Commentary by: Andy Callaway, P&G Sports Staff
Memphis Stuns the Nation in Rout of SEC Powerhouse Ole Miss
When the Ole Miss Rebels traveled to Memphis’ Liberty Bowl Saturday, many were expecting that the up and coming Tigers would give them a run for their money, but few could have predicted what would actually happen. After Ole Miss jumped to an early lead, the American Conference leading Memphis Tigers scored 31 unanswered points, going on to pull off the upset, 37 – 24.
In a game that Ole Miss could have easily run away with the game, given their quick start, but Memphis dug in late in the 1st quarter, dominating the game from there on out. While the Tigers just edged out the Rebels in total yards, gaining 491 to their 480. However, the Tiger defense came up with two big turnovers while the offense won the battle for time of possession 37:28 to 22:32 and converted 31 1st downs to their opponent’s 25.
Despite the upset, Ole Miss still managed to have success through the air, with QB Chad Kelly completing 33 of his 47 passes for 372 yards and two touchdowns, despite two interceptions.
In the winning locker room, multiple Tigers were able to celebrate some individual accomplishments as well. QB Paxton Lynch had a breakout game, going 39 for 53, with 384 yards, three touchdowns, and only one interception. Throughout the game, he had no problem finding his favorite target, Anthony Miller, who had 132 yards and a touchdown on 10 receptions.
Ole Miss will look to recover and stay alive in the conference as they host Texas A&M this coming Saturday. Meanwhile, Memphis will carry their momentum and bump in the polls into a conference showdown at Tulsa.
Michigan State Takes Advantage of Wolverine Mistakes to Win Rivalry Game Thriller
Michigan State Spartans have come under a lot of scrutiny for barely edging out games against sub par opponents, but the 2nd ranked Spartans put all doubts to rest in a thrilling last second victory of Michigan in Ann Arbor. In very unconventional fashion, Michigan State proved that they still run the state, overcoming the Wolverine’s juggernaut defense to win 27 – 23.
Up until the very end, Michigan controlled the scoreboard and never allowed the Spartans to lead. However, while pinned in their own territory and forced to punt on a 4th down, the Wolverines botched the punt, which was picked up by Michigan State’s Jalen Watts, who returned it for a touchdown as time expired.
Although Michigan led on the scoreboard until the game’s final moments, Michigan State was never out of it, and controlling the game offensively, edging their in state rivals 386 to 230 in total yards, 20 to 10 in 1st downs, and 30:11 to 29:49 in time of possession.
While Michigan, who relies on a strong defense, was never able to establish any offensive rhythm, Michigan State was able to find some success through the air, as QB Connor Cook went 18 for 39 with 328 yards with a touchdown.
Michigan State will take their unbeaten record to Indiana this coming weekend while Michigan will look to bounce back two weeks from now against Minnesota.
Alabama Handles Texas A&M to Remain a Force to be Reckoned With
After falling short against Ole Miss several weeks ago, Alabama reestablished itself as a major contender for the conference title and a potential playoff spot as they proved too much for their previously undefeated SEC foe Texas A&M to handle. The Crimson Tide passed the road test with flying colors, going on to win 41 – 23.
Alabama jumped to an early lead and never let up, controlling both sides of the ball. While edging out the Aggies with 396 yards to their 316, winning the battle for time of possession 36:22 to 23:38, and gaining more 1st downs, the defense came up huge, forcing 4 turnovers.
Alabama QB Jake Coker, while only throwing for 138 yards, managed the game well, completing 19 of his 25 passes. The real power for the Crimson Tide came on the ground however, with RB Derrick Henry rushing for 236 yards and two touchdowns on 32 carries.
The Aggies still managed to have success offensively, with QB Kyle Allen throwing for 263 yards and a touchdown, although he only completed 20 of his 40 passes and threw three interceptions.
Alabama will carry its momentum into a rivalry game at home against Tennessee, while Texas A&M will look to bounce back at Ole Miss.
Georgia Survives Defensive Struggle to Defeat the Defending SEC East Champions
Who said defense can’t be exciting? In a defensive showdown that saw no touchdowns, and the Bulldogs fail to score double digits at home for the first time in 15 years, Georgia edged out the defending SEC Champion Missouri Tigers in Athens, 9 – 6.
While the game will be remembered for its defensive performances, Georgia did dominate the game offensively but just couldn’t find the endzone. The Bulldogs, while trading a pair of turnovers with the Tiger offensive, won the battle for time of possession 38:55 to 21:05, converted 19 first downs while holding Missouri to 6, and racked up 298 yards of offense, while only allowing Missouri to gain 164.
With both teams tied 6 – 6, kicker Marshall Morgan sent one through the uprights from 34 yards out to put Georgia ahead with 1:44 left to play. The Bulldog defense then stepped up, stopping Missouri and ending the game.
Georgia QB Geryson Lambert, while failing to find the endzone, completed 23 of his 32 passes for 178 yards and RB Sony Michel ran for 87 yards on 26 carries. Missouri QB Drew Lock was only able to complete 11 of his 26 passes for 143 yards, and the Tiger rushing came was completely shut down, with RB Russell Hansbrough able to gain 24 total yards on 11 carries.
Georgia will attempt to use the momentum to upset Florida in the annual rivalry game in Jacksonville this weekend, while Missouri travels to Vanderbilt in another SEC East showdown.