SEC Football Week 3 Preview: Dawgs Look To Rebound Against Hogs
Week three of the college football season is here and Jody Alberson is going to give you a rundown of this week's SEC action.
I don't see a clear cut game of the week this week, but there are plenty of interesting matchups to watch.
Arkansas at Georgia
The Georgia Bulldogs are looking to rebound after being dominated by the Gamecocks and Freshman RB Marcus Lattimore in last week's 17-6 loss to South Carolina.
The Arkansas Razorbacks are 2-0 led by Junior QB Ryan Mallett who has passed for over 700 yards with six TDs and a defense that has averaged surrendering five points a game.
This is a critical game for both teams. Arkansas is looking to make a splash in the SEC this year, and this game is almost a must win to be able to accomplish this. Georgia is currently sitting 0-1 in conference play and must avoid a loss for any chance at contention in the Eastern division.
Georgia's defense will need to improve greatly after surrendering 354 total yards (189 rushing) to USC a week ago. The Bulldogs inability to get the Gamecock offense off the field led to their defeat. The Bulldog offense needs to limit the mistakes and establish the run (61 yards rushing against USC).
Arkansas will also need good play from their defense, an area of weakness a year ago. We know the Razorbacks like to throw the ball, but in order to succeed in the SEC, you have to be able to run the ball. Arkansas needs to improve upon their tenth best SEC rushing offense, and could do so against the Bulldog offense.
Man these teams are so similar.
Expect the Bulldogs to bounce back from the USC loss and get the big win at home this week. Look for special teams to play a difference, especially in the return game and field position battle.
Georgia 20, Arkansas 17
Florida at Tennessee
Florida finally put it together offensively against the South Florida Bulls last week winning 38-14 on the big play ability of Junior RB Jeff Demps.
Tennessee suffered their worst home loss to a non-conference opponent since 1988 when the Oregon Ducks pummeled the Vols 48-13 last Saturday.
This traditional rivalry game has lost its luster in recent years as the Gators have won the last five, the closest being a 21-20 Gator win in 2006. The Vols are obviously in a rebuilding state and don't realistically have a shot at contending in the SEC this year.
The Gators hope all the offensive issues are past them as they start the conference portion of their schedule. One plus for Florida is the play of their secondary. Through two games, the Gators have eight interceptions.
Tennessee will need a solid effort from Junior RB Tauren Poole, the conference's leading rusher. The big area needing improvement for the Vols is the defense and kickoff/punt return coverage. Tennessee surrendered 474 yards of offense, in addition to 191 yards in kickoff/punt return yards.
The Gators should have no trouble with the Vols this year and the streak should increase to six in a row over Tennessee.
Florida 28, Tennessee 14
Clemson at Auburn
The Auburn Tigers welcome the Tigers of Clemson in another battle in the ACC-SEC rivalry.
Clemson is off to a 2-0 start against the usual cream-puff opponents, but now get their first real test of the season in the Auburn of the SEC.
Auburn struggled to a 17-14 victory last week over Mississippi State, and if wasn't for the Bulldog QB Chris Relf's inability to complete a pass (or WR Leon Berry's drop) on the final drive, Auburn could be sitting at 1-1 instead of 2-0.
Auburn will again rely on the play of QB Cameron Newton who is the SEC's second leading rusher. If Cameron can be a little more productive in the passing game, Auburn will see a benefit to the overall effectiveness of their offense.
Again, we don't know a lot about Clemson from the first two games. But we do have a lot of questions. Is the defense a weak link? Giving up 21 points to first year Division 1 school Presbyterian, even by the "fourth string" defense is a little alarming.
Will RBs Andre Ellington and Jamie Harper be able to carry the load in an offense that relied so much on the big play ability of the departed CJ Spiller and Jacoby Ford? We will find out this Saturday.
Clemson QB Kyle Parker needs someone from the young core of receivers to step up and become that go-to target missing with the departure of WR Jacoby Ford and TE Michael Palmer.
Clemson has a legitimate shot to gain some respect back for the ACC after the conferences poor showing in out-off-conference competition so far this season. In the end, I think Auburn is the better team in every aspect of the game (offense, defense, special teams, coaching).
Expect this one to be entertaining until the very end.
Auburn 27, Clemson 23
Mississippi State at LSU
Mississippi state had a chance to pull off the upset last week against Auburn, but the offense was not able to make plays in the clutch with the game on the line.
LSU's QB Jordan Jefferson struggles continue, only completing 9-20 passes for 96 yards, no touchdowns and one interception against Vanderbilt a week ago. And let's be honest, Vandy is a very, very bad team.
The real obstacle for the Bulldogs is that unlike the home game against Auburn, this game is at LSU and at night. Advantage to the Tigers.
I do think this will be a close and competitive game. It'll be interesting to see if LSU gets an early lead, if they're able to hold that lead against a talented team. The key for Mississippi State will be to play mistake free football, and for the offense to make some plays when needed.
In the end, I think the Tigers pull it out due to the difference in talent level and it being a home night game.
LSU 24, Mississippi State 13
Rest of the Schedule
Vanderbilt at Ole Miss
Alabama at Duke
Akron at Kentucky
Furman at South Carolina
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