Georgia football SEC Week 8 roundup: What DawgNation needs to know
Matt Corral and Kyle Trask combined to throw for 869 yards and 10 touchdowns for their Ole Miss and Florida offenses, respectively.
That’s the topic sentence for an SEC Week 8 roundup that saw two of the three games feature a team that Georgia still has to play in the 2020 season.
Vanderbilt did put up 35 points on Kentucky, but that final score is somewhat of an illusion. The Commodores tacked on a pair of late touchdowns to turn a 38-21 gap into a three-point final result.
The games all featured some Big 12/Pac 12 level scoring but there was one score which summed up the weekend best.
COVID-19 postponements 4, Scheduled SEC games 3
That’s how we kick off this week’s quicker-than-ESPN recap. The premise here is that each week this recap is built around the framework of the 2020 Georgia football schedule.
Consider’s this your weekly need-to-know on all things SEC. Just served up for the appetite of the discriminating Georgia reader.
This Week’s Scores
No. 1 Alabama at LSU, ppd
No. 5 Texas A&M at Tennessee, ppd.
No. 12 Georgia at Missouri, ppd.
No. 24 Auburn at Mississippi State, ppd.
No. 6 Florida 63, Arkansas 35
Ole Miss 59, South Carolina 42
Kentucky 38, Vanderbilt 35
What does all of that mean for Georgia? Follow along for what DawgNation needs to know:
Next Scheduled Opponent (we think):
Mississippi State (2-4)
How the Bulldogs fared: Mississippi State was not able to face Auburn this weekend.
What Mississippi State has done well in 2020: The Bulldogs, as expected, are throwing the ball well under first-year coach Mike Leach. They average 303 yards per game through the air. The boys from Starkville are actually decent on defense in giving up only 360 yards per game.
What Mississippi State has not done well in 2020: There is not much offensively beyond Leach’s “Air Raid” attack. Mississippi State ranks 12th in the SEC in total offense. Why are their 11 offenses in the SEC ranked higher than Mississippi State? The biggest reason is the Bulldogs are only averaging 21 rushing yards per game.
The big stat lines: The Bulldogs rank fourth in the conference in yards allowed per game largely due to holding teams to only 233 yards per game through the air. They are sixth in scoring defense at 25 points allowed per game. Stanford transfer K.J. Costello has completed 65 percent of his passes, but he’s thrown for just 10 touchdowns with 14 interceptions.
DawgNation Outlook: Will Georgia face Mississippi State this week? Will a jumbled-up reschedule take place? This matchup would allow the Bulldogs a chance to test out their passing game against a unit that has held teams back in the area so far. Georgia’s beleaguered pass defense will a chance for redemption with Leach and his crew.
Week 10 opponent
South Carolina (2-5)
How the Gamecocks fared: South Carolina lost by 17 on the road at Oxford, but it was a one-score game until an Ole Miss touchdown with 6:09 to play in the game.
What South Carolina did well: Run. The. Football. Georgia native Kevin Harris had 25 carries for 243 yards and five touchdowns. He now leads the SEC in rushing. The Gamecocks had 39 carries for 318 yards against Ole Miss. That’s 8.2 yards per rush attempt.
What South Carolina did not do well: Play. Defense. Ole Miss stacked up 708 yards on South Carolina, including 518 yards through the air. The fact that the Rebels also paired that stat line up with 195 yards on the ground is striking.
The big stat lines: Shi Smith continues to impress with the highlight catches. He had 10 catches for 117 yards and a touchdown. Collin Hill completed 17 of his 28 passes for 230 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Georgia native Ernest Jones had 18 tackles for Carolina from his LB position.
DawgNation Outlook: South Carolina is struggling defensively against teams that present a potent passing offense. The fact the Gamecocks ground out so many rushing yards holding the ball for almost 30 minutes and still gave up 708 yards makes a point that maybe rushing offenses can no longer be a major key to a win against prolific passing teams.
Week 11 opponent
How the Commodores fared: Vanderbilt found itself in a shootout with Kentucky. It put a lot of mascara on its sixth straight loss thanks to a pair of late touchdowns.
What Vanderbilt did well: Freshman QB Ken Seals completed 21 of 32 passes for 225 yards and two scores. He did not throw an interception. Sophomore Georgia native Keyon Henry-Brooks piled up 121 yards on 29 carries.
What Vanderbilt did not do well: Kentucky ran 35 times for 308 yards against Vanderbilt. That’s 8.8 yards per rush attempt. Kentucky has struggled to throw the ball well in 2020 but was able to muster up an efficient showing against the Vanderbilt defense.
The big stat line: Vanderbilt was able to rush for 60 more yards on Kentucky this week than its offense has been averaging in 2020. The Commodores are giving up 35 points per game in the SEC and only scoring 16 of their own. That just about sums it all up.
DawgNation Outlook: This game should not be close. If Vanderbilt manages to put up the same fight against Georgia as it did against Kentucky, that will be a bitter end to the regular season. This game should allow for stat padding in several categories on both sides of the ball.
Kentucky O-line coach John Schlarman died on Thursday after a battle with cancer.
His team honored him by leaving a spot open on their offensive line for the first play of the game 💙
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 14, 2020
The Rest of the Schedule:
Arkansas (Week 1 win): The Razorbacks (3-4) could not hang with Trask and the Gators. Florida only led 21-14 with 6:55 to play in the second quarter, but Florida piled up 28 points in the second quarter and another 21 in the fourth quarter amid a prolific offensive effort. Head coach Sam Pittman missed the game and could not travel due to quarantine from his positive COVID-19 test.
Auburn (Week 2 win): Auburn (4-2) was also idle this weekend after the postponement of its home game with Mississippi State. The Tigers have won two in a row after a 2-2 start.
Tennessee (Week 3 win): The Vols (2-4) did not face Texas A&M this week due to a COVID-19 postponement. They have seen their season hit the skids after four straight defeats in which they lost by 23, 27, 31 and 11 points.
Alabama (Week 4 loss): The Crimson Tide (6-0) was also idle this weekend after its road trip to LSU was postponed due to COVID-19 exposures.
Kentucky (Week 6 win): The Wildcats got a big day from Terry Wilson. Their regular starter was back to health. He completed 13 of his 15 passes for 110 yards and two scores. He also had seven carries for 83 yards and a touchdown.
Florida (Week 7 win): The Gators (5-1) were without All-American TE Kyle Pitts but didn’t seem to skip a beat hosting Arkansas. Trask and his right arm made sure of that. He threw five of his six TDs in the first half while completing 23 of 29 passes for 356 yards on the night. While Florida’s defense still allowed another 458 yards, the team found some offensive balance with 45 carries for 208 yards against Arkansas.
The Rest of the SEC:
TEXAS A&M: The No. 5 Aggies (5-1) saw their game against Tennessee postponed. Four-year starter Kellen Mond has completed 64 percent of his passes for 1,468 yards, 16 TDs and just two interceptions.
LSU: The Tigers (2-3) did not get to tee it up in Death Valley with No. 1 Alabama. LSU has scored 179 points this year and allowed 168. LSU has the second-leakiest defense in the SEC as it allows 479 yards per game.
OLE MISS: The Rebels are a scoring machine with Corral tossing it around. The former Florida commit completed 28 of his 32 passes for 512 yards and four touchdowns. Former Georgia commitment Elijah Moore caught 13 of those balls for 225 yards and two touchdowns.