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Kentucky Loses Two Receivers Ahead Of Missouri Clash

bad_luck_road_signSometimes, it’s just not your year.

Kentucky will probably be without two of its top three receivers Saturday when #8 Missouri arrives in Lexington.  One freshman, Ryan Timmons, is doubtful with what The Lexington Herald-Leader terms “a badly sprained ankle.”  Another freshman, Alexander Montgomery, has been lost for the season due to a torn ACL.

Adding insult to injury — literally — Montgomery blew his knee while celebrating a touchdown catch against Alabama State last weekend.  Montgomery went up to do a mid-air chest bump with a pair of teammates only to land awkwardly and drop to the ground.  One of those teammates was fellow receiver Demarco Robinson who said that the trainers told him to knock off the mid-air celebrations.

On a positive front, wideout Javess Blue could be back in action this weekend.  He missed the Alabama State game with his own bizarre injury.  While warming up he somehow took a football to the face and one eye was so swollen he couldn’t see to play.

Mark Stoops — who must feel cursed at this point — says he might limit the Wildcats’ repertoire of celebrations:

 

“I do think about it when they’re doing that stuff, even at practice sometimes when we’re having fun.  You don’t want to take away the energy.  You want them excited… We’ve got to be smart about that.  I tell you, I’m even nervous — we’ve got a couple of those guys that can do back flips.  Sometimes they’ll do that before practice and get guys sparked up.  I’m a little leery of that as well.  So, yeah, we might have to keep our feet on the ground for celebrations right now. 

We can’t afford to lose anybody else.  We lose enough guys in games and practice.  We can’t lose them in pregame and doing celebrations, that’s for sure.”

 

Without two of their top receivers and facing a top 10 team, it’s fair to suggest that UK might not have many celebrations to worry about on Saturday.

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SEC Weekend Wrap – 11/4/13

weekend-wrapAnother week gone and the SEC East race remains muddled.  Meanwhile, it’s finally time for Game of the Year II in the SEC West.

Below are our views on all the games, Gus Malzahn’s deteriorating reputation, possible BCS title tilts, why Florida’s program isn’t all it’s crack up to be, and all the good and bad from across the league as we transition from Week Ten to Week Eleven.

 

South Carolina 34, Mississippi State 16 (Our prediction: South Carolina 34-20)

For Mississippi State to upset Carolina, we stated in our Game Previews that the Dogs — so good in turnover margin going into the game — would need to once again protect the ball while forcing Gamecock mistakes.  Instead, State turned it over five times as Dak Prescott threw three INTs and fumbled once.  (He might have had more pressing issues on his mind as his mother passed away the following morning due to cancer.)  While Prescott was struggling, Connor Shaw was thriving.  USC’s quarterback tossed four touchdown passes against zero picks — the Gamecocks didn’t turn the ball over once — as Steve Spurrier’s team built a 34-10 third-quarter lead and coasted to its seventh victory in nine games.  Mike Davis added 128 yards on the ground including a pair of 40+ yard runs.  The Cocks now get an open date before hosting Florida.  A win in that game will put some serious pressure on Missouri in the East Division race.  As for State, the Bulldogs will need to win two of their final four games (at Texas A&M, Alabama, at Arkansas, Ole Miss) to go bowling.

 

Georgia 23, Florida 20 (Our prediction: Georgia 24-17)

Credit Florida’s defense for stifling Georgia in the second half and finding a way to cut a 23-3 halftime lead into a 23-20 barn burner.  When all was said and done, however, Mike Bobo’s offense had muscled out six first downs in a clock-killing drive that ate up the final eight minutes and 17 seconds.  Despite a nice charge in the second half, UF fell to just 4-4 on the season and Will Muschamp still needs two wins from his last four (against Vanderbilt, at Carolina, and then against Georgia Southern and Florida State) to become bowl eligible… and that’s just not acceptable to Gator fans.  If not for a controversial decision to rule a Georgia pass as a lateral and a fumble, UGA might have won going away.  Instead they were forced to show grit and the man showing the most grit was the guy who returned to action this week — Todd Gurley.  The Georgia back was clearly less than 100% but you’d never know it from looking at his numbers.  Seventeen carries for 100 yards and a touchdown.  Three catches for 87 yards including a 73-yard catch and run.  Not bad for a guy with a bum ankle.

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Kentucky, Texas A&M Blowout Non-Conference Opponents

postgame-links-150x1501Kentucky 48 – Alabama State 14. Video Highlights

1. That was a win Kentucky needed. It was the Wildcats’ first win in 56 days.

2. Kentucky hasn’t committed a turnover in four straight games. That’s a school record going back to 1946.

3. Writer John Clay: “If we didn’t know it before, we know now that Jalen Whitlow is Kentucky’s quarterback from here on out.”

4. Kentucky isn’t used to handling blowout wins. “We’ve got to learn to celebrate better.”

Texas A&M 57 – UTEP 7. Video Highlights

5. It was another big game for Johnny Manziel: He totaled 340 yards and six touchdowns.

6. Texas A&M got off to a slow start before it outscored UTEP 48-0 in the final three quarters.

7. Texas A&M still has work to do to improve. Coach Kevin Sumlin: “Our guys understand that we can be better than we were tonight.”

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SEC Gameday Links: Saturday Night Lights 11/2/2013

gameday-links-150x150Auburn at Arkansas

1. Whether it’s Nick Marshall or Jeremy Johnson at quarterback for Auburn, the Tigers have the same goals: ”I think we’ve still got some people to prove wrong.”

2. Gus Malzahn, Bret Bielema and tonight’s philosophical war.

“3. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if Auburn doesn’t try to score 100 points on Arkansas. Not one bit.”

4. It’s not just Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn returning to Arkansas today. It’s also a homecoming of sorts (among others) for Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee.

Tennessee at Missouri

5. If Tennessee is to get its first road victory over a ranked opponent since 2006, they’ll have to do it with true freshman quarterback Joshua Dobbs leading the way.

6. South Carolina and Georgia are Tennessee fans today.

7. Missouri coach Gary Pinkel is 15-4 against FBS head coaches in their first season at their schools.

8. Mizzou kicker Andrew Baggett made the game-winning field goal against Tennessee last year.

Alabama State at Kentucky

9. Kentucky expects Alabama State to have an effective pass rush.

10. But Kentucky’s advantages in this game are abundant and obvious.

UTEP at Texas A&M

11. Texas A&M has a 6-2 record - identical to what it was last year at this time.  The difference?  The buzz is not nearly as great.

12. Texas A&M’s Mike Evans is a wide receiver, a potential Heisman candidate, and a father.  ”I’m more mature now, and I have something to play for now.”

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Kentucky’s Stoops Says Cats Are Learning How To Be Tough

gfx - they said itKentucky is 1-6 overall and o-4 in the SEC.  The UK roster isn’t as chock-full of talent as most of their conference brethren’s.  Now Mark Stoops teams is bruised and beat up as well, having lost their last five games in a row by a combined score of 162-77.

With their two open dates already behind them, Stoops wants and needs his team to display some toughness when it comes to the pain they can play through:

 

“I think we’re learning as we go and getting tougher and getting tougher mentally…

It’s up to the players, and they have to decide what they can handle, and our medical people do a great job.  But I think that toughness comes from a culture, and we’re trying to build it.  I don’t think we’re there yet, and we’re going to get there.  I can promise you.”

 

The Wildcats should grab their second victory of the season when they face FCS-level Alabama State on Saturday.  While Kentucky’s season has been less than stellar, Stoops continues to woo new commitments.  Currently UK’s 2014 recruiting class ranks #8 in the nation according to Rivals.com.

 

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SEC Odds And Television Listings – 10/28/13

television-wallThe SEC has released the television listing for this Saturday and the next.  We bring you both schedules below plus the opening and updated betting lines for this week’s games.

 

November 2nd

Mississippi State at South Carolina — 12:21pm ET on SEC TV — Line: South Carolina -11.5 (now -13)

Georgia vs Florida in Jacksonville — 3:30pm ET on CBS — Line: Georgia -2.5 (now -2.5)

Auburn at Arkansas — 6:00pm ET on ESPN2 — Line: Auburn -7.5 (now -9)

Tennessee at Missouri — 7:00pm ET on ESPN — Line: Missouri -13 (now -11.5)

Alabama State at Kentucky — 7:30pm ET on CSS — Line: None posted yet

UTEP at Texas A&M — 9:00pm ET on ESPN2 — Line: Texas A&M -45.5 (now -45.5)

 

November 9th  (Due to the CBS double-header, five SEC contests will kick off by 12:30pm ET)

Auburn at Tennessee — 12:00pm ET on ESPN

Missouri at Kentucky — 12:00pm ET on ESPNU or FSN

Vanderbilt at Florida — 12:00pm ET on ESPNU or FSN

Arkansas at Ole Miss — 12:21pm ET on SEC TV

Appalachian State at Georgia — 12:30pm ET on Local Television

Mississippi State at Texas A&M — 3:30pm ET on CBS

LSU at Alabama — 8:00pm ET on CBS

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SEC Headlines – 7/5/12

1.  Ex-Georgia running back Isaiah Crowell is reportedly already planning a move to Alabama State.  (UPDATE — But his mama says he hasn’t made up his mind yet.)

2.  This writer says South Carolina’s next athletic director is already set up to succeed.

3.  Alabama offensive tackle DJ Fluker is one of the SEC’s best players.

4.  Wisely, soon-to-be Texas A&M AD Eric Hyman plans to take stock of his surroundings before making any changes.

5.  Everybody continues to beat the hell out of the Aggies for their “Welcome to our new SEC Family” video.  (I’ve seen worse, people.  At least R. Bowen Loftin didn’t rap.)

6.  Sorry Rebel fans, but it’s rebuilding time again in Oxford.

7.  Two of Mississippi State’s best players also happen to have the best names: Ferlando Bohanna and Benardrick McKinney.

8.  This scribe says Arkansas’ new hoops practice facility is worth the time, effort and money.

UPDATE — Pro stadiums will now show the same replays that officials use to review calls.  (How long before the college game follows suit?)

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New A&M Coach Sumlin Confident Heading Into The SEC

Kevin Sumlin — introduced as Texas A&M’s new football coach yesterday — doesn’t seem overly concerned about leading his new team into the big, bad SEC.  At least not publicly:


“I didn’t come here to do anything but win.  I’ve never looked at who we played as being the issue, I’ve worried about our situation and it has been about us.  Whether it’s Alabama or Alabama State, it really doesn’t matter.  I worry more about Texas A&M and us getting better.”



In the SEC West, he will face Alabama every year.  And given SEC schools’ proclivity for schedule three laughers a year, it’s not all that unlikely that he’ll face Alabama State as a nonconference game at some point.

Sumlin went 35-17 during his four seasons at Houston and his pass-happy offense thrived with quarterback Case Keenum as his trigger man.  But that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be a pass-it-every-down guy in the Southeastern Conference.

“They play great defense in the SEC,” Sumlin said.  “We’re going to do what’s necessary to win.  I think I’ve shown that in my track record as we evolved at Oklahoma (where he served under Bob Stoops).  What we’ve done at Houston has been a little bit different due to personnel.”

Aggie AD Bill Byrne says he’s got the right man for the job.  “(We) spoke to many worthy and qualified candidates, but my decision, which was made in consultation with President (R. Bowen) Loftin, kept leading me to Kevin.  I believe he is the right person to lead our football program into the Southeastern Conference.  First of all, Kevin is a terrific person.  He is also one heck of a recruiter and he will put together a great staff.”

There have been no announcements on the staff front yet.  Defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter — who will serve as A&M’s interim coach in the Meineke Car Care Bowl — is talking to Fresno State about becoming the Bulldogs’ next head coach.

The 47-year-old Sumlin served as A&M’s offensive coordinator and assistant head coach under RC Slocum in 2001 and 2002.

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Alabama and South Alabama to Meet on the Hardwood Wednesday

The University of Alabama men’s basketball team continues its two-game homestand on Wednesday when it hosts South Alabama in the Jaguars’ first visit to Coleman Coliseum. Wednesday’s contest is a part of a doubleheader with the women’s team and will tipoff 30 minutes after the women’s 5 p.m. game against Alabama State. Tickets for the men’s game will be honored at the women’s contest.
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