Most SEC teams are finding their identities, but Week 3 still provided plenty of bad.
Kentucky coach Mark Stoops and Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason were hired for their defensive acumen, but both programs had dreadful performances in must-win games. Missouri and Ole Miss also proved to be two of the best first-half teams in the country – but just first half.
Here are the worst things of Week 3 in the SEC:
Late in games, fans were celebrating Ole Miss’ upset of Alabama, Mizzou’s big home win against Georgia and LSU covering against Mississippi State. All of that changed in an instant.
Ole Miss got out to a quick 24-3 lead against Alabama with 2:47 left before halftime. The Rebels looked well on their way to becoming the third team ever to beat Nick Saban in three consecutive seasons — and the first since he moved to the SEC. It took barely 7 minutes of game time for that all to disappear and Alabama to tie it at 24.
Ole Miss is the 1st Power 5 team to blow two 21-point leads in the same season in the last 10 seasons. pic.twitter.com/AWclyjnkyT
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 17, 2016
While the Rebels choked it away early in the third quarter, Missouri waited until the last second. The Tigers took a 27-21 lead one play after a key interception in the third quarter by Georgia true freshman Jacob Eason and held firm for a good 27 minutes. But then Eason led an 80-yard touchdown drive to take a 28-27 lead with 1:29 left. Missouri had one last chance, but wide receiver J’Mon Moore fumbled the ball and ruined a shot at a field-goal attempt. Credit to Mizzou, it keeps things exciting.
LSU jumped to a 23-3 lead in the first half and managed to keep it at 23-6 heading into the fourth quarter. But with under 5 minutes left, the Tigers quickly allowed a pair of touchdowns to cut the lead to 3 points. Mississippi State got the ball with a chance to drive for a game-tying field goal, but Arden Key obliterated Mississippi State’s quarterback on fourth down to save the win.
— Jasmine (@JasmineLWatkins) September 18, 2016
All three of these teams’ coaches will have plenty of film to review with their respective teams this week.
SEC East defensive coordinators
In a conference that boasts about its defenses, Saturday wasn’t ideal.
Vanderbilt opened the day with a dreadful defensive performance against Georgia Tech. The Commodores gave up 511 yards and 38 points, including 3 touchdowns to running back Dedrick Mills. Derek Mason is one of the best defensive minds in college football, but his team was completely befuddled by the option attack.
Today was a very damaging performance for Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason.
— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) September 17, 2016
Not to be outdone, Kentucky had a dreadful defensive performance against New Mexico State, consistently one of the worst teams in the FBS. The Aggies scored touchdowns on 7 of their first 9 drives to tie the game at 35 heading to halftime. Luckily, Kentucky quarterback Stephen Johnson had a massive performance in the win, or Mark Stoops might not have made it out of the stadium before getting fired.
In 30 years, you could give someone 100 guesses who UK's opponent was and they'd never get it. https://t.co/PJDGrbbJz3
— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_AJC) September 17, 2016
Georgia and Missouri are known for strong defenses, but both were inconsistent and failed to play to their identities on Saturday. Georgia’s secondary is its top strength, but the Bulldogs allowed Drew Lock to throw for nearly 400 yards. Missouri is known for its dominant defensive lines, but the Tigers struggled to bring consistent pressure against Jacob Eason.
Even Tennessee struggled against lowly Ohio, though the issues stemmed more from the offense. Luckily, Florida had an awesome defensive performance against North Texas as Jim McElwain recorded his first shutout at Florida.
Auburn ref clock management
Auburn kicker Daniel Carlson punched in a 37-yard field goal as time expired in the first half to cut Texas A&M’s lead to 16-10. After the scoreboard operator let the clock run out, the team then ran to the locker room for halftime.
Apparently, the refs took exception.
They're doing a review at Auburn to put 3 seconds back on the clock before halftime. This is absurd.
— Zach Barnett (@zach_barnett) September 18, 2016
That is one friendly clock operator at Auburn. Entire Auburn team has to come back out on the field after thinking it's halftime.
— Jon Solomon (@JonSolomonCBS) September 18, 2016
Ultimately, the call was overturned, and it was declared that the clock did run out and it was halftime. College football refs always get to make things just a little more exciting.