Matchup of unranked LSU, Auburn highlights Week 6 in SEC
Here are things to watch in Week 6 in the Southeastern Conference:
GAME OF THE WEEK
LSU at Auburn. Neither of these teams are ranked — for now — but both have plenty of talent and high drama is commonplace when these Tigers of different stripes match up. The last two times LSU played at Auburn, the game came down to the last play. In 2018, LSU’s Cole Tracy kicked a winning field goal as time expired, capping an 11-point comeback early in Joe Burrow’s first year as LSU starter. In 2016, LSU thought it had scored a game-winning touchdown as time expired and was celebrating wildly on the field as officials reviewed the play and ruled that time had expired before the last snap, negating the touchdown. The next day, Les Miles was fired as LSU coach and Ed Orgeron was appointed interim coach. Not surprisingly, this is the game CBS chose to show in its premier mid-afternoon slot.
MATCHUP OF THE WEEK
Kentucky-No. 5 Georgia. Although Kentucky struggled offensively last week, the Wildcats’ 184.4 yards rushing per game this season ranks second in the SEC behind only Ole Miss. Now Kentucky’s ground game, led by running back Chris Rodriguez and dual-threat QB Terry Wilson, will get its toughest test yet when it runs into a Georgia rushing defense that ranks first in the league, and fourth in the nation, allowing just 65 yards per game. Georgia has won 10 straight in the series and is favored to make it 11, but the fifth-ranked Bulldogs had turnover trouble in their previous game and now face a Kentucky defense that intercepted Mississippi State six times and ranks second in the SEC in total defense.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
Just four of 14 SEC teams enter the weekend ranked in the Top 25 Poll. All four are in the top 10: Alabama at No. 2, Georgia at No. 5, Texas A&M at No. 8 and Florida at No. 10. ... Vanderbilt (0-3) is set to host Ole Miss on Saturday in what will mark the Commodores first game since Oct. 10 because of postponements related to COVID-19. ... Halloween was supposed to mark the start of the second half of this season’s 10-game all-SEC schedule for conference members. But because of postponements, just six teams (Alabama, Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee, Auburn and Ole Miss) have played five games. Georgia, Missouri, Texas A&M, LSU and Mississippi State have each played four, while Vanderbilt and Florida have played just three games apiece.
The only thing separating Arkansas (2-2) from a more impressive 3-1 record is a last-second Auburn field goal. And the Razorbacks should be fresh coming off a bye as they visit Texas A&M. Razorbacks QB Felipe Franks, a Florida transfer, is passing for 243.5 yards per game and can scramble when plays break down. One of his best games came in the loss to Auburn, when he passed for 318 yards and four TDs. Texas A&M is just one game ahead of Arkansas in the standings, thanks to the Aggies’ dramatic 41-38 home victory over Florida on Oct. 10. Oddsmakers have the Aggies favored by 11 1/2, but if Franks can avoid sacks and turnovers, it could be closer than that.
LSU junior receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. has taken over the Tigers’ No. 1 receiver spot since Ja’Marr Chase’s decision to opt out shortly before the season. And Marshall is having by far his best season. In four games, Marshall has 27 catches for 512 yards and nine touchdowns. Furthermore, Marshall has been playing multiple receiver spots. Sometimes he lines up wide, others in the slot. At 6-foot-3, he has the height to out leap most defenders but also is fast enough to be a deep threat and sure-handed enough to be a possession receiver on third down. Last weekend against South Carolina, he caught a short third-down pass over the middle, cut up field and turned what was designed as a first-down play to extend the drive into a drive-concluding 51-yard TD. It was one of his two TD receptions in the game.
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