LSU gets a break with Louisiana-Monroe at home next week while Alabama hosts a rested, but grieving Mississippi State Bulldogs team.
Arkansas Soars Over South Carolina
In what was supposed to be a back-and-forth shootout in Columbia, the Arkansas Razorbacks took control late in the first half and never looked back to win 41-20 against a Gamecocks team that seemed flat and uninterested despite still having everything to play for.
Arkansas set the tone early by forcing a three-and-out on South Carolina’s first possession, and then taking the ball and driving right down the field to go up 7-0 on a Cobi Hamilton touchdown pass from standout QB Ryan Mallet. South Carolina responded with the passing game and five minutes later, tied the game up on a Tori Gurley touchdown pass from QB Stephen Garcia.
Then the game went into a holding pattern for a little while before Arkansas hit its stride once more. Riding Mallet’s arm and some newfound offensive balance that RB Kniles Davis has provided the last few games, Arkansas took over in the second quarter to build up a 24-10 halftime lead.
With standout freshman RB Marcus Lattimore dinged up, South Carolina never really found the offensive rhythm to get back in the game. Coupled with a defense that couldn’t get off the field, Arkansas was able to run out comfortable winners in the second half. Even a couple of late scores couldn’t take the gloss off of an impressive-looking road win that saw Arkansas dominate in all three phases.
Arkansas remains just in the hunt for a BCS Bowl berth while South Carolina, despite this putrid effort, still has it all to play for with a de facto SEC East Championship game against Florida in Gainesville next week. Arkansas returns home to flex its muscles against UTEP.
Florida Finds Form vs. Vandy
Coming off a big win over Georgia the previous week, there were no signs of a letdown as Florida scored early and often against Vanderbilt, building up a 41-0 halftime lead before closing out a 55-14 win in the end.
This one had all the hallmarks of the numerous dominating Florida wins during the Urban Meyer era. The offense was multi-dimensional, the defense dominant, and the special teams explosive with two blocked punts returned for touchdowns. Granted, it came against a woeful Vanderbilt team, but there was a swagger and dominance about Florida’s play that has been missing all year.
Now the Gators head into a winner-take-all home game against a reeling South Carolina team that has never won in Gainesville since joining the SEC back in 1992. Despite all its struggles this year, Florida is poised to continue its SEC East hegemony. Vanderbilt is at Kentucky next week.