In & around SEC football - Week 12 previews

November 16, 2018 chris
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By Cole Frederick/Sports Correspondent

Alabama Week 11 Review
The perfect season continues for the Crimson Tide, which relied on its defense for the second straight week in a 24-0 win over Mississippi State. Alabama has now shut out two straight SEC opponents, and both LSU and Mississippi State were ranked when they faced Alabama.
Offensively, UA was not as sharp against the Bulldogs as it had been throughout the year. Mississippi State boasts one of the best defenses in the country, however, and the Bulldogs made things uncomfortable for quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and the Alabama offense for the majority of the game. Tagovailoa left in the third quarter after aggravating his knee, though head coach Nick Saban said he could have played if necessary. The Heisman Trophy favorite only threw for 164 yards, one touchdown and one interception, and the Bulldogs held the Tide to 305 yards of offense. It marked the first time all season Alabama has been held under 500 yards of total offense. Alabama improved to 10-0 overall and 7-0 in conference play. UA hosts The Citadel this Saturday (Nov. 17) before hosting Auburn in the Iron Bowl.
Auburn Week 11 Review
Despite a strong start on the road, Auburn fell to Georgia, 27-10, last weekend in Athens. The Tigers led 10-6 in the second quarter but the offense could not put together a drive for the remainder of the game. Jarrett Stidham threw for 163 yards on 36 passes, but Auburn was outgained 516 to 274. Georgia scored a touchdown on fourth-and-three right before the half, and the bulldogs added another touchdown late in the game to pull away for the win. The Auburn defense had no answer for the Georgia rushing attack. D’Andre Swift carried the ball 17 times for 186 yards and a touchdown, including a 77-yard score in the second half to ice the game. One of the few bright spots for the Auburn offense was receiver Ryan Davis, who set the school record for receptions in a career with 165. Davis caught 13 passes for 72 yards on the evening. The Tigers dropped to 6-4 overall and 3-4 in the SEC. They host Liberty this weekend before traveling to Tuscaloosa to take on Alabama.
SEC football rankings
1. Alabama (10-0, 7-0)
2. Georgia (9-1, 7-1)
3, LSU (8-2, 5-2)
4. Florida (7-3, 5-3)
5. Auburn (6-4, 3-4)
6. Kentucky (7-3, 5-3)
7. Mississippi State (6-4, 2-4)
8. Texas A&M (6-4, 4-3)
9. South Carolina (5-4, 4-4)
10, Missouri (6-4, 2-4)
11. Vanderbilt (4-6, 1-5)
12. Tennessee (5-5, 2-4)
13. Ole Miss (5-5, 1-5)
14. Arkansas (2-8, 0-6)
Week 12 Previews and Predictions
Week 11 record: 7-0; season: 72-19
Game of the Week: UAB at Texas A&M (-16.5). Bill Clark should be up for national Coach of the Year awards for the job he’s done at UAB. The Blazers are 9-1 and just won the Conference USA West Division after defeating Southern Mississippi in overtime. Clark took over a year before the program was shut down and led the school to a 6-6 season in his first year. Instead of jumping to another job while the program was shelved, he helped resurrect it and he has one of the best Group of 5 teams in college football. The Blazers likely won’t beat Texas A&M on Saturday but they’re a remarkable story and will have an opportunity to win a conference championship next month. Prediction: Texas A&M 38, UAB 24.
The Citadel at Alabama (-51). The only thing that can stop Alabama right now is injuries. Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts are both battling injuries and both will be limited on Saturday – and there’s a chance that neither quarterback plays. Third-stringer Mac Jones played in the second half against Mississippi State and should see the majority of the action on Saturday. Prediction: Alabama 51, The Citadel 3.
Idaho at Florida (-39.5). The Gators bounced back from two straight losses with an impressive double-digit comeback victory over South Carolina last Saturday. South Carolina led 31-14 in the second half but Florida stormed back for a 35-31 win to improve to 7-3 on the year. Dan Mullen has a chance to reach 10 wins in his first season in Gainesville. Prediction: Florida 52, Idaho 12.
Middle Tennessee at Kentucky (-14). Last week’s loss to Tennessee was predictable after the Wild=cats’ chances to win the SEC East ended the week before with their loss to Georgia. It was a tough task for Mark Stoops to get his team ready for the Volunteers after such a disappointing loss, and UK looked sluggish as Tennessee dominated. Kentucky can still win 10 games this year, which would be a massive accomplishment for the program. But the Wildcats must bounce back quickly against a dangerous Middle Tennessee team. Prediction: Kentucky 31, Middle Tennessee 22.
Arkansas at Mississippi State (-20.5). Mississippi State’s defense was impressive against Alabama but the offense struggled mightily throughout the night. Nick Fitzgerald should have an easier time against the Arkansas defense but the Bulldogs must avoid the Alabama hangover that most teams suffer from after playing the Tide. Prediction: Mississippi State 23, Arkansas 13.
Missouri at Tennessee (+5). Jeremy Pruitt has the Volunteers only one win away from a bowl game, which would be an impressive accomplishment for the first-year coach. The Vols must beat either Missouri or Vanderbilt to reach bowl game and host a Missouri team that’s playing solid football. Barry Od-om’s Tigers are 6-4 and have won two straight SEC games. Most of Missouri’s games have come down to the wire, and this one should be no difference. Prediction: Missouri 30, Tennessee 26.
UMass at Georgia (-43.5). The Bulldogs clinched the SEC East and will play Alabama in a few weeks for a likely trip to the playoffs. If Georgia can beat Alabama in the same place where it lost the national title last year, the Bulldogs will be back in the playoffs for the second straight year. Prediction: Georgia 59, UMass 16.
Rice at LSU (-44). It wasn’t pretty, but LSU held on for a narrow 24-17 win over Arkansas last weekend. The Tigers are now 8-2 on the year, and it’s been a very successful season thus far for head coach Ed Orgeron. LSU still can win 10 or 11 games, though the tigers will be tested next week by Texas A&M. Prediction: LSU 52, Rice 6.
Chattanooga at South Carolina (-31). After their disappointing loss to Florida, the Gamecocks are still searching for their sixth win to reach a bowl game. That victory should come this week, and then they’ll have a chance to knock Clemson from the ranks of the unbeaten. Prediction: South Carolina 55, Chattanooga 19.
Ole Miss at Vanderbilt (-2.5). Vanderbilt nearly pulled off the upset at Missouri last week but they fell just short in a 33-28 loss. The Commodores now need to beat both Ole Miss and Tennessee to reach a bowl game. They’ll have chances in both games, and the outcomes likely will come down to the last possession, like several games have thus far for the Nashville squad. Prediction: Vanderbilt 34, Ole Miss 31.