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SEC News and Notes

8:59 AM, Oct 1, 2012   |    comments
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Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -

ALABAMA: The top-ranked Crimson Tide actually trailed Ole Miss at 7-6, their first deficit in regulation since Oct. 22 of last year, but that lasted for less than two minutes as they won, 33-14. Amari Cooper was the catalyst on offense, catching a game-high eight balls for 84 yards, including two second- quarter touchdowns. A.J. McCarron completed 22-of-30 passes for 180 yards and two scores. He now holds the school record for most pass attempts without an interception with 206 and counting. The running game, which has been nearly unstoppable in the early going this season, was held in check to the tune of 125 yards on 34 carries (3.7 ypc), paced by 82 yards from Eddie Lacy. Jeremy Shelley added four field goals. While the defensive effort wasn't the team's most dominant in terms of points allowed, the unit still recorded three interceptions and five sacks. Alabama (5-0, 2-0 SEC) has off this week before hitting the road to take on Missouri on Oct. 13.

ARKANSAS: The Razorbacks' nightmare season has gone from bad to worse as they lost their fourth straight game following a 58-10 thrashing at the hands of SEC newcomer Texas A&M. The defense had no answer for the Aggies, who piled up an 716 yards of total offense. One bright spot for Arkansas (1-4, 0-2 SEC) was an 11-catch, 162-yard performance from wideout Cobi Hamilton, and after his SEC-record 303 yards last week, he has 465 yards over his last two games, a program-record for consecutive games. He also became the eighth player in school history to reach 2,000 career receiving yards. Tyler Wilson threw for 373 yards and a touchdown, but he finished with more incompletions than completions (29-of-59) and also threw a pair of interceptions. The Razorbacks will try again for their first conference win of the season this Saturday when they hit the road to take on Auburn.

AUBURN: The Tigers were idle over the weekend, and they will try to recover from a 1-3 start when they host struggling Arkansas this Saturday afternoon.

FLORIDA: The nationally-ranked Gators enjoyed a bye week after a fast 4-0 start to the season. They will try to prove that they are indeed a legitimate contender in the SEC when they host No. 4 LSU this Saturday..

GEORGIA: The fifth-ranked Bulldogs' incredible start to the season continued as they held off Tennessee in a 51-44 shootout. They have now scored 40 points or more in all five games this season -- a program record. The Vols had no answer for the Georgia (5-0, 3-0 SEC) running game. Keith Marshall ran the ball 10 times for a career-high 164 yards while adding rushing scores of 75 and 72 yards. Todd Gurley was the workhorse in the backfield with 24 carries for 130 yards and three touchdowns. Aaron Murray was impressive once again, completing 19-of-25 passes for 278 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Both of his scoring strikes went to Michael Bennett, who finished with five receptions for 70 yards, both team-highs. Although the defense was suspect on the evening, the unit managed to intercept Tyler Bray three times, including twice by Sanders Commings. UGA will attempt to stay perfect next week, but faces a difficult task in traveling to Columbia to play No. 6 South Carolina.

KENTUCKY: The Wildcats looked great in the first half against a ranked South Carolina squad, as they went into halftime with a 17-7 lead, but they were shut out in the second half as they eventually fell, 38-17. Despite the loss, the defense for Kentucky (1-4, 0-2 SEC) was stellar, holding the Gamecocks to 348 yards of total offense. Maxwell Smith started the game but would attempt only one pass before needing to leave with an injury. Jalen Whitlow saw his first extended action of the year and was overmatched by the USC defense, completing just 12-of-23 passes for 114 yards while throwing two interceptions and being sacked six times. Raymond Sanders put together a solid game on the ground, rushing the ball 14 times for 59 yards and a touchdown. UK returns the action this Saturday afternoon when its hosts the Mississippi State Bulldogs.

LSU: It wasn't pretty, as LSU actually trailed FCS foe Towson late in the first half, but the hometown Tigers managed to move to 5-0 by prevailing in a 38-22 final, extending the nation's-best non-conference regular season winning streak to 41 games. LSU was sloppy throughout, losing three fumbles. Zach Mettenberger lost one of the fumbles but made up for it with a nice game through the air, completing 15-of-26 passes for 238 yards and two touchdowns. The primary beneficiary of those throws was Odell Beckham, who caught five balls for 128 yards and two scores. The running game was on point yet again. Michael Ford rushed for 76 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries, while Russell Shepard took his only carry of the game 78 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter. Defensively, the Tigers surrendered their most points of the season. Things get much more difficult this week as they travel to Gainesville to tangle with No. 10 Florida.

MISSISSIPPI STATE: After a bye in week five, the Bulldogs (4-0, 1-0 SEC) will attempt to stay perfect on the season when they travel to Lexington to face off against Kentucky this Saturday afternoon.

MISSOURI: It was a struggle, but the Tigers got back over .500 after they pulled out a tough road win at UCF, 21-16. Missouri (3-2) showed once again it can bounce back nicely following a loss as it has now won five straight games coming off a defeat. It was able to recover from a first-half deficit thanks in part to a 66-yard punt return for a touchdown by Marcus Murphy midway through the third quarter, his national-best third return for a score this season. James Franklin completed 19-of-30 passes for 257 yards, including an 80-yard scoring strike to Dorial Green-Beckham in the second quarter, the longest pass of Franklin's career and the biggest play from scrimmage for the Tigers on the season. Kendial Lawrence carried the ball a season-high 19 times, rushing for 104 yards and a score in the process. Missouri returns home this Saturday to face Vanderbilt.

OLE MISS: The Rebels hung tough against Alabama, even becoming the first team this season to hold a lead against the nation's top team, but it eventually fell, 33-14. The defense was strong, allowing just 305 yards of offense and forcing the Tide into kicking four field goals, but the Ole Miss (3-2, 0-1 SEC) offense couldn't capitalize, putting up just 218 yards itself. Bo Wallace couldn't do much, completing 15-of-26 passes for 123, throwing two interceptions and getting sacked four times. The team found some success on the ground, with rushing scores from Jeff Scott (19 carries, 49 yards) and Randall Mackey (four carries, 32 yards). Vince Sanders set career-highs in both receptions (seven) and receiving yards (46). Denzel Nkemdiche had three tackles for a loss, a sack and two forced fumbles. Ole Miss will try for its first conference win on Saturday when it hosts Texas A&M.

SOUTH CAROLINA: The Gamecocks erased a 10-point halftime deficit by scoring 31 unanswered points in the second half to roll to a 38-17 lead over Kentucky, giving them their ninth straight win, which is tied for the longest in school history. For the 10th time in his career, Marcus Lattimore eclipsed the 100- yard plateau, carrying the ball 23 times for 120 yards and a pair of scores. Connor Shaw continues to be an effective dual-threat, completing 15-of-18 passes for 148 yards and two scores while rushing for another 76 yards. The defense tightened up after halftime, allowing just 70 total yards to the Wildcats in the third and fourth quarter combined. USC (5-0, 2-0 SEC) will try to win its 12th straight game against an Eastern Division rival this Saturday night when it hosts No. 5 Georgia.

TENNESSEE: The Volunteers hung tough with the fifth-ranked Georgia Bulldogs over the weekend, matching them score-for-score for most of the game, but ultimately fell short in the shootout, 51-44. The 95 combined points made for the eighth-highest scoring non-overtime game in SEC history, and the loss snapped the Vols' 25-game win streak when putting up 28 points or more. Tyler Bray threw for 281 yards and two scores, but completed just 24-of-45 passes and was picked off three times. Tight end Mychal Rivera led the team with 82 receiving yards, while Zach Rogers (51 yards) and Raijon Neal (53 yards) caught Bray's touchdown passes. Neal also added 104 yards and a score on 23 carries. Tennessee (3-2, 0-2 SEC) had no answer for the Georgia offense, which piled up 560 yards of total offense. The Vols are idle this week, and they will try to get back on track at Mississippi State on Oct. 13.

TEXAS A&M: The Aggies exploded to the tune of 716 total yards as they returned to SEC play with a convincing 58-10 win over hapless Arkansas. 557 of those yards came from freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel -- an SEC record. The rookie signal-caller continued to impress, completing 29-of-38 passes for 453 yards, tossing three touchdowns and no interceptions, and he was just as big a threat outside the pocket, rushing for a team-high 104 yards while adding a score on the ground. Ryan Swope (141 yards, TD) and Thomas Johnson (108 yards) each topped the century mark in the receiving game, while Mike Evans led the team with six catches for 83 yards and touchdown. Since scoring only 17 points in its season-opening loss to Florida, Texas A&M (3-1, 1-1 SEC) has now scored a combined 176 points in its three victories. The Aggies will play their first SEC road game this Saturday night when they travel to Oxford to take on the Ole Miss Rebels.

VANDERBILT: The Commodores (1-3, 0-2 SEC) enjoyed a bye this past weekend. After a disappointing start to the season, the road doesn't get much easier, as they are set to play SEC newcomer Missouri in Columbia this Saturday night.

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