No. 11 Alabama hosts No. 17 Tennessee to top SEC slate. Vols have lost 9 in a row at Crimson Tide
Thu, Oct 19, 2023
NCAAF News (AP)
Things to watch in Week of the Southeastern Conference:
GAME OF THE WEEK
No. 17 Tennessee (5-1, 2-1) at No. 11 Alabama (6-1, 4-0). One of the most memorable images of last season was Tennessee fans tearing down t he goal posts and marching them out of Neyland Stadium after a 52-49 victory over Alabama. Chances are the Crimson Tide haven't forgotten the scene and how they felt in defeat when the teams meet again Saturday.
A year ago, the Vols were seeking a signature win in coach Josh Heupel's second season. This time around, Tennessee is trying not to fall two games behind No. 1 Georgia in the SEC East race.
Alabama dropped out of the top 10 after a loss to No. 8 Texas and a less-than-thrilling win over South Florida last month. But the Tide have stabilized themselves behind quarterback Jalen Milroe to stay on top in the SEC West. Milroe, who did not play against South Florida, has thrown for 948 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions the past four starts - all wins.
Tennessee was caught napping early in the season with a 29-16 loss at Florida. The Vols also have recovered their footing with three straight wins heading into this week. They've lost nine straight games at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
UNDER THE RADAR
No. 13 Mississippi ((5-1, 2-1) at Auburn (3-3, 0-3). The Rebels fell in a showdown to Alabama on Sept. 23, but have rebounded with a pair of SEC wins, including a rally from 10-points down to defeat No. 19 LSU 55-49.
Ole Miss quarterback Jaxson Dart is second in the SEC and seventh nationally with 323.3 yards of total offense per game while receiver Zakhari Franklin is the FBS active career leader with 37 receiving TDs.
It's been a difficult return the to the SEC for former Ole Miss and current Auburn coach Hugh Freeze. The Tigers started SEC play with three losses for the first time since 2012. That Auburn team finished winless at 0-8 in the league and 3-9 overall.
South Carolina (2-4, 1-3) at No. 20 Missouri (6-1, 2-1). It sure seems like a tough task for the Gamecocks to bounce back on the road after giving up a 10-point lead in the final nine minutes and losing to Florida 41-39 a week ago.
South Carolina coach Shane Beamer said there was some bad execution defensively down the stretch that allowed the Gators to put up two 75-yard scoring drives. The frustration at losing led Beamer to kick "something I shouldn't have kicked" and break a bone in his right foot.
Missouri's 5-0 start was spoiled by LSU two weeks ago. But the Tigers - a touchdown favorite in this one, according to FanDuel Sportsbook - recovered to defeat No. 23 Kentucky 38-21.
Missouri features receiver Luther Burden III, who leads the SEC with eight catches a game.
Kentucky defensive back Maxwell Hairston leads with SEC with five interceptions, two of them taken to the end zone. Both scores came in a 45-28 win over Vanderbilt last month. The sophomore is tied for the team lead with 44 tackles and he's forced a fumble this season. Hairston had only had two stops last year while appearing in 12 games for the Wildcats.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
Auburn is among only 13 FBS teams that have returned a fumble and an interception for a touchdown this season. ... Tennessee has blocked three kicks, tied for third nationally with Buffalo and Wyoming. ... Alabama coach Nick Saban won his 200th game last week with a 24-21 win over Arkansas. He joined Paul "Bear" Bryant, who has 224, as the only Crimson Tide coaches to crack the 200-win mark. ... South Carolina's Division II transfer Mario Anderson has run for 287 yards and two TDs the past three games. The Gamecocks totaled just 159 yards on the ground their first three games. ... LSU is one of only two teams in FBS ranked in the top 10 in both rushing and passing. The Tigers are seventh in passing (337.7 yards) and 10th in rushing (214.6 yards). ... No. 1 Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt have bye weeks.
AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll"