The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference

SEC Weekend Rewind: Week 8

54 days ago
Brandon Zimmerman | SEC Network

For the third straight season, Alabama will turn to a backup quarterback.

The question is for how long?

Heisman Trophy candidate Tua Tagovailoa exited Alabama's 35-13 win over Tennessee on Saturday night with a high ankle sprain. Coach Nick Saban said the injury will keep Tagovailoa out "a week or two," which would include this week's game against Arkansas.

Then what? Alabama has a bye week before hosting No. 2 LSU in what could be a de facto elimination game in the competitive SEC West.

Even if Tagovailoa plays against LSU, how effective will he be? Tagovailoa sustained a lower body injury midway through last season that may have cost him the Heisman Trophy.

He was then knocked out of the SEC Championship Game against Georgia with a left ankle injury that required surgery before returning for the College Football Playoff.

The Crimson Tide now turn their offense over to redshirt sophomore Mac Jones, who has appeared in five of Alabama's blowout wins this season, but has never started a game.

Jones does have the luxury of playing at home against a Razorbacks' defense that ranks 13th in the SEC in scoring defense. However, the Crimson Tide struggled to generate much offense after Tagovailoa went out on Saturday night against Tennessee.

Alabama's offense averaged 8.4 yards per play and 12.9 yards per pass attempt with Tagovailoa in the game on Saturday night. Without him, the Crimson Tide averaged just 5.1 yards per play and 6.5 yards per pass attempt.

VANDERBILT SHAKES UP THE EAST: Nobody celebrates a landmark victory like Derek Mason. The Commodores' coach gave one of his trademark postgame interviews to ESPN's Dawn Davenport after his team pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the SEC on Saturday, a 21-14 victory over Missouri.

"I told my team this and I want everybody to understand this...A lot of people want this job, so they think, but I'm the man that's built for this job," Mason said. "Everyday man, we grind. We grind, don't question us. Don't question who we are, what we do, or how we play. We're Vanderbilt men. Commodores anchoring down!"

Credit Mason for keeping his team together through a 1-5 start that included a 24-point home loss to UNLV. Mason gave his team a jolt by starting quarterback Mo Hasan. Hasan had previously been the Commodores' third-string quarterback behind Riley Neal and Deuce Wallace. The former Syracuse quarterback was only 7-of-11 passing for 120 yards and a touchdown before getting knocked out of the game with an injury and yielding to Neal.

The Commodores also leaned on their defense, holding Missouri to 293 total yards, well below the Tigers' average of 474 per game coming into Saturday.

With the loss, Missouri must now win out to have a shot of winning the East. That includes back-to-back games at No. 10 Georgia and vs. No. 7 Florida.

SOGGY NIGHT IN ATHENS: Tropical Storm Nestor turned Saturday's Kentucky-Georgia game into a throwback of how football was played before the forward pass. The teams combined for only 52 total yards passing. Consider the following: Kentucky completed its first pass with 4:25 left. Kentucky finished 2-for-16 passing for a completion percentage of .125, which is the lowest in a game by an SEC team over the last 20 seasons.

Georgia didn't run its first play on Kentucky's side of the field until there was 6:31 left in the third quarter. The Bulldogs only were able to do that after a shanked 15-yard punt from Max Duffy. Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm and coach Kirby Smart said the torrential downpour, which soaked Athens throughout the game, impacted the play calling. "I could have told you two days ago we weren't going to go out there and throw it for 200 yards in those conditions," Smart said. "We had to put a plan together to give us the best chance to be successful. I thought we did a good job."

EXTRA POINTS: Alabama's Mac Jones will become the 24th different quarterback to start an SEC game this season. Only Auburn, Georgia, LSU, Missouri and Texas A&M have started the same quarterback in every game. ... Florida's Dan Mullen improved to 8-3 in his Florida career in games which were within one possession in the fourth quarter. ... LSU quarterback Joe Burrow set the school record with 29 touchdown passes in a season after four touchdown passes on Saturday. ... Georgia remains the only FBS team to have not given up a rushing touchdown this season.