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SEC Week 3 Recap by Nick Hebenstreit, @NickHebenstreit

LSU @ Missouri

Redshirt freshman Connor Bazelak got the starting nod for Saturday’s game after the Missouri

offense was pretty much inept in their first two contests. Bazelak threw for 406 yards and four

touchdowns. He completed twenty-nine out of thirty-five passes—that’s an eighty-three percent

completion rate! I know he wasn’t going up against the legion of boom, but if you’re a Missouri

fan, you have reason to be optimistic. This is a rebuilding season for Mizzou, getting a signature

win at home as a fourteen point dog is a big step for this program and Coach Drinkwitz. The

defense didn’t play great, but they made big plays when they had to. The game ended on an

incredible goal line stand. Nick Bolton is just an absolute beast—he was limping around the field

still making plays. The kid is ready for the league.

I understand that LSU lost most of its production from last season, but I still thought they’d be

better than they are. Their secondary looks horrible. They don’t have any big play makers on

offense besides Marshall. The offensive line was struggling against Missouri too. LSU honestly

could have lost this game by two or three scores. Mizzou turned the ball over twice on their own

thirty, which led to a couple LSU touchdowns.

South Carolina @ Vanderbilt

This is an interesting game. The total opened at forty-eight and closed at forty and a half; the

final score was forty-one to seven. I think the total moved down so much due to the heavy rains

that were forecasted in the area. I really liked South Carolina in this game at 0-2 with losses to

Tennessee and Florida; paired with the fact that there is zero home field advantage at Vanderbilt.

I played the South Carolina team total over twenty-seven and a half. This was a perfect, get right

game for SC. South Carolina ran the ball thirty-nine times for 389 yards, while Vanderbilt ran

the ball thirty-three times for seventy-six yards. Vanderbilt has Missouri, Ole Miss, Miss State,

and Kentucky on its horizon before a brutal finish where they have Florida, Tennessee, and

Georgia. Once again, I think I may have had the wrong read on Dereck Mason this year. I expect

he’ll be coaching for his job in this upcoming four-game stretch.

Florida @ Texas A&M

The unstoppable Kyle-to-Kyle Florida offense continues to roll, and the Florida defense

continues to suck. I was giving Florida’s defense a pass before this game because they played

Ole Miss, who obviously has a really good offense, and South Carolina, who I think is a decent

team that only put up twenty-seven on them. I was wrong—they are just straight up not a good

defense. I was also ready to throw Jimbo Fisher and Kellen Mond under the bus, but they said

hold on we aren’t quite finished. I had Florida down to minus a half point in a teaser with

Clemson that unfortunately did not hit. Luckily, I had the Florida team total over thirty-one and a

half, and the Texas A&M team total over twenty-four and a half, courtesy of ACL’s free play on

Saturday. Texas A&M’s schedule is manageable the rest of the way. There’s a possibility they

could finish nine and one, forego the SEC championship between Georgia and Alabama, and get

a playoff bid.

Tennessee @ Georgia

This game ruined a good day for me, as I had the under, and I bet the Volunteers plus seven in

the second half. Guarantano looked calm, cool, and collective in the first half, and after a goal

line stand by Tennessee, I thought they’d have all the momentum. Kirby Smart made much

better halftime adjustments than Tennessee, and Guarantano went back to looking like a jag (just

another guy) in the second half. Georgia’s defense was locked in for the second half, as

Tennessee wasn’t able to get anything going. Monty Rice was all over the field on Saturday—he

had two tackles for a loss, a sack, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery for a touchdown.

Azeez Ojulari and Channing Tindall both got to the quarterback twice. Tennessee finished with

twenty-seven rushes for negative one yard. Let that sink in. Twenty-seven rushes for negative

one yard a week after going for 232 yards on fifty-one carries. Georgia ran the ball fifty times

but wasn’t very efficient, as they finished with only 193 yards (3.86 ypc). Stetson Bennett was

efficient though, throwing for 238 yards and two touchdowns, going sixteen of twenty-seven.

Bennett isn’t going to be asked to do a ton for this team, so if he continues to play well and not

turn the ball over, Georgia will be a very hard team to beat.

Arkansas @ Auburn

Bo Nix looked very pedestrian in another Auburn loss. After getting embarrassed by Georgia on

national TV last week, Auburn didn’t even look like they wanted to be there. Arkansas was down

seventeen to nothing about midway through the second quarter. Arkansas led and had the ball

with three minutes to go. They were forced to punt, and then Auburn made a field goal, and they

won 30-28. Nix was eighteen of twenty-nine for 187 yards, and Franks was twenty-two of thirty

for 318. Auburn fans should be very worried about their future if it takes them a last-second field

goal to beat a bad Arkansas team that really wasn’t playing that well. It’s cool that Bo Nix can

punt and everything, but how about you try to convert some of those fourth downs. Maybe get

really crazy and try to convert some third downs throwing the football? I think this game was

more about Auburn playing poorly than Arkansas playing well. I give Arkansas credit, they’ve

come out and battled in every game they’ve been in this year. They still have problems on both

sides of the ball. They have reason to be optimistic though, Sam Pitman had nothing when he got

there, and it seems like he has won the locker room.

Mississippi State @ Kentucky

Now that LSU has dropped out of the top twenty-five, Miss State’s week one win over them

looks much less impressive. I think these last two games are the kind of rocky start more people

were expecting Mike Leach to have; because of the new conference and not having enough time

to implement his defense. Mississippi State completed forty-five of seventy passes for 275 yards,

no touchdowns, and six interceptions. Seems like that is almost impossible to do at a power five

school. Give the Kentucky defense some credit though, they came to life this game. In hindsight

this was a good spot for the Wildcats, sitting at 0-2 after a tough overtime loss the week before.

Terry Wilson showed some glimpses, but still wasn’t very efficient. He will have to improve if

this Kentucky team wants to continue to win games.

Alabama @ Ole Miss

I went 2-1 on this game, winning the over and first half over while losing Alabama -13 1H. I

wasn’t sure if Ole Miss was going to have as much success on Alabama’s defense that I thought

was significantly better than Florida’s or Kentucky’s. The Alabama Offense was insanely

efficient—they could very well have the best quarterback and running back in the SEC. The

problem is their defense. On paper, this line backing core should be unstoppable. We need to

adjust our minds and realize that Alabama isn’t going to be able to have these incredible defenses

year-in and year-out like they did throughout 2009-2017. I thought it was going to come down to

whoever had the ball last. I was never nervous that Alabama was going to lose this game, but

they could’ve. Had they turned the ball over and let Ole Miss go up a touchdown, it would’ve

been very hard for them to regain the lead. Kiffin definitely looks like the best new hire in the

conference. I’d be excited if I was an Ole Miss fan. They’ll be a dangerous team for years to

come if they can recruit well. My two biggest takeaways from this game: Matt Corrall is really

good, and there is a significant gap between Alabama and Clemson.

You can follow Nick on Twitter @NickHebenstreit

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