Years after the fact, we still remember “The Prayer at Jordan Hare” and the “Kick Six,” and while the stakes on Saturday weren’t quite as high as they were for Auburn’s two 2013 miracles, Tennessee gave us a memorable moment that we’ll be talking about for some time and just might mean a lot come season’s end.
Certainly, you’ve seen it by now: Tennessee’s Hail Mary from Joshua Dobbs to Jauan Jennings to beat Georgia 34-31 was undoubtedly the magical moment of Week 5. And now it sets up a top-10 clash in College Station, Texas, between the Vols and Texas A&M, who beat South Carolina on Saturday to remain undefeated.
As far as games with potential College Football Playoff implications go, this is a good one coming up.
And though both the Aggies and Vols are 5-0, their respective victories still leave visible flaws for each team that need to be shored up if either plans on challenging No. 1 Alabama (who also won, beating Kentucky 34-6 on Saturday).
The Vols have to start faster than they have and can’t afford to continue to trail by double digits (as they have four times this season). The Aggies need more consistency from their quarterback; Trevor Knight has had some nice throws and great moments running the ball but still is under a 55 percent completion rate and has turned the ball over five times in five games.
Each team must face Alabama this month -- the Vols on Oct. 15; the Aggies on Oct. 22 -- so regardless of Saturday's result, each will get their chance to go head-to-head with the SEC favorite.
But back to the Vols’ finish -- the game showed us a lot about Tennessee and Georgia. The Vols’ resiliency despite trailing big once again was on display, but Georgia provided a lot of encouraging signs too. Bulldogs true freshman quarterback Jacob Eason led another big-time go-ahead drive in the fourth quarter. It looked as if it would be his second winning drive (to pair with his touchdown pass at Missouri last month) until Dobbs and Jennings connected for their heroics.
Eason impressed by bouncing back from a sack-fumble that resulted in a late Tennessee touchdown to hit Riley Ridley for a score with 10 seconds left. And it’s clear that true freshman tight end Isaac Nauta is a real weapon for Eason after he led the team with five catches for 83 yards.
Elsewhere, Ed Orgeron made a triumphant LSU head coaching debut, leading the Tigers to a 42-7 win over Mizzou. It’s a win that came without Leonard Fournette (hello, Derrius Guice, who ran for three touchdowns) and showed that LSU will open things up offensively under Orgeron. The reluctance of former coach Les Miles to do just that was one of the reasons that led to his exodus. If LSU can play like they did Saturday for a sustained period under Ed O, it will make things quite interesting in the SEC West.
Auburn and Ole Miss bounced back nicely from their lone conference losses, each winning their second in a row (Auburn beat Louisiana-Monroe this weekend; Ole Miss got revenge against Memphis), and Arkansas, which blew out Alcorn State, remains an intriguing team ahead of its showdown with Alabama this week.
As for the SEC East, Tennessee is in complete control, with every other team holding at least two league losses except Florida, whom the Vols’ beat last week. The Gators didn’t look too good, struggling to defeat Vanderbilt 13-6. The sooner Luke Del Rio can return, the better for the Gators.