SEC games are starting to come down the wire, and it reveals which teams can make plays and which will fold under the pressure.
This week, we saw two different teams fade in the biggest spots to ultimately lose winnable games. An entire division’s worth of quarterbacks also struggled to prove they deserve to be mentioned among the conference elite.
Here are the worst things of Week 7 in the SEC.
Typically, this review piece is limited to a play, a player or a unit. However, in its loss to Vanderbilt, Georgia had an almost complete and catastrophic breakdown. The Bulldogs recruit at an elite level and are just months removed from a 10-win season, but they were unrecognizable against the Commodores.
Georgia managed to lose the game despite outgaining Vanderbilt 421-171, or more than double on its home field. Vanderbilt completed 12 drives against the Bulldogs, but eight of them went for less than 10 yards. However, miscues ended up causing Georgia the game.
First, the Bulldogs allowed a 95-yard return on the opening kickoff and a score two plays later. Then, Reggie Davis returned the opening kickoff of the second half to the 3-yard line, which set up a punt that was short enough to let Vandy score a field goal on the next drive. Vanderbilt put together its lone lengthy drive at the beginning of the fourth quarter, going eight plays for 75 yards and a go-ahead touchdown.
The last play of the Georgia-Vanderbilt game might have been the worst sequence of all. The Bulldogs had fourth-and-1 with the game on the line and had Nick Chubb lined up in the backfield. However, Jacob Eason tossed the ball to wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie out of the backfield, who was tackled by Zach Cunningham before the first-down marker. It was a strange play and appropriate exclamation point for the game.
Elsewhere, Ole Miss QB Chad Kelly was faced with fourth-and-16 after a sack and false start penalty with less than two minutes to go against No. 22 Arkansas. His line was overcome after Kelly got the ball, and he had to scramble out of the pocket. It looked for a second like his receivers blocked well enough to clear a path for the conversion, but a wide receiver was already down the field and didn’t block an Arkansas defensive back. Kelly got rocked and the ball flew out of bounds, ending the game.
SEC East quarterbacks
For whatever reason, the SEC East quarterback class completely fell apart against fairly average competition on Saturday. Missouri QB Drew Lock at least had a good excuse, going against Florida’s secondary, perhaps the best in the nation. He threw pick-6s to cornerbacks Quincy Wilson and Teez Tabor.
His counterpart on the other sideline, Luke Del Rio, was understandably inefficient in his first game back from a knee injury. The former walk-on threw for 236 yards, but barely 6 yards per pass attempt and 3 interceptions in the win. Tennessee QB Josh Dobbs is considered one of the best competitors in football, but he mustered just 92 yards and 3.4 yards per pass attempt in a dreadful performance against Alabama.
The only East quarterback that had a good game was Jacob Eason, who still saw his Georgia team get upset 17-16 by lowly Vanderbilt. Quarterback play is one of the main reasons the East continues to fall behind the West.