SEC Saturday roundup
September, 28, 2013
By Edward Aschoff | ESPN.com
After a weekend of relative snoozers when it came to matchups in the SEC, today should be pretty exciting with two great matchups.
First, there's the game of the week, with No. 6 LSU (4-0, 1-0 SEC) traveling to No. 9 Georgia (2-1, 1-0 SEC) in a matchup that could set the scoreboard inside Sanford Stadium on fire. Both teams bring exciting offenses that could make things very uncomfortable for two young defenses.
For LSU, we've seen a total offensive transformation. The Tigers always have been able to run the ball, but now LSU can throw it. Zach Mettenberger returns to where he started his college career. There were moments when people thought Mettenberger might end up being the starter in Athens, but after his suspension and rocky trip to Baton Rouge, he enters Saturday averaging more than 250 yards per game and has thrown 10 touchdowns to just one interception. It's a vast improvement from barely averaging 200 yards in games last year.
If Georgia wants to take the next step defensively, it has to stop the run and put more pressure on Mettenberger. It also has to continue what it has done on offense. The Bulldogs are averaging 574 yards of offense per game and 7.8 yards per play. Quarterback Aaron Murray is on his way to breaking the SEC record for passing yards, while Todd Gurley is proving to be the nation's best running back.
The bottom line is that both of these young defensive lines have to put a lot of pressure on the opposing offenses to give their respective teams a chance between the hedges.
Over in Tuscaloosa, No. 1 Alabama's defense is going to get another big test with high-powered 21st-ranked Ole Miss (3-0, 1-0). We've seen some uncharacteristic struggles from Alabama's defense in the last few weeks, and the Rebels' offense poses quite the threat. Ole Miss is averaging nearly 500 yards of offense and 38 points a game. The real questions for Alabama's defense have come in the secondary, where the Crimson Tide (3-0, 1-0) has give up 464 and 228 passing yards in consecutive games. To Alabama's credit, though, its secondary wasn't totally healthy last week.
Today, this team doesn't have an excuse. It's healthy and at home. People have wondered if Alabama is really the No. 1 team in the country, but this team is still undefeated. Ole Miss is certainly a threat, but you better believe this Alabama team is tired of hearing that it isn't good enough to be No. 1.
Keep an eye on Florida. The Gators lost starting quarterback Jeff Driskel for the year to a broken fibula against Tennessee last week and defensive tackle Dominique Easley's season is done because of an ACL injury. Florida is breaking in Tyler Murphy as the new starter at quarterback, and we'll see a few more youngsters along that defensive line, as the Gators try to get more experience to go along with the depth up front.
South Carolina's trip to Central Florida probably won't be much fun. The Gamecocks have the talent, but this is a tricky road trip. UCF is having a fast start to the season, and South Carolina is still looking to build on defense.
With quarterback Brandon Allen back under center at Arkansas, Fayetteville should be rocking Saturday. The Razorbacks have been able to run the ball pretty well this season, while Texas A&M leads the SEC in scoring and offense. Someone on defense has to make a stop, right?
Here's a rundown of Saturday's game:
- South Carolina at UCF, Noon ET, ABC
- South Alabama at Tennessee, 12:21 p.m. ET, SEC TV
- LSU at Georgia, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS
- Ole Miss at Alabama, 6:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
- Texas A&M at Arkansas, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2
- Florida at Kentucky, 7 p.m. ET, ESPNU
- UAB at Vanderbilt, 7:30 p.m. ET, FSN
- Arkansas State at Missouri, 7:30 p.m. ET, CSS
Final Nevada 3 Louisiana-Lafayette 16 Final Utah State 21 UTEP 6 Final 22 Utah 45 Colorado State 10 Final Western Michigan 24 Air Force 38 Final South Alabama 28 Bowling Green 33
6:00 PM ET Marshall Northern Illinois 9:30 PM ET Navy San Diego State
12:00 PM ET Central Michigan Western Kentucky 8:00 PM ET Fresno State Rice
1:00 PM ET Illinois Louisiana Tech 4:30 PM ET Rutgers North Carolina 8:00 PM ET North Carolina State UCF
1:00 PM ET Cincinnati Virginia Tech 2:00 PM ET 15 Arizona State Duke 3:30 PM ET Miami (FL) South Carolina 4:30 PM ET Boston College Penn State 8:00 PM ET Nebraska 24 USC
2:00 PM ET Texas A&M West Virginia 5:30 PM ET Oklahoma 17 Clemson 9:00 PM ET Arkansas Texas
3:00 PM ET Notre Dame 23 LSU 6:30 PM ET 13 Georgia 21 Louisville 10:00 PM ET Maryland Stanford
12:30 PM ET 9 Ole Miss 6 TCU 4:00 PM ET 20 Boise State 10 Arizona 8:00 PM ET 7 Mississippi State 12 Georgia Tech
12:00 PM ET 19 Auburn 18 Wisconsin 12:30 PM ET 8 Michigan State 5 Baylor 1:00 PM ET 16 Missouri 25 Minnesota 5:00 PM ET 2 Oregon 3 Florida State 8:30 PM ET 1 Alabama 4 Ohio State
12:00 PM ET Houston Pittsburgh 3:20 PM ET Iowa Tennessee 6:45 PM ET 11 Kansas State 14 UCLA 10:15 PM ET Washington Oklahoma State