In & around SEC football – Week 3 previews


By Cole Frederick/Sports Correspondent

Auburn Week 2 Review
The Tigers improved to 2-0 after a sluggish 24-6 win over Tulane. Auburn was stagnant offensively for most of the game and struggled to run the ball against the Green Wave. The Auburn defense was predictably stout, and Tulane was never really a threat on offense as the Greenies gained 223 yards on the night. Bo Nix threw for 207 yards and a score, while JaTarvious Whitlow added 96 yards and a touchdown on the ground. But he also fumbled twice and it was a sloppy performance overall. The Tigers welcome Kent State to Jordan-Hare Stadium this Saturday, Sept. 14, before tra-veling to Texas A&M next week.
Alabama Week 2 Review
Alabama took a 14-0 lead over New Mexico State in the blink of an eye and quickly blew the Aggies out of Bryant-Denny Stadium in a 62-10 victory. Tua Tagovailoa tossed three touchdown passes and threw for 227 yards and Jerry Jeudy caught eight passes for 103 yards and three scores as Alabama improved to 2-0. Nick Saban’s squad hits the road on Saturday as UA opens SEC play with a road game at South Carolina.
SEC football standings
1. Georgia (2-0, 1-0)
2. Alabama (2-0)
3. LSU (2-0)
4. Texas A&M (1-1)
5. Auburn (2-0)
6. Mississippi State (2-0)
7. Florida (2-0)
8. Kentucky (2-0)
9. South Carolina (1-1)
10. Missouri (1-1)
11. Vanderbilt (0-2, 0-1)
12. Ole Miss (1-1, 1-0)
13. Arkansas (1-1, 0-1)
14. Tennessee (0-2)
Week 3 Previews and Predictions
Week 2: 11-2
Season: 19-6
Game of the Week: Florida at Kentucky (+8). A season ago, Kentucky beat Florida for the first time in over 30 years. It was a monumental win for Mark Stoops and the Wildcats and propelled UK to a 10-win season. Now, the Wildcats are looking to beat the Gators in Lexington for the first time in over 30 years, and they’ll have to do so without starting quarterback Terry Wilson, who was injured in last week’s win over Eastern Michigan. Former Troy quarterback Sawyer Smith took over and played well. Smith will need to be sharp since he is up against one of the best defensive back units in the country when the Gators roll into town. Florida was much more efficient offensively against UT-Martin than against Miami, but the level of competition is about to drastically improve. Prediction: Florida 23, Kentucky 16.
Arkansas State at Georgia (-33). Georgia has a final tune-up before Notre Dame visits Athens next week, and the Bulldog offense already is clicking on all cylinders. Jake Fromm and D’Andre Swift look unstoppable, and the UG defense has been stout over the first two weeks of the season. The Fighting Irish will present a different challenge next week, but there aren’t many teams better than Georgia in all of college football. Prediction: Georgia 56, Arkansas State 13.
Kansas State at Mississippi State (-7.5). The Bulldogs are off to a 2-0 start behind transfer quarterback Tommy Stevens, who came to Starkville when Joe Moorhead was hired as head coach. Conference play starts next week for Mississippi State against Kentucky, but the Bulldogs can’t afford to overlook these Wildcats this weekend. Prediction: Mississippi State 27, Kansas State 20.
Chattanooga at Tennessee (-28). Rocky Top has hit rock bottom after back-to-back losses to Georgia State and BYU to start the year. If Jeremy Pruitt loses to Chattanooga, Phil Fulmer might take over as head coach. The Volunteers have a difficult schedule upcoming and need a drastic turnaround just to reach a bowl game. Prediction: Tennessee 45, Chattanooga 20.
Alabama at South Carolina (+25.5). The last time Alabama visited Columbia, South Carolina in 2010, the Crimson Tide was upset by Steve Spurrier’s squad, 35-21. This matchup is considerably more uneven, and UA should have no problem with this version of the Gamecocks. Ryan Hilinski is making his second career start for South Carolina, and while this isn’t necessarily the strongest Saban defense, it’s still very talented and could certainly give Hilinski problems. On the other side of the ball, Tua Tagovailoa and the Tide offense have looked unstoppable, and the Gamecocks will have no answer for Jerry Jeudy and the Alabama receiving corps. Prediction: Alabama 48, South Carolina 16.
Southeast Louisiana at Ole Miss (-31). After an abysmal offensive performance in a season-opening loss to Memphis, the Rebels regrouped for an important 31-17 conference victory over Arkansas last week. The win is monumental for the Rebels’ chance at bowl eligibility and Ole Miss should add another win this weekend against an overmatched Lion squad. Prediction: Ole Miss 52, SE Louisiana 17.
Colorado State at Arkansas (-9.5). The Razorbacks visited the Rams last year and left Fort Collins with a 34-27 loss. That defeat sent Arkansas spiraling to a 2-10 season. The Rams make the return trip to Arkansas this Saturday in an important game for both teams. The Hogs need this win for a chance at bowl eligibility, especially after last week’s loss to Ole Miss. Prediction: Arkansas 30, Colorado State 23.
Lamar at Texas A&M (-43.5). The Aggies could not get their running game going in a 24-10 loss at Clemson, and the entire offense suffered as a result. Clemson controlled the game, which was out of reach in the third quarter despite the Tigers’ explosive offense only scoring 24 points. Jimbo Fisher’s offense needs to improve quickly before Auburn’s elite defense visits College Station next week. Prediction: Texas A&M 61, Lamar 13.
Kent State at Auburn (-35). Auburn struggled offensively in a 24-6 victory over Tulane and had difficulty moving the ball against the Green Wave. The AU game plan was conservative but the running game was lackluster throughout the game. The Tigers were dominant defensively, which will be the strength of the team moving forward. Auburn has a chance to improve on offense this week before hitting the road to start SEC play next week at Texas A&M. Prediction: Auburn 45, Kent State 9.
Northwestern State at LSU (-51). LSU’s offense looked better than ever in a thrilling 45-38 victory on the road against Texas. For years, the Tigers struggled on offense despite having tremendous talent, but Joe Burrow threw for 471 yards and four touchdowns and the team looked unstoppable. LSU looks like a contender again and get an easy win this Saturday before conference play begins on Sept. 14 at Vanderbilt. Prediction: LSU 56, Northwestern State 6.
Southeastern Missouri State at Missouri (-34). After a discouraging performance in the opening week, the Tigers responded with an impressive win over West Virginia. Kelly Bryant and the Missouri offense looked sharp and have one final tune-up before South Carolina visits Columbia next weekend. Prediction: Missouri 55, SE Missouri State 13.

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