Conner led the Bulldogs to their highest point total of the season, thirty-eight. Florida had not allowed that many points to an SEC opponent since the Bulldogs drubbed the Gators 47-35 back in 2000. In many ways this one may have been a little more special. These Bulldogs appeared to have their way and were a far cry from the 2000 Bulldogs that many expected to contend for the SEC West. No matter what heights the program will reach under Sylvester Croom this past Saturday's win will remain one for the ages.
The Bulldogs now turn their attention to SEC East permanent opponent Kentucky. The Wildcats are mired in yet another tough year. Earlier this week, head coach Rich Brooks was forced to refute some national reports that he will resign at season's end. Brooks met with the team to reaffirm his commitment to them as well as the University of Kentucky. With that business now out of the way, Brooks must determine who will take the snaps this Saturday.
Shane Boyd started the season firmly entrenched, but last week redshirt freshman Andre Woodson got the start. The Cat offense has been anemic and is at or near the bottom in every SEC offensive category. A change was made a week ago due to Boyd's shoulder injury, but Woodson was sacked eight times, passed for just 73 yards and coughed up two fumbles in a 42-10 loss to Auburn. There's no shame in losing to Auburn, but this one was really ugly.
Kentucky was also dealt another blow by the injury bug when leading rusher Tony Dixon was sidelined by a nagging ankle injury. He should play on Saturday, but his effectiveness may be diminished.
MSU seemed to get their legs backs under them with Omarr Conner back at the helm. His presence seemed to give the whole team a lift. The MSU offensive line may have played their best game of the year despite limited substitutions. The holes were there most of the time for the MSU backs, but certainly more so in the second half.
Jerious Norwood has had some of his best days as a collegiate player against Kentucky and seems poised to have another big performance this season. Kentucky is last in the league in run defense and Norwood, the SEC offensive player of the week, has had two straight monster games. If history is any indicator of future results expect another big game from Jerious.
For weeks this match-up looked to be a dead heat, but after last week's win and the return of Omarr Conner the advantage clearly favors MSU. I like MSU in this one, no matter who starts at QB for Kentucky. If Conner can continue to display his athleticism and his supporting cast leaves it all on the field like they did a week ago the Bullies will have their second SEC win of the year as well as some momentum for the home stretch.
MSU 21 Kentucky 17
Florida vs. Georgia
The story in this one should be the fact that Mark Richt has not defeated the Gators as a head coach, but it's the other coach making all the headlines. It was announced earlier in the week that Ron Zook and his entire staff would not return at season's end. With all of these assistants already updating their resumes, it makes you wonder who is going to recruit?
Georgia must get over this hump. I feel certain this game as well as the LSU game were circled on the calendar as soon as the schedule was announced. The Dawgs did pretty well in the first "circle" game and with Florida dealing with the uncertainty of their head coaching position the Dawgs seem to be in great shape to finally get the win.
If Florida comes out angry Georgia may be in trouble. I suspect that the news as well as the upset loss in Starkville may take too much out of the Gators. With a loss, the Gators would be 4-4 with a trap game on the horizon with South Carolina and the annual grudge match with Florida State. Florida and it's lame duck coach could be making plans for Shreveport for the first time ever.
Georgia 24 Florida 20
Auburn vs. Mississippi
The SEC's most dominant team visits Oxford in a homecoming of sorts for former Rebel coach Tommy Tuberville. The Tigers would clinch the SEC West with a win Saturday over the Rebels, so it almost seems fitting that Tubby could rub the Rebels face in it a bit in their own backyard.
A loss in this game puts the Rebels' backs firmly against the wall in relation to the postseason. With five losses, the Rebels would need to win out to become bowl eligible. The remaining schedule still has visits to Arkansas and LSU as well as the Egg Bowl. A losing season seems a virtual certainty and losing out a distinct possibility.
Auburn 35 Mississippi 17
Tennessee vs. South Carolina
Since taking over the head job in Knoxville, Phil Fulmer has never lost to South Carolina. The Vols bring an eleven game winning streak into the contest in what should be their last real SEC test of the season. A stumble here coupled with a Georgia win and the Georgia Bulldogs would control their own destiny for the SEC Eastern title.
South Carolina needs just one more win to become bowl eligible and the chances are far from certain that they get that win. The Gamecocks get the Hogs in Columbia next week before trips to Florida and Clemson. The SEC needs South Carolina to get that sixth win or we may have a tough time filling our bowl tie-ins. With three teams MSU, Kentucky and Vandy, eliminated from bowl consideration after this week, the margin for error is mighty slim. With Mississippi a virtual washout, South Carolina and Arkansas must get in or the bowl revenue pickings will be a little slimmer this year.
Tennessee 28 South Carolina 10
Vanderbilt vs. LSU
The defending national champs needed a late touchdown drive to overcome the would-be homecoming party crashers of Troy. Trailing 20-17 with just under four minutes to play, LSU mounted the decisive drive to win the surprisingly close contest.
LSU seems to still be in a hangover of sorts and the coaching staff seems to be working very hard to right the ship. Vanderbilt will present some different looks for the Tigers, but the Tigers, from an athletic standpoint, should be more than enough, but if Jekyll and Hyde QB Marcus Randall has a similar performance to last week's game it could get real interesting.
LSU 31 Vanderbilt 14
Well, that's the week. It's very tough to say MSU has turned the corner. Despite it's magnitude, the win over Florida is still just one game. The team seemed to show tremendous improvement with Conner back behind center, but can we do we it in consecutive weeks? Can the coaching staff bring these young Bulldogs down from the clouds? Will they still be hungry and ready to fight off the Cats? The answers to these and more questions will be found Saturday afternoon in front of a much more at ease MSU crowd in Starkville, MS.
Until next week,
Steve Robertson writes The Robertson Report for the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com website. Steve's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.