In Columbia, Missouri the Tigers were fresh off the jump to No. 14, but was the absence of starting quarterback James Franklin going to write the same script as the previous season? Not if young fill-in Maty Mauk had anything to do with it. The redshirt freshman completed 18 of 36 passes for 295 yards and a touchdown. Not to mention, he contributed to the Missouri offense putting up 36 points, a feat not allowed by the Gators of Florida since 2011. This win will allow Gary Pinkel and his team to approach within striking distance of the top 5.
As we climb our way up Rocky Top, Butch Jones and his Vols had the enjoyable time of facing current "NFL free agent" Jadeveon Clowney. Despite the lasting impression made by Clowney on the offense of Tennessee, Jones and his squad made a great first impression to the people of Knoxville by knocking off the No. 9 ranked Gamecocks.
While Butch Jones experienced a remarkable win over the Gamecocks, across the way in Nashville, Mark Richt had the less than enjoyable time of facing the Bulldog fans that have questioned him for quite a few years now. His injury-ridden group fell to James Franklin and the Vanderbilt Commodores 31-27. They will be "anchoring down" in Vandyland, whereas Georgia will be heading to the Dawg House.
Moving along in our SEC journey, it is difficult to leave out Johnny Manziel. The ESPN summer reality TV star produced another shootout at home against the Auburn Tigers. After leaving the game with a shoulder injury, he returned to make what would seem like a future motion picture about how he led his team to victory despite the rattled arm. Yet, Gus Malzahn and quarterback Nick Marshall kept the offense at the heels of the Aggies the entire contest, and it was the Auburn defense sacking Johnny Manziel to close out the game. Manziel was left to embellish his shoulder injury on the sideline a little more, as the Tigers rolled out the victory formation.
Our last stop on this crazy SEC Saturday occurred at the University of Mississippi; the school that faced some marketing barriers this past week due to the viral video of a lady Rebel and her love for the grove ... among other things. Hugh Freeze found his team with a 10-0 lead at halftime, but as the opponents of LSU have experienced before, 10 points is not enough to hold back the "Mad Hatter." The Tigers came out and capitalized off of ball security mistakes made by Ole Miss. However, the unusually potent offense and inexperienced defense of LSU could not finish, and the people of Oxford enjoyed a victory over the Tigers with their usual recreational activities. Meanwhile, many Tiger fans took to social media to find a way to marginalize the Gatorade shower of Coach Freeze as well as ways to insult the state of Mississippi.
Because this article will be read primarily in a Mississippi State publication, I would be remiss to not connect the Bulldogs in some way. What does this day and these new team upsets mean for Mississippi State?
Well, from one perspective it means absolutely nothing.
Missouri beat Florida
Tennessee beat South Carolina
Vanderbilt beat Georgia
Auburn beat Texas A&M
Ole Miss beat LSU
and Mississippi State had a Bye
To elaborate, Mississippi State wins and loses their own games; no one else steps out on the field for them. Furthermore, College Football is a process, and the Bulldogs are further along in their process than many of the above listed teams. They have had some highs with recruiting classes as well as victories over the likes of Florida and Michigan. Now they are being truly tested, as they try to see if their established system will hold its ground and continue to grow. If the teams that won in upset fashion today think this will be their only test and that these victories will catapult them to a decade of success, then they are sorely mistaken. They will face lows, have injuries, and lose key upperclassmen. It is who rises above the multitude of tests over time that builds the program that every fan longs for. Among Missouri, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Auburn, Ole Miss, and Mississippi State that remains to be seen. Just like every other team listed, Mississippi State must simply take care of their business on the field and win ballgames.
I hope you all enjoyed another Saturday in the South.
Carew Ferguson is a feature writer for the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.