Week 8 Grades
No real standout performances this weekend. The better team won every game and no one really exerted themselves in dominant fashion.
Rebounded nicely from last week’s debacle to pick up a nice conference road win. Weathered a 17-point Gamecock outburst in the 2nd quarter to play an otherwise solid defensive game. Held SC to 39 yds rushing and a 1.3 ypc avg and forced 3 turnovers. Solid outing from the young Tiger QBs and the veteran RBs. LSU’s best win of the season.
Another fairly stagnant offensive performance for the Vols – 275 yds – but the defense was there as usual to carry them. Not 1, not 3, but 2 MSU passes were picked off and run back for TDs in the 4th quarter busting open a semi-close game. Eric Berry continues to get my vote for best player in conference. A good, much needed win on the 2nd Saturday in October considering what happens on the 3rd.
Another one of those games that leaves you wanting more from the ‘Dawgs. Were obviously the most talented team on the field and dominated every statistic except the scoreboard. They led by only 7 at the break and won by only 10 despite outgaining VU by 180 yds. Cut back significantly on the penalties. Stafford has a ho-hum day but Moreno finally had his season breakout game with 170+ yds and a 7.5 ypc average.
Whoduthunkit? The offensively-challenged ‘Cats used two late TDs to snag a must-win game. The rushing defense was gouged early and often by Michael Smith, but the secondary held Casey Dick to 94 yds and 38% through the air. Outgained the Hogs for the game despite having the ball for 12 minutes less than Arkansas did. Randall Cobb caught 2 TD throws from Mike Hartline in the final 4:21 of the game to rally the ‘Cats (and save my College Pick ‘Em entry)
Ole Miss: B
Stop me if you’ve heard this before – Ole Miss played well Saturday, but careless turnovers cost them a shot a win. They have to be the best 3-4 team in the country. Actually scored on ‘Bama in the 1st quarter and were winning, both of which were Tide firsts this season. Outgained the Tide and were nearly able to take advantage of a lackadaisical 2nd half by Alabama.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Early on, the Tide looked like the #2 team in the country and ready to challenge for a BCS title. For the rest of the game, they looked like Mike Dubose was back. Looked dominant in the 1st half, but completely different team in the 2nd half, particularly without Mt. Cody stuffing the run. Completely nullified the “Wild Rebel”. Will need to tighten things up and play a complete game at some point or it will cost them against LSU or UGA/UF.
Despite being dominated in nearly every facet of the game, the ‘Dores once again found away to hang around against a more talented team. Although the defense gave up way too many yds (425), it did do a good job getting off the field when the opportunity was there, holding UGA to 1-8 on 3rd downs. WR Jamie Graham hauled in 2 TD passes from new starter Makenzi Adams.
Snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in the waning moments of the 4th quarter, but another improved effort for the first 50 minutes of the game. Michael Smith is a stud RB and had another big game, but the passing game provided no help. The defense bottled up UK for the most part – forcing 4 turnovers. Unfortunately, the Hogs committed 13 penalties for 102 yds and 4 TOs of their own.
South Carolina: C+
This is one of those games you’ve got to win to be considered a big time program. The crowd was as raucous as it’s ever been at Brice-Williams, the QB of the future making his first home start, a chance to have a 3-game conference winning streak, but the Gamecocks couldn’t get it done. The offense sputtered for 75% of the game and while the defense played well, it couldn’t get off the field on 3rd downs (LSU was 6/14).
Bonus: For those of you who somehow haven’t seen this, well, here ya go…
Mississippi State: D-
This team is just bad, so it’s hard to give them an “F”. The defense held UT fairly well, but the offense was just horrible, mustering only a FG and throwing 2 TDs to UT DBs. MSU really didn’t do anything well this game except hold a mediocre UT offense to less than 300 yds. I’m scouring the box score looking for something to spin in a positive light and all I can come up with is that Wesley Carroll didn’t throw an INT. He was 1/7 for 6 yds, but no INTs.
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