SEC Football Week 7 Preview: No. 17 Florida-No.10 LSU Meet In SEC Showdown
GAME OF THE WEEK: No. 17 Florida at No. 10 LSU: In an SEC season that’s been dominated by top-shelf offense, there’s still at least one team that plays defense: Florida. The Gators are giving up just 12.2 points per game, but they’ll be tested Saturday. LSU’s offense is among the best in the league, thanks to QB Zach Mettenberger, WRs Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. and RB Jeremy Hill. Said Mettenberger of Florida: “You are only as successful as your next game. If I go out Saturday against Florida and finish with a lot of incompletions and two interceptions, I will be considered a terrible player again in the media’s eyes.”
BEST MATCHUP: Georgia QB Aaron Murray vs. Missouri QB James Franklin: Murray’s great senior season is no surprise and No. 7 Georgia is right in the thick of the SEC race, but Mizzou’s emergence behind Franklin has been a little more unexpected. Franklin appears fully healthy after a variety of injuries slowed him in 2012, and the 25th-ranked Tigers are off to a 5-0 start. He has thrown for 1,407 yards, 13 touchdowns and three interceptions.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Auburn’s offense is rolling under first-year coach Gus Malzahn. The Tigers are especially effective in the ground game, averaging 242.2 yards per game. Tre Mason (83 yards per game), Nick Marshall (57.6), Cameron Artis-Payne (51.2) and Corey Grant (49.6) give Auburn plenty of options. … Top-ranked Alabama and Florida are clearly the class of the league on defense. Both teams are giving up just 12.2 points per game, which is nearly 10 points better than the next best defense.
LONGSHOT: No. 9 Texas A&M at Ole Miss: The Rebels have lost two in a row and will be the underdog on Saturday in Oxford, Miss. But Ole Miss was one of the few teams to give Johnny Manziel trouble last season, forcing the Aggies into six turnovers. Texas A&M needed a late rally to escape with a 30-27 victory.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Texas A&M WR Mike Evans: The 6-foot-5 sophomore is having a huge season, with 28 passes for 691 yards and five touchdowns. His 24.7 yards per catch is the best mark in the SEC. He’ll have a big size advantage on the Ole Miss secondary, so look for Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin to find ways to exploit that matchup. Said Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze on defending Evans: “We’ve thought about a lot of crazy things. We’re trying to think out of the box a little bit on who we might put on him in some situations that could compete for a jump ball with him.”
Compiled by AP Sports Writer David Brandt in Jackson, Miss.
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