SEC Football: Ranking Top 10 Performances from Week 12
Week 12 of the 2013 college football season in the SEC conference was a wild one with several close games.
The history books won't miss a single play or yard, but Saturday will be remembered by just one moment, and it's one that won't be forgotten anytime soon: Auburn's miraculous touchdown with less than a minute to go to beat Georgia.
Of course, we're focusing on the best individual efforts, and while that particular game contained a few, this isn't a party exclusive to Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Let's take a look at the best individual performances from Week 12 in the SEC.
All stats via ESPN
10) Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama
There are certain players who jump out of the screen when they play, and Alabama has more than a few. But Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is certainly part of the group, and his effort in a 20-7 win over Mississippi State on Saturday helped Alabama avoid what would have been an embarrassing loss.
Clinton-Dix had just four tackles in the game, but he also had an interception that he promptly returned for 16 yards, not to mention a pass breakup.
While labeling a player as someone who "doesn't always show up in the boxscore" may sound cheesy and cliche, it rings true with Clinton-Dix. He is a fast, physical presence in the Alabama secondary, and you can't even begin to dissect the entire defense without accounting for No. 6 at all times.
9) Kelvin Taylor, Florida
You won't often hear praise for a player on a losing team, but we're dishing some out for Florida running back Kelvin Taylor.
The freshman truly looks like the future of the Gators offense after carrying the ball 21 times for 96 yards and two touchdowns in a 19-14 loss at South Carolina.
Will Muschamp's team hasn't been getting anything out of the quarterback position, so without a consistent run game, Florida doesn't stand a chance against anyone. But Taylor scored twice on runs of 20 yards or more, and his development remains a solid building block for the future.
8) Tre Mason, Auburn
Auburn running back Tre Mason didn't make the big play at the end of the Tigers' 43-38 win over Georgia, but his team probably wouldn't have won without him.
The junior carried the ball 27 times for 115 yards and a score in the game, which marked his sixth 100-yard outing of the season.
The Tigers still have some issues with their passing attack, but between Mason and quarterback Nick Marshall, the ground game has officially hit high gear.
7) Vanderbilt Secondary
When the Vanderbilt offense was struggling, the defense came through in a big way to lead the Commodores to a 22-6 victory over Kentucky.
Specifically, it was the secondary that made the biggest plays of all as it collectively gathered in four interceptions. Kenny Ladley, Paris Head, Andrew Williamson and Andre Hal each hauled in a pick, and the four made life extremely difficult for Kentucky quarterback Jalen Whitlow.
The win gives the Commodores six on the season, making them bowl-eligible.
6) T.J. Yeldon, Alabama
Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon is no stranger to this list, and his effort Saturday against Mississippi State once again propelled the Crimson Tide to victory.
The true sophomore carried the ball 24 times for 160 yards in the 20-7 win, and it came on a day when the offense was never really clicking through the air.
It has to be nice for Nick Saban to know that even when parts of the game plan aren't working, he has a stable of backs, led by Yeldon, that he can always count on to get those tough, between-the-tackles yards.
5) Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt wide receiver Jordan Matthews has been destroying opponents all season long, and he made Kentucky his latest victim Saturday in the Commodores' 22-6 victory.
Matthews caught 12 passes for 141 yards while also carrying the ball twice for 31 yards. What he brings is stability to an offense often in need of a go-to weapon. His frame at 6'3" allows him to make plays against what are usually shorter defenders, and he's the biggest reason Vanderbilt now has six wins.
It was also the senior's sixth 100-yard game of the season. He'll get to test his skills against Tennessee and Wake Forest in the team's final two games, so don't be surprised if he makes it on here again soon.
4) Bo Wallace, Ole Miss
Another veteran of the "Top 10 performances" list is Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace, who somewhat quietly is having an excellent season.
Against Troy, Wallace completed 17-of-26 passes for 272 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for 66 yards and a score on just nine carries, and the Rebels came away with a dominating 51-21 victory.
The win gives Ole Miss seven on the year with Missouri coming to town next Saturday. If Hugh Freeze's team hopes to reach nine victories on the season, it'll need Wallace to continue playing like the heady veteran he is.
3) Ricardo Louis, Auburn
Yes, Auburn wide receiver Ricardo Louis would be on this list solely for his effort on the Tigers' final scoring play, but he did several other things throughout the game to solidify his spot.
For a refresher on how things ended, the Tigers had the ball in their own territory facing a 4th-and-18. Nick Marshall heaved up a long pass that was batted into the air by a pair of Georgia defenders, and the ball fell right into the arms of Louis, who found himself with a clear path to the end zone.
As lucky as the play was, Louis deserves some credit for being in the right place at the right time. For the game, he had four catches for 131 yards as well as five carries for 66 yards. But he'll likely go the rest of his football career without another moment as memorable as his touchdown catch.
2) Aaron Murray, Georgia
As Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall's prayer fell into the hands of wide receiver Ricardo Louis, you had to feel for Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray.
With his team down 37-17 in the fourth quarter, Murray led the Bulldogs on three straight scoring drives, with the first two ending in touchdown passes by the quarterback and the third, a five-yard keeper up the middle.
His final tally was 412 yards passing with two scores to go along with 37 yards on the ground and two more touchdowns. The grit and determination shown by Murray throughout the game says everything you need to know about the Bulldogs' senior leader. Despite the loss, Murray had yet another outstanding game to add to his already glistening resume.
1) Nick Marshall, Auburn
The transformation of Auburn as a three-win team in 2012 to a one-loss team in 2013 has been nothing short of remarkable, and it's thanks in large part to the leader of the offense, quarterback Nick Marshall.
In the Tigers' 43-38 win over Georgia on Saturday, Marshall passed for 229 yards and a touchdown. As defenses should know by now, however, that's not all he does, and he rushed for an additional 89 yards and two more touchdowns.
The stats may not exceed those of several other players on Saturday, but his effort came in a game that had huge implications both in the SEC and around the nation. The victory keeps Auburn's hopes of an SEC West title alive, and it sets up a mega-showdown with Alabama on Nov. 30th.