SEC Rundown: Week 13
Posted By:Wes Mewbourne - Birmingham, AL Tags:
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In what has been a tumultuous season in the SEC, fans witnessed the best weekend possible. A season that has seen a preseason dark horse (Ole Miss) fall well below expectations also saw a few underdogs rise to the occasion. The fact that this was rivalry made it that much sweeter for the winners - and hurt that much more for the losers. Seven games, four won by a touchdown, two of the others were runaway wins against bitter instate rivals, and the final was another dominating performance by you-know-who. In the final Rundown of the season, let's take a look at some of the best season finales this side of the Mississippi...
Alabama @ Auburn: Alabama came into this game knowing what it needed to do. It needed to come out and knock it's in-state rival in the mouth, cruise to a victory, and get ready for another game of the century the following week. What actually happened was their in-state rival proving that the 36-0 rout in Tuscaloosa was an anomaly. Auburn came out and right off the bat took a reverse 67 yards for a touchdown...then recovered an onside kick...then scored again. Suddenly, the Tide was down 14-0 in a hostile environment before they even got the ball. Alabama recovered and even with Heisman hopeful Mark Ingram being held to 30 yards and leaving with a hip injury, managed a 79 yard game sealing drive. This is the way a rivalry is supposed to be. Glad the right team won, though.
Florida State @ Florida: This was the most hyped game in the SEC. ESPN Gameday was on hand to see Tebow's last game in the Swamp. Fans of all ages donned eye black (some with Bible verses). It was the icon's final game in The Swamp, and boy did he go out with a bang. In one of the most impressive performances of his career, accounting for 5 touchdowns and over 300 yards of offense. Coach Urban Meyer is helping rewrite Gator history, as well. The win capped off the first 12-0 regular season in their history - something the Ole Ball Coach never accomplished in his 12 years there.
Clemson @ South Carolina: The Heisman-killing defense was at it again. Just like the Gamecocks stopped Jevan Snead's Heisman hopes earlier this season, it was C.J. Spiller (who was off to a great start returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown) who was to feel the sting. Managing only 18 yards rushing on 9 carries - easily the lowest total this season. True, he was battling an illness, but it says a lot overall that the Tigers, amid a 6 game winning streak and the ACC Championship game next week, fall to a Gamecock team that was continuing it's annual limp to the end of the season with a three game losing streak.
Georgia @ Georgia Tech: And speaking of underachieving ACC teams, here's a game that is the polar opposite of what it was last year. Georgia went from home favorite last year to a road warrior trying not to get embarrassed. Georgia Tech went from a rebuilding year with a huge win to a unit with al the pieces seemingly in place only to be humiliated at home. Last year, the Yellow Jackets racked up over 400 yards on the ground in the win. This time, it was the Bulldogs who controlled the ground game, with 339 yards rushing. At the half, Georgia led 17-3. As the second half began, it seemed as if the Jackets might channel last year's team, the one that won the third quarter 26-0. This time, though, the Bulldogs matched them score for score in third, and tacked on another field goal in the fourth to seal the win.
Mississippi @ Mississippi State: In the most balanced (the home team has won 10 of the last 11) and most fierce (the losing coach has been fired each of the last two seasons) rivalries the tables were once again turned. With a defense that's normally very stout, the Rebels allowed a season high 41 points (the most scored by the Bulldogs this season and the most they've ever scored against the Rebs). The hero of the day was a back-up quarterback by the name of Chis Relf who with 5 passes threw 2 touchdowns and with 15 rushes added 131 yards and 6 more points.
Tennessee @ Kentucky: From one of the closest rivalries to one that couldn't be more dominant. No team has lost to any other team more than the Wildcats have lost to the Volunteers the last 25 years. Even Vanderbilt has a win over Tennessee. It sure looked like the streak was in danger, though, as Kentucky took a 21-14 lead into the half. In fact, the Volunteers didn't take their first lead until 44 seconds were left in the third quarter. Unfortunately for the home team, it seemed that they put all their eggs in the basket that was their last drive of regulation to get a field goal. That would be the last points they scored. Kentucky was held scoreless on the first possession of overtime, and Tennessee's Montario Hardesty scored his third rushing touchdown of the night shortly thereafter to secure the 30-24 win.
Arkansas @ LSU: Very rarely does a team get a chance to redeem themselves for a game changing mistake, but that's exactly what happened for the Bengal Tigers in Death Valley. One week after a huge clock management blunder that cost them the game in Oxford, LSU had the chance to atone in the waning moments at home. Down a score with one timeout and the clock winding down, the Razorbacks storm the backfield for a clutch sack. Instead of wasting 27 seconds off the clock like last week, LSU regrouped and methodically drove down the field for the tying field goal. In overtime, LSU made their attempt, while Arkansas kicker Alex Tejada missed his. The past five games between these two teams have been decided by a total of 13 points.
That my friends, is what rivalry week is all about. And for those who haven't seen it, you must check out the hit that Chad Jones laid on Joe Adams. Wow.
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