Nov 25, 2022; Columbia, Missouri, USA; Missouri Tigers quarterback Brady Cook (12) drops to throw against the Arkansas Razorbacks during the first half at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Missouri beats rival Arkansas to gain bowl eligibility

Brady Cook passed for 242 yards and a touchdown and ran for 138 yards and a score as Missouri defeated Arkansas 29-27 Friday in Columbia, Mo.

Dominic Lovett caught six passes for 130 yards for the Tigers (6-6, 3-5 Southeastern Conference), who won the Battle Line Rivalry trophy and gained bowl eligibility.

KJ Jefferson completed 20 of 27 passes for 205 yards two touchdowns and ran for another for the Razorbacks (6-6, 3-5).

Missouri outgained Arkansas 468 to 318, earned seven sacks and forced two turnovers.

The Tigers struck first with a 40-yard field goal by Harrison Mevis 5:26 into the game. Cook’s 27-yard run sparked the 46-yard scoring drive.

The Razorbacks responded with a 75-yard touchdown drive to move ahead 7-3. Jefferson completed a 37-yard pass to Matt Landers to get Arkansas rolling and he capped the series with 3-yard TD run.

The Tigers countered with their own 75-yard march to take a 10-7 lead. The key play was Cook’s 27-yard pass to Lovett and the finish came on Cody Schrader’s 3-yard touchdown run.

Cook’s 55-yard pass to Lovett set up the quarterback’s 9-yard touchdown run as Missouri expanded its lead to 17-7 to open the second quarter.

Arkansas cut its deficit to 17-14 with Jefferson’s 27-yard TD pass to Landers.

Mevis hit a 27-yard field goal to push the Missouri lead to 20-14 with 5:26 left in the first half.

But the Razorbacks countered with another 75-yard touchdown drive to take a 21-10 lead. This time, Jefferson hit Raheim Sanders with an 8-yard touchdown pass.

Missouri scored on its first second-half possession on Cook’s 23-yard touchdown pass to Luther Burden III. The Tigers settled for a 26-21 lead when their 2-point conversion attempt failed.

Mevis made it 29-21 with a 29-yard field goal. Cam Little’s 46-yard field goal for Arkansas cut the lead to 29-24, then his 20-yard field goal cut it to 29-27 with 12:40 left to play.

The Tigers’ defense held firm from there, forcing two three-and-outs and a fumble on the Razorbacks’ last-ditch final play.

–Field Level Media

Oct 15, 2022; Gainesville, Florida, USA; LSU Tigers wide receiver Kayshon Boutte (7) and head coach Brian Kelly celebrate after they beat the Florida Gators  at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

LSU up to No. 5 as CFP rankings’ top four remain unchanged

Georgia, Ohio State, Michigan and TCU occupied the first four positions of the College Football Playoff rankings for the third straight week, with two-loss LSU claiming the No. 5 spot in the newest edition of the rankings Tuesday.

LSU and Southern California each moved up one spot to Nos. 5 and 6, respectively. Alabama, Clemson, Oregon and Tennessee rounded out the top 10. Tennessee dropped five spots after its surprise 63-38 loss to South Carolina that featured a torn ACL to the Vols’ Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback, Hendon Hooker.

USC beat then-No. 16 UCLA in a 48-45 thriller Saturday, improving the Trojans’ record to 10-1.

USC’s only loss came in October on the road at Utah, currently ranked No. 14, 43-42. But LSU (9-2) has wins over Ole Miss and Alabama, which were ranked in the top seven nationally at the times of the games.

“There’s reasons for USC to be at 5. There’s reasons for LSU to be at 5,” CFP chairman Boo Corrigan said in an ESPN interview. “As we looked at it, (LSU’s) wins over Alabama and Mississippi carried the day more so than (USC’s) wins over UCLA and Oregon State. … The good win that (USC) had on Saturday was 48-45. I think some of the members of the committee, as we looked at it, wanted to see a little bit more from their defense, as well as the overall strength of schedule from LSU.”

Each top-four team stayed in place after a nail-biting week. Georgia went on the road and beat Kentucky 16-6; Ohio State rallied from a halftime deficit to top Maryland 43-30; and Michigan and TCU needed last-second field goals to beat Illinois and Baylor, respectively.

Second-ranked Ohio State hosts No. 3 Michigan on Saturday.

The quartet are the only four unbeaten teams left in FBS.

1. Georgia
2. Ohio State
3. Michigan
4. TCU
5. LSU
6. Southern California
7. Alabama
8. Clemson
9. Oregon
10. Tennessee
11. Penn State
12. Kansas State
13. Washington
14. Utah
15. Notre Dame
16. Florida State
17. North Carolina
18. UCLA
19. Tulane
20. Ole Miss
21. Oregon State
22. UCF
23. Texas
24. Cincinnati
25. Louisville

–Field Level Media

Kentucky running back Chris Rodriguez Jr. (24) holds back Tennessee defensive back Trevon Flowers (1) during the NCAA college football game between Tennessee and Kentucky on Saturday, October 29, 2022 in Knoxville, Tenn.

Utvkentucky1029

Unranked Kentucky tries to end slide vs. improving Missouri

Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz expects Kentucky to arrive eager to reestablish its standing at his team’s expense.

After rolling toward a 4-0 start, the Wildcats (5-3, 2-3 SEC) have lost three of their last four games heading into Saturday’s game in Columbia, Mo.

Kentucky is coming off an ugly 44-6 loss at Tennessee that kept it outside the first College Football Playoff rankings of the season.

“My anticipation is they’re going play their best game of the year,” Drinkwitz said. “They’re going to want to atone for last week. I know they’re all going to sit there and think that this is a game that they can come in and win and so it’s going to be important for us to play our best game.”

But Kentucky coach Mark Stoops is taking nothing for granted. The Tigers (4-4, 2-3) lost by three points in overtime at Auburn, by four points to Georgia and by seven points at Florida before beating Vanderbilt and upsetting South Carolina in their last two games.

“I give Coach Drink a lot of credit, because they had a brutal loss a few games back, with the Auburn game, where they were essentially an inch from winning the game,” Stoops said. “The team could’ve went any which way, and they turn around and play an incredible game, play Georgia as good as anybody has played them and had a tough loss, and go to Florida and play incredibly well. You could take a few plays out of that one and they can win.”

The Wildcats will be looking to get quarterback Will Levis back on track after he completed 16 of 27 passes for just 98 yards and three interceptions against Tennessee.

“It was tough,” Stoops said. “I think when the game was starting to get away from us, he’s forcing things. That’s the competitor in him. That’s human nature. We’re trying to force, trying to make plays.”

Kentucky is averaging just 112.6 yards per game on the ground this season, second-lowest in the SEC. But Chris Rodriguez Jr., La’Vell Wright, JuTahn McClain and Dee Beckwith combined for 130 yards rushing against Tennessee and Drinkwitz expects the Wildcats to prioritize the run.

“I think last year there was a stretch when they had 18 straight runs against us,” Drinkwitz said. “So we know this is going to be a tough physical matchup and the trenches.”

Missouri ranks second-to-last in the SEC with 210.8 passing yards per game. But quarterback Brady Cook passed for 224 yards and rushed for 53 yards and a touchdown against South Carolina.

His top target is Dominic Lovett, who caught 10 passes for 148 yards against the Gamecocks. Lead running back Cody Schrader had 113 yards from scrimmage in that game.

–Field Level Media

Auburn Tigers quarterback Robby Ashford (9) throws the ball as the Auburn Tigers take on Arkansas Razorbacks at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala., on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022. Arkansas Razorbacks defeated Auburn Tigers 41-27.

Auburn’s Cadillac Williams to make head-coaching debut vs. Mississippi St.

Auburn interim coach Carnell “Cadillac” Williams will hope to salvage the Tigers’ season, beginning with a game at slumping Mississippi State on Saturday night in Starkville, Miss.

Williams, who was in his fourth season of coaching the Tigers’ running backs, replaced Bryan Harsin after he was dismissed on Monday after less than two seasons on the job.

“I truly believe Auburn has the potential to be a championship program once again,” Harsin wrote in a statement on Tuesday. “The resources, financial support and fan base are in place.”

The Tigers (3-5, 1-4 SEC), mired in a four-game-losing streak, went 9-12 under Harsin, with losses in 10 of their past 13 games dating to last season.

Mississippi State (5-3, 2-3) is coming off a 30-6 loss at then-No. 6 Alabama, the Bulldogs’ second straight loss after opening the season 5-1.

The Bulldogs and Tigers play contrasting styles of offense.

Led by Will Rogers, who has thrown for an SEC-high 2,555 yards and 23 touchdowns with just four interceptions, the Bulldogs average 410.8 yards per game but have rushed for a league-low 713.

Auburn has struggled throwing the ball. Robby Ashford has completed 52.6 percent of his passes for 1,299 yards and five touchdowns with five interceptions. Auburn averages just 217.3 yards through the air, ahead of only Missouri and Vanderbilt in the conference.

However, Auburn has been successful running the ball. That’s a major reason why Williams — a former All-American running back at Auburn — was promoted while offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau and tight ends coach Brad Bedell were among several assistants who were fired on Monday.

Tank Bigsby has averaged 5.3 yards per carry, rushing for 587 yards and seven scores on 110 carries. Ashford has added 397 yards and three touchdowns on 93 carries.

“Auburn’s full of a bunch of players who had offers all over the conference,” Mississippi State coach Mike Leach said. “Us and everybody else wanted those guys on their team.”

–Field Level Media

Oct 22, 2022; Columbia, South Carolina, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks quarterback Spencer Rattler (7) passes against the Texas A&M Aggies in the first quarter at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Newly ranked No. 25 South Carolina seeks latest win vs. Missouri

South Carolina has climbed back into the Associated Press Top 25 for the first time since Week 2 of the 2018 season.

Now the No. 25 Gamecocks (5-2, 2-2 SEC) will try to maintain their national ranking when they host Missouri (3-4, 1-3 SEC) Saturday in Columbia, S.C.

“When you are the head coach and you are ranked, it is certainly something we are proud of but not satisfied with,” South Carolina coach Shane Beamer said Tuesday. “I look at it more as it is just the next step. Credit the players and the people in this program.”

South Carolina moved back into prominence by winning at No. 13 Kentucky 24-14 on Oct 8, then holding off Texas A&M 30-24 at home last Saturday.

“It’s the first time we’ve ever beaten A&M. We knew this was a huge game, one of the biggest ones of the season, and we were locked in all week,” Gamecocks quarterback Spencer Rattler said. “We expected to come out here and win.”

Rattler passed for 168 yards against Texas A&M as the Gamecocks extended their winning streak to four games, their longest since 2013. He has completed 124 of 195 passes for 1,466 yards, five touchdowns and eight interceptions this season.

“He does a good job handling their pro-style offense,” Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz said of Rattler. “He’s able to create space with his feet and keep his eyes down the field to extend plays. He’s able to throw the ball vertically down the field. He’s been doing a good job of getting his playmakers the ball.”

Running back MarShawn Lloyd paced the South Carolina offense by rushing for 92 yards and two touchdowns against the Aggies. Overall, he has 699 yards and 11 touchdowns rushing and receiving this season.

Missouri overcame a series of offensive breakdowns to edge Vanderbilt 17-14 in its last game. Drinkwitz came into this practice week looking to fix problems with pass protection and run blocking.

The Tigers mustered just 76 yards offense in the second half against the Commodores. Brady Cook completed 17 of 25 passes for 211 yards and one touchdown, but he suffered three sacks, one that led to a fumble, and threw an interception.

“The way Brady is getting hit right now, we aren’t going to survive at quarterback allowing free shots like that,” Drinkwitz said. “We got to fix it in protection and scheme because that crap is unfair.”

Cook has completed 128 of 196 passes for 1,428 yards, six touchdowns and seven interceptions this season. Drinkwitz had prepared freshman quarterback Sam Horn to play some against the Commodores, but the blocking breakdowns prompted him to nix that plan.

Wide receiver Luther Burden III caught four passes for 66 yards and a touchdown and added a 10-yard TD run against Vanderbilt. Running back Cody Schrader gained 84 yards on 14 carries.

Missouri is 7-5 all-time against South Carolina and has won three straight in the series.

–Field Level Media

Oct 22, 2022; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA; LSU Tigers fans storm the field after LSU defeated the Mississippi Rebels at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

LSU fined $250K for fans storming field

The Southeastern Conference fined LSU $250,000 on Sunday because the school’s fans stormed the field after Saturday’s 45-20 victory over then-No. 7 Ole Miss.

The violation was LSU’s third of the policy. The school’s most recent violation had been after a win over then-No. 2 Georgia in 2018.

In a news release, the SEC said that the policy stated that “access to competition areas shall be limited to participating student-athletes, coaches, officials, support personnel and properly-credentialed individuals at all times. For the safety of participants and spectators alike, at no time before, during or after a contest shall spectators be permitted to enter the competition area. It is the responsibility of each member institution to implement procedures to ensure compliance with this policy.”

Fines start at $50,000 for a first offense, up to $100,000 for a second offense and up to $250,000 for a third and any subsequent violations.

The fine comes one week after the SEC fined Tennessee $100,000 for its fans rushing of the field after an upset win over then-No. 3 Alabama. Tennessee fans took the goalposts and deposited them into the nearby Tennessee River.

LSU (6-2, 4-1 SEC) was unranked prior to the win over Ole Miss. It is now ranked 18th.

–Field Level Media

LSU Tigers running back Josh Williams (27) throws a stiff arm to Florida Gators cornerback Jaydon Hill (23) in the second half at Steve Spurrier Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL on Saturday, October 15, 2022. LSU defeated the Gators 45-35. [Doug Engle/Gainesville Sun]

Ncaa Football Florida Gators Vs Lsu Tigers

LSU looks to hand No. 7 Ole Miss first loss

It was just two weeks ago that LSU hosted a top-10 team in a Southeastern Conference game.

Things didn’t go well for the Tigers, as then-No. 8 Tennessee rolled to a 40-13 victory.

But LSU (5-2, 3-1 SEC) has a chance to redeem itself on Saturday when No. 7 Ole Miss (7-0, 3-0) makes the trip to Baton Rouge, La.

“Nobody really wants to be learning lessons after a loss,” LSU coach Brian Kelly said. “But they learned a lot about intentionality and purpose in terms of their preparation.

“I think two weeks later, it’s — I don’t want to say a different team, but it’s a team that has confidence. It’s a team that knows that if they don’t play clean, if they don’t have an attention to detail, they’ll have similar results that they did against Tennessee.”

The Tigers bounced back from the loss to the Volunteers to win on the road against Florida last week, 45-35, in what Kelly called the team’s “best performance offensively.”

Jayden Daniels threw for three touchdowns and ran for three more.

“Now we got to be consistent,” Kelly said. “Can’t do it one week and then turn it off the next week and expect to win.”

The Tigers had a 528-395 advantage in yards but allowed enough explosive plays to keep the Gators in the game.

LSU gave up a 51-yard touchdown pass on the second play of the contest and a 39-yard touchdown run later in the first quarter. An 81-yard TD scramble by Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson on the first play of the fourth quarter helped cut a 42-21 deficit to 14 points, and the Gators brought it to within seven before the Tigers kicked a late field goal.

“We just have to be better at tackling,” Kelly said.

If LSU doesn’t tackle better, it’s going to have a difficult time slowing down Ole Miss’ high-powered offense. The Rebels lead the SEC in rushing offense (271.4 yards per game) and are fourth in total offense (502.9).

Ole Miss had 448 rushing yards and three scores on the ground in a 48-34 victory against visiting Auburn last Saturday.

“Obviously, you’ve got to be realistic at any level, but especially the SEC,” Rebels coach Lane Kiffin said. “That’s not going to happen (every week).

“We’ve got to be consistent and run the ball really well. The numbers aren’t going to be like that every week. People coach. They gear up to stop certain plays once you run them. It’s not like we were just running normal inside zone and making all those yards.”

Ole Miss, like LSU, allowed a series of big plays that kept its opponent in the game. The Rebels saw a 21-0 lead shrink to four points before they regained control.

Auburn’s Tank Bigsby ran 50 yards for a touchdown and had another 50-yard run that led to a field goal.

Additionally, Auburn had pass completions of 32, 46 and 28 yards that led to touchdowns.

“We jumped out of some gaps and missed some tackles,” Kiffin said. “That’s usually what goes on in the run game for explosive runs.”

The Rebels are the only team in the SEC West that hasn’t lost a conference game, but LSU (tied with Alabama at 3-1) can match their record with a victory Saturday.

–Field Level Media

Florida Gators safety Corey Collier Jr. (20) tackles Missouri Tigers running back Cody Schrader (20) in the first half at Steve Spurrier Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL on Saturday, October 8, 2022. [Doug Engle/Gainesville Sun]

Ncaa Football Florida Gators Vs Missouri Tigers

Jaydon Hill’s 2 interceptions key as Florida beats Missouri

Jaydon Hill intercepted two passes and returned one for a touchdown as Florida defeated Missouri 24-17 Saturday in a Southeastern Conference clash in Gainesville, Fla.

Montrel Johnson Jr. rushed for 86 yards and a touchdown and Trevor Etienne added 83 yards on the ground for the Gators (4-2, 1-2 SEC).

Nathaniel Peat rushed for 117 yards and a touchdown for Missouri (2-4, 0-3). Brady Cook completed 22 of 30 passes for 220 yards, but he threw the two key interceptions.

The Tigers outgained the Gators 195-65 during the first half and built an 11-3 edge in first downs. But Florida got its ground game rolling in the second half to take control.

Florida took a 3-0 lead after Xzavier Henderson’s 48-yard punt return set up Adam Mihalek’s 37-yard field goal with just shy of three minutes left in the first quarter.

Hill’s interception and subsequent touchdown with a 1:01 left in the quarter pushed the Gators’ lead to 10-0. He stepped in front of Cook’s pass at the Missouri 49 and had clear sailing to the end zone.

Missouri cut its deficit to 10-7 with an 11-play, 67-yard touchdown drive capped by Cody Schrader’s 5-yard touchdown run with 3:55 left in the half.

After Missouri recovered an Anthony Richardson fumble, the Tigers tied the game 10-10 with Harrison Mevis’ 28-yard field goal with 20 seconds left in the half.

Florida got a 41-yard run from Johnson on its second play of the second half, but Mihalek missed a 47-yard field goal try.

Runs of 39 yards by Etienne and 32 yards by Richardson set up Johnson’s 3-yard touchdown as the Gators moved ahead 17-10.

Missouri marched back down the field, but Hill intercepted Cook again — this time at the Florida 4-yard line — late in the third quarter.

Johnson’s 36-yard run got the Gators rolling toward another score, which came on Richardson’s 9-yard TD pass to Ricky Pearsall for a 24-10 lead with 11:10 remaining in the game.

The Tigers responded with a 75-yard drive, capped by Peat’s 18-yard TD run to cut the lead to 24-17.

Missouri got a final chance to come back when Daylan Carnell intercepted Richardson with 2:57 left at the Tigers’ 32-yard-line, but the Tigers failed to capitalize.

–Field Level Media

Sep 10, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Tennessee Volunteers wide receiver Cedric Tillman (4) reacts after scoring the game winning touchdown against the Pittsburgh Panthers in overtime at Acrisure Stadium.  Tennessee won 34-27 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee WR Cedric Tillman (ankle) out vs. LSU

Tennessee star wide receiver Cedric Tillman won’t play Saturday against LSU in a key Southeastern Conference matchup because he is still recovering from a high ankle sprain, according to ESPN.

The outlet said Tillman did not make the trip to Baton Rouge, La., for the afternoon showdown between the eighth-ranked Volunteers (4-0, 1-0) and the No. 25 Tigers (4-1, 2-0).

Tillman underwent ankle surgery on Sept. 20 and has had limited physical activity with the team since then, ESPN reported, adding that the Vols are increasing his activity with the hope of him playing next Saturday against top-ranked Alabama.

Tillman missed Tennessee’s 38-33 win over then-No. 20 Florida on Sept. 24 because of his injury.

A preseason All-SEC receiver, Tillman has caught 17 passes for 246 yards and a touchdown in three appearances this season. He posted 64 receptions for 1,081 yards and 12 TDs a year ago and earned All-SEC second-team honors.

ESPN also reported Saturday that LSU offensive tackle Will Campbell will miss Saturday’s game after being hospitalized for dehydration on Friday evening.

Campbell, a true freshman, has started all five games for the Tigers this season.

–Field Level Media

Sep 30, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Cougars quarterback Clayton Tune (3) hands the ball off to running back Stacy Sneed (21) during the third quarter against the Tulane Green Wave at TDECU Stadium in Houston, Texas. Mandatory Credit: Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

Memphis must play better against Houston to continue win streak

Memphis will look to build on a four-game winning streak when it hosts stumbling Houston on Friday in an American Athletic Conference matchup.

With a win Friday, the Tigers (4-1, 2-0 AAC) can remain at the top of the conference standings and all but doom Houston’s chances for a repeat appearance in the league championship game.

Memphis heads into Friday’s game on the heels of a 24-3 win at home over Temple. The Tigers shrugged off a ragged first half in which they were held scoreless for the first time since 2017 and rolled to the victory.

“We’re doing enough to win games. It doesn’t mean that we’re even close to where we need to be,” Memphis coach Ryan Silverfield said Sunday. “Everything that we’re doing has to get fixed and improved upon quickly because we know we can’t go out there and play like we did (against Temple).”

The Cougars head to Memphis on the heels of a 27-24 overtime loss at home to Tulane on Sept. 30. Houston has played three overtime games this season, a program record, and has dropped two of them.

Houston (2-3, 0-1 AAC) scored 14 straight points in the fourth quarter before Tulane produced a tying TD with 39 seconds left in regulation. The Cougars opted to take the ball first in overtime and kicked a field goal, but Tulane had the final say via a game-winning touchdown pass on its possession.

Prior to the season, Houston was picked to win the AAC in a media poll, edging Cincinnati. Linebacker Donavan Mutin was candid when asked about the Cougars’ struggle to close out games and what needs to be done to turn around the situation.

“(Our opponents) make more plays to win than we do,” Mutin said. “From the head of the snake to the tail of the snake, we need alignment. It needs to be coherent. The message needs to be clear. We’re going to have a chance to do that or not and our season will be the ramifications of whatever we do.”

Quarterback Clayton Tune threw for 208 yards and two scores in the loss, in which he became just the fourth player in Houston history to amass 10,000 career total yards.

Houston has won 16 of its 30 games against the Tigers in the all-time series. The teams have split the 16 contests played in Memphis.

–Field Level Media