Saturday, October 27, 2012
Rebels, Tigers grab crucial SEC wins
By David Helman
Two early games -- one a back-and-forth affair, one a boring blowout -- took center stage to kick off Week 9 in the SEC. One of the SEC East's cellar dwellers was guaranteed to have a conference win by the end of the afternoon, while a crucial battle for bowl eligibility played out in Fayetteville, Ark.
Ole Miss 30, Arkansas 27: Ole Miss called on kicker Bryson Rose three separate times, and every time he delivered in a last-second win against the Razorbacks. Rose drilled a 31-yarder as time expired to break a deadlock and lift Ole Miss to 5-3 on the season. The game-winner wasn't as impressive as the senior's 53-yarder in the fourth quarter, but Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze won't complain with his squad on the verge of bowl eligibility.
Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace set Rose up for the go-ahead points with a clutch final drive. The sophomore went 4-of-5 for 47 yards and added a 13-yard scramble to bring the Rebels down to the Arkansas 15-yard line in the last two minutes. He finished 29-of-37 for 278 yards with a touchdown and an interception. The Razorbacks rode a war horse of an effort from running back Dennis Johnson to a late-game tie. Johnson carried 27 times for 161 yards with one touchdown, and his efforts helped the Razorbacks scored 10 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to force the 27-27 tie.
This is the second straight SEC win for the Rebels, who went more than two years without a conference win before last week's victory against Auburn.
Missouri 33, Kentucky 10: The league's newest Tigers finally earned their first-ever SEC win after a nightmare start to the schedule -- although, you can now begin the jokes that Kentucky hardly counts as an SEC squad this fall. This game was every bit as ugly as the records involved would indicate. Missouri cruised to a 23-point win despite tallying just 274 total yards of offense. The Tigers' passing game stalled, but the ground game was able to carry the day behind Kendial Lawrence's 108 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries.
Kentucky's long nightmare of a season continued, though this particular performance is more fitting with Halloween just around the corner. The Wildcats fumbled six times and lost three, they accumulated a mere 179 yards and 10 points against the league's No. 11 scoring defense, and they converted just one of 12 third downs. That's more frightening than any scary movie you're bound to see this time of year.