(video courtesy of GamecocksOnline)
Just three weeks after being gashed by South Carolina in a 35-7 loss, Georgia's defense responded in a huge way in a win over previously unbeaten Florida. The Bulldogs forced six turnovers and limited Florida to 266 yards of total offense, including just 75 yards on the ground. Jones was all over the field with 13 tackles, three sacks and two forced fumbles. Florida's six turnovers (combined with Georgia's 3) led some to dub this game the World's Largest Outdoor Turnover Party. Jones had multiple other huge plays against the likes of Tennessee and Missouri, but his performance on this big stage was his strongest of the season.
After sitting out the previous week with a foot injury, Clowney came roaring back for the biggest game of his career in South Carolina's win over in-state rival Clemson. He had seven tackles along with 4.5 sacks to help the Gamecocks shut down the high-scoring Tigers. He helped shut down a Clemson team that came into the game averaging 535 yards per contest. The Tigers managed just 328 yards against the Gamecocks in what was just their second loss of the season.
It was physical SEC football at its best when the Gators and Tigers met in Gainesville for an early-season showdown. Both defenses were excellent, but it was Florida that played a little better, limiting the Tigers to just 200 total yards, forcing three turnovers and only allowing them to convert 1 of 13 third-down attempts. LSU, led by a season-high 20 tackles and two sacks from LB Kevin Minter, held Florida to just 237 yards.
4. Alabama holds Michigan QB Robinson in check, defeats the Wolverines 41-14 on Sept. 1
It was the season opener and all eyes were on an Alabama defense that lost three first-round picks to the NFL from last year's team. On this night, the Alabama defense, breaking in numerous new starters, had little trouble shutting down a Michigan offense led by Denard Robinson, thought by some to be a preseason Heisman candidate. Robinson averaged just 2.7 yards per carry, completed only 42.3 percent of his passes and was intercepted twice, including once by LB C.J. Mosley, who ran it back 16 yards for a TD. Michigan didn't score until the Tide already held a comfortable 31-0 lead.
Manziel will rightfully be honored for what he did do this season, but LSU deserves some credit for what it did to limit him in this game. Manziel still put up 276 yards through the air, but it took him 56 attempts to do it and he threw three INTs as well. He was also limited to a season-low 27 yards on the ground. LSU set the blueprint for how to contain Manziel. They kept him in the pocket and didn't let him extend plays. Easier said than done, but the Tigers made it happen on this day.
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