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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 Two

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Photo by Photo by Abbey Santoro

Sports writer Grant Gaspard breaks down what to watch out for during Week 5 of SEC football play. 

The SEC returns for Week Two of the college football season with another set of out-of-conference matchups. Unlike last week, there are not many matchups comparable to Clemson vs. Georgia or UCLA vs. LSU. The featured games on this week’s slate are Arkansas vs. No. 21 Texas and Mississippi State vs. North Carolina State. High-profile teams such as No. 1 Alabama and No. 16 LSU are set to face Mercer and McNeese State, respectively. To round out the games, Ole Miss will face Austin Peay and Auburn will play Alabama State.

Mercer @ No. 1 Alabama

Saturday, Sept. 11- Bryant-Denny Stadium – Tuscaloosa, Ala.

3 p.m. CT on SEC Network

Despite losing a number of standout players to the NFL Draft, including quarterback Mac Jones, running back Najee Harris and Heisman-winning wide receiver Devonta Smith, Alabama beat No. 14 Miami in dominant fashion on Saturday, Sept. 4, 44-13. Sophomore quarterback Bryce Young threw four touchdown passes while completing 71 percent of his pass attempts. The Crimson Tide utilized a strong running game, led by redshirt senior running back Brian Robinson Jr. On the other side of the field, Mercer is coming off a 69-0 victory over Point University. The Bears are led offensively by freshman running back Tommy Pollack and freshman quarterback Carter Peevy. Expect Alabama to continue its dominant start to the season — Nick Saban’s team has too much talent on both sides of the ball to not beat Mercer by a minimum of 45 points.

Prediction: Alabama 63, Mercer 3

No. 15 Texas @ Arkansas

Saturday, Sept. 11 – Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium – Fayetteville, Ark.

6 p.m. CT on ESPN

Arkansas beat Rice 38-17 on Sept. 4 to open its 2021 season, headlined by redshirt sophomore quarterback K.J. Jefferson. Last week, Jefferson had three touchdowns and 89 rushing yards. Another impressive performer for the Razorbacks was junior running back Trelon Smith, with 102 rushing yards and a touchdown. No. 21 Texas is coming off of a top-25 victory over No. 23 University of Louisiana at Lafayette. In the opener, Texas was led by sophomore running back Bijan Robinson’s two total touchdowns and 170 total yards of offense. Redshirt freshman quarterback Hudson Card threw for a pair of touchdowns and completed 67 percent of his 21 passing attempts. In the matchup between these former rivals, expect Arkansas to keep it close by running the football before Texas eventually pulls away with another standout showing from Robinson.

Prediction: Texas 31, Arkansas 17

North Carolina State @ Mississippi State

Saturday, Sept. 11 – Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field – Starkville, Miss.

6 p.m. CT on ESPN 2

The Mississippi State Bulldogs are coming into Week 2 after an impressive 35-34 comeback win over Louisiana Tech on Sept. 4. The Bulldogs outscored LA Tech 21-3 in the fourth quarter en route to their victory, as sophomore quarterback Will Rogers led the way with 370 yards passing and 3 touchdown passes. Rogers also completed an impressive 83 percent of his 47 pass attempts. Sophomore running back Jo’quavious Marks also added 2 rushing touchdowns of his own in the victory. In Week 1, North Carolina State beat University of South Florida 45-0 in dominant fashion on Sept. 2. The catalyst in the victory for the Wolfpack was their ground game. Junior running back Ricky Person Jr. and sophomore running back Zonovan Knight combined for over 260 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns. North Carolina State’s redshirt sophomore Devin Leary chipped in 2 passing touchdowns of his own in the blowout victory. In this game, expect competition throughout, but Rogers will inevitably lead the Bulldogs to a close victory over the Wolfpack. This game could possibly be the most entertaining on the SEC West’s weekend slate.

Mississippi State 31, NC State 28

Austin Peay @ Ole Miss 

Sept. 11 – Vaught-Hemingway Stadium – Oxford, Miss.

6:30 p.m. CT on SEC Network+

Ole Miss beat Louisville 43-24 in an impressive Labor Day showing. Most of the Rebels’ offensive yardage came from junior quarterback Matt Corral’s 381 passing yards and 55 rushing yards. Corral also added both a rushing and passing touchdown in the victory. The other standout performer for Ole Miss was senior wide receiver Dontario Drummond, accumulating 9 receptions, 177 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown. Austin Peay defeated Chattanooga 30-20 on Sept. 2. The Governors are led by sophomore quarterback Draylen Ellis, who earned 4 passing touchdowns and 325 yards in the air this past week. Senior running back Tanner Ahmaad led the way in the running game with 105 rushing yards and a receiving touchdown. Ole Miss’s high-powered offense will lead the way in what should be a blowout victory, but Austin Peay will put forth a respectable offensive showing. 

Ole Miss 54, Austin Peay 21

Alabama State @ Auburn

Sept. 11 – Jordan-Hare Stadium – Auburn, Ala

11 a.m. CT on SEC Network

The Auburn Tigers are coming off a 60-10 victory over Akron on Sept. 4. Junior quarterback Bo Nix completed 20 of his 22 passes for 275 passing yards and 2 touchdowns, with sophomore running back Tank Bigsby and freshman running back Jarquez Hunter combining to rush for over 220 yards and 3 touchdowns. On the other side of the field, Alabama State defeated the Miles Golden Bears in overtime, 14-13, on Sept. 4. The Hornets got most of their offense from their running game. Redshirt freshman quarterback Ryan Nettles and redshirt freshman running back Jacory Merritt each accounted for a rushing touchdown, and redshirt senior back Ezra Gray led the way with 67 rushing yards. Auburn should easily beat Alabama State because its offense is far too explosive for the Hornets to handle. If Auburn hits the ground running, this game could be over by the end of the first quarter.

Auburn 70, Alabama State 0

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