The Robertson Report - September 22nd

Week four is upon us and the non-conference games take on added importance for those struggling in the early going. Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Vandy need to salvage a win and get their seasons on track. The trio face non-conference opponents in what are basically must win games. With the exception of the Alabama game at Arkansas, the rest of the conference teams are heavy home favorites.

There is no joy in Starkville after a disappointing home loss to Tulane. The Snow Bowl and the glory days of the late nineties never seemed farther away after watching a backup Quarterback from Tulane take a knee on the playing surface of Scott field.

The Bulldogs will look to regroup this week and go on the road where the only victory in the past sixteen trips was a win over Tulane on a neutral field a season ago.

UAB will host a Southeastern Conference opponent for the first time as the two teams meet for only the second time. The last was a 2004 UAB win over Mississippi State in Starkville.

Coach Sylvester Croom will look to veteran Omarr Conner to make plays for an offense that has struggled mightily in the early going. Conner took over under center last week and led the Bulldogs to their first points of the season in a furious comeback that came up just short as an onside kick in the games final minutes was covered by the Green Wave.

The Blazers from Birmingham have not exactly lit the scoreboard up themselves. With just 154 passing yard per game, Quarterback transfer Sam Hunt will look to get the up and down the field on a Bulldog pass defense that has given up it's share of big plays. Backup Chris Williams has also seen action in all three contests.

Rush defense has been the strong point for the Mississippi State defense and the defenders in maroon should be able to pad their stats a bit against a Blazer rushing attack that is averaging just 109 yards per game. Seniors Corey White and Dan Burks will look to put in the bulk of the carries.

The Bulldog rush defense will be led by Deljuan Robinson who leads the SEC in tackles for loss with 7.5.

Anthony Dixon, Arnil Stallworth and Birmingham native Brandon Thornton will look to improve a Bulldog rushing attack that is squeaking out just over 85 yards per contest. The rushing numbers have certainly been hurt the last two contests as MSU found themselves on the downside of a lopsided score in the third quarter. A good early showing will go a long way in the Bulldogs quest for win number one on the season.

The MSU defense has a lot to prove after last week's poor showing. Omarr was able to generate some offense and give the defense a break, but the defensive unit was unable to match the intensity until the game was nearly decided. An early three and out could do wonders.

No one could fault the Bulldogs special teams for last weekend's loss. A touchdown was registered by the punt return team and Derek Pegues set the offense up most of the night with it's best average field position of the season. Pegues currently leads the SEC in kick return average with just over 39 yards per return.

Despite being a road dog I believe MSU has enough to win this contest. The defense is due for an improved showing and the offense showed some spark with Omarr at the helm. For better or worse this is Omarr's team. It will be interesting to see if Conner is able to capitalize on his second chance as QB. This week he will.

MSU 21 UAB 17

Colorado vs. Georgia

The honeymoon is definitely over for Dan Hawkins in Boulder. The Buffs are 0-3 including a season opening loss to division 1-AA Montana State. Colorado has scored just 23 points on the season and the natives are getting restless.

Georgia has the conference's top scoring offense and should be able to have their way with a Colorado team clearly in transition. The UGA rushing committee should have a nice contest and this game should continue to give Quarterback Matthew Stafford some confidence.

Georgia 38 Colorado 7

Buffalo vs. Auburn

Are you kidding me? Auburn gutted out a hard fought win over LSU to take charge in the SEC West. With the schedule favoring the Tigers of the Plains, the Tigers of the Bayou may be out of it barring an upset.

Kenny Irons, the SEC's leading rusher, should have a chance to increase his lead on his peers this weekend. The main objective in this game is to simply stay healthy.

Auburn 56 Buffalo 0

Alabama vs. Arkansas

Talk about a big game. Arkansas is 2-1 on the season, but did just enough to win last week and get Mitch Mustain some confidence. Alabama was able to put ULM away, but they have not exactly been dominant in the early going.

Both of these teams struggle putting pressure on the Quarterback, just three sacks a piece. The team that can cure that ill that this week, should win. Joe Kines always seems able to dial up a blitz package in these big games, but this one is in Fayetteville where the Hogs appear to be on the verge of truly being back. Somebody say sooooiieee pig.

Arkansas 17 Alabama 14

Marshall vs. Tennessee

A let down in this one is a possibility, but the Vols are simply too talented to let this one get away. Erik Ainge appears to be coming into his own and becoming the Quarterback most thought he could be.

The Thundering Herd is 1-2 and is on the short end of the stick talent wise, but a player you may want to watch is Mississippi native Curtis Keyes. Keyes is an All-American candidate from his safety position and he will hit you. He should get plenty of reps this week as Tennessee looks to put the Florida game in the rear view mirror.

Tennessee 31 Marshall 7

Wake Forest vs. Ole Miss

Wake comes in undefeated, but the quality of competition has not exactly been stellar. The Demon Deacons are also dealing with a visit from the injury bug. QB Riley Skinner will look to make some plays early against a Rebel secondary that has appeared lost at times.

Ole Miss' passing game has to get better. To date the Rebels are dead last in passing offense. A couple of plays early could open up some thing for running back Ben Jarvus Green-Ellis who thus far appears to be the biggest new addition to a squad looking for playmakers. If the game is close late, watch the Rebels kicking game. They have not attempted a field goal on the season.

Ole Miss 24 Wake Forest 21

Tennessee State vs. Vanderbilt

This should be a game for Vandy to work out some kinks. The Commodores have been one big play away from winning the last two SEC games despite rebuilding on offense. WR Earl Bennett should have a big game.

Vanderbilt 38 Tennessee State 6

Florida Atlantic vs. South Carolina

What is going on in Columbia? An offense that was expected to be much improved has yet to get on track. Spurrier has played three Quarterbacks and has managed an SEC worst 38 first downs. If you can't put woeful Wofford away you have some problems.

Florida Atlantic is just what the doctor ordered. FAU is giving up 49 points per game and have scored just two touchdowns on the season.

South Carolina 56 FAU 0

Tulane vs. LSU

The instate rivalry is renewed and the first of ten contracted games begins this weekend. LSU will find the sledding a lot easier this week and should have the chance to work on the running game. Welcome back to Earth, Green Wave.

LSU and Jamarcus Russell will look to take on some frustration on the Wave and give their fans a bit more to crow about at the water cooler on Monday.

LSU 49 Tulane 10

Kentucky vs. Florida

Kentucky got a big win for themselves last week in their hopes for a bowl game. Last week UK got the SEC's worst passing offense, this week the best. UK struggles against the run, so don't be surprised if this one gets ugly quick. UF is going for their 20th win in a row in the series and this may be the best Gator team in some time.

Leak should be able to hit the Cats early and often as this is a battle of two teams on the opposite end of the spectrum. The Cats are a much improved football team though. If they win the games they are expected to win they should be bowling.

Florida 35 Kentucky 17

Well, that's the week. Last week we were 7-1 which puts us 25-3 on the season. Barring an upset and the coin flip going our way in a toss up game in Fayetteville it should be another nice week.

Gene's Page Top Stories