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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 6

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.

Even as clear frontrunners have emerged in the SEC, Week 6 of conference play is laden with matchups between ranked teams that should provide viewers a thrill.
While Alabama and Georgia stand at the top of SEC West and East, respectively, each week provides an opportunity for the SEC’s landscape to shift dramatically.
No. 2 Georgia (5-0) at No. 18 Auburn (4-1)
Saturday, Oct. 9 — Jordan-Hare Stadium — Auburn, Ala.
2:30 p.m. on CBS
Georgia has made a statement by pummelling each and every opponent that lines up in front of it. The Bulldogs have the best defense in the country — allowing only 4.6 points per game — and the eighth-best offense in the country, combining to produce a plus-42 point margin through the last three games. The team shut out two consecutive SEC opponents, Vanderbilt and then-No. 8 Arkansas, for the first time since 1980, and is looking unstoppable, even with starting quarterback JT Daniels sidelined with an injury. While Auburn is coming off a win against LSU highlighted by junior quarterback Bo Nix having Heisman moment after Heisman moment, the Bulldogs seem to belong to a league of their own. Nix’s dual-threat abilities will undoubtedly present a problem for the visiting team, but Georgia just shut down Arkansas’ similarly balanced offense. Auburn will be nothing more than a stepping stone on the Bulldogs’ way to an SEC championship matchup against the Crimson Tide.
Prediction: Georgia 38, Auburn 14
No. 13 Arkansas (4-1) at No. 17 Ole Miss (3-1)
Saturday, Oct. 9 — Vaught Hemingway Stadium — Oxford, Miss.
11 a.m. on ESPN
Arkansas and Ole Miss are both coming off disappointing losses to the SEC’s gatekeeper programs. Ole Miss fell to Alabama by a score of 42-21 as the Crimson Tide defense stifled the Rebels offense that has otherwise been firing on all cylinders in 2021. Ole Miss junior quarterback Matt Corral still managed to complete 72.4 percent of his passes for 213 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. Corral — backed by a group of talented receivers — is the Rebels’ spark, and an Ole Miss victory depends on his success against an Arkansas defense that drops eight men in pass coverage. The Razorbacks, on the other hand, have been a surprise in this year’s SEC competition. Second-year coach Sam Pittman is working himself toward Naismith College Coach of the Year honors, but the Razorbacks’ ground-and-pound offense, led by junior Trelon Smith, will have to keep running smoothly to get there. The deciding factor in this matchup will be Ole Miss’ success on fourth downs, as the Rebels have converted 14-of-19 and were ultimately shut down by Alabama by turnovers-on-downs.
Prediction: Ole Miss 34, Arkansas 23
LSU (3-2) at No. 16 Kentucky (5-0)
Saturday, Oct. 9 — Kroger Field — Lexington, Ky.
6:30 p.m. on SEC Network
The question ringing through a significant portion of SEC territory after last week is an unfamiliar one: Is Kentucky back? The Wildcats beat then-No. 10 Florida at home for the first time since 1986 and remained one of three undefeated teams in the SEC. If a $250K fine after fans stormed the field is any indication, all of Lexington will be loud and hostile for 2021’s underachieving LSU team. Kentucky is led by junior quarterback Will Levis who has been … okay. The real reason for the perfect record is in the legs of junior running back Chris Rodriguez Jr., who leads the SEC and is fifth in the country with 612 rushing yards. While Kentucky is slightly favored in the game, a look at its schedule points toward last week being a fluke as the Wildcats have won four games by only one score against some notably weak teams. Traveling into Lexington is an LSU team that has not been able to control the tailspin the program entered after winning the 2019 National Championship. The Tigers’ quarterback, sophomore Max Johnson, has looked very good with the SEC’s third-most passing yards and completions and second-most passing touchdowns with 16. Outside of Johnson — whose 62.43 completion percentage could be better — the Tiger’s offense is essentially non-existent with a combined 331 rushing yards over five games. Kentucky’s ability to vary playcalling will open gaps for Rodriguez to run over the Tigers and leave the field with six straight wins.
Prediction: Kentucky 21, LSU 17

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