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

SEC Weekend Rewind: Week 14

9 days ago
Brandon Zimmerman | SEC Network

Mark Stoops had two weeks to think about it.

It was Sept. 28, and Stoops' Wildcats were 2-3, having just generated a paltry 212 total yards in a 24-7 defeat at South Carolina, the team's third straight loss.

His standout opening day starting quarterback Terry Wilson was already lost for the season with a knee injury. His backup, Sawyer Smith, was suffering from various injuries that contributed to back-to-back inefficient performances on the road.

With the Wildcats season threatening to run off the rails, Stoops made a bold decision that changed the Wildcats fortunes. He decided to move wide receiver Lynn Bowden Jr. to quarterback. It turned out to be perhaps the most impactful coaching decision in the SEC this season.

Kentucky finished the year winning five of its last seven with Bowden at quarterback, culminating Saturday with a 45-13 blowout of rival Louisville. Bowden rushed for 284 yards in the game, more than any quarterback in a single game in SEC history. Bowden scored on touchdown runs of 60, 46 and 32 yards on Saturday. As a team, Kentucky rushed for a school-record 517 yards, the third straight week it has set a new program record.

In seven games as a starter, Bowden rushed for 1,144 yards and 11 touchdowns.

What is remarkable is defenses know what's coming with Bowden at quarterback, yet they still can't stop it. Asked what it feels like when everyone knows he is running the ball and can't stop it, Bowden said, "It is a great feeling, you know what I mean? The coaches here are doing something right."

That's for sure. Stoops and offensive coordinator Eddie Gran re-invented Kentucky's offense from dropback passing to option running during the Wildcats bye week at the end of September. Moving forward, it remains to be seen if Bowden returns for his senior season, or what Kentucky's quarterback room will look like in 2020. One thing is for sure, the Wildcats probably will throw it a little more next season.

"We do want to go back to the forward pass," Stoops said. "I mean, I am in Kentucky. I do understand. I do understand the legacy of Jared (Lorenzen) and Tim Couch and so on. No, we will get back to balance. There's no question. And I really like where we're at. I love our team."

JOE BURREAUX PUTS FINAL STAMP ON SEASON: All season, the state of Louisiana has loved Joe Burrow. On Saturday, the LSU quarterback paid it back. Burrow came out for warmups with "Burreaux" on the back of his jersey.

Once the game started, he put one final stamp on one of the most historic seasons by a quarterback in LSU and SEC history. In the process, he may have also locked up the Heisman Trophy.

Burrow threw for 352 yards and three touchdowns in Saturday's 50-7 win over Texas A&M.

Burrow broke the SEC single-season passing yards record (4,366 yards), held by Tim Couch since 1998. His last touchdown tied Drew Lock's single-season passing touchdowns record, with 44. And about that jersey?

"I thought it would be just an awesome tribute to the state, and to the university," Burrow said. "I think it was great."

IRON BOWL FOR THE AGES: Have we caught our breath from this one yet?

This year's installment of Alabama-Auburn included:

Two pick-sixes, including one that went for 100 yards, a 98-yard kickoff return, four Auburn field goals and a missed game-tying Alabama field goal off the uprights. The game also featured 93 total points, including 38 points that came in a heart-palpitating final 5:36 of the first half.

The 93 total points are the second-most in Iron Bowl history. The 2014 game had 99 total points.

The loss means Alabama has lost multiple regular-season games for the first time since 2010, and will not be playing for a national title in the postseason for the first time since 2013.

EXTRA POINTS: Tennessee running back Eric Gray rushed for 246 yards against Vanderbilt, breaking Jamal Lewis' school record (232) for most rushing yards in a game by a true freshman. ... Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm threw four touchdowns on Saturday, moving him past David Greene for second on the Bulldogs' career list with 75. Aaron Murray has the record with 121. ... Georgia finishes the regular season 11-1 for the third straight year and fifth time since 2002. ... Auburn's 48 points are now the most ever allowed by a Nick Saban Alabama team.