Missouri protest exposes NCAA’s greatest fear, writes Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports. “This is what I’ve believed could happen for 30 years and what I think is the deepest fear for the NCAA – athletes control what happens on campus,” said Sonny Vaccaro. “This is an unbelievable step forward for athletes.”
We’ve seen Missouri mess too many times before, writes Mark Wiedmer of the Chattanooga Times Free Press. “I am not an African-American. So for me even to pretend to know what it’s like to be black — especially what it’s been like to be a black student on the University of Missouri’s flagship campus in Columbia the past few months or years — would be to display stupidity and ignorance of the first order.”
– Florida clinched the SEC East title with the 9-7 win over Vanderbilt last Saturday. The Gators will be playing in the title game in Atlanta.
– Derrick Henry rushed 38 times for 210 yards in Alabama’s 30-16 win over LSU on Saturday night. In his last three games, Henry has rushed for 589 yards on 98 carries.
– Alabama’s 250 rushing yards were the most against the LSU defense this season. Auburn’s 160 rushing yards was the previous high.
– Vanderbilt quarterback Johnny McCrary completed just three of 14 passes for 30 yards. Vandy’s three completions were the fewest by an SEC team in a game this year. LSU had the previous low with four completions against Eastern Michigan On Oct. 3.
ATHENS, Ga. — In addition to my column, three quick notes from Kentucky’s 27-3 loss at Georgia:
1. It would not surprise me if Kentucky starts Drew Barker at quarterback next Saturday at Vanderbilt. I’m not positive that is what’s going to happen, but it wouldn’t come as a shock. After Patrick Towles completed just eight of 21 passes for 96 yards with two interceptions and no touchdowns, both head coach Mark Stoops and offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson admitted they will be re-evaluating the quarterback position.
Saturday was the third straight game in which Towles has failed to reach at least a 100 pass efficiency rating. He completed 23 of 42 passes for 218 yards and two interceptions at Mississippi State for an 88.84 rating. He was 16-of-33 for 184 yards with a touchdown and an interception last week against Tennessee for a 99.26 rating. His passer rating at Sanford Stadium was 57.45, his career-low as a starter.
One factor might keep the UK coaching staff from making a change next week. The game is on the road. It’s a 4 p.m. game in Nashville. Do you want a redshirt freshman’s first start to come in the opposing team’s stadium. True, Vanderbilt is not as an intimidating place to play as other SEC stadiums, but it is still a road game.
Play-by-play man Dave Neal, color analyst Matt Stinchcomb and sideline reporter Kayce Smith are the SEC Network crew for Saturday’s Kentucky-Georgia telecast, 12 p.m. from Athens.
The day’s big game has No. 4 LSU traveling to No. 7 Alabama for an 8 p.m. game on CBS. In the first College Football Playoff rankings, out this week, LSU was ranked No. 2 with Alabama at No. 4. Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson and Allie LaForce will be on hand from Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Here are the college football games on television Saturday:
Kentucky’s bigs are getting busy, reports Tipton. Skal Labissiere and Isaac Humphries are going at it in practice to get better. “The new rules, which are supposed to interpret physical contact as fouls, provide added incentive for big men like Labissiere to be low-post scorers, Calipari said.”
Georgia football beset by bizarre, rumor-filled Thursday, reports Jason Butt of the Macon Telegraph. “Mark Richt, on the Thursday before this weekend’s SEC game against Kentucky, needed to type out a message with 140 characters or fewer to calm a fan base glued to its laptops and smart phones for the better part of a morning. The reason: From the crack of dawn until 12:07 p.m., message boards and social media lit up with the rumor that defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt was going to be fired from his position by the end of the afternoon.”
Kentucky football looking for better pass protection, reports Jennifer Smith of the Herald-Leader. “So on the bright side: UK’s coaches have been pleased with the Cats’ ability to block the run in recent games, with Kentucky gaining 160-plus yards on the ground last week after not managing that in any of its four previous games.”
Missouri found end zone, but couldn’t stop skid, reports Tod Palmer of the Kansas City Star. Dak Prescott threw four touchdown passes as Mississippi State beat Missouri 31-13 in Columbia. Missouri did snap a drought of 47 straight drives without a touchdown, but still lost its fourth game in a row.
Alabama defense ready to let its play on the field do the talking, reports Marq Burnett of the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. The Crimson Tide plays Leonard Fournette and LSU on Saturday night in Tuscaloosa. “He’s a good player. Definitely a physical back, but at the same time, he’s a player as well,” Jonathan Allen said Wednesday. “So we’re going to go out there and do what we’ve done every week. We’re not going to put a special emphasis on him or any special game plan in. He’s a running back. We wrap up and run to the ball and we’ll be successful.”
Evan Berry on pace to set Tennessee return records, reports Dustin Dopirak of the Knoxville News-Sentinel. “The first touchdown return was the one Evan Berry wanted the most. The Tennessee sophomore safety and kickoff returner tried not to allow the presence of his older brother Eric, the 2008-09 Tennessee All-American, Kansas City Chiefs All-Pro and Hodgkin’s lymphoma survivor, to affect his focus during the Vols’ home game against Western Carolina on Sept. 19.”
With Kentucky basketball back in action Friday night for the second and final exhibition game, this time against Kentucky State at 6 p.m. at Rupp Arena. Freshman centers Skal Labissiere and Isaac Humphries were available for interviews, followed by head coach John Calipari.
1. Labissiere talked about continuing to fight in the post. The center admitted he would like to play more out on the floor, but Calipari wants the rookie to be more of a presence in the post. The coach said that Labissiere is on the similar path to the one Karl-Anthony Towns followed last season. (That path worked out well for KAT.)
Humphries said he and Labissiere make each other better in practice. He’s trying to make Labissiere tougher and that now Skal hits him with some “throat shots” during practice. That seems to hard to believe from a guy who seems as nice and seems to be always smiling. Calipari said he just wants Skal to get position and catch balls in the post.
Georgia is a mess right now. The Bulldogs haven’t scored a touchdown in 10 quarters. Fans and media are clamoring that it’s time for Mark Richt to go. Seasoned observers of Bulldog football expect a sparse crowd Saturday when Kentucky comes to Sanford Stadium.
If Mark Stoops’ Cats are to pull the upset — Georgia is a 14-point favorite — the visitors will have to close a lot of ground. Since Stoops arrived in Lexington two years ago, Kentucky hasn’t come close to beating Richt and Georgia. Georgia won 59-17 in 2013. The Bulldogs won 63-31 last season. That’s a combined count of 122-48.
Stoops’ first trip to Athens in 2013 was preceded by a week of rumors about possible suspensions and benchings. The turmoil didn’t help as Georgia scored on each of its first three possessions to build a 21-0 lead. Quarterback Aaron Murray hit running back Todd Gurley on a screen for 44 yards to set up the first score. The Dawgs drove 76 yards in 11 plays for the second touchdown. A Whitlow fumble at his own 15-yard line set up Georgia’s third score.