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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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Around the SEC: Week 10

Sports+writer%26%23160%3BRyne+Ryskoski+breaks+down+the+winners+of+the+early+signing+period+in+the+SEC.
Photo by Photo by Robert O’Brien

Sports writer Ryne Ryskoski breaks down the winners of the early signing period in the SEC.

Southeastern Conference play returns with seven matchups to start off the month of November.
Outside the battle between No. 13 Texas A&M and No. 12 Auburn, No. 15 Ole Miss and No. 3 Alabama stay at home against unranked opponents, while Arkansas and Mississippi State will continue searching for their sixth wins of the season facing each other.
Mississippi State (5-3) at Arkansas (5-3)
Saturday, Nov. 6 – Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium – Fayetteville, Ark.
3 p.m. CT on SEC Network
Perhaps this matchup should be dubbed the ‘bowl eligibility game.’ With both teams needing one more win to guarantee a spot in a bowl game ­— one will punch its ticket this Saturday while the other will have to fight another week.
Arkansas has fallen back to Earth after rising to No. 8 in the AP Poll in Week 5. The Razorbacks went on a brutal slate after the upset win over A&M, losing their next three to Georgia, Ole Miss and Auburn before a comfortable win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff two weeks ago. Quarterback KJ Jefferson has quietly put together a nice year with 15 touchdowns and only three interceptions as Sam Pittman’s multi-running back strategy continues to be versatile and effective. It should be noted that other than the shutout loss to Georgia, Arkansas only lost by one point to the Rebels and two possessions to Auburn, so the Razorbacks have still been competitive, even if their record doesn’t necessarily show it. Arkansas also had a bye week to gear up for the remainder of the season, with Mississippi State on a roll in recent weeks. The Bulldogs got their second win against a ranked opponent, Kentucky, last weekend to follow a 45-point showing against Vanderbilt the previous weekend. Quarterback Will Rogers has played like one of the best signal-callers in the country as well, going 36-for-39 with 344 passing yards against the Wildcats to build off his 384 passing yards and four touchdowns against the Commodores. This weekend will be yet another test for Rogers and Mike Leach’s team to see if it can maintain this year’s success. With the momentum of Miss. St. and its ability to run up yardage through the air, now seems like the time for the Bulldogs to prove their place and claim bowl eligibility in a big road win.
Prediction: Miss. St. 28, Arkansas 24
Liberty (7-2) at No. 15 Ole Miss (6-2)
Saturday, Nov. 6 – Vaught Hemingway Stadium – Oxford, Miss.
11 a.m. CT on SEC Network
In one of the more underrated games of the weekend, a pair of Heisman-contending quarterbacks and likely first-round picks in the 2022 NFL Draft will hopefully face off. Ole Miss’ Matt Corral has had a spectacular year as expected, throwing 15 touchdowns to two interceptions with the nation’s fifth-best quarterback rating of 84.2. But he did re-aggravate an ankle injury against Auburn which kept him out of practice Monday, so it’s unknown whether or not he’ll start this weekend. Corral did return to the game after getting injured, though, which surprised head coach Lane Kiffin. Malik Willis, who was recently named a Maxwell Award semifinalist for National Player of the Year, has led the Flames to a 7-2 record. In his time at Liberty, Willis has displayed impressive mobility in and out of the pocket that goes with his 6-foot-1, 225-pound frame. Like Corral, Willis doesn’t make many mistakes, as seen by his ten touchdowns to three interceptions this year. In terms of how the two teams match up against each other, Liberty’s defense won’t intimidate Corral with how many points it allows to non-Power 5 schools, and the fact that it gives up almost five yards per play. The Flames gave up 26 points to North Texas and 31 to Louisiana-Monroe, for instance. That being said, Willis will show his talent against a vulnerable Rebels defense that allows over 500 yards and 39 points per game. However, the overall talent discrepancy between the two teams can’t be forgotten, which is why Ole Miss will likely pull ahead of Liberty at some point on Saturday, though the Flames’ offense will surely challenge Lane Kiffin’s defense.
Prediction: Ole Miss 48, Liberty 30
LSU (4-4) at No. 3 Alabama (7-1)
Saturday, Nov. 6 – Bryant Denny Stadium – Tuscaloosa, Ala.
6 p.m. CT on ESPN
This matchup won’t be like the recent LSU-Alabama battles. The Tigers have dealt with some tough losses in recent weeks, including losing by five points to Auburn and losing by multiple possessions to Ole Miss and Kentucky. Of course, there is also the news of Ed Orgeron not remaining LSU’s head coach after this season. Inconsistent would be the best way to describe LSU and its offense, which scored 42 against the Gators but only managed 17 points against Ole Miss’ porous defense the next week. The Tigers’ defense, meanwhile, is among the worst in the SEC, allowing over 400 yards per game and the third-most points, giving up less than only Missouri and Vanderbilt. The state of the program, with its injuries and irregularity, doesn’t contest against the Crimson Tide, which has outscored opponents 101-33 since losing to A&M while sitting atop the SEC West. Alabama’s program is simply in a much better state than LSU’s currently, and with the amount of injuries the Tigers have on defense, it shouldn’t be very difficult for the Crimson Tide’s 45.9-points-per-game offense to take over quickly and keep up the pace for the rest of the night. Sophomore Alabama quarterback Bryce Young should have plentiful opportunities through the air against a secondary that doesn’t have All-American cornerbacks Eli Ricks and Derek Stingley, Jr.
Prediction: Alabama 40, LSU 17

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