SEC

It’s been a bad couple of days for Tennessee fans — really bad

FILE - In this Jan. 1, 2016, file photo, Tennessee running back Jalen Hurd (1) slips away from Northwestern linebacker Nate Hall (32) during the third quarter of the Outback Bowl in Tampa, Fla. Hurd has announced that he plans to transfer, leaving the Volunteers without one of the most prolific runners in school history.
FILE - In this Jan. 1, 2016, file photo, Tennessee running back Jalen Hurd (1) slips away from Northwestern linebacker Nate Hall (32) during the third quarter of the Outback Bowl in Tampa, Fla. Hurd has announced that he plans to transfer, leaving the Volunteers without one of the most prolific runners in school history. AP

Tennessee’s week just went from bad to worse.

Reports have been trickling out of Knoxville, Tennessee, that star running back Jalen Hurd plans to transfer from UT.

The news hits hard after the Vols lost 24-21 to South Carolina and fell out of the Top 25 for the first time this season.

Hurd has been one of Tennessee’s most prolific running backs, amassing 2,638 yards in his career, just 440 yards shy of Travis Henry’s school record.

The junior rushed for 451 yards this year. The news comes two days after Hurd totaled just 16 yards on eight carries against the Gamecocks.

According to reports, Hurd plans to switch from running back to receiver or tight end at his new school.

During Monday’s media availability, UT coach Butch Jones declined to speculate on Hurd’s reasoning for transferring.

“I think it’s a combination of a long football season,” Jones said. “I don’t want to speak for Jalen, there’s a lot of things that go into that decision. The only thing I’ll say is I value our relationship and have a lot of respect for that young man and wish him nothing but the best.”

Winner of the Week

Auburn 40, Ole Miss 29: Auburn continued to show why it’s the SEC’s best rushing attack at 303.38 yards per game. Kamryn Pettway led the Tigers with 236 yards. His big night included a 41-yard touchdown run and another 56-yard burst. The performance spoke as much about the Tigers’ ground attack as it did Ole Miss’ inability to stop the rush.

Loser of the Week

South Carolina 24, Tennessee 21: Two ways to look at this one. It’s certainly the biggest victory of the young Will Muschamp-era in South Carolina and gets the Gamecocks within two wins of bowl eligibility with Missouri, Florida, Western Carolina and Clemson remaining. Big picture, however, it was the final nail in the coffin for the (annual?) championing of Tennessee as being “back” under Butch Jones. The Vols’ current three-game skid comes against Texas A&M (45-38), Alabama (49-10) and now USC.

Star player

QB Nick Fitzgerald (MSU): The Mississippi State QB passed for 417 yards and rushed for 119 more, joining Johnny Manziel and Archie Manning as the only SEC quarterbacks to eclipse 400 yards passing and 100 rushing in a single game. Fitzgerald accounted for seven total touchdowns in MSU’s 56-41 win over Samford, which is now ranked 14th in the FCS.

Statistically speaking

465: Ole Miss’ Chad Kelly broke Manning’s school record of 436 yards in a single game on Saturday when he dropped 465 yards on Auburn in the loss. Manning’s mark came in 1969 against Alabama. The Tide’s 33-32 win was the first game college football game ever televised in prime time (on ABC).

Pollsters

Associated Press: No. 1 Alabama, No. 7 Texas A&M, No. 10 Florida, No. 11 Auburn, No. 15 LSU. Receiving votes: Tennessee and Arkansas.

USA Today/Amway coaches poll: No. 1 Alabama, No. 7 Texas A&M, No. 9 Florida, No. 12 Auburn, No. 14 LSU. Receiving votes: Tennessee, Arkansas, Ole Miss.

SEC contenders

1. Alabama (8-0)

2. Texas A&M (7-1)

3. Florida (6-1)

Relegation zone

12. Vanderbilt (4-4)

13. Mississippi State (3-5)

14. Missouri (2-6)

Game to watch

Alabama at LSU, 7 p.m. (CBS): Thought about putting Vanderbilt-Auburn in this slot but figured there may be a little interest in the Tide visiting Death Valley on Saturday night. Of course both Nick Saban and Ed Orgeron have nothing but nice things to say about one another. The fan bases on the other hand ... Alabama opened as a 7-point favorite.

Patrick Ochs: 228-896-2321, @PatrickOchs

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