Mississippi running back Jaylen Walton (6) celebrates his 26-yard TD run against No. 6 LSU in the second half Saturday night at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Miss. (AP Photo)
The Southeastern Conference lived up to its rugged reputation on Saturday when Top 25 teams LSU, Texas A&M, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida all lost conference games.
No. 24 Auburn battered Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel in a 45-41 win over No. 7 Texas A&M to avenge the 63-21 shellacking the Aggies put on the Tigers last season.
“Our plan was to be in the game at halftime and wear them down in the second half,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. “I think for the most part it worked.”
Nick Marshall accounted for four scores and the Tigers (6-1, 3-1) got a 5-yard touchdown run with less than two minutes to play. It was first placed at the 1, but it was reviewed and ruled a touchdown.
A&M (5-2, 2-2) had a last chance, but Manziel was sacked by Dee Ford on fourth down to secure the win.
Manziel threw for 454 yards and four touchdowns and ran for a fifth score, but was intercepted twice. He missed a series in the fourth quarter with an injury to his right shoulder.
Mississippi intercepted LSU’s Zach Mettenberger three times, Andrew Ritter kicked a 41-yard field goal with six seconds left and the Rebels stunned the sixth-ranked Tigers 27-24.
Mississippi (4-3, 2-3) let a 17-point lead slip away when Mettenberger hit Jarvis Landry for a 4-yard touchdown to tie it at 24 with 3:19 remaining, but the Rebels responded with a methodical, 14-play drive capped by Ritter’s field goal to beat LSU (6-2, 3-2).
Tennessee’s Michael Palardy kicked a field goal as time expired and the Volunteers (4-3, 1-2) beat No. 11 South Carolina 23-21 to snap a 19-game losing streak to ranked teams.
The loss may have proved doubly painful for South Carolina (5-2, 3-2), which had a four-game winning streak snapped and saw quarterback Connor Shaw leave the game after being sacked by Marlon Walls and Daniel McCullers with less than five minutes remaining. South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said afterward that Shaw had a sprained knee.
Vanderbilt dashed No. 15 Georgia’s faint hopes of a return to the SEC championship game, scoring 17 straight points to rally from a 13-point deficit and beat the Bulldogs 31-27.
The Commodores (4-3, 1-3) hadn’t beaten a Top 25 team since Oct. 4, 2008, when they edged then-No. 13 Auburn in Nashville. They got their first victory over Georgia in Nashville since 1991, snapping a six-game skid to the Bulldogs (4-3, 3-2).
No. 14 Missouri beat No. 22 Florida 36-17 in another matchup of ranked SEC teams.
Maty Mauk threw for 295 yards in his first career start and Andrew Baggett converted five field goals to help the Tigers (7-0, 3-0) defeat the Gators (4-3, 3-2) and open a two-game lead in the SEC East.