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Saturday, February 24, 2024

SEC Upsets and Red River Shootout define week 6 in college football

Although it's not rivalry week yet, it's week six of the college football season, and already the rivalries have made a huge impact on national standings.

Red River Shootout Delivers

No. 19 Texas beat No. 6 Oklahoma with a clutch 40-yard field goal by true freshman Cameron Dicker in the last 10 seconds, ending the game with a score of 48-45. Since both schools recruit heavily in the state of Texas, this game typically becomes very physical and competitive as these players have either played against each other or were teammates in high school. This year, the Longhorns came out on fire to win this rivalry, redeem themselves from last year and prove they are a force to be reckoned with.

Although the Sooners came back from a 21-point deficit in the fourth quarter, they couldn’t stop the Longhorns from charging down the field in the final three minutes to kick the winning field goal. But don’t count the Sooners out of the race for the College Football Playoff yet. If Texas keeps up this momentum and goes on to have a good season, OU can still be in the running for the CFP with a loss to a top-15 Texas squad. Their toughest remaining game is against the West Virginia Mountaineers, who currently are undefeated. If both OU and Texas defeat West Virginia, there’s a good chance these two rivals will play again for the Big 12 Championship.

For the Longhorns, this was a huge win. Coming into this game as underdogs and winning with sheer grit, there is one question on everybody’s minds: Is Texas back? Head coach Tom Herman coached a great game against the Sooners, who were ranked 13 spots above the Longhorns. Will he use the momentum from this win and run with it all the way to the CFP? Many have said the only thing Texas was missing was a good quarterback. Based on his performance on Saturday, that hole could be filled by sophomore Sam Ehlinger, who carried the Longhorns on his back for a total of 386 yards and five touchdowns.

Florida bites back to upset No. 5 Tigers

No. 22 Florida beat No. 5 LSU 27-19 on Saturday afternoon in Gainesville. In the last two minutes of this cross-divisional rivalry, Gator defensive back Brad Stewart Jr. intercepted LSU quarterback Joe Burrow and returned it for a 25-yard touchdown, sealing the win. Although both teams had almost equal possession time and total yards, LSU had two more turnovers and could not defeat the Gators due to their key trick plays and strong defense.

Even though the early loss to Kentucky created a setback, Florida jumped into the second spot in the SEC East after their win over LSU. The Gators defensive line pressured Burrow all day, and he was sacked 5 times. Florida linebacker Vosean Joseph finished with 14 tackles and had two of the five sacks, a huge game for the junior. Florida jumped to No. 14 in this week’s rankings.

LSU will have an opportunity to quickly redeem themselves as they play No. 2 Georgia next week at home in Death Valley. Although they marched down the field several times throughout the game, the Tigers just couldn’t make a play on the last drive of the game. Even though LSU dropped to No. 13 in the AP Poll, don’t count them out yet because the Tigers have a defense laden with NFL talent. And while transfer quarterback Burrow did not have his best game against the Gators, he will likely improve as he becomes more comfortable with the LSU coaching staff throughout the season.

Nick Fitzgerald leads Bulldogs over Auburn

Mississippi State upset No. 8 Auburn 23-9 in a heartbreaking loss for Tigers fans. Even with Auburn’s 214 passing yards to Miss State’s measly 69, the Tigers couldn’t tough it out against the Bulldogs. The Tigers only had 18 minutes of possession and 90 rushing yards compared with Mississippi State’s 42 minutes of possession and 349 rushing yards.

Not only is Mississippi State’s quarterback Nick Fitzgerald a load at 6 foot 5 and 230 pounds, he is also elusive and showed that off by running the ball and taking control over the rushing game. Fitzgerald ran for two touchdowns and 195 yards after first-year head coach Joe Moorhead let him loose.

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In the fourth quarter, Fitzgerald passed former Florida quarterback and Heisman winner Tim Tebow for most rushing yards for a quarterback in SEC history. The Bulldogs defense, urged on by the deafening sounds of cowbells (and more cowbells), also played a huge part in shutting down the Auburn offense and securing a win against the No. 8 ranked team in the nation. Bulldog defenders played tough throughout the game and did not allow the vaunted Tiger offense to cross the goal line. Auburn had to settle for three field goals as the Bulldog defense frustrated them all game.

From overthrown passes in the end zone to fumbles on the goal line, junior quarterback Jarrett Stidham couldn’t get the Tiger offense together for this game. Stidham looked uncomfortable and hurried throughout the night, which led to big mistakes and a loss that cost them a spot in the top 10. Next week against Tennessee, the Tigers have to pull it together to making it back to the SEC title game.

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