By Cole Frederick/Sports Correspondent
Auburn Week 7 Review
For one half, it appeared last Saturday (Oct. 13) as if Auburn was going to win in Baton Rouge for the first time since 1999. The Tigers led LSU 20-0 and looked dominant in all three phases of the game. But that lead slowly but surely slipped away in the second half, and LSU stormed back to stun Auburn, 27-23, in a crushing defeat for Gus Malzahn’s team. Kerryon Johnson rushed for 156 yards and a touchdown for Auburn, but most of those yards came in the first half. The Auburn offense was stagnant in the second half. Jarrett Stidham connected on only nine of his 28 passes, and the LSU defense shut down the Tigers and held them to zero points in the second half. Auburn fell to 5-2 overall and 3-1 in league play. The Tigers travel again on Saturday (Oct. 21) to take on Arkansas in another SEC West matchup.
Alabama Week 7 Review
Alabama’s very first play from scrimmage on offense set the tone for the night against Arkansas. Running back Damien Harris broke loose for a 75-yard touchdown run and the Crimson Tide never looked back on their way to a 41-9 win. Harris rushed nine times for 125 yards and two touchdowns Alabama built a 24-0 lead and had the game wrapped up by halftime. Jalen Hurts threw for 155 yards and a touchdown, though he did throw his first interception of the season. Hurts also ran for 41 yards and a score as the Tide outgained the Razorbacks, 496-227. Alabama improved to 7-0 overall and 4-0 in conference play. UA hosts Tennessee on Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
1. Alabama (7-0, 4-0)
2. Georgia (7-0, 4-0)
3. Auburn (5-2, 3-1)
4. Texas A&M (5-2, 3-1)
5. Miss. State (4-2, 1-2)
6. LSU (5-2, 2-1)
7. Florida (3-3, 3-2)
8. Kentucky (5-1, 2-1)
9. South Car. (5-2, 3-2)
10. Ole Miss (3-3, 1-2)
11. Vanderbilt (3-4, 0-4)
12. Arkansas (2-4, 0-3)
13. Tennessee (3-3, 0-3)
14. Missouri (1-5, 0-4)
Week 8 Previews and Predictions
Week 7 record: 4-3
Saturday, Oct. 21
Game of the Week: Kentucky at Mississippi State (-10.5). The only team keeping Georgia from running away with the SEC East Division is Kentucky. The Wildcats are 5-1 overall and 2-1 in the SEC. Every other team in the division has at least two conference losses except for Mark Stoops’ team. The next few games are pivotal for Kentucky if the ‘Cats want to keep pace with Georgia. Mississippi State suffered two straight blowout losses following an impressive win over LSU, but the Bulldogs got back on track with a non-conference win over BYU last Saturday. There is plenty at stake for both teams when they square off Saturday in Starkville. Prediction: Mississippi State 27, Kentucky 23.
Tennessee at Alabama (-34). The Third Saturday in October was once one of the best rivalries in the SEC, but Alabama has dominated this series since Nick Saban took over in 2007. Alabama has won 10 straight meetings by an average margin of 23.2 points per game, and on paper this matchup could be the biggest mismatch in decades. Tennessee is limping into Bryant-Denny Stadium after an 0-3 start to conference play, and head coach Butch Jones is on the hottest of hot seats. If the game gets really ugly, it could easily be the last game Jones coaches at Te-nnessee. Prediction: Alabama 51, Tennessee 3.
Idaho at Missouri (-14). Despite losing five consecutive games, the Tigers actually have improved over the past two weeks. Missouri narrowly lost at Kentucky, and while Georgia ended up beating them handily, the Tigers were competitive for most of the game. Head coach Barry Odom insists that progress is being made and that he needs time to build the program, and he has a chance to get his team on the right track this week against Idaho. But if the Tigers are upset at home by the Vandals or lose to Connecticut next week, Odom could be in trouble by the end of the season. Prediction: Missouri 48, Idaho 24.
Auburn at Arkansas (+13.5). Both teams are coming off of losses, but lost those games in two completely different ways. Auburn blew a 20-point lead at LSU, and the Tigers likely saw their national championship hopes disappear with the loss. Meanwhile, Arkansas was embarrassed by Alabama in the second consecutive blowout loss for the Razorbacks. Bret Bie-lema hasn’t had the success many anticipated when he took over at Arkansas, and things could get ugly again on Saturday when the Hogs take on Auburn team that beat them 56-3 a season ago. Auburn can still win the SEC West if they win out, but the schedule only gets tougher after Saturday’s road game at Arkansas. Prediction: Auburn 45, Arkansas 16.
LSU at Ole Miss (+7). After LSU’s blowout loss to Mississippi State and emba-rrassing home loss to Troy, many were already beginning to question the hiring of Ed Orgeron. But Orgeron’s Tigers turned things around quickly with back-to-back wins over Florida and Auburn, and LSU has new life in the SEC West. Up next for the Tigers is a trip to Orgeron’s former team in Ole Miss. This Rebel team has a potent offense capable of lighting up the scoreboard. But LSU should be able to run the ball effectively and put quarterback Danny Etling in comfortable situations throwing the ball, and the Tigers should be 6-2 heading into a showdown with Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Prediction: LSU 34, Ole Miss 22.
In & around SEC football
By Cole Frederick/Sports Correspondent