to be that interesting. Georgia had a 24-21 and the football on its own 6-yard line with 3:43 left in the game.
On second-and-11 from the five, Jim Chaney dialed up a play-action pass. Jacob Eason was sacked in the end zone by Derek Barnett, and the ball came loose. Tennessee pounced on it to take the lead, setting the stage for the wild finish.
Three running plays and a punt would have been a far better result.
Mental errors (20 percent): After Eason’s dart to Riley Ridley put the Bulldogs on top with 10 seconds left, an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty moved the ensuing kickoff back to the 20-yard line.
Todd Berry returned the kick to the Georgia 48-yard line, and an offside penalty moved the ball to the 43. That was close enough, it turned out, for a late heave into the end zone.
Location/opponent (60 percent): No SEC team takes the field without some belief that it can win, but Kentucky’s odds of beating the defending national champions on the road were always going to be long.
The effort was good, and for a quarter or so, the Wildcats hung right in there. Sometimes, the opponent is just too talented.
Turnovers (20 percent): Trailing 10-3 in the second quarter, Kentucky’s Stephen Johnson II was sacked by Alabama’s Rashaan Evans. The ball came free, and Ronnie Harrison took it back 55 yards for a score.
That play put some distance between the two teams, and it was the beginning of the end for Kentucky.
Offense (20 percent): The Crimson Tide held the Wildcats to 161 yards of total offense and 12 first downs. It’s tough to win that way.
Special teams (60 percent): South Carolina was a double-digit underdog at home against Texas A&M, but hung in there for the whole game before falling 24-13.
Elliott Fry missed two field goal attempts and, after forcing a punt late in the contest, Jamarcus King muffed a punt return. Instead of the Gamecocks having the ball and down eight with just under 4 minutes to go, the Aggies recovered and wound up kicking a field goal to put the game out of reach.
Quarterback play (40 percent): When you hand the ball to a true freshman quarterback, you have to expect some ups and downs. Saturday was the latter for Brandon McIlwain, who went 9 for 15 through the air for 34 yards and an interception.
Perry Orth was a little better in relief, which sets the stage for both to potentially play at home against Georgia this weekend.
Rush defense (80 percent): On a night when LSU was missing Leonard Fournette, Missouri had to like its chances of slowing down LSU’s ground attack.
Instead, the Bayou Bengals gashed the visitors for 418 yards and 6 touchdowns on an 8-yard average per carry. Derrius Guice and Darrel Williams both topped 130 yards on the night while finding the end zone three times each.
Passing offense (10 percent): Drew Lock didn’t have much success against the LSU secondary, passing for 167 yards, no touchdowns and an interception. It was the first time this season he’s failed to pass for at least 280 yards.
Coaching (10 percent): Barry Odom and his staff never adjusted to LSU’s offensive game plan. Watching backup running backs run roughshod had to be a frustrating night for coaches, players and fans alike.