SEC roundup: Mississippi State will be in bad mood when Kentucky comes calling

SEC roundup from Saturday:

Kentucky’s next opponent will be in bounce-back mode. While Kentucky let a 21-10 lead after three quarters turn into a 29-21 home loss to Florida, Mississippi State saw a 21-17 lead after three quarters become a 31-24 home loss to Kansas State.

Trying to return from an upper-body injury suffered the week before, MSU quarterback Tommy Stevens completed just seven of 15 passes for 100 yards with two interceptions. His backup, true freshman Garrett Shrader, who sports an impressive beard, managed just four completions out of 12 attempts as the Bulldogs dropped to 2-1. They did so despite Kylin Hill’s third straight 100-yard rushing game. Hill gained 111 yards on 24 carries.

That was Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa shouting “Don’t forget about me” as he led the Crimson Tide to a 47-23 win over South Carolina in Columbia. A Heisman Trophy candidate a year ago who has been sort of caught up in the wash so far this year, Tua was 28-of-36 passing for 444 yards and five touchdowns as the Tide rolled yet again.

South Carolina dropped to 1-2 on the season, though true freshman quarterback Ryan Hilinski was a credible 36-of-57 passing for 324 yards against Nick Saban’s defense. And Rico Dowdle rushed for 102 yards. South Carolina managed 459 total yards.

Beyond Georgia’s 55-0 win over visiting Arkansas State on Saturday was the Bulldogs’ terrific gesture of holding a pink-out to support Arkansas State Coach Blake Anderson, who recently lost his wife to breast cancer. Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm was his usual precise self, completing 17 of 22 passes for 279 yards and three touchdowns.

Speaking of precise quarterbacks and Heisman contenders, LSU quarterback Joe Burrow is not about to slow his roll. Burrow was 21-of-24 for 373 yards in the Tigers’ 65-14 rout of Northwestern State. Wide receiver Josh Jefferson caught five passes for 124 yards. The visitors did score a couple of first-half touchdowns, however. And they did throw for 232 yards.

No, we’re not through talking about SEC quarterbacks. Auburn true freshman Bo Nix hit on 12 of 16 passes for 161 yards and a score in a 55-16 cakewalk past Kent State. Three Tigers rushed for more than 100 yards — Jatarvious Whitlow gained 135 on 17 carries; Joey Gatewood gained 102 on 12 as did Shaun Shivers. All told, Auburn rushed for 467 yards.

Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond was 20-of-28 passing for 317 yards as Texas A&M lampooned poor Lamar 62-3. Subbing for the injured Jashaun Corbin (out for the season), Aggies’ back Isaiah Spiller gained 116 yards and scored two touchdowns on just 14 carries. Jhamon Ausbon caught four passes for 109 yards.

Tennessee got what it needed Saturday. That would be Chattanooga on the schedule. The Mocs of FCS fell 45-0 to the Vols. Still, Tennessee managed just 360 yards of total offense. The Vols’ defense did pick off four passes as Jeremy Pruitt picked up his first win of the season after losses to Georgia State and BYU.

Ole Miss put away Southeastern Louisiana 40-29 to improve to 2-1 on the season. Under new offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez, the Rebels rushed for 220 yards and threw for 239 more. Running back Scottie Phillips was a workhorse, gaining 103 yards on 26 carries.

Arkansas turned it on for 21 fourth-quarter points to beat Colorado State 55-34 in a Fayetteville shootout. Coach Chad Morris appears to have settled on Nick Starkel at quarterback. The grad transfer from Texas A&M completed 20 of 35 passes for 305 yards and three touchdowns. Rakeem Boyd rushed for 122 yards and two scores. The Razorbacks are now 2-1.

Missouri blanked Southeast Missouri 55-0 in Columbia. After losing 37-31 at Wyoming in the opener, Mizzou has allowed just seven points over the last eight quarters. Larry Rountree rushed for 142 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries for Barry Odom’s Tigers.

Saturday, Sept. 21

  • Southern Miss at Alabama
  • LSU at Vanderbilt
  • Tennessee at Florida
  • Kentucky at Mississippi State
  • South Carolina at Missouri
  • California at Ole Miss
  • Auburn at Texas A&M
  • San Jose State at Arkansas
  • Notre Dame at Georgia

SEC standings


  • Florida 1-0 / 3-0
  • Georgia 1-0 / 3-0
  • Missouri 0-0 / 2-1
  • Tennessee 0-0 / 102
  • Kentucky 0-1 / 2-1
  • South Carolina 0-1 / 1-2
  • Vanderbilt 0-1 / 0-2


  • Alabama 1-0 / 3-0
  • Ole Miss 1-0 / 2-1
  • Auburn 0-0 / 3-0
  • LSU 0-0 / 3-0
  • Miss State 0-0 / 2-1
  • Texas A&M 0-0 / 2-1
  • Arkansas 0-1 / 2-1
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John Clay is a sports columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader. A native of Central Kentucky, he covered UK football from 1987 until being named sports columnist in 2000. He has covered 20 Final Fours and 37 consecutive Kentucky Derbys.
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