Articles By Mitch Light

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The Iron Bowl highlighted one of the wildest weeks in recent college football history. Auburn’s unlikely win is the obviously headliner, but there were other intriguing games in the SEC. Missouri punched its ticket to the SEC title game with a win over Texas A&M; Georgia finished on a strong note by rallying past Georgia Tech in overtime; LSU beat Arkansas in Baton Rouge despite losing quarterback Zach Mettenberger to an injury in the fourth quarter; South Carolina topped rival Clemson for the fifth straight time; Mississippi State became bowl-eligible with an overtime win over Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl; Vanderbilt picked up win No. 8 by beating Wake Forest on a late field goal; Butch Jones recorded his first road win as the UT head coach as the Vols took care of Kentucky; and Florida’s miserable season ended in predictable fashion — with a loss at home to Florida State.

SEC Week 14 Recap and Awards

Offensive Player of the Week: Nick Marshall, Auburn
His stats weren’t overly gaudy, but Marshall ran Gus Malzahn’s offense to near perfection in Auburn’s thrilling 34–28 win over No. 1 Alabama. The junior quarterback completed 11-of-16 passes for 97 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions and added 99 yards and one TD on the ground on 17 attempts. Auburn tied the game at 28–28 with 32 seconds remaining when Marshall found Sammie Coates for a 39-yard score on a brilliantly executed option pass. Marshall has completed just under 60 percent of his passes this season with 11 TDs and five INTs.

Defensive Player of the Week: Kelcy Quarles, South Carolina
Quarles, a junior defensive tackle, was a key cog in a South Carolina defense that limited Clemson to 17 points and 352 yards of offense in the Gamecocks’ 31–17 win in Columbia. Quarles had six tackles, including two sacks — one for negative six yards midway through the second quarter and one for negative 19 yards just before halftime that forced Clemson to settle for a field goal. Quarles, who leads the team with 13.5 sacks and 9.5 tackles for a loss, is expected to declare for the NFL Draft after the season.  

Team of the Week: Auburn
Who else but the Auburn Tigers? Gus Malzhan’s club completed the unlikely worst-to-first journey by stunning Alabama 34–28 in one of the most memorable college football games ever played. Auburn, which never led until the clock hit 0:00, scored two touchdowns in the final minute — one a Sammie Coates 39-yard reception with 32 seconds remaining and one on a 100-yard return by Chris Davis on a missed field goal. Auburn, which went 0–8 in the SEC last year, finished the 2013 season with a 7–1 mark despite only outgaining its eight league opponents by an average of 3.2 yards per game.

Coordinator of the Week: Gus Malzahn, Auburn
Rhett Lashlee has the title of offensive coordinator, but Malzahn is the man who runs the offensive show at Auburn. The Tigers, playing against one of the elite defenses in the nation, rolled up 393 yards of offense, including 296 on the ground — the most by an SEC team against Alabama in the Nick Saban era. Auburn closed the season by rushing for 444 yards against Tennessee, 323 against Georgia and 296 against Alabama.

Freshman of the Week: Josh Dobbs, Tennessee
In his fourth career start, Dobbs completed 14-of-23 passes for 199 yards with two touchdowns and one interception to lead Tennessee to a 27–14 win over Kentucky in the season-finale for both teams. Dobbs, a true freshman from Georgia, also rushed for 52 yards on seven carries, including a 40-yard touchdown run in the second quarter that put the Volunteers up 20–0. Prior to Saturday, Dobbs had zero touchdowns and five interceptions four career games.

RankTeamLWRecordLast WeekNext Week
1211-1, 7-1W, Alabama 34-28vs. Missouri
2111-1, 7-1L, Auburn 34-28Off until bowl
3411-1, 7-1W, Texas A&M 28-21vs. Auburn
4310-2, 6-2W, Clemson 31-17Off until bowl
559-3, 5-3W, Arkansas 31-27Off until bowl
668-4, 4-4L, Missouri 28-21Off until bowl
77
  1. 8-4, 5-3
W, Ga. Tech 41-34 (2ot)Off until bowl
887-5, 3-5L, Miss. State 17-10 (ot)Off until bowl
998-4, 4-4W, Wake Forest 23-21Off until bowl
10106-6, 3-5W, Ole Miss 17-10 (ot)Off until bowl
11114-8, 3-5L, Florida St. 37-7Season over
12125-7, 2-6W, Kentucky 27-14Season over
1314
  1. 3-9, 0-8
L, LSU 31-27Season over
1413
  1. 3-9, 0-8
L, Tennessee 27-14Season over

 

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SEC Week 14 Awards and Power Rankings
Post date: Sunday, December 1, 2013 - 11:37
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The most heavily anticipated Iron Bowl in decades highlights the holiday weekend slate, but there are plenty of other intriguing matchups. South Carolina seeks its fifth straight win over Clemson; Missouri looks to wrap up the SEC East title with a win at home against Texas A&M; Georgia heads to Atlanta to play Georgia Tech without Aaron Murray under center; Mississippi State searches for its sixth win of the season in the Egg Bowl; Florida hopes to avoid a beatdown at home against Florida State; Kentucky and Tennessee look to end disappointing seasons on a positive note; Vanderbilt eyes win No. 8 with Wake Forest in town; and Arkansas travels to Baton Rouge riding an eight-game losing streak.

Week 14 Previews and Predictions: ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten Pac-12

SEC Week 14 Game Power Rankings

1. Alabama (-10.5) at Auburn (3:30 ET, CBS)
Auburn’s dramatic turnaround from 0–8 in the SEC to top-five in the nation has set the stage for an epic Iron Bowl showdown at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Alabama is ranked No. 1 — and for good reason. Nick Saban’s team has been dominant on defense — the Tide are allowing an SEC-low 4.6 yards per play — and efficient on offense. The schedule hasn’t been overly taxing, but Alabama has won its 11 games by an average of 30.2 points, with all but one decided by 13 points or more. Auburn has returned to national prominence with an offense that is averaging just under 500 yards per game and just over seven yards per play. The Tigers are especially dangerous on the ground; Gus Malzahn’s run-based spread attack is producing a league-best 6.4 yards per attempt for an average of 320.3 yards per game. The difference in this game, however, could be Auburn’s inability to stop Alabama from running the ball. The Tigers are allowing 4.3 yards per rushing attempt — eighth in the SEC — and have given up more than 200 yards in a game four times this season.

2. Clemson (+5) at South Carolina (7:00 ET, ESPN2)
The Iron Bowl is stealing the headlines — and rightfully so — but the annual battle for bragging rights in the Palmetto State should be just as intense. For the first time ever, these two teams will meet with both schools ranked in the top 10. Clemson, at 10–1, is on the fringe of the national title chase, but the Tigers can put themselves in position to earn an at-large invite to a BCS bowl with a win over South Carolina. The Gamecocks will no doubt be focused on winning this game, but they will also have an eye on the scoreboard. If Missouri loses at home to Texas A&M — in a game that kicks off 45 minutes later — South Carolina will represent the East in the SEC title game. Diving into the matchup in Columbia, you might be surprised to learn that South Carolina has been the more efficient team on offense on a per-play basis (6.6 for the Gamecocks to 6.3 for the Tigers) and Clemson has been better on defense (5.1 to 5.4). The schedules haven’t been the same — South Carolina’s has been more difficult — but these stats seem to contradict the national perception of both teams.

3. Texas A&M (+4.5) at Missouri (7:45 ET, ESPN)
This is not a traditional Thanksgiving weekend rivalry, but it’s one of the most important games on the schedule. It’s simple for the Missouri Tigers: Win this game and play in the SEC Championship Game. Gary Pinkel’s team is 11–1 overall and 6–1 in the league with the only loss coming in overtime to South Carolina. It’s been a magical season in Columbia, but the Tigers will no doubt be disappointed if they fall one game short of Atlanta. Texas A&M is trying to avoid a .500 record in the SEC. That’s right: One of the most explosive offensive teams the league has ever seen is in danger of finishing with a 4–4 record in the league. The Aggies still lead the SEC in total offense, but they were held to a season-low (by a wide margin) of 5.1 yards per play in a 34–10 loss at LSU last weekend. Missouri has been terrific on both sides of the ball, but one of the keys to its success this season has been consistently winning the turnover battle. The Tigers lead the league (plus-1.27 per game) and have only had more turnovers than their opponents once this season — in a 48–17 win at Kentucky.

4. Georgia (+3) at Georgia Tech (3:30 ET, ABC)
For the first time since December 2009, someone other than Aaron Murray will be starting at quarterback for Georgia. Murray, one of the top quarterbacks in SEC history, is sidelined with a torn ACL suffered in Georgia’s win over Kentucky last Saturday. In steps Hutson Mason, a junior who has thrown a total of 82 passes in his three seasons. Mason’s task will be simple this week: Don’t make many mistakes and hand the ball off to Todd Gurley on a frequent basis. Todd Grantham has had his struggles as the defensive coordinator at Georgia, but his defenses have done a solid job against Georgia Tech’s option attack in his three seasons at the school. Georgia has won all three vs. Tech by an average score of 38–20.

5. Ole Miss (-3) at Mississippi State (Thursday, 7:30 ET, ESPN)
Ole Miss has spent part of the season in the national rankings. It has wins over Texas and LSU. Mississippi State has been an afterthought throughout the ’13 season. Its only SEC wins have come against Kentucky and Arkansas, teams with a combined record of 0–14 in the SEC. But guess what happens if State beats Ole Miss Thursday night in Starkville? Both teams would be tied with a 3–5 mark in the SEC, and MSU would technically finish ahead of the Rebs by virtue of the head-to-head win. Will this happen? Probably not — Ole Miss is the more talented team — but it’s still interesting that these teams are so close in the standings even though the Rebs are considered to be the much better team.

6. Florida State at Florida (Noon ET, ESPN)
The annual meeting for bragging rights in the Sunshine State is usually one of the most-anticipated matchups of rivalry week. However, this season’s game has a feeling of two teams headed in opposite directions. Florida State is two wins away from playing for the national championship, while Florida is in the midst of its worst season since 1979 when it went 0–10–1. The Gators enter Saturday’s contest on a six-game losing streak, including a 26–20 defeat to FCS opponent Georgia Southern last week. Injuries have hampered Florida’s season, and quarterback Tyler Murphy is questionable to play with a shoulder injury. Backup Skyler Mornhinweg has struggled in his two starts and faces a Florida State defense that leads the nation with 23 interceptions. Florida ranks second in the SEC in total defense, but the Seminoles average 7.9 yards per play and have scored at least 40 points in every game this year. 

7. Tennessee (-4) at Kentucky (7:00 ET, ESPNU)
These two SEC rivals have a combined one league win, by Tennessee over South Carolina. The Vols’ hopes of reaching a bowl game in Year 1 of the Butch Jones era were dashed last Saturday night with a loss at home to Vanderbilt. Tennessee has not won an SEC road game since November 2010 (Vanderbilt) and has not won a league road game out of state since beating Kentucky the previous November. Kentucky has many issues, but the Cats’ biggest problem has been on offense; they have 325 yards or fewer in all but one SEC game and have not scored more than 17 points in any of their last three games.

8. Wake Forest (+14) at Vanderbilt (12:21 ET, SEC TV)
Vanderbilt returns home after its thrilling win in Knoxville with a chance to win eight games in the regular season for the second straight season — something that hasn’t been done since 1927-28. Here’s an interesting stat: Vanderbilt has averaged only 289.4 yards in its last five games, but the Commodores are 4–1 during that stretch with wins over Georgia, Florida, Kentucky and Tennessee. Wake Forest has shown signs of life in the last month — they lost by three at Miami and by seven to Duke — but the Deacons have lost four straight and will miss a bowl game for the fourth time in the last five seasons. Vanderbilt has won two straight over Wake by a combined score of 96–28.

9. Arkansas (+24.5) at LSU (Friday, 2:30 ET, CBS)
This Thanksgiving weekend rivalry has produced some classic games and some monumental upsets. That, however, won’t be happening this week. Arkansas enters the final weekend searching for its first win since mid-September. The Razorbacks have been outgained by an average of 142.3 yards in their seven SEC games, and only one — last week’s 25–17 loss to Mississippi State in overtime — has been decided by less than 10 points. LSU is fresh off what could be the most impressive performance by any SEC team this season — a 34–10 win over Texas A&M. Beating the Aggies was not a great surprise, but holding Johnny Manziel & Co. to 299 total yards and one touchdown was shocking. Stopping Arkansas shouldn’t be too much of a challenge.

5 Pivotal Players

Nick Marshall, QB, Auburn
Marshall has been terrific in his first season at Auburn. He’s completed just under 60 percent of his passes, averaged 8.3 yards per attempt and only thrown five interceptions. Not bad for a guy who does his best work on the ground. This week, Marshall will have to be productive both on the ground and through the air to beat Alabama, the best team in the nation. At some point, he will need to make some plays down the field in the passing game. He’s done it before, but the stage will be bigger and the opponent more difficult this time around. 

T.J. Yeldon, RB, Alabama
The biggest mismatch in this game will be Alabama’s rushing attack against the Auburn run defense. Led by Yeldon and Kenyan Drake, the Crimson Tide are averaging 247.4 rushing yards in SEC games on a gaudy 6.4-yard average. Auburn, in league play, is allowing 178.8 yards per game and gave up 200-plus against Mississippi State, LSU, Arkansas and Tennessee. Look for heavy doses of Yeldon on Saturday afternoon.

Jadeveon Clowney, DE, Clemson
There will be pressure on Clowney, a preseason All-American, to finish off what has been a relatively disappointing junior season with a big game against the archrival Clemson Tigers. Clowney, who has been slowed by injuries, only has two sacks this season — down from 13 during his breakout sophomore season. Oh, and we can’t forget that Clowney said back in July that Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd is “scared” of him. Should be a fun night in Columbia.

Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
We learned last week that it’s not a given that Manziel will throw for 300 or 400 yards and the Aggies will roll up 40 or 50 points. A good defense, with a great plan of attack, can actually slow down the Texas A&M offense. This week, Manziel & Co. will be facing what many consider to be the best defensive line in the SEC. And while he would never admit it publicly, Manziel is well aware that a huge game — against a top-five opponent — can vault him back into the Heisman Trophy race.

Florida defensive line
Florida’s defensive front — still one of the best in the SEC — will need to play its best game of the season to give the Gators the chance at pulling off the upset Saturday in Gainesville. Florida State’s Jameis Winston has shown very few signs of weakness, but any quarterback is less effective when under pressure. Florida has no shot if Winston is able to sit back in the pocket with no fear of the pass rush.

 David FoxBraden GallSteven LassanMitch Light

Ole Miss (-3) at Miss. State

Ole Miss 35-17

Ole Miss 34-28Ole Miss 31-24Ole Miss 30-20

Arkansas (+24.5) at LSU

LSU 42-10

LSU 42-17LSU 38-17LSU 38-10

Florida State at Florida

FSU 63-7FSU 52-13FSU 45-10FSU 34-0

Wake (+14) at Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt 21-17Vanderbilt 38-28Vanderbilt 34-13Vanderbilt 28-13

Georgia (+3) at Ga. Tech

Ga. Tech 35-21Georgia 34-31Georgia 34-27Georgia 34-27

Alabama (-10.5) at Auburn

Alabama 28-17

Alabama 27-24Alabama 31-20Alabama 34-21

Clemson (+5) at S. Carolina

S. Carolina 31-21S. Carolina 38-34S. Carolina 30-24Clemson 30-20

Tennessee (-4) at Kentucky

Tennessee 21-10

Tennessee 23-13Tennessee 24-20Tennessee 17-10

Texas A&M (+4.5) at Mizzou

Mizzou 35-28

A&M 41-38Mizzou 34-31Mizzou 34-33
Last Week6-26-24-46-2
Season87-1685-1885-1884-19

 

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SEC Week 14 Preview and Predictions
Post date: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 - 07:15
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The Week 13 slate was highlighted by LSU’s dominating win over Texas A&M in Baton Rouge and Missouri’s 14-point victory over Ole Miss in Oxford. Elsewhere, Vanderbilt topped Tennessee 14–10 on a fake jump pass in the closing seconds; Arkansas remained winless by losing in overtime to Mississippi State; and Georgia crushed Kentucky on Senior Night in Athens. Oh, and we can’t forget about Florida. The Gators’ disastrous 2013 season took another shocking turn with a loss at home to FCS foe Georgia Southern.  

SEC Week 13 Recap and Awards

Offensive Player of the Week: Terrence Magee, LSU
Magee made the most of his 13 carries, rushing for a career-high 149 yards (on an 11.5-yard average) and one touchdown in LSU’s impressive 34–10 win over Texas A&M in Baton Rouge. A junior from Franklinton, La., Magee has topped the 100-yard mark three times this season — 108 vs. Kent State, 108 vs. Furman and 149 vs. Texas A&M. His previous career high against an SEC opponent was 31 in the loss to Alabama two weeks ago.

Defensive Player of the Week: Chase Garnham, Vanderbilt
Garnham, a senior linebacker, recorded 10 tackles (one for a loss) to lead an injury-ravaged Vanderbilt defense that held Tennessee 237 yards and one touchdown in the Commodores’ 14–10 win in Knoxville. Vanderbilt lost its entire secondary during the game — safety Jovan Marshall and cornerbacks Andre Hal and Steven Clarke to injury and safety Kenny Ladler to an ejection due to a targeting call. Garnham injured his leg in a Week 1 loss to Ole Miss and missed the ensuring seven games.

Team of the Week: LSU
LSU played its way out of the SEC West race by losing three of its first six league games, but the Tigers reminded everyone on Saturday afternoon that they still have one of the most talented rosters in the nation. Les Miles’ team jumped all over Texas A&M in the first half and cruised to a surprisingly easy 34–10 win in Baton Rouge. The Tigers used a familiar formula to post their second straight win over the Johnny Manziel-led Aggies — they ran the ball well (324 yards rushing) and were dominant on defense (holding A&M to a season-low 299 total yards). LSU hosts Arkansas next weekend to close the regular season.

Coordinator of the Week: John Chavis, LSU
Chavis and his LSU defense did the impossible — shut down Johnny Manziel and the Texas A&M offense. The Aggies’ 299 total yards were 279 below their season average and 187 below their previous season low (486 in the opener against Rice). Manziel completed only 16-of-41 passes for 224 yards — the fewest in any of his 10 starts this season — with one touchdown and two interceptions. Texas A&M also had its streak of 13 straight games with at least 40 points snapped. Not bad for a defense that had to replace eight starters from last season.

Freshmen of the Week: Rashard Robinson, Tre’Davious White, LSU
Robinson and White, two of the top true freshman cornerbacks in the nation, played key roles in LSU’s defensive masterpiece against Texas A&M. Robinson, from Pompano Beach, Fla, had two tackles and one interception, and White, a native of Shreveport, La., chipped in with three tackles and one pass break-up. As a team, LSU held Texas A&M to 224 yards passing on only 5.5 yards per attempt, by far the lowest of the season for the Aggies.

RankTeamLWRecordLast WeekNext Week
1111-0, 8-0W, Chattanooga 49-0at Auburn
2210-1, 6-1ByeAlabama
349-2, 6-2W, C. Carolina 70-10Clemson
4510-1, 6-1W, Ole Miss 24-10Texas A&M
588-3, 4-3W, Texas A&M 34-10Arkansas
638-3, 4-3L, LSU 34-10at Missouri
777-4, 5-3W, Kentucky 59-17at Georgia Tech
867-4, 4-4L, Missouri 24-10at Miss. State
997-4, 4-4W, Tennessee 14-10Wake Forest
10115-6, 2-5W, Arkansas 24-17 (ot)Ole Miss
11104-7, 3-5L, Ga. Southern 26-20Florida State
12124-7, 1-6L, Vanderbilt 14-10at Kentucky
13132-9, 0-7L, Georgia 59-17Tennessee
14143-8, 0-7L, Miss. State, 24-17 (ot)at LSU

 

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SEC Week 13 Awards and Power Rankings
Post date: Sunday, November 24, 2013 - 10:52
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There are three key games in the SEC this Saturday. In Oxford, Missouri hopes to keep its SEC East title hopes alive with a win over Ole Miss; in Baton Rouge, Johnny Manziel will have an opportunity to impress Heisman voters on a national stage; and in Knoxville, Vanderbilt will be seeking its first two-game winning streak against Tennessee since the 1920s.

Week 13 Previews and Predictions: ACC Big 12 | Big Ten Pac-12 

SEC Week 13 Game Power Rankings

1. Missouri (-2.5) at Ole Miss (7:45 ET, ESPN)
With South Carolina in the clubhouse with a 6–2 SEC record, Missouri (5–1) needs to beat both Ole Miss and Texas A&M to reach the SEC Championship Game. The Tigers expect senior James Franklin back at quarterback after missing four games with a shoulder injury. Backup Maty Mauk played well in relief, but the Mizzou offense is at its best with Franklin running the show. The Tigers, even with Franklin out for much of the SEC schedule, are averaging a solid 6.6 yards per play in league games — almost a full yard more than Ole Miss (5.8). The two teams have similar passing stats, but Missouri has been far more efficient running the ball against SEC teams — 5.4 yards per carry to 3.7 for the Rebs. The defensive numbers also favor the Tigers, but keep in mind that Ole Miss has played a far more difficult SEC schedule to date.

2. Texas A&M (+4.5) at LSU (3:30 ET, CBS)
It’s a bit of a surprise that these two teams are a combined 7–5 in the SEC at this point of the season. Texas A&M continues to put up gaudy numbers, but the defense has let this team down against quality competition. The Aggies scored 42 points against Alabama and 41 against Auburn — yet lost both games. That’s why LSU is in a good spot on Saturday. The Tigers are only 3–3 in their last six games, but their offense is capable of putting up a huge number against a suspect defense. Led by strong-armed quarterback Zach Mettenberger, LSU leads the league with an average of 10.7 yards per passing attempt. One key could be turnovers: Texas A&M has committed 12 in its last four SEC games.

3. Vanderbilt (+3) at Tennessee (7:00 ET, ESPN2)
The stakes are high for this intrastate showdown. Tennessee needs to beat Vanderbilt and Kentucky to reach bowl-eligibility for the first time since 2010. Vanderbilt, which picked up win No. 6 last weekend, is looking for its first two-game winning streak against Tennessee since 1925-26. The Commodores have not been putting up gaudy numbers on offense, but they have done two things very well in the past month: force turnovers (16 in the last four games) and convert in the red zone (17 of 18 in last four games; SEC-best 88.6 percent for the season). Tennessee has lost three straight games in convincing fashion, but the Vols’ schedule has been brutal. This weekend will break a streak of five straight games against teams ranked in the top 12 at the time of the game. 

4. Mississippi State (-1.5) at Arkansas (in Little Rock) (12:21 ET, SEC TV)
These two teams are battling to stay out of last place in the SEC West, but the numbers suggest that Mississippi State is the much better team. In league games, the Bulldogs are only being outgained by 17.7 yards per game — a very low number for a team with a 1–5 record. Arkansas, on the other hand, is being outgained by an average of 142.0 yards per game and has lost all six of its SEC games by at least 10 points. Simply put: Mississippi State has been competitive this season; Arkansas has not. The Bulldogs, however, are battling a potentially serious injury situation at quarterback. Both Tyler Russell (shoulder) and Dak Prescott (elbow) are questionable for Saturday. If neither is able to play, the Bulldogs likely will turn to true freshman Damian Williams, who went 0-of-5 passing in limited duty against Alabama last week.

5. Kentucky (+23.5) at Georgia (7:00 ET, ESPNU)
Georgia must regroup after suffering one of the most excruciating losses in recent memory — and that is not an exaggeration. The Bulldogs were on the verge of completing an epic fourth-quarter comeback … until Auburn completed the unlikeliest of 73-yard touchdown passes. Now, the Dawgs return home to face a Kentucky team searching for its first SEC win since the end of the 2011 season. The Wildcats played relatively well last week in Nashville, but dropped to 2–8 with a 22–6 loss. The offense continues to be the biggest problem; UK is last in the SEC in total offense in league play (266.7 ypg) and has not scored more than 24 points in its last 17 SEC games. Georgia, as long it has mentally recovered from last week’s game, should have little difficulty.

6. Georgia Southern (+27.5) at Florida (2 ET, PPV)
In almost every other season, the thought of an FCS school like Georgia Southern posing any kind of threat to Florida would seem a bit of a stretch. But this isn’t like most seasons. Florida has lost five straight games due in large part to an offense that has not scored more than 20 points in any game since early October. Georgia Southern, which is transitioning to the FBS ranks, is 6–4 under fourth-year coach Jeff Monken. The Eagles run an option attack that is averaging 453.7 yards per game, including 353.5 yards on the ground. Florida’s front seven will be charged with slowing down Georgia Southern’s running game and forcing the Eagles out of their comfort zone.

7. Coastal Carolina (+34.5) at South Carolina (1 ET, PPV)
South Carolina concludes its 2013 regular season with a pair of non-conference games against in-state foes that currently only have one loss — Coastal Carolina and Clemson. The Chanticleers have done their damage against an FCS schedule, but this is still a decent team. They rank third in the FCS in both rushing offense (283.9 ypg) and scoring offense (45.5 ppg). South Carolina will have a distinct talent advantage at almost every spot on the field, but the Gamecocks — who are dealing with some key injuries — could be tested for a bit on Saturday.

8. Chattanooga (+49) at Alabama (2 ET, PPV)
Alabama steps out of league (and FBS) play for a tune-up with Chattanooga before one of the most anticipated Iron Bowls ever. Chattanooga is 8–3 overall and has secured a share of the Southern Conference title with a 6–2 record. The Mocs excel in the run game (223.3 ypg) and at stopping the pass (148.6 ypg). They will have trouble in every facet on Saturday afternoon.

SEC Week 13 Pivotal Players


Listen to Athlon Sports writers Braden Gall and David Fox discuss Auburn's win and preview Week 13 in this edition of Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast.
James Franklin, QB, Missouri
Franklin returns to action for the first time since injuring his shoulder in the second half of the Tigers’ win at Georgia on Oct. 12. The fifth-year senior was completing 66.7 percent of his passes with 14 touchdowns and three interceptions while also averaging close to 50 yards rushing per game. With Franklin healthy — complemented by an elite set of wide receivers and a solid group of running backs — Missouri’s offense is among the most potent in the nation.

Ole Miss’ offensive line
Ole Miss has played Texas, Alabama and LSU, but Missouri might have the best defensive line the Rebels will see this season. The Tigers, led by senior end Michael Sam, lead the league in sacks with 34 and rank second in rushing defense (111.9 ypg). The Rebs’ offensive line will need to protect quarterback Bo Wallace, who has done a great job this season limiting his mistakes. Last season — his first as a starter — Wallace threw 17 interceptions in 13 games; this year, he has five in 10 games.

Texas A&M cornerbacks
Texas A&M’s struggles on defense are well-documented, but the Aggies do feature a pair of talented cornerbacks in Deshazor Everett and De’Vante Harris. They will be matched up with the most talented wide receiving duo in the league, LSU’s Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry. The Aggies might need a few big plays from their secondary — a pick-6 would certainly help — to win this game in Baton Rouge.

Daniel McCullers, DT, Tennessee
McCullers is a huge — as in 351 pounds — defensive tackle who is capable of being a difference-maker on a Tennessee defense that ranks last in the SEC in stopping the run. Vanderbilt has struggled at times against big run-stuffing tackles; last week, Kentucky’s Donte Rumph had 10 tackles and was a big reason the Commodores’  two tailbacks (Jerron Seymour and Brian Kimbrow) only averaged 3.4 yards per carry. If McCullers can help slow down the rushing attack and make quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels uncomfortable in the pocket, Tennessee will have a great chance to win the game.

Jonathan Krause, WR, Vanderbilt
The Commodores hope to get Krause, who has missed the last two games with a hamstring injury, back into the lineup. The senior wideout has 32 receptions for 608 yards, and his 19.0 yards-per-catch average ranks fourth in the SEC. While he was out of the lineup, Vanderbilt only dressed four wide receivers — Jordan Matthews, seldom-used junior Trent Pruitt, true freshman Jordan Cunningham and walk-on Trey Wilkin. Krause’s return would be a huge boost for the Dores, who only averaged 248 yards in the two games he missed. 

 David FoxBraden GallSteven LassanMitch Light

Miss. State (-1.5) at Arkansas 

Miss. State 31-13Miss. State 34-30Arkansas 27-24Miss. State 24-20

C. Caro. (+34.5) at S. Carolina

S. Carolina 35-7

S. Carolina 38-7S. Carolina 48-13S. Carolina 41-10

Chattanooga (+49) at Alabama 

Alabama 56-3

Alabama 45-7Alabama 52-7Alabama 58-0

Ga. Southern (+27.5) at Florida 

Florida 21-17

Florida 27-3Florida 38-10Florida 30-10

Texas A&M (+4.5) at LSU

LSU 35-28

LSU 45-41LSU 38-34LSU 49-45

Kentucky (+23.5) at Georgia 

Georgia 28-14

Georgia 38-17Georgia 38-17Georgia 34-13

Vanderbilt (+3) at Tennessee

Tennessee 21-17

Tennessee 23-21Tennessee 27-24Vanderbilt 24-20

Missouri (-2.5) at Ole Miss

Missouri 28-24

Missouri 34-27Ole Miss 34-30Ole Miss 38-31
Last Week5-04-15-05-0
Season81-1479-1681-1478-17

 

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SEC Week 13 Preview and Predictions
Post date: Thursday, November 21, 2013 - 07:15
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True college football fans like to examine and dissect statistics, whether it's a quarterback's completion percentage or a team's winning record on the road. We, however, love stats. With that in mind, we scoured the SEC to put together some of the strangest, most amazing, and just plain cool numbers from around the conference in Week 12.

More Stats from Week 12: ACC | Big 12 Big Ten Pac-12 

SEC Stats to Know from Week 12

16: Turnovers forced by Vanderbilt in its last four games, more than 55 teams have for the entire season.
The Commodores are 3–1 during this stretch thanks in large part to a plus-11 turnover margin. In the last two games, wins over Florida and Kentucky, Vanderbilt has not committed a turnover on offense while forcing eight (seven interceptions and one fumble recovery) on defense. For the season, Vanderbilt ranks second in the league to Missouri in both turnovers forced (23) and turnover margin (plus-9).

2: Interceptions thrown by AJ McCarron in Alabama’s 20–7 win over Mississippi State.
It was only the third time in McCarron’s three seasons as a starter that he has thrown more than one interception. He threw two in his first start, against Kent State in 2011, and two in last season’s loss at home to Texas A&M.

19: Punt return yards by Mississippi State this season, the fewest in the nation.
The Bulldogs also rank last in college football with only 1.3 yards per return. For comparison’s sake, Kansas State leads the nation with a 17.9-yard average.

284.9: Yards per game rushing by Auburn in SEC games this season, an increase of nearly 200 yards per game from last season.
A year ago, en route to an 0–8 record in the league, the Tigers averaged only 86.8 rushing yards per game and 2.6 yards per carry against conference opponents.

17: Consecutive SEC games in which Kentucky has failed to score more than 24 points.
The Wildcats last scored more than 24 points on Nov. 5, 2011, in a 30–13 win over Ole Miss in Lexington. This season, the Cats are averaging 14.5 points in six league games.

55: Offensive snaps for Florida in Saturday’s 19–14 loss at South Carolina, the fewest by a UF team since the Gator Bowl at the end of the 2011 season.
With third-string quarterback Skyler Mornhinweg getting the start, Florida leaned heavily on the running game and did its best to slow the tempo of the game. The Gators had 307 yards on their 55 plays, and South Carolina had 377 yards on 63 snaps.

1: Number of touchdowns South Carolina scored against Florida, its fewest in a win since also scoring one TD in a 16–10 victory over Ole Miss on Sept. 24, 2009.
On Saturday night, the Gamecocks’ only touchdown came on a 32-yard strike from Connor Shaw to Bruce Ellington. Placekicker Elliott Fry nailed four field goals.

31.5: Georgia’s scoring average in its four losses this season, the most by any team in the nation with at least four defeats.
The Bulldogs scored 35 against Clemson, 26 against Missouri, 27 against Vanderbilt and 38 against Auburn.

751: Yards gained by Ole Miss on Saturday against Troy, a school record.
The Rebels rushed for 382 yards (on a 6.3-yard average) and passed for 369 en route to the 51–21 win. Quarterback Bo Wallace led the way with 272 yards passing and three touchdowns.

1: Number of seniors among the top 15 rushers in the SEC this season.
Tennessee’s Rajion Neal, ranked sixth in the league with 89.5 yards per game, is the only senior on the list. There is one freshman (Arkansas’ Alex Collins), nine sophomores and four juniors. 

Teaser:
Amazing SEC College Football Stats from Week 12
Post date: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/ranking-top-10-college-football-coaches-players
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The following is a list of the best college players among the current crop of FBS college football coaches. South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier tops the list, but Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald and Texas Tech's Kliff Kingsbury had prolific careers in their playing days. This ranking does not take into account coaching records — only how these coaches performed during their playing careers.

Ranking the Top 10 College Football Coaches as Players

1. Steve Spurrier, QB, Florida (1963-65) — now at South Carolina
A native of Johnson City, Tenn., Spurrier was a two-time All-American and the winner of the Heisman Trophy in 1966. As a senior, he threw for 2,012 yards with 16 touchdowns and eight interceptions while completing 61.5 percent of his passes. In 2006, the Gainesville Sun ranked Spurrier No. 2 on its list of the top 100 Gators from the first century of Florida football.  

2. Pat Fitzgerald, LB, Northwestern (1993-96) — now at Northwestern
Fitzgerald was key part in one of the greatest turnarounds in the history of college football. He was a two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and a two-time consensus All-American at linebacker for the Wildcats in the mid-1990s. Northwestern went a combined 6–15 in Fitz’s first two seasons but broke through with a 10–2 record in ’95, highlighted by a Big Ten title and appearance in the Rose Bowl.

3. Kliff Kingsbury, QB, Texas Tech (1999-2002) — now at Texas Tech
Kingsbury was the first in a long line of successful quarterbacks at Texas Tech during the Mike Leach era. As a senior, he completed 67.3 percent of his passes for 5,017 yards with 45 TDs and 13 INTs — numbers that earned him National Offensive Player of the Year honors from the AP. Kingsbury ended his career in Lubbock with 12,423 passing yards and 95 touchdowns.

4. Mike Gundy, QB, Oklahoma State (1986-89) — now at Oklahoma State
Gundy broke into the starting lineup midway through his freshman season and went on to throw for 7,997 yards and 54 touchdowns for the Cowboys. Gundy, who had the luxury of playing in the same backfield with Barry Sanders and Thurman Thomas, led the Pokes to two 10-win seasons.

5. Kyle Whittingham, RB/LB, BYU (1978-81) — now at Utah
Now the boss at Utah, Whittingham starred for the rival BYU Cougars in the late 1970s and early ’80s. He was named WAC Defensive Player of the Year in 1981 and capped off his career by earning Defensive MVP honors of the 1981 Holiday Bowl.

6. Bob Stoops, DB, Iowa (1979-82) — now at Oklahoma
Stoops was a four-year starter at defensive back for Hayden Fry at Iowa and earned first-team All-Big Ten honors as a senior. The Hawkeyes won a share of the Big Ten title in Stoops’ junior season and made the school’s first appearance in the Rose Bowl since 1959.

7. P.J. Fleck, WR, Northern Illinois (1999-03) — now at Western Michigan
Fleck’s coaching career is off to a rocky start, but he was a big-time playmaker during his time at Northern Illinois. As a senior in 2003, he caught 77 passes for 1,028 yards and six touchdowns for the 10–2 Huskies.

8. Kevin Sumlin, LB, Purdue (1983-86) — now at Texas A&M
Sumlin has a well-deserved reputation as one of the top offensive coaches in the nation, but he was linebacker during his days at Purdue. He was a four-year starter for the Boilers and ended his career with 375 tackles.

9. Willie Taggart, QB, Western Kentucky (1995-98) — now at South Florida
Taggart played for Jack Harbaugh (father of Jim and John) during his time at Western Kentucky. He was a four-year starter and a two-time finalist for the Walter Payton Award, given to the top player in the Division I-AA ranks.

10. Gary Pinkel, TE, Kent State (1970-73) — now at Missouri
Pinkel was a two-time All-MAC tight end at Kent State, where he teamed with Nick Saban and Jack Lambert to play for legendary coach Don James.

Teaser:
Ranking the Top 10 College Football Coaches as Players
Post date: Monday, November 18, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/sec-week-12-awards-and-power-rankings
Body:

The game of the day in the SEC — and the nation — took place at Jordan-Hare Stadium, where Auburn beat Georgia in a game that will be talked about for decades. Elsewhere, Vanderbilt reached bowl-eligibility for the third straight season with a 22-6 win over Kentucky; Alabama remained perfect with a sluggish 20-7 victory over Mississippi State; and South Carolina edged Florida 19-14 in a closer-than-expected battle in Columbia.

SEC Week 12 Awards and Power Rankings

Offensive Player of the Week: Aaron Murray, Georgia
Murray engineered a comeback for the ages … that was thwarted by one of the most amazing endings in recent college football history. Playing rival Auburn for the final time, the senior quarterback led Georgia on three fourth-quarter scoring drives that turned a 20-point deficit into a 38-37 lead. The final Georgia touchdown came on a 5-yard run from Murray on 4th-and-goal with 1:49 remaining. Murray ended the game with 33 completions for 415 yards and two touchdowns but was on the painful end of a legendary finish.

Defensive Player of the Week: C.J. Mosley, Alabama
His stats weren’t overwhelming — eight tackles and one forced fumble — but Mosley led an Alabama defense that limited Mississippi State to 197 total yards in a 20-7 win over the Bulldogs in Starkville. Mosley, a senior linebacker, is the overwhelming favorite to earn SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors.

Team of the Week: Auburn
The dream Iron Bowl matchup is now a reality thanks to a miracle ending that gave Auburn a 43-38 win over Georgia at Jordan-Hare Stadium. For a few anxious moments — when Georgia grabbed a 38-37 lead with under two minutes to play — it appeared as though Auburn had let it all (as in 20-point fourth-quarter lead) slip away. But angst turned into delirium shortly thereafter when Nick Marshall hooked up with Ricardo Louis for a 73-yard score on what might be the most memorable touchdown pass in the history of Auburn football. The Tigers are now 10-1 overall and 6-1 in the SEC, and they host No. 1 Alabama in two weeks. Last year at this point, Auburn was 2-8 overall and 0-7 in the SEC after losing at home to Georgia 38-0.

Coordinator of the Week: Bob Shoop, Vanderbilt
Kentucky marched 75 yards on 12 plays for a touchdown on its first possession but managed only 187 yards on 51 snaps — and no points — the rest of the game. The Wildcats did not have a drive that went for more than 40 yards in the final three and a half quarters, and they did not penetrate the red zone after their initial possession. The Commodores have held three of their last four SEC opponents to under 350 yards.

Freshman of the Week: Kelvin Taylor, Florida
With a redshirt freshman (Skyler Mornhinweg) making his first career start at quarterback, Florida leaned heavily on its running game. And Taylor, a true freshman and the son of Gator legend Fred Taylor, delivered with career highs of 96 yards and two touchdowns to lead a Florida rushing attack that netted 200 yards on 41 attempts in a 19-14 loss at South Carolina. Taylor has 345 in his last five games.

RankTeamLWRecordLast WeekNext Week
1210-0, 7-0W, Miss. State 20-7Chattanooga
2210-1, 6-1W, Georgia 43-38Bye
338-2, 4-2Byeat LSU
448-2, 6-2W, Florida 19-14Coastal Caro.
559-1, 5-1Byeat Ole Miss
677-3, 3-3W, Troy 51-21Missouri
766-4, 4-3L, Auburn 43-38Kentucky
887-3, 3-3ByeTexas A&M
996-4, 3-4W, Kentucky 22-6at Tennessee
10104-6, 3-5L, S. Carolina 19-14Ga. Southern
11124-6, 1-5L, Alabama 20-7at Arkansas
1211

4-6, 1-5

ByeVanderbilt
13132-8, 0-6L, Vanderbilt 22-6at Georgia
14143-7, 0-6ByeMiss. State

 

Teaser:
SEC Week 12 Awards and Power Rankings
Post date: Sunday, November 17, 2013 - 12:23
Path: /college-football/sec-week-12-preview-and-predictions-2013
Body:

The biggest game of the weekend in the SEC will be at Jordan-Hare Stadium, where Auburn hosts Georgia. It’s possible (but not likely) that these two teams could meet up next month in the SEC Championship Game. Elsewhere, South Carolina hosts the struggling Florida Gators; Vanderbilt hopes to become bowl-eligible with a win over Kentucky; and Alabama heads to Starkville to play Mississippi State.

Week 12 Previews and Predictions: ACC Big 12 | Big Ten | Pac-12  

SEC Week 12 Game Power Rankings

1. Georgia (+4) at Auburn (3:30 ET CBS)
Auburn continues its quest to go from worst to first in the SEC West. Employing one of the nation’s most potent offenses — the Tigers rank seventh nationally with 7.1 yards per play — Gus Malzahn’s team is 9–1 overall and 5–1 in the SEC. While Auburn has done most of its work on the ground, this team has been surprisingly efficient when it does elect to pass the ball, ranking fifth in the SEC by averaging 8.5 yards per passing attempt. Statistically, Georgia has been decent on defense (fifth in the SEC, 367.0 ypg), though the Bulldogs have allowed 400 yards or more four times this season — including 404 to Tennessee, which ranks 13th in the league. Surprisingly both teams rank near the bottom of the league in turnover margin in SEC games; Auburn is eighth (minus-0.17) and Georgia is 11th (minus-0.67). You don’t see that too often with teams that are a combined 9–3 in league games.

2. Florida (+13.5) at South Carolina (7 ET, ESPN)
South Carolina can secure a spot in the SEC Championship Game with a win Saturday night. Florida, on the other hand, is simply trying to avoid its first losing season since 1979. The Gators slipped to 4-5 overall with a 34-17 loss at home to Vanderbilt last week. Assuming a win over Georgia Southern on Nov. 23, Florida will have to beat either South Carolina (not likely) or Florida State (highly, highly unlikely) to become bowl-eligible. The Gators could be without starting quarterback Tyler Murphy, who has been dealing with a sprained shoulder. If Murphy, who threw three picks against Vanderbilt, can’t go, redshirt freshman Skyler Mornhinweg (son of Marty) will get the start. A former 4-star recruit from Pennsylvania, Mornhinweg has yet to throw a pass in college. No matter who is takings snaps, Florida must do a better job running the ball. Last week against Vanderbilt, Kelvin Taylor and Mack Brown combined to rush for 79 yards on 24 carries with a long of 10 yards. That’s simply not good enough.

3. Kentucky (+13) at Vanderbilt (12:21 ET, SEC TV)
Vanderbilt beat Georgia and Florida this season despite averaging only 260 yards in the two games. The reason? Turnovers and efficiency in the red zone. Against Georgia, the Commodores only had a 3-to-2 advantage in turnovers, but they scored on all five trips to the red zone, with four touchdowns and a field goal. In the win over Florida, the Dores scored on all six visits to the red zone (four TDs, two FGs) and won the turnover battle 4-to-0. While not the sexiest way to win games, it’s a formula James Franklin would no doubt love to replicate each week. Kentucky is looking for its first SEC win under first-year coach Mark Stoops. The Wildcats have really struggled on offense in league play, averaging only 267.6 yards per game and 4.27 yards per play. Those rank last in the league by a wide margin.

4. Alabama (-25) at Mississippi State (7:45 ET, ESPN)
This Alabama team is playing as well right now as any in the Nick Saban era. The Crimson Tide are undefeated, with eight of their nine wins by 21 points or more. Last week, Bama was magnificent in a 38–17 win over LSU in Tuscaloosa. The Tide scored a touchdown on their final five possessions of the game (not including kneel-downs at the end of each half), with each drive at least 70 yards. Mississippi State has played some decent football this season but only has one SEC win, over Kentucky, to show for it. State has been able to move the ball — it has at least 385 yards in all five SEC games — but those yards haven’t always translated to points (or wins). Quarterback Dak Prescott is questionable with an elbow injury. He gives MSU a major threat in the running game, but the Bulldogs struggle to throw the ball down the field against good competition. In SEC games, they have only five passing plays of 30 yards or more and three of 40 yards or more.

5. Troy (+29) at Ole Miss (12 ET, ESPNU)
Ole Miss concludes its non-conference schedule with a visit from Troy on Saturday afternoon. The Rebels have won three straight — all at home — and are now gunning for a nine-win regular season. To do that, they must beat Troy and Missouri in Oxford and knock off Mississippi State in Starkville. Troy is 5-5 overall and has scored more than 30 points in all but one game — in a 52-7 loss to Mississippi State in late September. This team has some talent, especially on offense, but the Rebels shouldn’t have to break too much of a sweat.

5 Pivotal Players

Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
We’re not breaking news here, but Gurley — when healthy — is one of the elite offensive players in college football. He missed three games with a ankle injury; Georgia lost two and won the other in overtime. He returned two weeks ago against Florida and keyed the Bulldogs’ win, rushing for 100 yards on 17 carries and catching three passes for 87 yards and a score. It’s pretty simple: Georgia is much more explosive when Gurley is in the lineup.

Nick Marshall, QB, Auburn
It’s not often that a player has the opportunity to play against his former school. It’s even more rare — if it’s ever happened at all —when that player is a quarterback after playing a different position at his previous school. Well, that’s Marshall’s story. The former defensive back at Georgia is now running the show for Auburn, the most improved team in the nation. He is coming off a brilliant performance at Tennessee, when he rushed for 214 yards and two scores on only 14 carries. Marshall hasn’t been asked to throw the ball a ton, but he did throw for 339 yards against Mississippi State and 200-plus against LSU and Texas A&M.

Georgia’s linebackers
Georgia coach Mark Richt compared Auburn’s rushing attack to Georgia Tech’s triple-option. The alignment isn’t the same, but the plan of attack is similar — the offense is “accounting for just about every single guy on your team,” Richt said, because the quarterback has the ability to run the ball. When Georgia hands the ball off to a running back, quarterback Aaron Murray is out of the play, and no defender has to worry about him. However, when a running quarterback, like Nick Marshall, initiates the action, a defender has to account for him and another defender has to account for the running back. What does this have to do with Georgia’s linebackers? A lot. This group will have to play with discipline and be able to tackle in space.

Florida’s offensive line
We understand that injuries have hit this unit especially hard, but at some point the guys on the field simply need to play better. Last week against Vanderbilt, Florida quarterback Tyler Murphy was sacked five times, and tailbacks Kelvin Taylor and Mack Brown combined to average 3.3 yards per carry and did not have a run longer than 10 yards. This week, the Gators will be facing one of the top defensive lines in the nation at South Carolina. If the O-line doesn’t play better, it’s almost impossible to envision Florida hanging around in this one.

Jerron Seymour, RB, Vanderbilt
Last week, Vanderbilt dressed only four wide receivers at Florida — and only one (Jordan Matthews) had more than three career catches in SEC action. The Commodores hope to have Jonathan Krause (hamstring) back this week, but if the senior is unable to play, offensive coordinator John Donovan will rely heavily on the running game once again. Seymour has emerged from a crowded backfield to be the Commodores’ No. 1 running back. He doesn’t have the gaudiest stats — 541 yards on 118 carries (4.6 per) — but he is a tough runner with a nose for the end zone. Seymour is tied for third in the league with 12 rushing touchdowns, three of which came last week in the Dores’ win at Florida. Don’t be surprised if the Florida native gets the ball 25 times on Saturday.

 David FoxBraden GallSteven LassanMitch Light
Troy (+29) at Ole Miss 

Ole Miss 35-10

Ole Miss 45-17Ole Miss 45-17Ole Miss 41-10
Kentucky (+13) at Vanderbilt 

Vanderbilt 28-14

Vanderbilt 34-17Vanderbilt 34-20Vanderbilt 28-17
Georgia (+4) at Auburn 

Auburn 35-27

Georgia 38-34Auburn 34-31Auburn 41-35
Florida (+13.5) at S. Carolina

S. Carolina 35-7

S. Carolina 31-13S. Caroina 31-10S. Carolina 30-17
Alabama (-25) at Miss. State

Alabama 42-14

Alabama 35-7Alabama 41-13Alabama 31-10
Last Week6-16-16-16-1
Season76-1475-1576-1473-17

 

Teaser:
SEC Week 12 Preview and Predictions
Post date: Thursday, November 14, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/amazing-sec-college-football-stats-week-11
Body:

True college football fans like to examine and dissect statistics, whether it's a quarterback's completion percentage or a team's winning record on the road. We, however, love stats. With that in mind, we scoured the SEC to put together some of the strangest, most amazing, and just plain cool numbers from around the conference in Week 11.

More Stats from Week 11: ACC 
| Big 12 Big Ten | Pac-12
 

29: Touchdowns scored by Missouri in six SEC games in 2013, eight more than it scored in eight league games last season.
The Tigers are averaging 38.5 points in SEC games, good for third in the league behind Texas A&M (46.0 ppg) and Alabama (42.8 ppg). Last season, Mizzou ranked 11th in the SEC, averaging 21.9 points in league games.

3.27: Yards gained per play by Vanderbilt in its win at Florida.
The Commodores beat the Gators 34-17 despite gaining a season-low 183 yards. Vanderbilt won the turnover battle 4-to-0 and sacked Florida quarterback Tyler Murphy five times. The Dores’ first three touchdown drives went for 10, 22 and 4 yards. Vanderbilt also won its last game in which it averaged less than 4.0 yards per play; last year, the Dores beat NC State 38-24 in the Music City Bowl despite averaging only 3.31 yards per play.

220.1: Yards per game increase for Auburn in SEC action from 2012 to ’13.
Last year, en route to an 0-8 league record, the Tigers averaged 235.1 yards against SEC opponents. This year, under the guidance of Gus Malzahn, Auburn is averaging 455.2 yards per game.

6: Straight losses by Arkansas of 10 points or more, the longest such streak in school history.
The Razorbacks have actually lost seven straight games, but each of the last six has been by at least 10 points. The Hogs are 0-6 in the SEC — the school’s first 0-6 start in league play since 1990 when it was in the Southwest Conference.

8: Total touchdowns scored in the second half of Texas A&M’s 51-41 win over Mississippi State, the most in any SEC game this season.
Four of the eight touchdowns were scored in a two-minute stretch of game time late in the third and early in the fourth quarter. And none of the four was scored on special teams.

0: Interceptions thrown by AJ McCarron in Alabama’s win over LSU.
The Crimson Tide’s senior quarterback has only thrown an interception in two of his 14 regular-season games dating back to the beginning of the 2012 season. McCarron threw one against Ole Miss this season (in a win) and two against Texas A&M last season (in a loss).

12.0: Average yards per carry for Corey Grant in Auburn’s 55-23 win over Tennessee.
Grant, a junior tailback, leads the SEC (min. 50 attempts) with a 10.1 yards-per-carry average — more than two yards higher than any other player in the league.

2: Ole Miss receivers who had over 100 yards receiving in the Rebels’ 34-24 win over Arkansas.
Donte Moncrief had 149 yards on seven receptions and Ja-Mes Logan had 110 on five catches, giving the Rebs two 100-yard receivers in the same game for the first time since 2003. 

Teaser:
Amazing SEC College Football Stats from Week 11
Post date: Tuesday, November 12, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/sec-week-11-awards-and-power-rankings-2013
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Alabama proved it’s the No. 1 team in the SEC — and the nation — with an impressive 38-17 win over LSU on Saturday night. Earlier in the day, Vanderbilt beat Florida with surprising ease in Gainesville; Auburn ran past Tennessee in Knoxville; Missouri rolled past undermanned Kentucky in Lexington; and Ole Miss handled Arkansas in Oxford.

SEC Week 11 Recap and Awards

Offensive Player of the Week: Nick Marshall, Auburn
On the Tigers’ first possession against Tennessee, Gus Malzahn called four straight pass plays. The result was a punt. Wisely, Malzahn decided to let Marshall’s legs do the work. The electric quarterback rushed for 214 yards on only 14 carries (15.3 ypc) as the Tigers racked up 444 rushing yards in a 55-23 win in Knoxville. Marshall now has three games with a least 100 yards rushing and three games with at least 200 yards passing — including one when he accomplished both, at Texas A&M

Defensive Player of the Week: C.J. Mosley, Alabama
Mosley was a force for an Alabama defense that limited LSU to a season-low 284 yards and two touchdowns in the Crimson Tide’s 38-17 win in Tuscaloosa. Mosley, a senior linebacker, recorded a game-high 12 tackles (including 1.5 for a loss) and had two pass break-ups to spearhead the Bama defense. He leads the Tide in tackles with 71 — 23 more than anyone else on the team. 

Team of the Week: Vanderbilt
Despite gaining only 183 total offense, Vanderbilt dominated Florida wire-to-wire en route to its first win over the Gators since 1988 and first win in Gainesville since 1945. The Commodores’ 31-17 victory was keyed by a defense that forced four turnovers and sacked Florida quarterback Tyler Murphy five times. Vanderbilt’s first three touchdown drives — all set up by Murphy interceptions — went for 10, 22 and 4 yards. Then, after Florida cut the deficit to 24-10 midway through the third quarter, the Dores marched 87 yards on 17 plays on a drive that was capped off by Jerron Seymour’s third touchdown of the game. The Commodores are now 5-4 overall and need one win to become bowl-eligible for the third straight season.

Coordinator of the Week: Kirby Smart, Alabama
For the first time since mid-September, Alabama gave up more than 10 points in a game. That’s the bad news (and that’s a stretch). The good news? LSU averaged a season-low 5.3 yards per play, netted just 43 yards rushing and only scored three points in the second half. After giving up a field goal on LSU’s first drive of the third quarter, the Alabama defense took over, allowing only 35 yards on LSU final three possessions. In nine games, Alabama has allowed a total of 11 touchdowns and is giving up 10.6 points per game.

Freshman of the Week: Maty Mauk, Missouri
Mauk made the most of what could be his final start of the 2013 season. The Ohio native completed 17-of-18 passes for 203 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions in Missouri’s 48-17 win at Kentucky. Four of Mauk’s five TD tosses went to sophomore Dorial Green-Beckham, who caught seven passes for 100 yards to go along with his four scores. Mauk, who is 3-1 as the starter, is expected to give way to senior James Franklin when the Tigers return to action in two weeks.

RankTeamLWRecordLast WeekNext Week
119-0, 6-0W, LSU 38-17at Miss. State
239-1, 5-1W, Tennessee 55-23Georgia
348-2, 4-2W, Miss. State 51-41Bye
45

7-2, 5-2

ByeFlorida
569-1, 5-1W, Kentucky 48-17Bye
676-3, 4-2W, App. State 45-6at Auburn
786-3, 3-3W, Arkanas 34-24Troy
827-3, 3-3L, Alabama 38-17Bye
9105-4, 2-4W, Florida 34-17Kentucky
1094-5, 3-4L, Vanderbilt 34-17at South Carolina
11114-6, 1-5L, Auburn 55-23Bye
12124-5, 1-4L, Texas A&M 51-41Alabama
13132-7, 0-5L, Missouri 48-17at Vanderbilt
14143-7, 0-6L, Ole Miss 34-24Bye

 

Teaser:
SEC Week 11 Awards and Power Rankings
Post date: Sunday, November 10, 2013 - 10:58
Path: /college-football/sec-week-11-preview-and-predictions-2013
Body:

The annual Alabama-LSU clash is the main attraction on the SEC slate this weekend, but there are other games of note. Auburn remains in contention in the SEC West, but the Tigers will have to play well to beat Tennessee — a team that has been tough at home. Elsewhere, Florida hopes to stop the bleeding against Vanderbilt; Texas A&M closes out its home schedule with a visit from Mississippi State; Ole Miss, fresh off a bye, hosts struggling Arkansas; and Missouri heads to Lexington to play a Kentucky team searching for its first SEC win of the season.

Week 11 Previews and Predictions: ACC Big 12 | Big Ten | Pac-12 

SEC Week 11 Game Power Rankings

1. LSU (+12.5) at Alabama (8 ET, CBS)
LSU’s two losses have knocked the Tigers out of the national title conversation, but this is still a very good team that is capable of winning in Tuscaloosa. The LSU staff has to be a bit concerned with quarterback Zach Mettenberger. The fifth-year senior has thrown five interceptions in the last two games after throwing a total of two in his first seven games. You have to be nearly perfect to beat Alabama — just ask Johnny Manziel. The Crimson Tide have been on a mission since giving up 42 points (in a win) at Texas A&M. Alabama has outscored its last six opponents 246-46, with the “closest” victories by 25 points, over Colorado State and Ole Miss.

2. Auburn (-7.5) at Tennessee (12 ET, ESPN)
Amazingly, these two traditional powers combined to win one SEC game last season — by Tennessee, over Kentucky (which went winless in the league). Auburn has made a quick turnaround, with an 8-1 overall record and a 4-1 mark in the SEC. The biggest improvement has been on offense, where the Tigers’ production is up by nearly 200 yards per game, from 305.0 in 2012 to 494.9 in ’13. Things are going a bit slower at Tennessee, where Butch Jones is 4-5 overall and 1-4 in the SEC in his first season. The Vols, however, have been good at home in league play, losing in overtime to Georgia and beating South Carolina. Josh Dobbs did some good things in his first start last week at Missouri, but he threw two interceptions and lost a fumble. He will have to limit the mistakes to give his team a chance to win on Saturday.

3. Vanderbilt (+10) at Florida (12 ET, FSN)
These are not good times for Florida football. The Gators have lost three straight games to fall to 3-3 in the SEC — and the three teams they beat have a combined one win in league play. They rank last in the SEC in total offense (334.6 ypg) and are the only team in the league averaging less than 4.0 yards per play. Florida will need to split its final four games (Vanderbilt, at South Carolina, Georgia Southern, Florida State) to become bowl-eligible. Vanderbilt, like Florida, is 4-4 overall, but the Commodores — against a more difficult schedule — have only one SEC win, at home vs. Georgia. Redshirt freshman Patton Robinette will be making his second start at quarterback. He completed 15-of-28 for 216 yards with one touchdown and two INTs at Texas A&M two weeks ago. Vanderbilt has not defeated Florida since 1988 and has only one win over the Gators in Gainesville, in 1945.

4. Mississippi State (+19.5) at Texas A&M (3:30 ET, CBS)
It’s the final game at Kyle Field before the renovations begin. The Aggies have been brilliant on offense this season, scoring at least 41 points in all nine games and topping the 500-yard mark in all but one game. The defense, however, is an issue. Even after holding Vanderbilt to 329 yards and UTEP to 198 yards, A&M is still last in the league in total defense, allowing 443.1 yards per game. Mississippi State, despite its struggles, has been able to move the ball this season. Last week, the Bulldogs had 385 yards against South Carolina, breaking a streak of six straight games with at least 400 yards. Dak Prescott, who leads State in rushing and passing, is a dual-threat quarterback who should have success against the Aggies’ defense. The key, though, will be Mississippi State’s ability to slow down Johnny Manziel & Co. — something that no team has been able to do this season.

5. Arkansas (+17) at Ole Miss (12:21 PM, SEC TV)
Ole Miss dives back in to SEC play for the first time since beating LSU on Oct. 19. The Rebels, at 5-3 overall, are set up for a strong finish. Beating Missouri at home (on Nov. 23) will be a challenge, but Ole Miss could be favored in each of the last four games. An 8-4 regular season, considering the tough schedule and amount of key injuries, would be a great accomplishment for Hugh Freeze and his staff. Arkansas’ staff, on the other hand, is simply looking to win a game. The Hogs have lost five straight games — all in SEC play. Their “closest” loss was by 12 points at home to Texas A&M in late September. This is a mediocre team that is playing with no confidence.

6. Missouri (-14) at Kentucky (12 ET, ESPNU)
Missouri showed its maturity last week by taking care of Tennessee with ease one week after it’s devastating loss to South Carolina. Quarterback James Franklin is listed as questionable on the Tigers’ depth chart, but Maty Mauk is likely to get the start for the fourth straight game. The best plan of attack would be to rest Franklin for one more game then have him ready for Ole Miss after a bye week. Kentucky is searching for its first SEC win of the season. The Wildcats are battling under first-year coach Mark Stoops, but there just isn’t enough talent on this roster at this point. The defense has really struggled in league play, allowing 492.5 yards per game and 6.94 yards per play. Those numbers might go up after Saturday.

7. Appalachian State (+31.5) at Georgia (12:30 ET)
Georgia’s season hasn’t gone quite as well as expected, but Bulldog fans can’t be too upset with a team that already has wins over South Carolina, LSU, Tennessee and Florida on its résumé. The return of Todd Gurley last week provided a big boost, as expected. The sophomore tailback rushed for 100 yards on 17 carries and caught three passes for 87 yards, highlighted by a 73-yard touchdown in the first quarter. Appalachian State has fallen on hard times under first-year coach Scott Satterfield. The Mountaineers are 2-7 overall and will have the school’s first losing season since 1993.

SEC Week 11 Pivotal Players

Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU
Mettenberger was one of the SEC’s best quarterbacks through the first half of the season. He averaged at least 10 yards per attempt in five of his first six games and only threw two interceptions through the first seven games. In his last two SEC games, however, Mettenberger has been rather ordinary, averaging 213 yards with a combined one touchdown and three interceptions. He can’t be ordinary on Saturday night in Tuscaloosa. He has to be elite.

Alabama’s “other” cornerbacks
Senior Deion Belue is an established veteran at one cornerback spot in the Alabama secondary. The other starter will be either sophomore Bradley Sylve or true freshman Eddie Jackson. These young corners will be facing an LSU offense that features two elite wide receivers, Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry. There will be times when Sylve and/or Jackson will be matched up with an All-America-caliber receiver.

Anthony Johnson, DT, LSU
LSU’s great players will have to play great on Saturday night. Johnson is the best player on a defense that has given up 400-plus yards in four of its last five SEC games. The Tigers need their big man to be disruptive on the interior of the defensive line.  

Tennessee’s offensive line
The Vols’ offensive line is loaded with future pros, but the unit has been underwhelming in 2013. Last week, Tennessee was manhandled in the trenches in a 31-3 loss. With a true freshman at quarterback (Josh Dobbs), Tennessee needs its offensive line to play well this week against Auburn. The Tigers are perhaps the most improved team in the nation, but the defense is mediocre. Tennessee should have some success moving the ball — if its offensive line plays up to its ability.

Patton Robinette, QB, Vanderbilt
Florida is vulnerable. The Gators have lost three straight games and have not defeated an SEC team with a winning record. Can Vanderbilt pull off the upset in Gainesville? It’s possible if Robinette, a redshirt freshman making his second career start, plays well and does not turn the ball over. 

 David FoxBraden GallSteven LassanMitch Light  

Auburn (-7.5) at Tennessee 

Auburn 31-24Auburn 37-21Auburn 34-17Auburn 27-24  

Vanderbilt (+10) at Florida 

Florida 17-14Florida 24-17Florida 24-17Florida 28-17  

Missouri (-14) at Kentucky 

Missouri 35-13Missouri 38-13Missouri 38-13Missouri 28-7  

Arkansas (+17) at Ole Miss 

Ole Miss 42-17Ole Miss 38-17Ole Miss 41-20Ole Miss 27-17  

App. State (+31.5) at Georgia

Georgia 38-10Georgia 44-13Georgia 52-10Georgia 47-10  

Miss. St. (+19.5) at Texas A&M 

A&M 56-21A&M 44-24A&M 48-24A&M 44-34  

LSU (+12.5) at Alabama 

Alabama 35-21Alabama 34-17Alabama 30-20Alabama 35-24  
Last Week6-06-06-06-0  
Season70-1369-1470-1367-16  

 

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SEC Week 11 Preview and Predictions
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With the favorite winning all four of the SEC games on Saturday, there wasn’t much movement in the weekly Power Rankings. Arkansas, which has lost six straight game, did fall from No. 13 to No. 14. 

More Post-Week 10 Power Rankings: ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten | Pac-12 

SEC Post-Week 10 Power Rankings

RankTeamLWAnalysis
11Alabama (8-0, 5-0): Alabama had the week off before its huge showdown with LSU in Tuscaloosa. The Crimson Tide, who have allowed 10 points or fewer in all but one game this season, lead the nation in scoring defense (9.8 ppg). Next Week: LSU
22

LSU (7-2, 3-2): After playing nine straight weeks, LSU had its first bye of the season leading up to next Saturday’s trip to Alabama. The Tigers have lost two of their last three on the road — at Georgia and Ole Miss, by three points each. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger has thrown five interceptions in the last two games after throwing a total of two in his first seven games. Next Week: at Alabama

33Auburn (8-1, 4-1): Gus Malzahn is making a strong case for National Coach of the Year. Auburn improved to 8-1 overall with a relatively stress-free 35-17 win over Arkansas in Fayetteville. The Tigers only attempted nine passes, but they completed eight for 135 yards — an average of 14.8 yards per attempt. Tre Mason led a productive running attack with a career-high 32 carries for 168 yards and four touchdowns. Quarterback Nick Marshall added 59 yards rushing on nine attempts. Auburn’s offensive production is up by nearly 200 yards per game this season. Next Week: at Tennessee
44

Texas A&M (7-2, 3-2): It was a slow start on a late kickoff (8 p.m. local time), but the final result was no surprise: Texas A&M 57, UTEP 7. The Aggies only led 9-7 at the end of the first quarter but outscored the Miners 48-0 over the next 30 minutes to take control of the game. Johnny Manziel threw for 273 yards and four touchdowns and added 67 yards and two scores on the ground. Mike Evans, who was getting some recent Heisman talk, only had 46 yards on four receptions. UTEP was without starting quarterback Jameill Showers, who began his career at Texas A&M but transferred following the 2012 season. Showers was sidelined with a shoulder injury. Next Week: Mississippi State

55South Carolina (7-2, 5-2): The Gamecocks only had 307 yards of offense (on 54 snaps) and converted just 1-of-11 on third down yet had little trouble with Mississippi State in a 34-16 win in Columbia. Quarterback Connor Shaw, the hero in Carolina’s win at Missouri last week, threw for 148 yards and a career-high four touchdowns. Mike Davis was terrific on the ground, rushing for 127 yards on an 8.5-yard average. He leads the SEC with 117.6 yards per game. The Gamecocks have next week off then close out their SEC season with a home against Florida. Next Week: Bye
66Missouri (8-1, 4-1): The Tigers bounced back from an excruciating overtime loss to South Carolina with an impressive 31-3 win over Tennessee. Mizzou controlled the line of scrimmage, which led to a productive night running the ball. Surprisingly, quarterback Maty Mauk was the Tigers’ leading rusher with 114 yards on 13 carries. Henry Josey, Russell Hansbrough and Marcus Murphy combined for 179 yards on 31 carries. Mauk threw three touchdowns and did not have a pass intercepted, but he completed only 12-of-25 attempts. In his three starts, Mauk has completed 46.6 percent of his passes. Starting quarterback James Franklin could possibly return next week, but the Tigers may opt to keep him out another game since they have a bye following their trip to Kentucky. Next Week: at Kentucky 
77Georgia (5-3, 4-2): Georgia needed a big win to lift its spirits following consecutive losses to Missouri and Vanderbilt. Mission accomplished. The Bulldogs surged to a 20-0 lead on rival Florida but had to hold on for a 23-20 win — their third straight in the series. The final offensive numbers weren’t overwhelming (414 total yards), but the Bulldogs were terrific in the first half when they grabbed the big lead. The return of All-America tailback Todd Gurley was a big boost; he rushed for 100 yards on 17 carries and caught three passes for 87 yards, highlighted by a 73-yard catch-and-run in the first quarter. Wide receiver Michael Bennett, who missed two games with a knee injury, returned and caught five passes for 59 yards. Next Week: Appalachian State. 
88Ole Miss (5-3, 2-3): Ole Miss did not play. The Rebels are 5-3 overall after ending a midseason three-game slide with wins over LSU and Idaho. The Rebels are out of the SEC West race but are set up for a strong finish, with Troy and Missouri at home followed by a season-ending trip to Starkville for the Egg Bowl. An 8-4 regular season against a difficult schedule — not to mention a slew of key injuries — would be a huge accomplishment for Hugh Freeze’s team. Next Week: Troy
99Florida (4-4, 3-3): Give the Gators credit for a spirited comeback against Georgia in Jacksonville, but this is a team with a ton of problems right now — most notably on the offensive side of the ball. The Gators had only 319 yards against Georgia and have not topped the 400-yard mark in a game since beating Kentucky 24-7 on Sept. 28. Quarterback Tyler Murphy, who played well in his first three games after replacing Jeff Driskel, has completed only 50.6 percent of his passes and averaged 4.5 yards per attempt over the last three games. The Gators have now lost three straight games and have to win two of their final four games — Vanderbilt, at South Carolina, Georgia Southern, Florida State — to become bowl-eligible. Next Week: Vanderbilt
1011

Vanderbilt (4-4, 1-4): The Commodores did not play last weekend. At 4-4, they need to win two of their final four games — at Florida, Kentucky, at Tennessee, Wake Forest — to become bowl-eligible for the third straight season. Vanderbilt has lost 22 straight games to Florida and has only won one time in Gainesville — in 1945, the first game between the two programs. Next Week: at Florida 

1110Tennessee (4-5, 1-4): The Vols lost 31-3 at Missouri in Josh Dobbs’ first start at quarterback. The true freshman threw for 240 yards and completed 61.9 percent of his passes, but he tossed two interceptions and lost a fumble. Marlin Lane ran well, averaging 6.2 yards on six carries, but Rajion Neal was limited to eight yards on eight attempts. The Vols had trouble slowing down Mizzou’s rushing attack, giving up 339 yards on 54 carries. Since upsetting South Carolina on Oct. 19, Tennessee has been outscored 76-13 in losses at Alabama and Missouri. Next Week: Auburn
1212Mississippi State (4-4, 1-3): Mississippi State outgained South Carolina 385-to-307 in Columbia and converted 6-of-13 on third down but never really threatened the Gamecocks because it lost the turnover battle 5-to-0. Dak Prescott did some nice things at quarterback (235 yards passing, 78 rushing), but he threw three interceptions. The Bulldogs are 2-7 in their last nine SEC games dating back to the middle of last season. Next Week: at Texas A&M
1314Kentucky (2-6, 0-4): Kentucky climbs out of last place in our weekly power rankings for the first time this season. The Cats rolled past FCS foe Alabama State 48-14 on Saturday, but their move to No. 13 has as much to do with Arkansas’ struggles as their improvement. UK used a balanced attack (233 yards rushing, 189 passing) to wear down Alabama State after a tight first quarter. Jalen Whitlow played most of the way at quarterback, throwing for 186 yards and two TDs and rushing for a game-high 101 yard and two more scores. Former Georgia tailback Isaiah Crowell led Alabama State with 84 yards on 12 carries. Next Week: Missouri
1413

Arkansas (3-6, 0-5): Arkansas’ losing streak is now at six games after a 35-17 loss at home to Auburn. The Hogs did a decent job on the ground, with 222 rushing yards, but they continue to get subpar play from the quarterback position. Brandon Allen completed only 10-of-22 passes for 112 yards. In SEC games, Arkansas is averaging 138.2 passing yards per game (13th in the league) and has four touchdown passes and seven interceptions. Overall, the Hogs only have eight touchdowns in five SEC games; to put that in perspective, Texas A&M has 30 touchdowns in five conference games. Next Week: at Ole Miss

SEC Week 10 Recap and Awards

Offensive Player of the Week: Tre Mason, Auburn
He doesn’t often get mentioned with some of other elite backs in the SEC, but Mason is enjoying a tremendous junior season under first-year coach Gus Malzahn. On Saturday night in Fayetteville, Mason rushed for 168 yards and four touchdowns on 32 carries to lead Auburn to a 35-17 win over Arkansas. In SEC play, Mason is averaging 117.8 yards per game with a league-best eight rushing touchdowns.

Defensive Player of the Week: Garrison Smith, Georgia
Smith, a senior defensive end, had the most productive day of his career in a very important game for the Georgia program. The Atlanta native had nine tackles and was credited with 2.5 sacks (for 12 lost yards) in the Bulldogs’ 23-20 win over Florida — their third straight over their rivals from Gainesville. Georgia held the Gators 319 total yards and allowed only one drive that went for more than 50 yards. 

Team of the Week: Georgia
The Bulldogs survived a spirited second-half comeback to edge Florida 23-20 in a battle of proud programs seeking a feel-good win. Georgia dominated the first half and appeared on its way to a lopsided win until one play — a lateral that tight end Arthur Lynch failed to pick up — changed the complexion of the game. Florida outscored the Dawgs 17-0 the rest of the way but came up just short and lost for the third straight time in the series. The win keeps Georgia in the hunt in the SEC East. The Bulldogs and South Carolina each have two losses. Missouri has one loss. The Tigers, however, still have to play Ole Miss on the road and Texas A&M at home. 

Coordinator of the Week: Mike Bobo, Georgia
It might seem odd to give Bobo the nod here since Georgia only scored 23 points and was shut out in the second half. But consider a few stats: The Bulldogs had 414 total yards and averaged 6.8 yards per play (only Missouri has done better against Florida this season), and Georgia averaged 9.9 yard per pass attempt — the most against Florida since October 2011. The Bulldogs also converted 7-of-12 on third down — their first game over 50 percent for the season — and ended the game on a 67-yard drive that ate up the final 8:17 of the game. 

Freshman of the Week: Kelvin Taylor, Florida
It was far from a banner week for the league’s freshman. We’ll give the nod to Taylor, who rushed for 76 yards on 20 carries against Georgia in his first career start. The son of former Florida star Fred Taylor has been forced into a prominent role due to injuries at the tailback position. He has rushed for 202 yards on 42 carries in the last three games.

5th Down

• Tyler Russell, Mississippi State’s starting quarterback at the beginning of the season, did not play a snap in the Bulldogs’ 34–16 loss at South Carolina. Coach Dan Mullen said Russell, who has been dealing with an ankle injury, was cleared to play “but if he didn’t have to play he wasn’t going to, which (will allow) him to be very healthy getting into next week.” Dak Prescott threw for 235 yards and rushed for 78 yards and two scores, but he threw three interceptions.

• South Carolina’s Connor Shaw has 17 touchdowns and only one interception in seven SEC games. Only two other quarterbacks have more than 10 TDs in league games — Johnny Manziel (15) and Aaron Murray (15).

• Missouri rushed for 339 yards in a 31-3 win against Tennessee, the Tigers’ highest single-game total in SEC play since joining the league last season. Mizzou was led by quarterback Maty Mauk, who had a career-high 114 yards on 13 attempts, and Henry Josey, who ran for 74 yards on 16 carries.

• Arkansas is averaging only 4.8 yards per passing attempt in SEC games. Only two teams nationally are worse in league play — Purdue (4.5 in the Big Ten) and Syracuse (4.1 in the ACC). Two years ago, in the final year of the Bobby Petrino era, the Hogs averaged a league-best 7.7 yards per pass attempt in SEC games.

• Auburn had a season-low 366 total yards (on a season-low 55 snaps) yet still beat Arkansas with ease, 35-17. The Tigers’ previous season low was 375 yards in a 30-22 win at home against Ole Miss. 

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2013 SEC Post-Week 10 Power Rankings
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The Week 10 slate was highlighted by Georgia’s 23-20 win over Florida in Jacksonville. The Bulldogs surged to a 23-3 lead at the half but had to hold on for a three-point win. Elsewhere, South Carolina beat Mississippi State with ease despite struggling a bit on offense; Auburn pounded Arkansas in Gus Malzahn’s return to the Natural State; and Missouri had little trouble with Tennessee, which started true freshman Josh Dobbs at quarterback.  

SEC Week 10 Recap and Awards

Offensive Player of the Week: Tre Mason, Auburn
He doesn’t often get mentioned with some of other elite backs in the SEC, but Mason is enjoying a tremendous junior season under first-year coach Gus Malzahn. On Saturday night in Fayetteville, Mason rushed for 168 yards and four touchdowns on 32 carries to lead Auburn to a 35-17 win over Arkansas. In SEC play, Mason is averaging 117.8 yards per game with a league-best eight rushing touchdowns.

Defensive Player of the Week: Garrison Smith, Georgia
Smith, a senior defensive end, had the most productive day of his career in a very important game for the Georgia program. The Atlanta native had nine tackles and was credited with 2.5 sacks (for 12 lost yards) in the Bulldogs’ 23-20 win over Florida — their third straight over their rivals from Gainesville. Georgia held the Gators 319 total yards and allowed only one drive that went for more than 50 yards. 

Team of the Week: Georgia
The Bulldogs survived a spirited second-half comeback to edge Florida 23-20 in a battle of proud programs seeking a feel-good win. Georgia dominated the first half and appeared on its way to a lopsided win until one play — a lateral that tight end Arthur Lynch failed to pick up — changed the complexion of the game. Florida outscored the Dawgs 17-0 the rest of the way but came up just short and lost for the third straight time in the series. The win keeps Georgia in the hunt in the SEC East. The Bulldogs and South Carolina each have two losses. Missouri has one loss. The Tigers, however, still have to play Ole Miss on the road and Texas A&M at home. 

Coordinator of the Week: Mike Bobo, Georgia
It might seem odd to give Bobo the nod here since Georgia only scored 23 points and was shut out in the second half. But consider a few stats: The Bulldogs had 414 total yards and averaged 6.8 yards per play (only Missouri has done better against Florida this season), and Georgia averaged 9.9 yard per pass attempt — the most against Florida since October 2011. The Bulldogs also converted 7-of-12 on third down — their first game over 50 percent for the season — and ended the game on a 67-yard drive that ate up the final 8:17 of the game. 

Freshman of the Week: Kelvin Taylor, Florida
It was far from a banner week for the league’s freshman. We’ll give the nod to Taylor, who rushed for 76 yards on 20 carries against Georgia in his first career start. The son of former Florida star Fred Taylor has been forced into a prominent role due to injuries at the tailback position. He has rushed for 202 yards on 42 carries in the last three games.

5th Down

• Tyler Russell, Mississippi State’s starting quarterback at the beginning of the season, did not play a snap in the Bulldogs’ 34–16 loss at South Carolina. Coach Dan Mullen said Russell, who has been dealing with an ankle injury, was cleared to play “but if he didn’t have to play he wasn’t going to, which (will allow) him to be very healthy getting into next week.” Dak Prescott threw for 235 yards and rushed for 78 yards and two scores, but he threw three interceptions.

• South Carolina’s Connor Shaw has 17 touchdowns and only one interception in seven SEC games. Only two other quarterbacks have more than 10 TDs in league games — Johnny Manziel (15) and Aaron Murray (15).

• Missouri rushed for 339 yards in a 31-3 win against Tennessee, the Tigers’ highest single-game total in SEC play since joining the league last season. Mizzou was led by quarterback Maty Mauk, who had a career-high 114 yards on 13 attempts, and Henry Josey, who ran for 74 yards on 16 carries.

• Arkansas is averaging only 4.8 yards per passing attempt in SEC games. Only two teams nationally are worse in league play — Purdue (4.5 in the Big Ten) and Syracuse (4.1 in the ACC). Two years ago, in the final year of the Bobby Petrino era, the Hogs averaged a league-best 7.7 yards per pass attempt in SEC games.

• Auburn had a season-low 366 total yards (on a season-low 55 snaps) yet still beat Arkansas with ease, 35-17. The Tigers’ previous season low was 375 yards in a 30-22 win at home against Ole Miss. 

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The Week 10 SEC slate is highlighted by the annual Florida-Georgia showdown in Jacksonville. Both teams have struggled in recent weeks — due in large part to injuries — but this game is still very important to both programs.

Week 10 Previews and Predictions: ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten Pac-12

SEC Week 10 Game Power Rankings

1. Florida (+2.5) vs. Georgia (3:30 ET, CBS)
As poorly as both of these teams have played in the past month, they both still have a shot at the SEC East title — thanks in large part to South Carolina’s comeback win over Missouri last weekend. A lot of things have to happen — most notably, both teams need to start playing better — but it’s possible that either Georgia or Florida could earn a trip to Atlanta with a 6–2 record in the league. Georgia, right now, seems like the candidate more likely to rebound. The Bulldogs are getting healthier — All-America tailback Todd Gurley should be back this week — and are much better at the quarterback position. Florida’s strength (its defense) was exposed in its last game, giving up 500 yards to Missouri, with a backup quarterback making his first start, in a 36–17 loss. Florida has no chance to finish strong unless its defense returns to form.

2. Tennessee (+11) at Missouri (7:00 ET, ESPN)
When you factor in the way the game was lost and what was at stake, no team in the nation has suffered a more painful loss than what Missouri had to deal with on Saturday night. Now, the Tigers must regroup to play a Tennessee team that is good enough to make them sweat. The Vols were manhandled last weekend in Tuscaloosa but beat South Carolina — the same team that defeated Missouri — the week before. Tennessee, however, will be starting a true freshman (Josh Dobbs) at quarterback. Dobbs was pressed into action at Alabama in the second half due to an injury to starter Justin Worley. Dobbs completed 5-of-12 passes for 75 yards and added 19 yards on the ground. Missouri’s defense isn’t quite as formidable as Alabama’s, but the Tigers are very good on the defensive line and feature one of the league’s top cornerbacks in E.J. Gaines. This will be a tough test for the young quarterback.

3. Auburn (-9) at Arkansas (6:00 ET, ESPN2)
How quickly things change in a year. Last October, Auburn — en route to an 0-8 SEC record — managed only 321 yards of offense in a 24–7 loss at home to an Arkansas team that only won one other SEC game. Now, the Tigers are 7-1 overall (3-1 in the SEC) and favored by nine points on the road at Arkansas. The offense, which ranked last in the SEC in 2012 with 305.0 yards per game, now ranks second (511.0 ypg) behind only Texas A&M. Starting quarterback Nick Marshall has been dealing with a shoulder injury and could be a game-time decision, according to coach Gus Malzahn. If he’s unable to play, the Tigers will turn to true freshman Jeremy Johnson. Things are not going well at Arkansas, where Bret Bielema’s first Razorback team has lost five straight games — the last two by a combined score of 104-7. The Hogs have some quality talent at running back and on the defensive line but are lacking top-flight SEC talent elsewhere.

4. Mississippi State (+13) at South Carolina (12:21 ET, SEC TV)
By virtue of its comeback win at Missouri last weekend, South Carolina is now in great position to represent the East Division in the SEC Championship Game. The Gamecocks, who now own the tie-breaker with Mizzou, close their league slate with home games against Mississippi State and Florida. Win those two, and Carolina likely will be playing in Atlanta. Mississippi State, on the other hand, is desperate for a quality win — something the program hasn’t had since beating Wake Forest in the 2011 Music City Bowl (and that’s a stretch). The Bulldogs are 4-3 overall, with wins over Alcorn State, Troy, Bowling Green and Kentucky — the last two by a combined seven points.

5. UTEP (+45.5) at Texas A&M (9:00 ET,  ESPN)
The only thing intriguing about this game was going to be the return of Jameill Showers to College Station. At one point, Showers was listed ahead of Johnny Manziel on the Aggies’ depth chart. Now, he is the starting quarterback at UTEP, where he has thrown for 1,263 yards and 11 touchdowns in six-plus games. Showers will not, however, be in the lineup this week due to a shoulder injury. So now, there’s really nothing that interesting about this game. Texas A&M will score a lot of points, and the Miners, who are 1-6, will not.

6. Alabama State at Kentucky (7:30 ET, CSS)
Kentucky is searching for win No. 2 on Saturday night. The Wildcats should get it without too much trouble, but it is worth noting that Alabama State is 6-2 and has won six straight games. The Hornets are led by tailback Isaiah Crowell, a former Georgia Bulldog who has rushed for 814 yards in seven games. Kentucky hopes to have sophomore Jalen Whitlow, who has been slowed by an ankle injury, back in the lineup at quarterback. If he is unable to play, it appears that true freshman Reese Phillips — not Maxwell Smith or Patrick Towles (a 4-star recruit) — will be pressed into duty.

5 Pivotal Players

Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
The Bulldogs expect to have their All-American back in the lineup after missing three games with a high ankle sprain. J.J. Green and Brendan Douglas did a nice job in relief, but Gurley is a true difference-maker who, when healthy, is one of the top two or three running backs in the nation. He will be running against a Florida defense that hasn’t been nearly as formidable since defensive tackle Dominique Easley went down with a season-ending injury. In the last three games, all without Easley, Florida has allowed 163.7 rushing yards per game and 4.7 yards per carry.

Florida secondary
The Florida run defense has taken a step back in recent weeks — see above — but the secondary was the biggest issue in the Gators’ 36-17 loss to Missouri two weeks ago. After having allowed no more than 165 yards in any of its previous six games, Florida gave up 295 yards on only 18 completions to a redshirt freshman making his first start. The Gators’ pass defense — led by the league’s best collection of cornerbacks — will need to be more effective against Georgia on Saturday.

Josh Dobbs, QB, Tennessee
The true freshman from Georgia will make his first start on Saturday night at Missouri. Dobbs, who originally committed to Arizona State, was hand-picked by the new staff after its arrival in Knoxville last December. He is one of three freshman quarterbacks on the roster — two true and one redshirt — but most around the program believe Dobbs is the best fit for the offense. He’ll have an opportunity to display his skills in prime time on Saturday night.

Alex Collins, RB, Arkansas
At first glance, it appears that Collins, one of the top running backs in the Class of 2013, has struggled against SEC competition. After all, he is averaging 120.3 yards per game in the Hogs’ four non-conference games and 79.0 yards in their four SEC games. But the dip in production is a product of fewer opportunities — he is averaging 13.8 carries against SEC teams and 21.5 against all others. In fact, Collins’ per-carry numbers are better in league games (5.8) than non-conference games (5.6). The Razorbacks need to establish the running game Saturday against Auburn and make sure their star freshman is a big part of the offense.

Jameon Lewis, WR, Mississippi State
The Bulldogs will need some big plays from their top weapons to pull off the upset at South Carolina Saturday. Last week, Lewis, a junior wideout, scored on a 19-yard carry in the first quarter, a 17-yard reception in the second and tossed a 17-yard touchdown pass to quarterback Dak Prescott in the third. Now, it’s not likely that Lewis will duplicate this rare feet against South Carolina, but the Bulldogs will look to their top wide receiver (30 catches for 446 yards) to play a key role against a very good South Carolina defense.

 David FoxBraden GallSteven LassanMitch Light

Miss. St. (+13) at S. Carolina

S. Carolina 31-13S. Carolina 31-17S. Carolina 34-20S. Carolina 27-13

Florida (+2.5) vs. Georgia

Georgia 28-10
Georgia 28-24Georgia 24-20Georgia 27-20

Auburn (-9) at Arkansas

Auburn 24-10
Auburn 42-14Auburn 38-20Auburn 31-17

Tennessee (+11) at Missouri

Missouri 21-17Missouri 34-20Missouri 31-20Missouri 28-20

Alabama State at Kentucky

Kentucky 24-10Kentucky 33-20Kentucky 48-17Kentucky 31-10

UTEP (+45.5) at Texas A&M

Texas A&M 52-21Texas A&M 51-20Texas A&M 62-14Texas A&M 58-7
Last Week6-17-07-06-1
Season64-1363-1464-1361-16

 

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SEC 2013 Week 10 Preview and Predictions
Post date: Thursday, October 31, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/2013-sec-post-week-9-power-rankings
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Alabama is the top ranked team in the nation and obviously the No. 1 team in the SEC. The Crimson Tide disposed of Tennessee 45-10 in Tuscaloosa on Saturday. Missouri was the biggest move in the power rankings — in the wrong direction. The Tigers fell from No. 2 to No. 6 after losing at home to South Carolina.

More Post-Week 9 Power Rankings: ACC Big 12 | Big Ten | Pac-12 

SEC Post-Week 9 Power Rankings

RankTeamLWAnalysis
11Alabama (8-0, 5-0): Alabama beat Tennessee for the seventh straight time — and did so with remarkable ease. The Crimson Tide led 21-0 after one quarter and 35-0 at the half en route to the 45-10 win over the visiting Volunteers. AJ McCarron, as usual, was efficient throwing the ball, completing 19-of-27 passes for 275 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Kevin Norwood caught six passes for a career-high 112 yards to lead the Tide’s underrated crop of receivers. Alabama has allowed 10 points or less in all but one game this season. Next Week: Bye
23LSU (7-2, 3-2): LSU stepped out of SEC play to host Furman on Saturday night. The Paladins made it interesting for a while — they trailed 20-16 at the half — but were overwhelmed in the final two quarters of a 48-16 loss. The Tigers rolled up 672 yards of offense, with 300-plus through the air and on the ground. Tailbacks Jeremy Hill and Terrence McGee were unstoppable, combining for 251 yards and four touchdowns on only 21 carries. Furman, coached by longtime Vanderbilt assistant Bruce Fowler, managed only 198 yards. Next Week: Bye
34Auburn (7-1, 3-1): The Tigers cruised to a 45-10 win over Florida Atlantic in their final non-conference game of the season. Quarterback Nick Marshall was sidelined with a shoulder injury early in the second quarter, forcing the Tigers to turn to Jeremy Johnson, a true freshman who has started one game this season. Johnson was sharp, completing 10-of-16 passes for 192 yards and two touchdowns. Cameron Artis-Payne led a productive Auburn ground attack with 93 yards on 13 carries. Next Week: at Arkansas
46Texas A&M (6-2, 3-2): Kevin Sumlin was “hopeful’ that his star quarterback, bothered by a shoulder injury, would be available to play against Vanderbilt. Johnny Manziel said there was never any doubt. The 2012 Heisman Trophy Winner threw for 304 yards and four touchdowns to lead Texas A&M to a 56-24 win. Manziel was extremely sharp early, leading the Aggies on touchdown drives of 75, 66, 80 and 39 yards as they raced out to a 28-0 lead early in the second quarter. Texas A&M committed four turnovers — the most this season — but still won the game with relative ease. The Aggies’ defense, which entered the day ranked 120th in the nation, gave up a season-low 330 yards. Next Week: UTEP
55South Carolina (6-2, 4-2): The Gamecocks are back in the SEC East title chase after rallying to beat Missouri 27-24 in double-overtime on the road. Connor Shaw was the hero for Carolina, coming off the bench in the third quarter and throwing for 201 yards and three touchdowns. The Gamecocks won despite netting only 75 rushing yards on 35 attempts. South Carolina is now only one game behind Mizzou in the loss column, and the Gamecocks own the tie-breaker between the two teams. Next Week: Mississippi State
62Missouri (7-1, 3-1): Missouri is 7-1 overall and alone in first place in the SEC East. That’s the good news. The bad news? The Tigers blew a golden opportunity to all but wrap up the division title by blowing a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter to South Carolina on Saturday night. Maty Mauk, in his second career start, only completed 10-of-25 passes but those 10 completions went for 249 yards — thanks in part to a 96-yard catch-and-run by L’Damian Washington in the second quarter. The Mizzou defense did a great job against the run, holding South Carolina to 75 yards on 35 carries for a 2.1-yard average. However, the Gamecocks passed for 423 yards on 35 completions, including some huge throws from Shaw in the second half. Next: Tennessee
77Georgia (4-3, 3-2): The Bulldogs used the week off to get healthy — both physically and mentally — following their loss at Vanderbilt. Georgia hopes to have star tailback Todd Gurley back in the lineup. The All-American has missed three straight games due a high-ankle sprain. Next Week: vs. Florida
88

Ole Miss (5-3, 2-3): After a grueling three-week stretch that featured trips to Alabama and Auburn and a home game with Texas A&M, the Rebels stepped out of SEC play and cruised past Idaho 59-14 in Oxford. Ole Miss outgained Idaho 572-to-253 with a balanced attack that produced 280 yards passing and 292 yards rushing. Sophomore tailback I’Tavius Mathers led the way with 138 yards on 14 carries. Next Week: Bye

99Florida (4-3, 3-2): The Gators had a bye to regroup after their troubling 36-17 loss at Missouri two weeks ago. Will Muschamp’s team, which has dealt with a slew of key injuries on both sides of the ball, heads to Jacksonville next week to take on rival Georgia. The Gators have lost two straight in the series for the first time since the late 1980s. Next Week: vs. Georgia. 
1010Tennessee (4-4, 1-3): Tennessee’s hopes for an upset in Tuscaloosa ended well before halftime. The Vols trailed No. 1 Alabama 28-0 after four possessions and never threatened the rest of the way. The big story for Tennessee was the debut of true freshman quarterback Joshua Dobbs. The staff was hoping to redshirt both true freshman — Dobbs and Riley Ferguson — but Butch Jones was forced to go to the bullpen when Justin Worley went down with a hand injury late in the first half. Dobbs made his debut in the third quarter and threw for 75 yards on 12 attempts. Tennessee has lost 10 straight SEC road games, dating back to November 2010. Next Week: at Missouri
1111Vanderbilt (4-3, 1-4): You might think that holding Johnny Manziel to a career-low 11 yards rushing would have been a positive development for the Vanderbilt defense. You would be wrong. Led by an extremely efficient passing attack — three A&M quarterbacks combined to throw for 377 yards and average 8.2 yards per attempt — Texas A&M rolled up 556 yards of offense in a 56-24 win over the Dores in College Station. Vanderbilt trailed 28-0 early in the second quarter but scored 17 straight points to cut the deficit to 11 points at the half. The fun ended on the first play of the third quarter when Howard Matthews stepped in front of a Patton Robinette pass and returned the ball 26 yards for a score. Robinette, making his first start, completed 15-of-28 passes for 215 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Next Week: Bye
1212Mississippi State (4-3, 1-2): It was a struggle, but Mississippi State picked up its first SEC win of the season, holding on to beat Kentucky 28-22 in Starkville on Thursday night. The Bulldogs dominated the game statistically — outgaining UK 447-to-325 — but needed a defensive stop in the last minute to preserve the win. Sophomore Dak Prescott, back as the starter at quarterback after giving way to Tyler Russell the previous week, threw for 268 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. State converted 10-of-18 on third down, did not commit a turnover and scored a touchdown on all three of its trips to the red zone. Next Week:
1313Mississippi State (4-3, 1-2): It was a struggle, but Mississippi State picked up its first SEC win of the season, holding on to beat Kentucky 28-22 in Starkville on Thursday night. The Bulldogs dominated the game statistically — outgaining UK 447-to-325 — but needed a defensive stop in the last minute to preserve the win. Sophomore Dak Prescott, back as the starter at quarterback after giving way to Tyler Russell the previous week, threw for 268 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. State converted 10-of-18 on third down, did not commit a turnover and scored a touchdown on all three of its trips to the red zone. Next Week:
1414Kentucky (1-6, 0-4): Kentucky put itself in position to record its first SEC win the of the season, but the Wildcats’ final drive stalled at the Mississippi State 29-yard line when Maxwell Smith’s fourth-down pass fell incomplete. The result was a 28-22 loss in Starkville — the Cats’ 12th-straight defeat in SEC play. With Jalen Whitlow slowed by an ankle injury, Smith got the start at quarterback. The sophomore did not throw an interception but threw for only 160 yards on 34 attempts. Whitlow played sparingly, completing his only passing attempt (for five yards) and rushing for 12 yards on four attempts. Raymond Sanders rushed for a season-high 86 yards on 15 carries. Next Week: Alabama State

SEC Week 9 Recap and Awards

Offensive Player of the Week: Connor Shaw, South Carolina
Shaw, nursing a knee injury, came off the bench in the third quarter with his team trailing 17-0. About two hours later, the Gamecocks walked off the turf at Faurot Field with an improbable 27-24 win in double-overtime. Shaw was the man most responsible for Carolina’s season-saving win. The senior completed 20-of-29 passes for 201 yards with three touchdowns  — despite not playing the entire first half. The Gamecocks tied the game when Shaw connected with Nick Jones on a 2-yard touchdown with 42 seconds remaining in regulation and sent the game into a second overtime when Shaw found Bruce Ellington for a TD on 4th-and-goal from the 15.

Defensive Player of the Week: Kelcy Quarles, South Carolina
Quarles, one of the more underrated players in the SEC, was disruptive in the middle of the South Carolina defensive line. The junior from Hodges, S.C., recorded six tackles, including three for a loss (and two sacks) in the Gamecocks’ double-overtime win over Missouri. Quarles leads South Carolina with 10.0 tackles for a loss and 7.0 sacks — five more than his more famous teammate, Jadeveon Clowney.

Team of the Week: South Carolina
South Carolina kept its SEC East title hopes alive with an improbable comeback win at Missouri. The Gamecocks, who entered the day two games behind Mizzou in the loss column, rallied from 17-0 down in the fourth quarter and eventually won the game in the second overtime when MU’s Andrew Baggett missed a 24-yard field goal. South Carolina is now 4-2 in league play with games remaining at home against Mississippi State and Florida. Missouri, now 3-1, still has to play Tennessee and Texas A&M at home and Ole Miss and Kentucky on the road. Florida and Georgia both have two losses as well.  

Coordinator of the Week: Mark Snyder, Texas A&M
The SEC’s worst defense — at least statistically — had its best day of the season on Saturday afternoon. Texas A&M, which had allowed an average of 532.0 yards in SEC action, limited Vanderbilt to 329 yards and only 4.3 yards per play. The Commodores were playing with a redshirt freshman quarterback (Patton Robinette) making his first start, but this was still an impressive performance by the Aggies’ defense. A&M had allowed at least 250 yards rushing in every SEC game this season — including 379 in the loss to Auburn two weeks ago — but held Vanderbilt to 95 on 44 attempts.

Freshman of the Week: Jeremy Johnson, Auburn
Johnson, a true freshman from Montgomery, Ala., was forced into action when Nick Marshall went down with a shoulder injury early in the second quarter. Johnson responded, completing 10-of-16 passes for 192 yards and two touchdowns in the Tigers’ 45-10 win over Florida Atlantic. Johnson connected with Sammie Coates for a 36-yard TD on his first play of the game and then found Coates again for a 67-yard score later in the second quarter.

Fifth Down

• Johnny Manziel, playing through a shoulder injury, had career-lows in rushing yards (11) and rushing attempts (four) — and two of his attempts came on sacks. Prior to Saturday, Manziel’s fewest carries and yards both game in the 2013 season-opener against Rice, when he had 19 yards on six attempts in one half of action.

• Alabama has not allowed more than two touchdowns to an SEC team not named Texas A&M in the regular season since the 2010 Iron Bowl loss to Auburn. In the last two regular seasons, Alabama has given up 71 points in two games against Texas A&M and a total of 78 points in its other 11 SEC games.

• Missouri let a late lead slip away, but the Tigers continue to get solid play from their defensive line. Mizzou held South Carolina to only 75 yards rushing on 35 attempts for a 2.1-yard average. Mike Davis, who entered the day as the SEC’s leading rusher, was held to a season-low 51 yards on 19 carries. His previous low was 77 yards on 17 carries against Vanderbilt.

• It’s a small consolation for Tennessee — which lost 45-10 at Alabama — but the Vols had to be pleased with the play of tailbacks Rajion Neal and Marlin Lane. The two combined for 90 yards on 19 carries (a 4.7-yard average) against the SEC’s top rushing defense. Neal leads the team with 763 yards and nine rushing touchdowns.

• Alabama wide receiver Kevin Norwood had the first 100-yard game of his career on Saturday afternoon. The senior caught a season-high six passes for 112 yards in Bama’s win over Tennessee. 

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, October 28, 2013 - 07:20
Path: /college-football/sec-week-9-recap-and-awards-2013
Body:

The only game with a significant impact on the SEC standings in Week 9 turned out to be a thriller. South Carolina, left for dead after trailing 17-0 entering the fourth quarter, rallied to beat Missouri to keep its SEC East title hopes alive. Elsewhere, Johnny Manziel was brilliant in Texas A&M’s win over Vanderbilt; Alabama rolled, as expected, over Tennessee; and Mississippi State outlasted Kentucky on Thursday night in Starkville.

SEC Week 9 Recap and Awards

Offensive Player of the Week: Connor Shaw, South Carolina
Shaw, nursing a knee injury, came off the bench in the third quarter with his team trailing 17-0. About two hours later, the Gamecocks walked off the turf at Faurot Field with an improbable 27-24 win in double-overtime. Shaw was the man most responsible for Carolina’s season-saving win. The senior completed 20-of-29 passes for 201 yards with three touchdowns  — despite not playing the entire first half. The Gamecocks tied the game when Shaw connected with Nick Jones on a 2-yard touchdown with 42 seconds remaining in regulation and sent the game into a second overtime when Shaw found Bruce Ellington for a TD on 4th-and-goal from the 15.

Defensive Player of the Week: Kelcy Quarles, South Carolina
Quarles, one of the more underrated players in the SEC, was disruptive in the middle of the South Carolina defensive line. The junior from Hodges, S.C., recorded six tackles, including three for a loss (and two sacks) in the Gamecocks’ double-overtime win over Missouri. Quarles leads South Carolina with 10.0 tackles for a loss and 7.0 sacks — five more than his more famous teammate, Jadeveon Clowney.

Team of the Week: South Carolina
South Carolina kept its SEC East title hopes alive with an improbable comeback win at Missouri. The Gamecocks, who entered the day two games behind Mizzou in the loss column, rallied from 17-0 down in the fourth quarter and eventually won the game in the second overtime when MU’s Andrew Baggett missed a 24-yard field goal. South Carolina is now 4-2 in league play with games remaining at home against Mississippi State and Florida. Missouri, now 3-1, still has to play Tennessee and Texas A&M at home and Ole Miss and Kentucky on the road. Florida and Georgia both have two losses as well.  

Coordinator of the Week: Mark Snyder, Texas A&M
The SEC’s worst defense — at least statistically — had its best day of the season on Saturday afternoon. Texas A&M, which had allowed an average of 532.0 yards in SEC action, limited Vanderbilt to 329 yards and only 4.3 yards per play. The Commodores were playing with a redshirt freshman quarterback (Patton Robinette) making his first start, but this was still an impressive performance by the Aggies’ defense. A&M had allowed at least 250 yards rushing in every SEC game this season — including 379 in the loss to Auburn two weeks ago — but held Vanderbilt to 95 on 44 attempts.

Freshman of the Week: Jeremy Johnson, Auburn
Johnson, a true freshman from Montgomery, Ala., was forced into action when Nick Marshall went down with a shoulder injury early in the second quarter. Johnson responded, completing 10-of-16 passes for 192 yards and two touchdowns in the Tigers’ 45-10 win over Florida Atlantic. Johnson connected with Sammie Coates for a 36-yard TD on his first play of the game and then found Coates again for a 67-yard score later in the second quarter.

Fifth Down

• Johnny Manziel, playing through a shoulder injury, had career-lows in rushing yards (11) and rushing attempts (four) — and two of his attempts came on sacks. Prior to Saturday, Manziel’s fewest carries and yards both game in the 2013 season-opener against Rice, when he had 19 yards on six attempts in one half of action.

• Alabama has not allowed more than two touchdowns to an SEC team not named Texas A&M in the regular season since the 2010 Iron Bowl loss to Auburn. In the last two regular seasons, Alabama has given up 71 points in two games against Texas A&M and a total of 78 points in its other 11 SEC games.

• Missouri let a late lead slip away, but the Tigers continue to get solid play from their defensive line. Mizzou held South Carolina to only 75 yards rushing on 35 attempts for a 2.1-yard average. Mike Davis, who entered the day as the SEC’s leading rusher, was held to a season-low 51 yards on 19 carries. His previous low was 77 yards on 17 carries against Vanderbilt.

• It’s a small consolation for Tennessee — which lost 45-10 at Alabama — but the Vols had to be pleased with the play of tailbacks Rajion Neal and Marlin Lane. The two combined for 90 yards on 19 carries (a 4.7-yard average) against the SEC’s top rushing defense. Neal leads the team with 763 yards and nine rushing touchdowns.

• Alabama wide receiver Kevin Norwood had the first 100-yard game of his career on Saturday afternoon. The senior caught a season-high six passes for 112 yards in Bama’s win over Tennessee. 

Teaser:
SEC Week 9 Recap and Awards
Post date: Sunday, October 27, 2013 - 13:03
Path: /college-football/sec-week-9-preview-and-predictions-2013
Body:

It’s far from the most exciting slate of games in the SEC this week, but there are still some intriguing matchups. Missouri, the surprise of the nation, can all but clinch the SEC East with a win over South Carolina; Tennessee, fresh off its big win over the Gamecocks, heads to Tuscaloosa to battle the might Crimson Tide; and Mark Stoops takes his Kentucky Wildcats to Starkville for a Thursday night showdown with Mississippi State.

Week 9 Previews and Predictions: ACC Big 12 | Big Ten | Pac-12 

SEC Week 9 Game Power Rankings

1. South Carolina (+3) at Missouri (7:00 ET, ESPN2)
It’s the second annual Battle of Columbia — and it looks as though it might also be the battle of the backup quarterbacks. Missouri will once again go with Maty Mauk under center, and it appears that South Carolina will be without Connor Shaw, who injured his shoulder late in the loss at Tennessee. Shaw’s backup, Dylan Thompson, has plenty of experience, but this is a big blow to the Carolina offense. Shaw is a savvy senior leader who — up until the Tennessee game — had been playing extremely well. Mauk passed his first test, throwing for nearly 300 yards in the Tigers’ surprisingly easy win over Florida. Missouri is already two games up in the loss column in the SEC East; a win on Saturday will basically guarantee the Tigers a trip to Atlanta for the SEC title game. 

2. Tennessee (+28.5) at Alabama (3:30 ET, CBS)
Alabama has dominated this great Southern rivalry of late, winning the last six games against Tennessee — all but one by 20 points or more. The Vols have not scored more than 17 points in regulation against Bama since 2001, when they won 35-24 in Tuscaloosa. (They scored 51 in the five-overtime classic in 2003, but had only 20 points at the end of the fourth quarter). Based on the recent play of the Alabama defense, Tennessee will have a hard time scoring more than 10 points on Saturday afternoon. Since its 49-42 win at Texas A&M, Alabama has allowed an average of 212 yards and 3.2 points in five games. Colorado State is the only team during that span that averaged more than 4.0 yards per play. Tennessee quarterback Justin Worley has played relatively well in his last two games, completing 36-of-65 for 394 yards without an interception, but both of those games — vs. Georgia and South Carolina — were at home. This trip to Tuscaloosa will be far more challenging.

3. Kentucky (+10) at Mississippi State (7:30 ET, Thur., ESPN)
This is a pivotal game for Mississippi State, which is 3-3 and searching for three more wins to become bowl-eligible. The Bulldogs have lost to three teams currently ranked in the top 20 of the AP poll — Oklahoma State (19), LSU (13) and Auburn (11) — and defeated three non-AQ conference teams. State is expected to start Tyler Russell at quarterback for the second straight week, but sophomore Dak Prescott will also see significant time. Kentucky announced on Tuesday that Maxwell Smith, a sophomore, will get the start at quarterback. Jalen Whitlow, who injured his ankle in the loss to Alabama two weeks ago, will be available and could play. Kentucky, as expected, is struggling on offense. In SEC games, UK is averaging only 214.7 yards per game; nationally, only Purdue is averaging less yards per game in league play.

4. Vanderbilt (+18) at Texas A&M (12:21 ET, SEC TV)
Vanderbilt and Texas A&M will meet for the first time ever. The Commodores are rejuvenated after rallying to beat Georgia in Nashville. The defense, which had really struggled in three previous SEC games, only gave up 221 yards and two touchdowns. Yes, Georgia was short-handed due to injury, but this was still a big step in the right direction for Vanderbilt. It looks as though the Dores will be without starting quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels, who went down with a knee injury in the second quarter against Georgia. Patton Robinette, a redshirt freshman, will make his first career start. Texas A&M must bounce back from a surprising loss at home to Auburn. The Aggie offense, as usual, was fantastic, but the defense continues to be a major concern. A&M ranks last in the league in total defense (494.4 ypg) and yards allowed per play (6.7). In league play, those numbers jump to 532.0 yards per game and 7.3 per play.

5. Florida Atlantic (+24.5) at Auburn (7:30 ET, FSN)
Auburn is perhaps the most improved team in the nation. The Tigers, 0-8 in the SEC last season — and outgained by an average of 214.3 yards in those eight games — are now 6-1 overall and 3-1 in the league after last week’s 45-41 win at Texas A&M. They already have more total yards in four SEC games (1,886) than they had last year in eight league games (1,881). Florida Atlantic is also much-improved, though the Owls only have two wins on their resume. Their last three losses have come by seven points in overtime at Middle Tennessee, by four points at Rice and by one point to Marshall.

6. Idaho (+41) at Ole Miss (7:30 PM, CSS)
The Rebels step out of SEC play this week after an emotional win over rival LSU last Saturday night. This week’s opponent, quite simply, is not very good. Idaho, coached by Bobby Petrino’s brother (Paul), is 1-6 overall, and all but one of its losses have come by 10 points or more. Ole Miss shouldn’t have to break a sweat on Saturday night.

7. Furman (+47) at LSU (7:00 PM, PPV)
LSU must regroup after suffering its second loss of the season — a loss (27-24 at Ole Miss) that knocked the Tigers out of the national title race. The once-potent LSU offense has been held to an average of 357.5 yards and 20.5 points the last two weeks — not awful numbers but definitely down a notch from previous games. Furman is coached by Bruce Fowler, who served as the defensive coordinator at Vanderbilt from 2002-10. While at Vanderbilt, Fowler faced LSU twice in Baton Rouge, holding the Tigers to 24 points in 2004 and 23 points in 2009.

5 Pivotal Players

Dylan Thompson, QB, South Carolina
With Connor Shaw sidelined due to a shoulder injury, Thompson will get his first start of the year. In his only significant action this season, Thompson completed 15-of-32 passes for 261 yards with no touchdowns and one interception in South Carolina’s 28-25 win at UCF. He will be facing a confident Missouri defense that limited Florida to 151 total yards last week in a 36-17 win in Columbia. Led by defensive end Michael Sam — a breakout performer in his senior season — the Tigers lead the SEC with 23 sacks. Thompson and the South Carolina offensive line will have to limit the negative plays (sacks, tackles for a loss) on Saturday night.

Missouri’s wide receivers
Missouri’s outstanding crop of big, physical and athletic receivers has been instrumental in the Tigers’ 7-0 start. This week, L’Damian Washington, Dorial Green-Beckham, Marcus Murphy & Co. will face a South Carolina secondary that has held four of six opponents under 200 yards passing but gave up 300-plus to both Georgia and UCF. If the Tigers are able to stretch the field — they are averaging 8.5 yards per passing attempt in three SEC games — South Carolina could have trouble slowing down Mizzou’s balanced attack.

Rajion Neal and Marlin Lane, Tennessee
So many things will have to go well for Tennessee to hang with Alabama on Saturday in Tuscaloosa — chief among them will be the Vols’ ability to run the ball with consistency. Neal and Lane have combined to rush for 1,028 yards on 189 carries for a solid 5.4-yard average. Yards, however, will be more difficult to come by this weekend. Alabama has been dominant against the run this season, allowing an average of 98.3 yards per game and 3.26 yards per carry. Since losing at Texas A&M, Bama has allowed a total of 371 rushing yards in five games. Tennessee, in its two previous games against top-flight rushing defenses, picked up 178 yards on 38 carries against Oregon and 66 yards on 21 carries against Florida.

Raymond Sanders and Jojo Kemp, Kentucky
With Maxwell Smith starting over Jalen Whitlow, Kentucky loses the threat of the run from the quarterback position. That puts more pressure on the Wildcats’ primary tailbacks, Sanders and Kemp, to be productive. Kentucky’s struggles on offense haven’t allowed either back to get much work — Sanders has 52 carries, Kemp 44 — but they have been effective in limited touches. Mississippi State has been solid against the run, but Kentucky will need to find a way to get Sanders and Kemp involved in the offense. It’s tough to envision Kentucky winning this game if Smith is asked to throw the ball over 30 times.

Vanderbilt’s linebackers
The Commodores’ linebacking corps struggled in losses to South Carolina and Missouri. The unit played much better last week — thanks in part to Karl Butler’s return from injury — in a 31-27 win over Georgia. Jake Sealand, who is filling in for the injured Chase Garnham in the middle, played his best game of the season, and Darreon Herring, a first-year starter on the outside, led the team with 10 tackles and had three pass break-ups. This group will face the ultimate challenge on Saturday against Johnny Manziel (assuming he plays) and the Texas A&M offense. The entire defense will need to play well, but it’s especially important for the linebackers to be at their best against a quarterback who is equally adept at running and throwing. 

 David FoxBraden GallSteven LassanMitch Light
Kentucky (+10) at Miss. St.Miss. State 21-14Miss. State 31-23Miss. State 31-20
 
Miss. State 21-10
Vanderbilt (+18) at Texas A&M 

Texas A&M 49-28

Texas A&M 44-31Texas A&M 45-30Texas A&M 44-31
Tennessee (+28.5) at Bama 

Alabama 38-7

Alabama 31-13Alabama 38-13Alabama 38-10
S. Carolina (+3) at Missouri 

Missouri 24-17

S. Carolina 30-24S. Carolina 24-20Missouri 27-20
Furman (+47) at LSU

LSU 56-7

LSU 52-7LSU 55-3LSU 41-0
FAU (+24.5) at Auburn

Auburn 49-6

Auburn 44-17Auburn 52-17Auburn 44-10
Idaho (+41) at Ole Miss 

Ole Miss 35-7

Ole Miss 38-13Ole Miss 55-10    Ole Miss 48-0
Season58-1256-1457-1355-15

 

Teaser:
SEC Week 9 Preview and Predictions
Post date: Thursday, October 24, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/sec-week-8-recap-and-awards-2013
Body:

It was one of the craziest weeks in years in the SEC. The favorite lost in five of the six league games, with only Alabama holding serve with a 52-0 win over Arkansas. Elsewhere, Vanderbilt beat Georgia in Nashville, Auburn stunned Texas A&M in College Station, Tennessee rallied to defeat South Carolina in Knoxville, and Ole Miss topped LSU with a late field goal in Oxford.

SEC Week 8 Recap and Awards

Offensive Player of the Week: Tre Mason, Auburn
Mason was one of the bright spots for Auburn during a dismal 2012 season, rushing for 1,002 yards and eight touchdowns on a healthy 5.9-yard average. Mason is once again having a fine season, but his play is being overshadowed by his team’s first-year coach (Gus Malzahn) and starting quarterback (Nick Marshall). On Saturday, Mason rushed for a career-high 178 yards and one touchdown on 27 carries to lead Auburn to a thrilling 45-41 win at Texas A&M. Mason’s lone touchdown, on a 5-yard run, put Auburn on top for good with 1:48 remaining.

Defensive Player of the Week: Michael Sam, Missouri
Missouri beat Florida 36-17 in Maty Mauk’s first start at quarterback, but the story of the day was the Tigers’ surprisingly dominant defense. Defensive end Michael Sam recorded three sacks — to increase his SEC-leading total to 9.0 — to spearhead a Mizzou defense that limited Florida to 151 yards of offense. Sam also leads the SEC with 13.0 tackles for a loss.

Team of the Week: Tennessee
After flirting with a breakthrough win two weeks against Georgia, Tennessee rallied to beat South Carolina in Knoxville, giving first-year coach Butch Jones his first signature win. The Vols’ offense struggled for much of the day — UT only averaged 4.2 yards per play — but they made a big play at the right time (see MarQuez North below) to win the game. Tennessee’s defense held South Carolina to 384 yards and three touchdowns, one week after the Gamecocks had 537 yards in a 52-7 win at Arkansas.

Coordinator of the Week: Bob Shoop, Vanderbilt
Yes, Georgia was short-handed due to injury, but Vanderbilt deserves credit for holding the Bulldogs to 221 yards of offense — their fewest since gaining 200 in a loss to Virginia Tech in the 2006 Chik-fil-A Bowl — and two offensive touchdowns in a 31-27 win in Nashville. The Commodores had allowed an average of 530.3 yards in their previous three SEC games. Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, who averaged 287.7 yards in his first three games against Vanderbilt, was held to 114 yards — the second-fewest of his career — on 28 attempts.

Freshman of the Week: Marquez North, Tennessee
Sometimes a game comes down to one player making a great play. And that’s what North did in Tennessee’s 23-21 win over South Carolina. With the Vols trailing 21-20 and facing a 3rd-and-10 from their own 35-yard line with under three minutes to go, North made a spectacular 48-yard catch (with one hand) down the sideline that set Tennessee up for the game-winning field goal. North, a true freshman, caught three passes for 102 yards — the first 100-yard game of his career.

Fifth Down

• Alabama has allowed one touchdown or less in five of seven games this season and in 40 of 61 games dating back to the beginning of the 2009 season.

• Last year, Auburn had a total of 1,881 yards in eight SEC games (235.5 ypg). This season, under first-year coach Gus Malzahn, the Tigers have 1,886 yards in four SEC games (471.5 ypg).

• LSU’s Zach Mettenberger threw three interceptions in the first half against Ole Miss; he had thrown a total of two in his first seven games.

• Florida averaged 2.5 yards per snap in its 36–17 loss at Missouri. The Gators have had seven games with under 4.0 yards per snap in Will Muschamp’s two-plus seasons as the head coach. They had three such games in 2010, Urban Meyer’s final season, and none from 2007-09.

• Bo Wallace threw for 346 yards in Ole Miss’ 27-24 win over LSU, and, more important, did not throw an interception in 39 attempts. Last year, Wallace threw for 310 yards but was intercepted three times in the Rebels’ 41-35 loss in Baton Rouge.

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Georgia dropped five spots in the power rankings after losing at home to Missouri. The Bulldogs have some quality wins, but this is not the same team — due largely to injuries — that beat South Carolina and LSU earlier in the season. Missouri jumped from seventh to fifth after its win in Athens, and Arkansas dropped from 11th to 12th after losing badly at home to South Carolina. Meanwhile, LSU is now No. 2 after its impressive victory over Florida.

More Post-Week 7 Power Rankings: ACC |Big 12 | Big Ten | Pac-12  

RankTeamLWAnalysis
11

Alabama (6-0, 3-0): Alabama was dominant in all phases during a 48-7 win over Kentucky in Lexington. After being held scoreless on their first three possessions (one punt and two lost fumbles), the Crimson Tide scored on their final eight drives, with six touchdowns and two field goals. AJ McCarron threw for 359 yards to lead an offense that rolled up 668 total yards and picked up 37 first downs. T.J. Yeldon and Kenyan Drake each had over 100 yards and two touchdowns. Alabama has now won 17 straight games away from home. Next Week: Arkansas

23LSU (6-1, 3-1): In a game that hearkened back to the SEC of 2010, LSU beat Florida 17-6 in a defensive struggle that featured only two touchdowns and a combined 568 yards of offense. The Tigers limited Florida to 238 yards (only 3.6 per play) and did not allow a drive longer than 50 yards after the first quarter. LSU scored both of its touchdowns in the second quarter, both on one-yard runs — by J.C. Copeland and Anthony Jennings. Jeremy Hill rushed for 121 yards on 19 carries, giving him four 100-yard games this season. LSU is now bowl-eligible for the 14th straight season. Next Week: at Ole Miss
34

Texas A&M (5-1, 3-1): The Aggies had to overcome an apparent knee injury to Johnny Manziel (don’t worry, he’s fine) and two fourth-quarter deficits but managed to escape Vaught-Hemingway Stadium with a 41-38 win over Ole Miss. Manziel played like a Heisman Trophy winner, completing 31-of-39 passes for 346 yards and rushing for a game-high 113 yards and two touchdowns. Texas A&M tied the game at 38-38 on a 6-yard run by Manziel with 3:41 remaining and won it on a 33-yard field goal by Josh Lambo as the clock expired. Next Week: Auburn

45South Carolina (5-1, 2-1): After a couple of less-than-satisfying wins in league play — at home over Vanderbilt and Kentucky — the Gamecocks no doubt feel great about their performance in Fayetteville on Saturday afternoon. South Carolina fell behind 7-0 early in the first quarter but then scored the game’s final 52 points to cruise to the easy win. The Gamecocks outgained Arkansas 537-to-248 and had 32 to first downs to seven for the Hogs. Sophomore tailback Mike Davis, perhaps the nation’s most underrated offensive player, had another big game, rushing for 118 yards and 19 carries. Next Week: at Tennessee
57Missouri (6-0, 2-0): The Tigers followed up their dominating win at Vanderbilt with an impressive showing in Athens to remain undefeated, both overall and in league play. Missouri jumped out to a 28-10 lead at halftime and held on to beat Georgia 41-26 in a breakthrough SEC win for Gary Pinkel’s program. The Tigers, however, will have to play without star quarterback James Franklin for the foreseeable future. Franklin, who battled shoulder and knee issues last season, separated his shoulder in the second half on Saturday. Mizzou is very high on redshirt freshman Maty Mauk, but losing Franklin is a huge blow. Next Week: Florida
66Florida (4-2, 3-1): Florida became the first team to slow down LSU’s suddenly high-powered attack, but the Gators were unable to muster enough offense of their own to seriously challenge the Tigers in Baton Rouge. Florida had only 240 yards of offense and failed to score a touchdown in a 17-6 loss. Tyler Murphy was decent at quarterback, but he averaged only 4.3 yards on his 27 attempts and did not have a completion longer than 20 yards. Florida fans got their first long look at true freshman tailback Kelvin Taylor (son of Fred), who rushed for 52 yards on 10 carries. Next Week: at Missouri
72Georgia (4-2, 3-1): Maybe it was the injuries — or maybe Missouri was just better. But the result was a disheartening 41-26 loss at home that knocked the Bulldogs out of the national title race. Georgia had 454 yards of offense but committed four turnovers, including an Aaron Murray fumble on a sack in the second quarter that resulted in a Missouri touchdown. With Todd Gurley still out with an ankle injury, true freshmen J.J. Green and Brendan Douglas carried the rushing load, combining to run for 157 yards on 26 carries. Next: at Vanderbilt 
88Auburn (5-1, 2-1): As expected, Auburn had little trouble with Western Carolina, one of the worst FCS teams in the nation. The big story for the Tigers was Gus Malzahan’s decision to start true freshman Jeremy Johnson at quarterback. With starter Nick Marshall slowed by an injury, Malzahn went with Johnson, who had yet to play in a game, over sophomore Jonathan Wallace. In his debut, Johnson completed 17-of-21 passes for 201 yards with four touchdowns and one interception. Marshall is expected back for next week’s trip to Texas A&M. Next Week: at Texas A&M
99Ole Miss (3-3, 1-3): For the second straight season, Ole Miss lost a fourth-quarter lead at home to Texas A&M. Last year, the Rebels led by 10 points for an eight-minute stretch only to watch Johnny Manziel lead A&M to two scores in the final seven minutes. On Saturday night, Ole Miss held leads of 31-24 and 38-31 but was unable to come up with a defensive stop when it mattered most. Bo Wallace played well at quarterback (throwing for 301 yards and two scores) but had a costly interception in the red zone. Barry Brunetti, the “running” option at quarterback, completed 3-of-4 attempts for 28 yards and his first two touchdown passes of the season. Next Week: LSU
1010Tennessee (3-3, 0-2): Tennessee did not play on Saturday. The Vols’ next four games includes home games against South Carolina and Auburn sandwiched around trips to Alabama and Missouri. Next Week: South Carolina
1112Vanderbilt (3-3, 0-3): The Commodores had the week off after losing at home to Missouri. Over the next four weeks, James Franklin’s club plays Georgia, Texas A&M and Florida — the latter two on the road. Next Week: Georgia 
1211

Arkansas (3-4, 0-3): The good news: Arkansas led 7-0 after Alex Collins scored from six yards out on the opening possession of the game. The bad news: South Carolina proceeded to outscore the Hogs 52-0 the rest of the way. The final numbers were not pretty: Arkansas had 248 yards of offense (only 30 through the air) and picked up seven first downs. South Carolina, on the other hand, rolled up 537 total yards and had 32 first downs. The Razorbacks have had less 300 yards off offense in three of their last four games. Next Week: at Alabama

1313Mississippi State (3-3, 0-2): Dan Mullen’s team dodged the upset, holding on to beat Bowling Green 21-20 in Starkville. Dak Prescott only threw for 75 yards, but he led the Mississippi State rushing attack with 139 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries. Tyler Russell made his first start since opening day and completed 12-of-14 passes for 102 yards. In his two games since returning from a concussion, Russell is 19-of-25 for 248 yards. The Bulldogs completed their non-conference schedule with a 3-1 record. Next Week: Bye
1414Kentucky (3-4, 0-4): The Wildcats held No. 1 Alabama scoreless for one quarter — but not much else went well for Mark Stoops’ club. Kentucky managed only 170 yards of offense — the third time UK has had less than 200 yards in the past two seasons — en route to its 10th consecutive SEC loss. Starting quarterback Jalen Whitlow went down with an ankle injury in the first quarter and did not return. Maxwell Smith played the rest of the way and completed 7-of-16 passes for 76 yards and one touchdown. Next Week: Bye

SEC Week 7 Recap and Awards

Offensive Player of the Week: Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
Not even a knee injury can slow down the most exciting football player in the nation. Manziel bounced back from what looked to be a serious injury in the first quarter to lead Texas A&M to a thrilling 41-38 win at Ole Miss. For the fourth time in his career, Manziel topped 300 yards passing (346) and 100 yards rushing (113) in the same game. He failed to throw a touchdown pass for the first time this season, but he scored twice on the ground — on highlight-reel runs of five yards in the third quarter and six yards in the fourth. Manziel leads the SEC in total offense with 377 yards per game.

Defensive Player of the Week: Lamin Barrow, LSU
There were many stars for an LSU defense that limited Florida to six points and 240 total yards. Barrow, a senior linebacker, led the way with a game-high 13 tackles, including one for a loss, and one pass break-up. Barrow leads LSU with 49 tackles – 13 more than any other player on the team.

Team of the Week: Missouri
Missouri is all alone in the SEC East with a 2-0 record after beating Georgia 41-26 in Athens. The Tigers were held to a season-low 375 total yards but won the turnover battle 4-to-0, converted on 5-of-12 on third down and scored a touchdown on all three trips inside the red zone. Senior wide receiver La’Damian Washington was the offensive star for Mizzou with seven catches for 114 yards and two touchdowns. The news, however, was not all good for the Tigers: Quarterback James Franklin, who was enjoying a banner senior season, went down with a separated shoulder that is expected to sideline him for the remainder of the regular season.

Coordinator of the Week: Dave Steckel, Missouri
Missouri’s offense had been the talk of the SEC in the past week, but the Tigers can play a little defense as well. Mizzou held Georgia to three offensive touchdowns — the Dawgs’ fewest since last year’s SEC Championship Game — and made several huge plays in its huge 41-26 win in Athens. MU forced four turnovers, none bigger than Michael Sam’s 21-yards scoop-and-score after Shane Ray’s sack-and-strip of Aaron Murray late in the second quarter. Georgia still had 452 yards of offense but averaged a season-low 5.9 yards per play.

Freshman of the Week: A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama
A true freshman from Texas, Robinson was a major force in the middle of Alabama’s defensive line on Saturday night in Lexington. He had six tackles and two sacks (for 14 lost yards) in the Crimson Tide’s 48-7 win over Kentucky. Robinson leads Alabama in both tackles for a loss (five) and sacks (six).

5th Down

• Arkansas only had 38 offensive plays in its 52-7 loss at home to South Carolina. The Razorbacks had 30 yards passing and were held to eight first downs.

• In LSU’s 17-6 win over Florida, Zach Mettenberger averaged less than 10 yards per attempt for the first time since Week 1 against TCU. LSU’s senior quarterback threw for a season-low 152 yards on 17 attempts for an 8.9-yard average.

• Aaron Murray threw two interceptions against Missouri on Saturday, marking only the second time in his career that he’s thrown more than one pick in a home game. Georgia’s senior quarterback threw three INTs in a 24-10 win over Mississippi State in 2011.

• South Carolina running back Mike Davis has rushed for 100 yards or more in five of six games this season. The sophomore tailback picked up 128 yards on 19 carries in the Gamecocks’ 52-7 win over Arkansas. He leads the SEC in rushing with 123.7 yards per game. 

• Auburn leads the SEC with seven offensive plays of at least 50 yards. Last season, the Tigers had a total of three such plays in 12 games.

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2013 SEC Post-Week 7 Power Rankings
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Missouri was the talk of the SEC during the daylight hours, but Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M grabbed the headlines late in the day with a last-second win against Ole Miss. Elsewhere, LSU topped Florida in an old-school defensive struggle, Alabama smothered Kentucky and South Carolina ruined homecoming at Arkansas.

SEC Week 7 Recap and Awards

Offensive Player of the Week: Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
Not even a knee injury can slow down the most exciting football player in the nation. Manziel bounced back from what looked to be a serious injury in the first quarter to lead Texas A&M to a thrilling 41-38 win at Ole Miss. For the fourth time in his career, Manziel topped 300 yards passing (346) and 100 yards rushing (113) in the same game. He failed to throw a touchdown pass for the first time this season, but he scored twice on the ground — on highlight-reel runs of five yards in the third quarter and six yards in the fourth. Manziel leads the SEC in total offense with 377 yards per game.

Defensive Player of the Week: Lamin Barrow, LSU
There were many stars for an LSU defense that limited Florida to six points and 240 total yards. Barrow, a senior linebacker, led the way with a game-high 13 tackles, including one for a loss, and one pass break-up. Barrow leads LSU with 49 tackles – 13 more than any other player on the team.

Team of the Week: Missouri
Missouri is all alone in the SEC East with a 2-0 record after beating Georgia 41-26 in Athens. The Tigers were held to a season-low 375 total yards but won the turnover battle 4-to-0, converted on 5-of-12 on third down and scored a touchdown on all three trips inside the red zone. Senior wide receiver La’Damian Washington was the offensive star for Mizzou with seven catches for 114 yards and two touchdowns. The news, however, was not all good for the Tigers: Quarterback James Franklin, who was enjoying a banner senior season, went down with a separated shoulder that is expected to sideline him for the remainder of the regular season.

Coordinator of the Week: Dave Steckel, Missouri
Missouri’s offense had been the talk of the SEC in the past week, but the Tigers can play a little defense as well. Mizzou held Georgia to three offensive touchdowns — the Dawgs’ fewest since last year’s SEC Championship Game — and made several huge plays in its huge 41-26 win in Athens. MU forced four turnovers, none bigger than Michael Sam’s 21-yards scoop-and-score after Shane Ray’s sack-and-strip of Aaron Murray late in the second quarter. Georgia still had 452 yards of offense but averaged a season-low 5.9 yards per play.

Freshman of the Week: A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama
A true freshman from Texas, Robinson was a major force in the middle of Alabama’s defensive line on Saturday night in Lexington. He had six tackles and two sacks (for 14 lost yards) in the Crimson Tide’s 48-7 win over Kentucky. Robinson leads Alabama in both tackles for a loss (five) and sacks (six).

Fifth Down

• Arkansas only had 38 offensive plays in its 52-7 loss at home to South Carolina. The Razorbacks had 30 yards passing and were held to eight first downs.

• In LSU’s 17-6 win over Florida, Zach Mettenberger averaged less than 10 yards per attempt for the first time since Week 1 against TCU. LSU’s senior quarterback threw for a season-low 152 yards on 17 attempts for an 8.9-yard average.

• Aaron Murray threw two interceptions against Missouri on Saturday, marking only the second time in his career that he’s thrown more than one pick in a home game. Georgia’s senior quarterback threw three INTs in a 24-10 win over Mississippi State in 2011.

• South Carolina running back Mike Davis has rushed for 100 yards or more in five of six games this season. The sophomore tailback picked up 128 yards on 19 carries in the Gamecocks’ 52-7 win over Arkansas. He leads the SEC in rushing with 123.7 yards per game. 

• Auburn leads the SEC with seven offensive plays of at least 50 yards. Last season, the Tigers had a total of three such plays in 12 games.

Teaser:
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We’ll find out if a great defense (Florida) can stop a great offense (LSU) on Saturday afternoon at Tiger Stadium. Elsewhere, undefeated Missouri heads to Athens to face banged up — but still talented — Georgia in a key SEC East battle, and Texas A&M takes its road show to Ole Miss to take on the struggling Rebels.

Week 7 Previews and Predictions: ACC | Big Ten |Big 12Pac-12

SEC Week 7 Game Power Rankings

1. Florida (+7.5) at LSU (3:30 ET, CBS)
Two of the hottest quarterbacks in the SEC will be on display Saturday at Tiger Stadium. Florida’s Tyler Murphy, a third-year sophomore who had not thrown a pass in college until three weeks ago, has been terrific in relief of injured starter Jeff Driskel. He is completing 72.2 percent of his passes with five touchdowns and only one interception. LSU’s Zach Mettenberger is thriving under new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, leading the SEC in touchdown passes (15) and yards per attempt (11.1) while ranking third in yards per game (289.7) and fourth in completion percentage (68.2). This week, however, Mettenberger will be facing one of the nation’s elite secondaries. The Gators are allowing a league-low 152.0 passing yards per game, and opposing quarterbacks are averaging only 4.6 yards per attempt, third-lowest in the nation. Florida also excels at stopping the run, allowing a league-low 65.0 yards per game and 2.78 yards per attempt. This will be a huge challenge for the much-improved LSU offense.

2. Missouri (+8) at Georgia (12:00 ET, ESPN)
Missouri was extremely sharp on offense Saturday, scoring on its first eight possessions en route to a 51-28 win in Nashville. The Tigers feature one of the nation’s more underrated quarterbacks in James Franklin and have talent and depth at both running back and wide receiver. Going forward, this team’s challenge will be on defense. Are the Tigers good enough on that side of the ball to challenge in the SEC East? The guess right now is no, but that doesn’t mean this team can’t win nine or 10 games. This week, Mizzou heads to Athens to face a wounded Georgia team that will be without some of its key playmakers on offense. The Bulldogs will have to find a way to score some points, because the defense, to this point, has not proven it can slow down a quality offense.

3. Texas A&M (-6.5) at Ole Miss (8:30 ET ESPN)
The Rebels have been humbled the past two weeks, losing 25–0 at Alabama and 30–22 at Auburn. The offense, so efficient in the first three weeks of the season, has scored only two touchdowns in the last eight quarters. Bo Wallace, who did not throw an interception in the first two games, was picked off twice on Saturday. Hugh Freeze must get things fixed on offense in a hurry with Texas A&M rolling into town. The Aggies have some issues on defense, but this team has no trouble scoring points. Ole Miss will have to score at least 40 points to win this game.

4. South Carolina (-5.5) at Arkansas (12:21 ET SEC TV)
South Carolina bounced back from its loss at Georgia by winning three straight. But none of the three wins was particularly satisfying. The Gamecocks lost big leads in home wins over Vanderbilt and Kentucky and had to overcome a slow start and poor finish to beat UCF by three points in Orlando. Steve Spurrier is eager to see his team play a complete game. Arkansas has struggled against the better teams on its schedule, with losses to Rutgers, Texas A&M and Florida the past three weeks. The Hogs are built to run the ball but only netted 101 yards against Rutgers and 111 against Florida. They were productive against a suspect Texas A&M defense but still lost by 12 points at home. Despite the Hogs’ deficiencies, this is a tough spot for South Carolina — with or without Jadeveon Clowney. The Gamecocks are 2-8 at Arkansas since the two schools joined the SEC in 1991.

5. Bowling Green (+10.5) at Mississippi State (7:30 ET FSN)
Bowling Green is one of the top teams in the MAC, but the Falcons struggled in their only game to date against a team from an AQ conference, losing 42-10 at Indiana in mid-September. Mississippi State has played relatively well since laying an egg vs. Oklahoma State in Week 1 but doesn’t have much to show for it. The Bulldogs lost a late lead in a 24-20 loss at Auburn and battled LSU for three quarters on Saturday night before collapsing in the fourth. In between, MSU pounded Troy 62-7 in Starkville. This is a decent team that is going to have a tough time finding six wins against a very difficult schedule.

6. Alabama (-27.5) at Kentucky (7 ET ESPN2)
Kentucky has played three straight top-15 teams, and the results have been better than many Wildcats fans might have expected — a 14-point loss to Louisville, a 17-point loss to Florida and a seven-point loss to South Carolina. Now, however, the competition gets ramped up another notch as No. 1 Alabama comes to town. The Crimson Tide struggled to stop Texas A&M’s high-powered attack but have given up only one touchdown — on a 77-yard run in the opener vs. Virginia Tech — in its other four games. Kentucky will be fortunate to score more than 10 points in this game.

7. Western Carolina (+43.5) at Auburn (2 ET, PPV)
Auburn should have little trouble picking up win No. 6 this Saturday. Western Carolina is 1-5 overall, with its only win by seven points over Mars Hill, a Division II school. In fact, the Catamounts are 3-31 in their last 34 games with all three wins coming against Mars Hill.

5 Pivotal Players

Florida’s cornerbacks
The nation’s best set of cornerbacks will be tasked with slowing down arguably the top wide receiver duo in the nation. Florida lists Loucheiz Purifoy and Marcus Roberson as its starters at corner, but true freshman Vernon Hargreaves III plays a ton and is considered by many to be the best in the bunch. LSU’s Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry are both averaging over 100 yards per game and have combined to catch 13 touchdown passes. It will be fun to watch these two elite units battle on Saturday afternoon.

Anthony Johnson, DT, LSU
Johnson has been a beast on the interior of the line for an LSU defense that is experiencing some growing pains in a year of transition. Florida quarterback Tyler Murphy has been a pleasant surprise since taking over for Jeff Driskel, but the Gators’ first priority will be to establish the run. Johnson and the rest of the LSU defensive front will try to take that away and force Murphy to make plays with his arm in one of the most hostile environments in college football.

Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia
With his cast of healthy skill position players dwindling each week, Murray is being asked to play nearly flawless football to keep Georgia in the national title hunt. This week, he will have to be at his best because Georgia will have to score a bunch of points to beat red-hot Missouri. The Bulldogs have listed Todd Gurley atop the depth chart, but Mark Richt didn’t sound confident on Tuesday that his star tailback would be ready to play. That would leave true freshmen J.J. Green and Brendan Douglas to carry the rushing load. At receiver, the Dawgs will be without three of their top players, with Malcom Mitchell, Justin Scott-Wesley and Michael Bennett all sidelined with injuries.

Missouri’s WRs
James Franklin is grabbing the headlines for resurgent Missouri, but the Tigers boast a quality group of wideouts — all with good size — that puts a lot of pressure on the defense. This week, Dorial Green-Beckham, Marcus Lucas, L’Damian Washington & Co. will face a Georgia defense that has struggled to stop the pass (against some very good offenses). Georgia ranks 12th in the SEC in pass defense (264.6 ypg) and is allowing a league-high 8.1 yards per passing attempt. If Mizzou’s wideouts can make plays down the field, the Tigers’ trio of smallish tailbacks will have plenty of room to operate.

Bo Wallace, QB, Ole Miss
For the first four games of his junior season, Bo Wallace did not throw an interception. But last week, the Bad Bo Wallace — the one who led the nation with 17 interceptions in 2012 — resurfaced in a 30-22 loss at Auburn. Wallace threw for a season-high 336 yards but completed only 52.1 percent of his passes and was intercepted twice. He will have to play very well on Saturday against a Texas A&M team that is averaging just under seven touchdowns per game. 

 David FoxBraden GallSteven LassanMitch Light
Missouri at Georgia

Georgia 28-21

Georgia 34-31Georgia 34-27Georgia 47-40
S. Carolina at ArkansasS. Carolina 35-24S. Carolina 28-20S. Carolina 31-27Arkansas 28-20
W. Carolina at Auburn

Auburn 49-7

Auburn 44-7Auburn 52-3Auburn 54-0
Florida at LSU

LSU 24-17

LSU 27-21LSU 27-24Florida 24-21
Alabama at Kentucky

Alabama 42-10

Alabama 44-11Alabama 45-10Alabama 34-14
Bowling Green at Miss. St.Miss. St. 35-21Miss. St. 34-20Miss. St. 38-24Miss. St. 27-10
Texas A&M at Ole Miss

A&M 42-28

A&M 44-40A&M 45-38A&M 37-27
Last Week7-06-15-25-2
Season51-649-850-749-8

 

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There was high drama in Knoxville, where Georgia survived a scare in overtime at Neyland Stadium. Elsewhere, the SEC’s three teams named Tigers won in impressive fashion: Missouri at Vanderbilt, LSU at Mississippi State and Auburn at home vs. Ole Miss.

Week 6 Recap and Awards

Offensive Player of the Week: Zach Mettenberger, LSU
Mettenberger’s sensational senior season continues. The Tigers’ strong-armed quarterback completed 25-of-29 passes for 340 yards and two touchdowns — both to Odell Beckham — in LSU’s 59-26 win at Mississippi State. For the season, Mettenberger is completing 68.2 percent of his passes with 15 touchdowns and two interceptions. In the last two weeks, he has thrown for 712 yards.

Defensive Player of the Week: Carl Lawson, Auburn
One of the top recruits in the Class of 2013, Lawson enjoyed the finest game of his young career in Auburn’s 30-22 win over Ole Miss. The defensive end from Georgia recorded six tackles (including two sacks) to key an Auburn defense that limited Ole Miss to only two touchdowns.  

Team of the Week: Missouri
After rolling through its non-conference schedule with relative ease, Missouri made a statement in its SEC opener, drilling Vanderbilt 51-28 in Nashville. Led by senior quarterback James Franklin, the Tigers jumped out to leads of 20-0 and 30-7 in the first half and were never seriously threatened the rest of the way. Mizzou, which went 2-6 in its SEC debut in 2012, currently ranks seventh in the nation in total offense (543.8 ypg) and eighth in scoring offense (46.6 ppg). Franklin is completing 67.9 percent of his passes and has 13 touchdowns and three interceptions.

Coordinator of the Week: Cam Cameron, LSU
He has outstanding personnel at his disposal, but Cameron has made a huge impact in his first season at LSU. On Saturday, the Tigers rolled up 563 yards of offense on an impressive 8.3 per-play average. LSU had 340 yards passing and 223 on the ground, and converted 6-of-11 on third down and 2-of-2 on fourth down.

Freshman of the Week: J.J. Green, Georgia   
Green, a true freshman tailback who had a total of five carries in the first four games, was forced into action due to injuries to Todd Gurley (last week) and Keith Marshall (in the first quarter). He responded with 129 yards on 17 carries in the Bulldogs’ 34-31 overtime win at Tennessee. Green’s biggest run of the day came on Georgia’s final possession in regulation, when he picked up 17 yards on a 3rd-and-1 at the Dawgs’ 34-yard line.

5th Down

• Tennessee tailback Rajion Neal rushed for 148 yards on 28 carries against Georgia and has 317 yards and three touchdowns in the last two games. Neal’s previous two-game high was 255 yards, last season against Akron (151) and Georgia (104).

• Kentucky’s 28 points at South Carolina were the most for the Wildcats in an SEC road game since a 42-35 loss at Ole Miss in October 2010. On Saturday, UK scored three of its four touchdowns in the fourth quarter.  

• Ole Miss scored a total of 15 touchdowns in its wins over Vanderbilt, SE Missouri State and Texas but has managed only two touchdowns in losses to Alabama and Auburn.

• Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall threw for a season-low 93 yards but did plenty of damage with his legs. The former junior college transfer rushed for 140 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries to lead a ground attack that picked up 282 rushing yards.

• Jordan Matthews became Vanderbilt’s all-time leading receiver in the Commodores’ loss to Missouri. The senior now has 2,996 yards receiving and will soon become the fourth player in SEC history to top the 3,000-yard mark.

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Ole Miss, humbled last week in its 25-0 loss at Alabama, hits the road again, travelling to Jordan-Hare Stadium to face an improved Auburn team that is coming off a bye. In Nashville, Missouri will finally play its first conference game, against a Vanderbilt team desperate for an SEC win after an 0-2 start. Elsewhere, Tennessee hosts surging Georgia; LSU visits Starkville; Florida returns home to face Arkansas; and South Carolina heads to Lexington to play Kentucky.

Week 6 Previews and Predictions: ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten | Pac-12

SEC Week 6 Game Power Rankings

1. Ole Miss (-2.5) at Auburn (7 ET, ESPNU)
We learned last Saturday night that Ole Miss isn’t quite ready to contend for the SEC West title. But one loss — especially when that loss is at Alabama — should not derail the momentum the Rebels grabbed with their 3-0 start. This is still a very good team. Auburn is another program headed in the right direction, but the Tigers are still in the first year of their new regime. The offense, to no one’s surprise, is much improved with Gus Malzahn back in town. Through four games, the Tigers are averaging 439.5 yards and 28.5 points per game — up from 297.8 and 17.5 at the same point last year. This should be highly entertaining.

2. Missouri (+2) at Vanderbilt (7:30 ET, CSS)
Missouri has cruised to a 4-0 start against a relatively soft non-conference schedule. Now the fun begins for the Tigers, who play eight SEC games over the next nine weeks. On Saturday, Mizzou makes its first trip to Vanderbilt since 1957. Last year, the Tigers outgained the Dores by 100 yards but dropped a 19-15 decision in Columbia. James Franklin — the quarterback, not the coach — enjoyed early success in that game, leading the Tigers down the field with relative ease on two long drives that ended with short field goals. Franklin, however, went down with a knee injury shortly thereafter, and the MU offense struggled the rest of the night. Franklin is now healthy and will be eager to attack a Vanderbilt defense that has had trouble against mobile quarterbacks in recent years. The Commodores have been inconsistent on the offensive end but rolled up over 600 yards last week in a 52-24 win over UAB. 

3. Georgia (-10.5) at Tennessee (3:30 ET, CBS)
Georgia lost nine straight in this series from 1989-99 but has since won nine of the last 13, including three straight. And after looking at both teams’ performances through the first month of the season, there is no reason to believe that won’t be four straight after the Bulldogs’ trip to Neyland Stadium this weekend. Georgia has rebounded from its Week 1 loss at Clemson to post huge wins at home over South Carolina and LSU. The Dawgs haven’t looked great on defense — they are allowing 31.2 points per game — but few teams have played as difficult of an early season schedule. Plus, Tennessee, at this point of Butch Jones’ tenure, doesn’t possess the personnel on offense to put up a big number on most SEC defenses. Georgia must guard against a letdown, but the Bulldogs should win this game with relative ease.

4. Arkansas (+10.5) at Florida (7 ET, ESPN2)
So far so good for Tyler Murphy. One week after coming off the bench to lead Florida past Tennessee in Gainesville, Murphy completed 15-of-18 passes for 156 yards with one touchdown and one interception in the Gators’ 24-7 win at Kentucky. Those numbers won’t get you in the discussion for All-SEC honors, but it’s probably more than most Florida fans expected from the former 2-star recruit. As we learned last season, the Gators don’t need gaudy stats from their quarterback to win games. Florida’s lack of a downfield passing attack remains a concern, but this is still a team that can challenge Georgia in the SEC East. Arkansas is in the midst of a brutal four-game stretch that includes home games with Texas A&M and South Carolina and road trips to Florida and Alabama.

5. LSU (-9.5) at Mississippi State (7 ET, ESPN)
LSU proved once again last week that it might be the most improved offensive team in the nation. Unfortunately for the Tigers, they proved it in a loss — despite scoring 41 points on the road. One loss will not eliminate LSU from the national title hunt, but this team no longer has any margin for error. The Tigers shouldn’t have much trouble getting back on track this week, even though they hit the road again. Mississippi State has feasted on inferior opponents but lost to Oklahoma State and Auburn in its only games against BCS conference opponents. Tyler Russell, who has missed the last three games after suffering a concussion against Oklahoma State, is expected back at quarterback for Mississippi State. Still, don’t be surprised to see heavy doses of sophomore Dak Prescott, a dual-threat who played well in relief.

6. Kentucky (+21) at South Carolina (7:30 ET, FSN)
Steve Spurrier was not pleased with his team’s start or finish last week in Orlando. The Gamecocks got the win — 28-25 over UCF — but it was not the type of performance that gave Spurrier confidence his team can compete with the powers in the SEC. He can’t, however, have many complaints about Mike Davis, his sophomore tailback. Davis leads the SEC in rushing with 127.0 yards per game and has done so on a healthy 7.2-yard average. In a surprise, the Gamecocks could have quarterback Connor Shaw, who injured his shoulder in the UCF game, back for Saturday's matchup. If Shaw can't go, Dylan Thompson is an experienced backup, but he completed less than 50 percent of his passes against UCF. Kentucky is struggling to get much going on offense in the first year of the Mark Stoops era. This team has some decent pieces on defense, but it’s hard to envision the Cats scoring enough to make Carolina sweat.

7. Georgia State (+55.5) at Alabama (12:21 ET, SEC TV)
Alabama steps out of SEC play for what should be little more than a scrimmage. Georgia State is 0-4, with three of the four defeats coming against teams from the FCS ranks — and all three of those games were at home. Now, the Panthers head to Tuscaloosa to play the nation’s No. 1 team. Good luck.

SEC Week 6 Pivotal Players

Robert Nkemdiche/C.J. Johnson vs. Greg Robinson/Patrick Miller (Ole Miss at Auburn)
The super freshman Nkemdiche and veteran Johnson are a formidable duo on the edge of the Ole Miss defensive line. Charged with stopping them will be Auburn's sophomore tackle tandem of Robinson and Miller. The Tigers have been solid up front, allowing just 4.0 sacks in 2013, and the Rebels have struggled to get pressure (100th in sacks nationally). To hold serve on the road, the Rebs need to disrupt the quarterback and hold their ground against Tre Mason and the Tigers’ running game.

Alex Collins vs. Antonio Morrison (Arkansas at Florida)
Jonathan Williams will be a heavy factor in the backfield for the Hogs as well, but his carries have decreased in every game this season. Collins, a freshman from Florida, has quickly shown why he was so highly touted as his 119.4 rushing yards per game rank No. 2 in the SEC. He returns to his home state and gets to face one of the most vicious hitters in the nation in Antonio Morrison. The rest of the Gators’ front seven will be tough to move as well, but watching these two underclassmen battle all day will be fun for all parties involved.

 David FoxBraden GallSteven LassanMitch Light

Georgia St. at Alabama 

Alabama 63-3

Alabama 41-13

Alabama 59-3

Alabama 49-0

Georgia at Tennessee 

Georgia 35-14

Georgia 34-17

Georgia 38-20

Georgia 34-14

Arkansas at Florida 

Florida 21-14

Florida 27-10

Florida 27-13

Florida 27-20

LSU at Mississippi St. 

LSU 35-10

LSU 31-20

LSU 34-20

LSU 33-17

Ole Miss at Auburn 

Auburn 28-21

Auburn 31-30

Ole Miss 31-27

Ole Miss 31-21

Missouri at Vanderbilt  

Missouri 21-14

Vanderbilt 34-28

Vanderbilt 27-24

Vanderbilt 31-28

Kentucky at S. Carolina 

S. Carolina 35-7

S. Carolina 37-17

S. Carolina 38-13

S. Carolina 24-10
Last Week7-17-18-08-0
Season44-643-745-544-6

 

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Earlier this week, Athlon Sports broke down the top 50 coaches in college basketball for 2013-14.

This isn’t necessarily the flip side to that, but coaches certainly would rather be on that list than this one. The coaches on this list have been hot commodities at one point and all of have been successful. After all, they all had to get their current jobs before starting to feel the pressure.

And the pressure is clear for these 15 coaches as the enter the 2013-14 season.

Relatively speaking, this was a quiet season for coaching moves in the SEC and Pac-12 (outside of Los Angeles, that is). That means a handful of coaches in those leagues specifically are on the hot seat.

But the most intriguing hot seat may be that of Texas coach Rick Barnes. The overall coaching record for the Longhorns coach is impressive, despite a CBI appearance last season. But there's still a sense the program has underachieved for its talent in recent years. Will Barnes begin to feel the heat as his counterpart with the football program has?

Top 15 Coaches on the Hot Seat for 2013-14

Tony Barbee, Auburn
Two things have been constant in Barbee’s three seasons at Auburn: roster turnover and losing. The Tigers are 35–59 overall and 12–38 in the SEC under his watch and are picked to finish last in the league this season.

Rick Barnes, Texas
It’s tough to put a coach who led his school to 14 straight NCAA Tournament invites (1999-2012) on the hot seat, but Barnes is under pressure to win big at Texas. The Longhorns went 7–11 in the Big 12 last season and have won fewer than 10 league games in four of the last five seasons. He has coached 10 first-round NBA Draft picks since 2000 yet has only reached one Final Four at Texas.

Ben Braun, Rice
It’s not easy to win at Rice, but Braun has struggled to keep the Owls competitive in a bad Conference USA in recent years. After surging to an 8–8 league mark in ’11-12, the Owls slumped to 1–15 last season. He is 56–103 overall and 19–61 in the league in five seasons.

Ken Bone, Washington State
After winning big at Portland State, Bone appeared to be a good fit at Washington State. In Year 2, he won 22 games overall and went 9–9 in the league, but he is just 32–37 overall and 11–25 in the Pac-12 in the last two seasons.

Brad Brownell, Clemson
Brownell has a strong reputation and did well in stops at UNC Wilmington and Wright State, but the Tigers are trending in the wrong direction. After going 17–15 in the ACC in his first two seasons (including an NCAA invite in ’10-11), Clemson slumped to 5–13 last season and is picked to finish near the bottom of the league this year.

Jeff Bzdelik, Wake Forest
The Demon Deacons showed some signs of life last season in Year 3 of the Bzdelik era, but a 6–12 record in the ACC won’t please a fan base that grew accustomed to annual trips to the NCAA Tournament in the 1990s and 2000s. Bzdelik is 11–39 in the ACC at Wake and 21–77 in league play in his last six seasons as a head coach, at Colorado and Wake.

Johnny Dawkins, Stanford
The numbers aren’t awful (93–73 overall, 39–51 Pac-12), but it’s hard to look past this damaging stat: Stanford made the NCAA Tournament 13 times in the 14 years before Dawkins was hired but has not been to the NCAAs in his five seasons on the job.

Mark Fox, Georgia
Fox has managed a .500 SEC record or better in two of his four seasons at Georgia, but he has yet to win a postseason game (one NCAA Tournament bid) and has a 28–38 mark in the league. Last year, he had the SEC Player of the Year (Kentavious Caldwell-Pope) on his roster yet had a losing record.

Tom Pecora, Fordham
Pecora’s move from Long Island (Hofstra) to the Bronx (Fordham) hasn’t gone well. The Rams are 24–64 overall and 7–41 in the A-10 —with three straight 14th-place finishes — in his three seasons.

Buzz Peterson, UNC Wilmington
Peterson’s sixth stop as a head coach (including two stints at Appalachian State) could be his last. The former North Carolina Tar Heel is 33–57 overall and 17–37 in the Colonial in three seasons in Wilmington. The prospects for ’13-14 aren’t too bright.

Oliver Purnell, DePaul
Purnell has yet to win an NCAA Tournament game in 25 seasons as a Division I head coach. That dubious streak isn’t likely to end anytime soon. DePaul is 30–64 overall and 6–48 in the Big East in his three seasons as the head coach. The Blue Demons will have a tough time avoiding a last-place finish in the new-look Big East.

Eric Reveno, Portland
He’s a good follow on Twitter, but Reveno needs to start winning more games. The Pilots had a nice run in the late 2000s, but are 18–44 overall and 7–25 in the WCC over the last two seasons.

Keith Richard, Louisiana-Monroe
It’s never easy to fire an alum, but Richard has really struggled in his three seasons at Monroe, with an overall mark of 14–73 and a 7–45 record in the Sun Belt.

Craig Robinson, Oregon State
Oregon State is one of the toughest jobs in a high-major conference, but Robinson will need to show progress at some point. He is 31–59 in the Pac-12 in five seasons, with a high-water mark of 8–10 in Year 2.

Herb Sendek, Arizona State
Sendek has guided Arizona State to the NCAA Tournament only once in his seven seasons in Tempe. Expectations are high this season — if the ASU fails to make the NCAAs, Sendek could be out of a job.

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Week 2 in college football is highlighted by Notre Dame’s trip to Michigan, the South Carolina-Georgia clash in Athens and Florida’s visit to South Florida to play Miami.

Friday

No. 52 UCF at No. 120 FIU
FIU’s decision to hire Ron Turner, who had not coached in college since 2004, was very curious. His return to the collegiate sidelines did not go well; the Panthers lost at Maryland 43–10 in Week 1. Expect a similar result this week, even at home.
UCF 38-8

No. 68 Wake Forest at No. 83 Boston College
Wake Forest was dominant defensively in its opener, holding Presbyterian to 151 total yards in a 31-7 win. Boston College was trailing FCS foe Villanova 14-7 at the half but controlled the final two quarters and won in Steve Addazio’s debut, 24-14. These teams are evenly matched.
Boston College 20-17

Saturday

No. 88 San Diego State at No. 2 Ohio State
Ohio State fans might not have been thrilled with the play of their team in Week 1, but at least the Buckeyes won the game. San Diego State, on the other hand, lost at home to Eastern Illinois, 40-19. Aztec quarterback Adam Dingwell threw 36 incomplete passes in the game. That’s a lot.
Ohio State 41-10

No. 3 Oregon at No. 50 Virginia
It’s been three full years since the Ducks last played a game east of the Mississippi River. That day went well: Oregon blasted Tennessee 48–13 in Neyland Stadium, and it would be a significant surprise if the result was much different this weekend in Charlottesville.
Oregon 28-6

South Carolina State at No. 4 Clemson
Clemson is fresh off one of its biggest wins in the past three decades. Even if the Tigers are a bit sluggish, they will have no problem with South Carolina State. The Bulldogs lost to Coastal Carolina 27-20 last week.
Clemson 48-0

No. 5 South Carolina at No. 6 Georgia
Georgia missed a great opportunity last week in Clemson, but there is no shame in losing by three points on the road to a top-five team. Georgia is still explosive on offense — the Dawgs averaged 7.8 yards per play last week — and should be able to score enough to win this game.
Georgia 31-21

No. 60 San Jose State at No. 7 Stanford
Stanford lost three straight in this series from 1998-2000 but has since won nine of the past 10. Last year, however, the Cardinal had to sweat, holding on for a 20-17 win. San Jose State’s David Fales is a top-flight quarterback, but the Spartans don’t match up well at any other position.
Stanford 31-14

No. 108 UAB at No. 8 LSU
LSU was one of the most impressive teams, both in the SEC and nationally, in Week 1. The Tigers looked more dynamic on offense, and the new-look defense limited TCU to 259 total yards. Picked by many (including Athlon Sports) to finish third in the SEC West, LSU has the look of a team that can compete for the national title. UAB, on the other hand, lost in overtime to Troy in Week 1. This will not go well for the Blazers. 
LSU 41-0

Sam Houston State at No. 9 Texas A&M
Johnny Manziel gets the start for the first time this season. That’s about the only intrigue in this game. Sam Houston State is a pretty good team — the Bearkats played for the 2012 FCS national title and opened the ’13 season with a 78-0 win over Houston Baptist — but this shouldn’t be close.
Texas A&M 55-10

Eastern Kentucky at No. 10 Louisville
Teddy Bridgewater was brilliant in the Cards’ win over Ohio on Sunday. Bridgewater likely will be brilliant in every game this season. Partly because he’s a very, very good quarterback and partly because he won’t face too many quality defenses.
Louisville 41-13

No. 11 Notre Dame at No. 13 Michigan
Notre Dame and Michigan meet for the last time for the foreseeable future. These two Midwest rivals have played in all but six seasons dating back to 1978, but due to Big Ten expansion (Michigan will begin playing nine conference games in 2014) and Notre Dame’s commitment to playing five ACC teams each season, this game no longer fits into either team’s schedule. Each of the last four meetings between these teams has been decided by seven points or less. This game should be no different.
Michigan 24-20

No. 12 Florida at No. 29 Miami (Fla.)
Miami plays host to the Gators for the first time since 2003, when Larry Coker and Ron Zook were roaming the sidelines for their respective schools. The Hurricanes won that game 38-33, and have won six of the past seven in the series. Florida, however, is the more talented team this season.
Florida 24-20

No. 15 Oklahoma State at No. 105 UTSA 
Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy will be facing his offensive coordinator during his playing days. Larry Coker, now the head coach at UTSA, was the O.C. at Oklahoma State from 1983-89. The pupil will beat the teacher. Badly.
Oklahoma State 51-14

No. 57 West Virginia at No. 16 Oklahoma
Credit Dana Holgorsen for being honest. Earlier this week, West Virginia’s coach said: “I’ve been asked a lot if I’m excited about playing Oklahoma Week 2 or if I’d rather play them Week 12. The truth is I’d rather play them never because they’re pretty good.” Holgorsen’s team, on the other hand, wasn’t very good last week. The Mountaineers beat William & Mary 24-17 in Morgantown — and it was as much of a struggle as the final score indicates.
Oklahoma 33-10

No. 17 Texas at No. 51 BYU
You like balance on offense? How about this: Texas had over 350 yards rushing and passing in its 56–7 win over New Mexico State. The Longhorns averaged 9.9 yards per snap en route to a school-record 715 total yards. Things won’t be quite as easy this week. BYU gave up only 223 yards in a 19–16 loss at Virginia.
Texas 24-7

Tennessee Tech at No. 18 Wisconsin
Three Badgers rushed for 100-plus yards in Wisconsin’s 45-0 win over UMass last week. The same three — Melvin Gordon, James White and Corey Clement — should top the century mark once again.
Wisconsin 47-0

SE Louisiana at No. 20 TCU
TCU gets a breather after taking on LSU, one of the most talented teams in the nation, last week. The Frogs put up a good fight, but LSU was simply the better team. This time, TCU will be the better team — by a very wide margin.
TCU 40-13

No. 74 Syracuse at No. 21 Northwestern
Northwestern gave up nearly 600 yards in last year’s opener at the Carrier Dome but somehow found a way to beat the Orange, 42–41. The Wildcats are capable of scoring a bunch of points — they beat Cal 44–30 in the ’13 opener — but this rematch figures to feature fewer fireworks. Syracuse played well in its opener but lost to Penn State, 23–17, at the Meadowlands.
Northwestern 33-24

SE Missouri State at No. 22 Ole Miss
Hugh Freeze will remind his team that eight FCS teams beat FBS teams in Week 1. What he probably won’t tell the Rebels is that SE Missouri State lost to SE Louisiana 45–7 last week. This will not be difficult for Ole Miss.
Ole Miss 44-7

Cal Poly at No. 23 Fresno State
Fresno State gave up 51 points in Week 1 — and won. Quarterback Derek Carr set school and Mountain West records with 52 completions and 73 attempts while throwing for 456 yards and five touchdowns in the Bulldogs’ 52-51 overtime win over Rutgers.
Fresno State 47-10

Tennessee-Martin at No. 25 Boise State
Boise State was humbled in a shocking 38-6 loss at Washington last week — the most lopsided defeat of the Chris Petersen era. We don’t know yet if the Broncos are down or if Washington is that good.
Boise State 30-13

No. 113 Southern Miss at No. 27 Nebraska
Nebraska gave up a staggering 602 yards (and 8.1 per play) in last week’s 37–34 win over Wyoming — a team that ranked 70th nationally in total offense. The Huskers have now allowed a total of 1,831 yards in their last three games.
Nebraska 37-20

No. 61 Washington State at No. 28 USC
It’s still early, but Washington State appears to be vastly improved. The Cougars had a chance to tie Auburn in the final five minutes, but Connor Halliday’s pass was intercepted in the end zone. The most positive sign? Washington State rushed for 120 yards on a healthy 5.2-yard clip. Not bad for a team that ranked last in the nation in rushing last year.
USC 27-13

Austin Peay at No. 30 Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt needs a get-well game after the agonizing last-minute loss to Ole Miss last Thursday night. Austin Peay, which trailed Tennessee 42–0 at the half last week, should provide plenty of comfort. The Governors will be at a huge talent disadvantage at every spot on the field.
Vanderbilt 51-7

Western Carolina at No. 31 Virginia Tech
Logan Thomas will be able to pad his stats after completing 5-of-26 for 59 yards in the loss to Alabama. Western Carolina gave up 495 yards last week to Middle Tennessee in a 45-24 loss.

Virginia Tech 37-10

No. 94 South Florida at No. 32 Michigan State
Facing a 4th-and-1 at the Western Michigan 41-yard line on the opening possession of the season, Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio elected to punt rather than see if his offense could pick up one yard against a MAC team. On the next possession, MSU punted on 4th-and-3 from the Western 48-yard line. That is mind-boggling.
Michigan State 31-14

No. 34 Cincinnati at No. 85 Illinois
Cincinnati was very impressive in the first game of the Tommy Tuberville era as the Bearcats recorded a surprisingly easy 42-7 victory over Purdue. With Munchie Legaux at quarterback, UC outgained the Boilermakers 425 to 226 and had four scoring drives of at least 75 yards en route to the decisive win. Illinois scored 42 points and had 464 total yards in the debut of Bill Cubit as the offensive coordinator. That’s the good news. The bad news? The Illini gave up 407 yards and had to sweat through a 42-34 win over Southern Illinois.
Cincinnati 20-10

No. 100 Buffalo at No. 35 Baylor
Baylor averaged 9.6 yards on its 72 plays in a 69-3 win over Wofford. The Bears will score a ton of points this year. Stopping Big 12 teams will be an issue. Stopping Buffalo, however, might not be too difficult.
Baylor 41-20

No. 118 Eastern Michigan at No. 36 Penn State
It looks as though Bill O’Brien made the right call at quarterback: True freshman Christian Hackenberg completed 22-of-31 for 278 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions in the Nittany Lions’ 23-17 win over Syracuse.
Penn State 28-6

No. 37 Arizona at No. 104 UNLV
Arizona is only favored by 10.5 points — a line that seems a bit low considering that UNLV ranked 95th in the nation in both scoring offense and scoring defense last year. Arizona might struggle a bit on defense, but the Wildcats know how to score points.
Arizona 41-17

No. 97 Middle Tennessee at No. 38 North Carolina
Middle Tennessee quarterback Logan Kilgore is expected to play despite a shoulder injury that knocked him out of the Blue Raiders’ win over Western Carolina last week. He will need to be at close to full strength to give Middle Tennessee a chance to win.
North Carolina 38-20

Samford at No. 39 Arkansas
It didn’t get much attention nationally, but Arkansas was quite impressive in its 34–14 win over Louisiana-Lafayette. Brandon Allen was efficient throwing the ball (15-of-22 for 230 yards with three TDs and no picks) and two running backs (Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins) rushed for at least 130 yards. This was a very good win over a solid team. The test in Week 2 will not be as great — though Samford did beat Georgia State in Week 1.
Arkansas 31-0

Stephen F. Austin at No. 41 Texas Tech
It’s the home debut for the rookie head coach (Kliff Kingsbury) and the walk-on freshman quarterback (Baker Mayfield) who threw for 413 yards and four touchdowns in his first game. Expect more gaudy stats from Mayfield and the Red Raiders.
Texas Tech 51-17

Alcorn State at No. 42 Mississippi State
Mississippi State needs to build some confidence after struggling through a 21–3 loss to Oklahoma State in Houston. The Bulldogs managed only 333 yards of offense and failed to score a touchdown for the first time since losing to LSU 19–6 in September 2011. Alcorn State beat Edward Waters 63–12 last week.
Mississippi State 41-10

No. 59 Louisiana-Lafayette at No. 43 Kansas State
Both teams were disappointing in Week 1. Louisiana-Lafayette lost at Arkansas 34–14, and Kansas State was shocked at home, 24-21, by North Dakota State. These teams last met in Lafayette in 2009, a game won by the Ragin’ Cajuns 17–15.
Kansas State 28-14

No. 103 Arkansas State at No. 44 Auburn
It’s possible that Auburn’s Week 2 opponent (Arkansas State) has more talent than its Week 1 opponent (Washington State). The Red Wolves are solid at quarterback with Adam Kennedy, a transfer from Utah State, and outstanding at tailback with David Oku, a former Tennessee Vol. The wild card on offense could be Fredi Knighten, who ran for 101 yards (one of four Red Wolves to top the 100-yard mark) and two touchdowns on three carries against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. I smell upset.
Arkansas State 27-21

No. 67 Western Kentucky at No. 45 Tennessee
There was nothing fluky about Western Kentucky’s 35–26 win against Kentucky. The Hilltoppers, who rolled up 216 yards rushing and 271 yards passing, were the better team. Now, however, the challenge becomes greater for Bobby Petrino’s club. Tennessee is rebuilding but is still far more talented than Kentucky — on both sides of the ball. The Vols feature an NFL-caliber offensive line and have some nice parts on what should be an improved defense. Expect to see heavy doses of tailbacks Rajion Neal and Marlin Lane, who combined for 179 yards on 22 carries against an overmatched Austin Peay team. Western Kentucky struggled to slow Kentucky’s rushing attack, especially in the first half (174 yards on 18 attempts). Tennessee will take advantage of this mismatch and run for 250-plus yards.
Tennessee 31-21

No. 77 Toledo at No. 46 Missouri
Missouri struggled in the first quarter but dominated Murray State the rest of the way en route to a 58–14 win. It’s dangerous to read too much into a game against an FCS opponent, but Gary Pinkel had to be pleased that his offense had over 300 yards rushing and passing. Despite struggling last week at Florida (against an elite defense), the Toledo offense figures to put some pressure on the Missouri defense. The Tigers ranked near the bottom of the SEC in most defensive categories last season, and it will not be a good sign if they give up a bunch of points to Toledo — a team that failed to score a touchdown against Florida.
Missouri 28-20

Old Dominion at No. 47 Maryland
The Terps are showing signs of significant life early in Year 3 of the Randy Edsall era. C.J. Brown, who missed last season with a torn ACL, completed 20-of-23 passes for 281 yards and three touchdowns and added 105 yards and two scores on the ground in Maryland’s 43-10 win over FIU.
Maryland 41-24

Richmond at No. 48 NC State
Arkansas transfer Brandon Mitchell, who won the preseason quarterback derby at NC State, is out for 4-6 weeks with a broken foot. Another transfer, Pete Thomas (Colorado State), will get the start this week when Richmond rolls into town.
NC State 30-13

Norfolk State at No. 49 Rutgers
This is the third meeting in the last seven years between these two schools. The first two did not go well for Norfolk State — the Spartans lost 59-0 in 2007 and 31-0 in 2010. The goal this season: Score a point.
Rutgers 41-3

Portland State at No. 53 California
There was some good and some bad in the Golden Bears’ 44-30 loss at home to Northwestern. Obviously, losing the game was not the desirable result. But true freshman Jared Goff showed some promise, completing 38-of-63 passes for 445 yards with two touchdowns and three INTs. The offense rolled up 548 yards, but that was on 99 offensive plays, and that translates to only 5.5 yards per play. That number needs to improve.
California 38-11

Weber State at No. 55 Utah
It got lost in some of the other games last Thursday — Ole Miss over Vanderbilt and Fresno State over Rutgers — but Utah picked up a quality win in Week 1, beating Utah State 30-26. Sophomore Travis Wilson threw for 302 yards and two TDs and did not throw an INT.
Utah 31-13

No. 66 Navy at No. 56 Indiana
Navy rallied from nine down midway through the fourth quarter to beat Indiana 31-30 in Annapolis last season. This year, the Hoosiers get the Middies at home — the first of five straight games in Bloomington for IU. Last week, Kevin Wilson’s club exploded for 632 yards in a 73-35 win over Indiana State. This is a very, very good offensive team.
Indiana 38-24

No. 58 Minnesota at No. 121 New Mexico State
Two years ago, in Jerry Kill’s home debut, Minnesota lost to New Mexico State 28-21 in one of the low points for Golden Gopher football in recent memory. It’s time for revenge!
Minnesota 33-17

No. 59 Utah State at No. 79 Air Force
This is a sneaky good game between two solid teams in the Mountain Division of the Mountain West. Utah State lost its opener, by four points at Utah, but this is a very good team that has a seasoned quarterback in junior Chuckie Keeton.
Utah State 28-21

No. 119 Hawaii at No. 62 Oregon State
Surely, Oregon State can’t be as bad defensively as the Week 1 numbers indicate: The Beavers gave up 625 yards (448 through the air) in a stunning 49-46 loss at home to Eastern Washington. Expect Mike Riley’s team to play much better this weekend.
Oregon State 33-14

No. 63 Bowling Green at No. 101 Kent State
Bowling Green was the pick by Athlon Sports to win the MAC East, and the Falcons looked very good in a surprisingly easy 34-7 win over Tulsa last week. The defense was especially impressive, holding Tulsa to 273 total yards and only one score.
Bowling Green 28-7

No. 92 Colorado State at No. 64 Tulsa
Tulsa really struggled offensively in its loss to Bowling Green, with only 51 yards on the ground and 222 yards in the air. The Golden Hurricane should find yards easier to come by this week against Colorado State. The Rams were torched for 509 yards in the 41-27 loss to rival Colorado.
Tulsa 30-14

Gardner-Webb at No. 70 Marshall
Not many college fans realize that Marshall led the nation in both total offense (534.3 ypg) and scoring offense (40.9 ppg) last season. The Herd picked up where they left off, rolling to a 52-14 win over Miami (Ohio) that featured 591 total yards of offense.
Marshall 53-17

No. 71 Duke at No. 96 Memphis
This is an off-the-radar yet intriguing Week 2 game. Duke broke through and reached a bowl game in 2012 for the first time since 1994. The Blue Devils need to keep the momentum going. Memphis was vastly improved in the first year of the Justin Fuente era. The Tigers can make a statement with a win over an ACC team.
Memphis 21-20

No. 112 Army at No. 72 Ball State
This is the fourth meeting between these two schools in the past five years. Ball State has won the past two, 48-21 in 2011 in Muncie and 30-22 last year in West Point. The Cardinals, under third-year coach Pete Lembo, should contend in the MAC West. Army, under fifth-year coach Rich Ellerson, will struggle to win more than three games.
Ball State 37-21

Missouri State at No. 76 Iowa
There’s no shame in losing to Northern Illinois, even at home, but Kirk Ferentz really, really needed to get off to a good start. Didn’t happen. The Hawkeyes should have little trouble breaking into the win column this week, but there will be a tremendous amount of pressure on Ferentz & Co. next week when they visit Iowa State.
Iowa 27-10

No. 115 Miami (Ohio) at No. 78 Kentucky 
The Mark Stoops era was going about as well as possible — until the games started. Kentucky was humbled by in-state rival Western Kentucky in Nashville on Saturday afternoon. The Cats’ defense had no answer for Western Kentucky’s balanced attack, allowing 215 yards rushing and 271 yards passing. UK went with Jalen Whitlow at quarterback, but he was pulled after throwing for only 78 yards on 15 attempts. Maxwell Smith, his replacement, was named the starter for Week 2. There was one bright spot: UK rushed for 216 yards on 32 carries, led by 98 yards on 14 attempts from tailback Raymond Sanders.
Kentucky 33-17

Central Arkansas at No. 80 Colorado
Mike McIntyre won his first game as the coach at Colorado — and did so in impressive fashion. The Buffs rolled up 509 yards of offense in a 41-27 win over rival Colorado State in Denver. Former Texas Longhorn Connor Wood played well at quarterback, and wideout Paul Richardson, who missed last season with a torn ACL, caught 10 passes for 208 yards.
Colorado 41-20

UC Davis at No. 81 Nevada
Cody Fajardo did his thing (106 yards rushing and 164 yards passing), but the Nevada defense had no answer for the UCLA offense (647 yards) in a 58-20 loss last week. The Wolf Pack should give new coach Brian Polian his first win this week.
Nevada 37-10

Grambling at No. 82 ULM
ULM managed only 166 yards of offense in its 34-0 loss at Oklahoma. Kolton Browning, the Warhawks’ outstanding quarterback, was limited to an average of 3.3 yards on his 39 attempts. Things should be a bit easier this weekend.
ULM 41-10

Indiana State at No. 84 Purdue
It’s tough to find many positives from the Boilermakers’ 42-7 loss at Cincinnati last Saturday. Purdue was outplayed in every phase of the game. The season is still young, but Darrell Hazell’s team needs to show significant improvement — and soon — if it hopes to reach bowl-eligibility.
Purdue 34-10

No. 123 Idaho at No. 86 Wyoming
Wyoming had 602 yards of total offense last week at Nebraska but fell just a bit short, losing 37-34. Brett Smith was sensational for the Cowboys, completing 29-of-43 passes for 383 yards with four touchdowns and one INT. The Pokes figure to have a relatively easy time with a pretty bad Idaho team.
Wyoming 37-10

South Dakota at No. 87 Kansas
We had to wait an extra week to watch Charlie Weis and the junior college-laden Jayhawks in action. Weis’ starting quarterback is Jake Heaps, who once was the No. 1 QB recruit in the nation. If Heaps plays well and some of the junior college transfers on the defensive side of the ball live up to the hype, KU should be significantly improved in 2013.
Kansas 17-10

No. 89 Houston at No. 93 Temple
Houston and Temple are in the same conference — as strange as that might seem. Houston pounded Southern with ease in Week 1 led by a rushing attack that picked up 372 yards on 50 carries. Temple faced a more difficult test and lost 28-6 at Notre Dame. This is a big barometer game for both programs.
Houston 27-20

No. 110 North Texas at No. 90 Ohio
Ohio won at Penn State in Week 1 of the 2012 season. In their ’13 debut, however, the Bobcats had no answer for Louisville and were never in the game. They return home to face a North Texas team that is feeling pretty good about itself after beating Idaho 40-6 last week. A lot of teams, however, will be feeling good about themselves after playing Idaho.
Ohio 30, North Texas 24

Montana State at No. 91 SMU
SMU outgained Texas Tech 490-to-461 last week but lost the game 41-23 due in part to struggles in the red zone. Texas Tech scored on all five trips inside the 20 (three TDs, two FGs); SMU scored on only three of five trips with only one touchdown.
SMU 41-20

Lamar at No. 95 Louisiana Tech
Skip Holtz lost to NC State 40-14 in his debut as the coach at Louisiana Tech. The Bulldogs, who lost a ton of weapons from last year’s nine-win team, could struggle in their first season in C-USA.
Louisiana Tech 41-17

No. 106 New Mexico at No. 99 UTEP
New Mexico showed signs of progress last season under Bob Davie, but the Lobos’ 2013 season got off to a rough start with a 21-13 loss at home to UTSA. New Mexico’s struggles in the passing game continued (6-of-17 for 84 yards), something that must be fixed if this team is going to take a step forward this fall. UTEP will be playing its first game under new coach Sean Kugler.
UTEP 20-13

Nicholls State at No. 102 Western Michigan
Western Michigan hosts a Nicholls State team that gave up 772 yards and 66 points last week to Oregon. The Broncos should have little trouble evening their record to 1-1.
Western Michigan 41-7

Savannah State at No. 107 Troy
Troy rallied from 14 down in the fourth quarter to beat UAB last week. Corey Robinson had an efficient day, completing 30-of-32 passes for 319 yards with one TD and no interceptions.
Troy 30-10

No. 122 South Alabama at No. 109 Tulane
South Alabama lost at home last week 22-21 to Southern Utah. Tulane beat Jackson State 34-7 in the first start for Nick Montana (son of Joe) at quarterback. Montana only completed 6-of-14 passes, but he threw for 144 yards and two scores.
Tulane 27-20

Prairie View A&M at No. 111 Texas State
Texas State continued Southern Miss’ misery (12th straight loss) by beating the Golden Eagles 22-15 on the road last week.
Texas State 34-7

New Hampshire at No. 114 Central Michigan
Central Michigan was dominated on both sides of the ball last week at Michigan. The Chippewas will be tested by a New Hampshire team that won eight games last season.
Central Michigan 31-27

James Madison at No. 116 Akron
Akron returns home after losing badly at UCF last week. The Zips fell behind 14-0 in the first quarter en route to a 38-7 loss. James Madison beat Central Connecticut State 38-14 last Saturday.
James Madison 24-20

Maine at No. 124 UMass
Not a good sign for UMass: The Minutemen are a 3.5-point underdog at home to an FCS school. The 2013 season will not feature many wins for Charley Molnar’s team.
Maine 30-20

Chattanooga at No. 125 Georgia State
Georgia State hired a very good coach in Trent Miles, but the Panthers are a long way away from being competitive in the FBS ranks. Last week, they lost at home, 31-21, to Samford.
Georgia State 22, Chattanooga 20

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Post date: Friday, September 6, 2013 - 07:15

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