Posted December 01, 2013

Missouri punches ticket to SEC title game; more late Week 14 Snap Judgments

Missouri Tigers, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Snap Judgments, South Carolina Gamecocks, Stanford Cardinal, UCLA Bruins
Missouri's James Franklin

James Franklin (1) threw for 233 yards and ran for 80 more in a win over Texas A&M. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Snap Judgments from the Week 14 late slate. For more, check out SI’s coverage of Alabama-Auburn, Ohio State-Michigan and Florida State-Florida and our early and midday Snaps.

No. 5 Missouri 28, No. 19 Texas A&M 21: In just their second season in the SEC, the Tigers needed a win over the Aggies to secure a date with Auburn in the conference championship game. Standing in Missouri’s way was the reigning Heisman Trophy winner and one of the top offenses in college football.

The Tigers held A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel (24-of-35, 195 yards, one touchdown, 21 rushing yards) largely in check, although the Aggies were able to tie the score at 21 with a 98-yard drive that was capped by a seven-yard Ben Malena scoring run with 11:04 left in the fourth quarter. But Mizzou’s defense came through when it had to, and the Tigers offense turned to junior running back Henry Josey to provide the knockout blow. Josey (96 rushing yards, one touchdown) broke through a big hole and raced 57 yards to the end zone with 4:25 remaining to give Missouri the winning score.

All South Carolina — which had defeated Clemson just a few minutes earlier on Saturday evening — could do was watch. The Gamecocks would have won the SEC East if the Tigers had lost to Texas A&M. Missouri’s victory ensured that coach Gary Pinkel’s team would finish the regular season with only one loss, and with a chance to win the conference title a year after it had gone 5-7 (2-6 SEC).

Pinkel and the Tigers reiterated a number of times this season how important staying healthy was to their success, and even though Mizzou suffered its share of injuries this year — including losing starting quarterback James Franklin for a number of games to a separated shoulder — the Tigers were able to rally down the stretch and win their last four games. [RECAP | BOX

No. 10 South Carolina 31, No. 6 Clemson 17: Gamecocks quarterback Connor Shaw came into Saturday’s game having never lost as a starter at home. Thanks in large part to five Clemson turnovers, he will finish his career at Williams-Brice Stadium without a blemish. South Carolina won its fifth straight against the Tigers — the Gamecocks’ longest winning streak in the series — as Shaw completed 14-of-26 passes for 150 yards and a touchdown, and ran for 103 yards and another score.

Even with all the errors, Clemson had a chance late. Trailing 24-17 with just over five minutes to play, the Tigers’ defense stopped South Carolina and forced a punt, but returner Adam Humphries coughed up the ball, giving it back to the Gamecocks deep in Clemson territory. Three plays later, wideout Pharoh Cooper hit tailback Brandon Wilds on an option pass for a 26-yard touchdown to seal the game.

“[The Tigers] don’t play well when they play us,” South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said in a brief ESPN interview after the game.

The Gamecocks’ joy didn’t last long — they had to sit and watch while Missouri played its way into the SEC championship. South Carolina’s 10-2 record should still be enough for an at-large BCS berth. As for Clemson (10-2) and quarterback Tajh Boyd, they were done in this season by Florida State and South Carolina — just like last year. [RECAP | BOX]

No. 8 Stanford 27, No. 25 Notre Dame 20: In a game that went exactly how the Cardinal prefer, Stanford controlled the time of possession and field position. The Cardinal’s bread and butter is a power running game led by Tyler Gaffney, and that’s what it got against the Fighting Irish.

Gaffney ran for 189 yards and a touchdown on 33 carries, and Stanford overcame two interceptions from quarterback Kevin Hogan to win a game it easily could have looked past, as it locked up a spot in next Saturday’s Pac-12 championship game a week ago. A late interception by Notre Dame quarterback Tommy Rees (16-of-34, 199 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions) undid any hopes of a comeback for the Irish.  [RECAP | BOX]

• No. 22 UCLA 35, No. 23 USC 14: Interim coach Ed Orgeron got the Trojans this far, and the fact that he made the game against the Bruins meaningful after how this year started was certainly an accomplishment. But UCLA was simply the more physical and more complete football team on Saturday. The Bruins’ terrific linebackers, including freshman Myles Jack and senior Anthony Barr, led the defensive effort. UCLA’s defense forced two turnovers and had six sacks in the win. Bruins quarterback Brett Hundley — a talented player who has struggled to be consistent this season — stayed within himself and made play after play, throwing for 210 yards, while rushing for 80 and two touchdowns.

After the game Hundley said, “UCLA runs L.A.” And it’s hard to argue right now until USC can answer.

The future of Coach O is up to athletic director Pat Haden. Regardless of whether Haden decides to stick with Orgeron or not, our hat is off to the coach for bringing USC’s season back from the dead after Lane Kiffin’s firing in late September. [RECAP | BOX]

No. 13 Arizona State 58, Arizona 21: The Sun Devils clinched home-field advantage in next week’s Pac-12 title game against Stanford with a resounding blowout of the Wildcats, despite being without running back and touchdown machine Marion Grice. D.J. Foster filled in nicely, carrying 23 times for 124 yards and two scores. Arizona State lost its first meeting with Stanford 42-28 on Sept. 28, and it will need quarterback Taylor Kelly to be efficient against the Cardinal for coach Todd Graham’s team to have a shot at playing in the Rose Bowl. [RECAP | BOX]

21 comments
d48
d48

Mizzou is the best team in the Special Ed Conference (SEC), and they're a below par Big 12 team.

Looks like the inbred rednecks down south are a little too impressed with the crappy conference.

chuff26
chuff26

I find it interesting Mizzou who has never won a national championship and A&M who's last championship was in 1939. They who could hardly manage to compete for a big 12 title ever are able to walk into the all mighty and powerful SEC and are powerhouse programs within 2 years.

Missouri to the SEC championship fighting for a spot in the NC game... MISSOURI....!!! are you fnn kidding me? SEC's dominance is looking like smoke and mirrors more and more every week.

HelenWheels
HelenWheels

If Mizzou can beat Auburn and Michigan State beats Ohio State, then Mizzou will be playing FSU. Who'd a thunk it?

jeffcooper71
jeffcooper71

I love SEC football but could care less about this SEC championship game.  I guess I will pull for Mizzou. They seem to win their games while Auburn lucks into their wins.  Oh well, here's to hoping for as many SEC vs. PAC-10 or b1g games as possible.  We already saw how the ACC fared against the SEC this weekend.

TweeterLeGrand
TweeterLeGrand

There's almost no way that S. Carolina can go to a BCS game. Either Auburn or Missouri is guaranteed a spot and there's no chance that S. Carolina gets a berth over a one loss Alabama team... Only two teams per conference, so enjoy the Outback Bowl again

Sportsfan18
Sportsfan18

I hope Mizzou wins the SEC championship.  I like S. Carolina better than Mizzou but I'm not really a fan of either.

My point is to quiet some of the SEC prima donnas.  People thought Mizzou and Texas A&M would struggle when they joined the SEC.

If Mizzou had joined say the Big Ten two yrs ago and went 11 & 1 this season, people would say "yeah, but if they were in the SEC they'd be lucky to be 8 & 4 as the competition is better in the SEC than in the Big Ten".

Well all you SEC lovers, an OUTSIDE team came in and ACTUALLY went 11 & 1 this season in the SEC.

I guess there ARE other teams outside of the SEC that may come into your league and do very well very quickly.


oldguy68
oldguy68

I know we were all betting at the beginning of the year that the SEC championship game would be Mizzou vs Auburn

Jim30
Jim30

Keep winning Black & Gold! It's about time the nation found out which Big XII entry into the SEC is the real football powerhouse! Bye, Bye Johnny football, your 15 minutes of fame are about up! Johnny's claim to fame in the NFL will be that he makes former Big XII mate, RGB, look better!

texasproud
texasproud

missou and atm rule the sec-because the sec is the best conference in america... hold on i am confused because these 2 schools especially atm certainly did not dominate the big 12-but sec is the best ever but these 2 rule the sec- so what does that make the sec- exposed exposed exposed-also you lose 2 and and 4 in the last 2 years and you get a raise-the same old atm

Blinker
Blinker

So glad manziel has finally been figured out.  What a joke.  He's going to get POUNDED in the NFL.  The defenses are bigger, stronger, faster, and smarter.  His stint will be short!!!!

Nils_Mateo
Nils_Mateo

I'm sure it has nothing to do with getting better players like the #1 recruit in DGB or the career passing yards leader at the high school level or a center in Evan Boehm who started every game of his first two seasons of college football or actually being healthy. It's a weak argument that doesn't have any basis in numbers.

meandmesa
meandmesa

@jeffcooper71 PUhhlease.  Auburn "lucks" into their wins.  Right.  Another hater who makes excuses and whines when he doesn't like the way things turn out.

MaryStricker
MaryStricker

@texasproud I think Mizzu finished last in the SEC last year (or close) and know A & M finished 5th...Great year for Mizzu this year but again the Ags will finish 5th - or worse...so one year of good play when they bypassed Alabama and Auburn (we'll see how that game goes) and lost to SC is not exactly a show of dominance. I know Aggie fan likes to pretend they won the NC last year but it is still 75 years an counting since their last - and only - NC.

jeffcooper71
jeffcooper71

@meandmesa @jeffcooper71 Puhlease, try and do a better job proving your point. Auburn beat UGA by skill? Ok, Auburn decided to throw an interception with the hopes that the safety out of position will interfere with the safety in position resulting in a tip ball that is run in for a touchdown.  That makes so much more sense then completing the pass for a TD. The result is a lucky win. As for last night, yes Gus Malzan did call for the DB to stand under the goal posts. you actually think that the final play was not luck?