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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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Around the SEC: Week 4

SEC Logo
SEC Logo

With the season now in full swing, the SEC is becoming increasingly competitive with each game. Week three featured the western division’s first showdowns, as LSU pulled off a stunning upset at Auburn and Alabama rolled past Ole Miss in Oxford. Meanwhile in the East, Vanderbilt kept it close against the Fighting Irish at Notre Dame, and Missouri narrowly escaped Purdue. Here’s a look at some pivotal games around the conference as we wrap up the first month of the 2018 season.
No. 14 Mississippi State (3-0) at Kentucky (3-0)
Sat. Sept. 22, Kroger Field, Lexington, KY
6:00 p.m. on ESPN2
In this interdivisional match-up, Mississippi State squares off with their first legitimate opponent while Kentucky faces what is arguably the second hardest game on their schedule. Mississippi State is coming off of a strong performance against UL-Lafayette, who they defeated 56-10. Senior quarterback Nick Fitzgerald threw for 243 yards and two touchdowns in the Bulldogs’ rout of Lafayette. Fitzgerald also led the team in rushing yards and touchdowns, gaining 107 yards on the ground for four touchdowns. On the other side of the ball, Mississippi State will get behind senior defensive end Montez Sweat, who has three sacks so far on the season. Meanwhile, Kentucky is feeling strong after picking up their third straight win with a victory over Murray State. The Wildcats have already racked up a conference win and will look to junior running back Benny Snell to carry them during Saturday’s game. Snell is averaging 125 yards a game, but will have a tough challenge against a Bulldog defense that ranks eighth overall in the nation and allowing only 85 rushing yards a game. Look for Mississippi State to control both sides of the ball and grab their first conference win of 2018.
Prediction: Mississippi State 38, Kentucky 24
No. 2 Georgia (3-0) at Missouri (3-0)
Sat. Sept. 22, Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium, Columbia, MO
11:00 a.m. on ESPN
This battle in the east could be one of the better games seen in the division in 2018. Georgia enters as a clear favorite, but Missouri is the seventh overall offense in the nation, racking up 589 yards a game. The Tigers’ explosive offense will have to scheme well, as Georgia’s defense is the best in the SEC, ranking seventh nationally. Georgia is also coming off of a strong performance in their 49-7 blowout win over Middle Tennessee. The Bulldogs also have a big divisional win over South Carolina. Georgia’s sophomore quarterback Jake Fromm is averaging an impressive 80.4 percent completion rate, and their run game is also very strong, averaging 272 yards a game. On the other hand, Missouri is looking very strong under senior quarterback Drew Lock, who threw for 375 passing yards and three touchdowns for the Tigers in their narrow win over Purdue last week. The Missouri defense will have to step up this week as they rank only 74th nationally, allowing 379.7 yards a game. This will be the difference-maker in Saturday’s showdown, as Georgia will dominate with their potent run game and overall talent.
Prediction: Georgia 38, Missouri 21
Tennessee (2-1) vs Florida (2-1)
Sat. Sept. 22, Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, TN
6:00 p.m. on ESPN
The “Third Saturday in September” should be an interesting match-up this year as both Florida and Tennessee come in somewhat evenly matched in this 48th meeting between the two schools. The Volunteers are looking for revenge after Florida’s circus catch Hail Mary that won the game for the Gators in 2017. Both teams have had their struggles so far in 2018, with Tennessee dropping their first game in embarrassing fashion to West Virginia in week one, and Florida upsetting loss to Kentucky at home in week two. Florida has been struggling offensively, ranked 95th in the country. Sophomore quarterback Feleipe Franks has had his ups and downs, struggling with completion percentage at 53.3 percent. Franks will face a Volunteer Squad that ranks 14th nationally, allowing only 291.7 yards a game. Watch for Tennessee to use Neyland’s atmosphere to give them an edge this year, as the Volunteers will get their payback against the Gators.
Prediction: Tennessee 27, Florida 24
No. 9 Auburn (2-1) vs Arkansas (1-2)
Sat. Sept. 22, Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn, AL
6:30 p.m. on SECN
Both Arkansas and Auburn are coming off of tough losses to North Texas and LSU, respectively. In Arkansas’ case, a road win over Auburn would put an end to a cold start this season and put Chad Morris’ Razorbacks back on course. On the other hand, Auburn is looking to bounce back after their stunning loss to LSU last week at home. Arkansas has truly struggled, with losses to Colorado State and North Texas. Auburn will be a very difficult team to open up conference play against. The Razorbacks are still looking for consistency at quarterback and sophomore Ty Storey has been named the starter, but he will need to step up against the Tigers’ vaunted defense. He only has a 56 percent completion rate with three touchdowns and two interceptions in 2018. With a win over Washington, Auburn is ranked ninth in the nation and is a proven contender who will go into Saturday with a chip on their shoulder. Don’t expect any surprises in this one. Auburn will crush Arkansas on Saturday, as the Razorbacks continue their struggles.
Prediction: Auburn 42, Arkansas 13

 

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