Oct 12, 2017

Big Ten & SEC Week 7 Preview: Aggies Look to Knot Series Record With Gators

In the seventh week of the college football season, members of the Florida Citrus Sports Team Selection Committee are making visits throughout Big Ten and SEC country, meeting with fans across both conferences in advance of the Citrus Bowl on New Year’s Day.

Here are a few of the games our representatives will be taking in this week:

Texas A&M (4-2, 2-1 SEC) at Florida (3-2, 3-1 SEC) – 7:00 p.m. on ESPN2

Texas A&M will be making its first trip to Gainesville since 1962 when the Aggies take on the Florida Gators under the lights at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

The Aggies are coming off their first conference loss of the season to No. 1 Alabama. Kellen Mond connected 19 of 29 passes for 237 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Linebacker Tyrel Dodson, who stands fifth in the SEC for interceptions, had a career-high 16 tackles while cornerback Debione Renfro forced the first Alabama turnover since November of 2016. Texas A&M has scored at least 19 points in every game in 2017 and also carries a 20-game streak of scoring at least 14 points – the longest in the conference. Overall Texas A&M stands at No. 3 in the SEC in total offense and No. 4 in rushing.

UF will be looking to rally after a heartbreaking 17-16 loss to LSU that came down to a missed extra point. The loss snapped a three-game winning streak and dropped the Gators from the top of the SEC East Division standings. It was also the first conference defeat in “The Swamp” for head coach Jim McElwain. Feleipe Franks completed 10 of 16 passes for 108 yards and was sacked five times by the Tigers, while running backs Malik Davis (90) and Lamical Perine (70) led the Gators in rushing yards. Florida’s defense is ranked first in the SEC in red zone defense and has the third highest total for sacks. The Gators have rushed for at least 165 yards in four consecutive games for the first time since 2012.

The Aggies will be seeking their first win over the Gators since the 1977 Sun Bowl, when Tony Franklin — known for kicking barefoot — booted three field goals, including a bowl record 62-yarder, in a 37-14 victory in El Paso. The programs have met three times total, and the Gators lead the series record 2-1. The last time they played was in 2012 in College Station. In that game Florida spoiled the Aggies’ SEC debut, rallying back from a 17-7 second quarter deficit to score the final 13 points of a 20-17 victory.

No. 10 Auburn (5-1, 3-0 SEC) at LSU (4-2, 1-1 SEC) – 3:30 p.m. on CBS

Auburn faces off with LSU for the 52nd time on Saturday in Auburn’s second Tigers-Tigers matchup of the season. (They beat Mizzou 51-14 in Week 4.)

This is the first of three consecutive road games for Auburn after a 44-23 win over Ole Miss last week. Kerryon Johnson rushed for a career-high 204 yards and three touchdowns, earning him SEC Player of the Week. Jarett Stidham, who leads and SEC and ranks fifth nationally in completion percentage (.712) completed 14 of 21 passes for 235 yards and two touchdowns.

Auburn has totaled 144 points in their last three games and leads the SEC with a 7.69 yards per play average in conference games. They’re also the only team to rank in the SEC’s top four in scoring (2nd), total offense (3rd), rushing (4th) and passing (4th). The Auburn defense, ranked 13th nationally in total defense, has allowed only 78 points this season.

LSU is also coming off a victorious Week 6 thanks to a 17-16 win over the Gators. Linebacker Devin White had 13 tackles, one sack, one tackle for a loss and one pass breakup that stopped Florida’s final drive of the game. This was White’s fourth game in a row recording double-digit tackles, and he currently leads the SEC with 62 total tackles on the season. Overall, LSU is ranked fifth in the SEC for total offense, fourth in scoring defense, and second in sacks.

Auburn trails the all-time series with LSU 28-22-1, but won in their most recent meeting last season, 18-13 at home. The home team has won 15 of the last 17 contests in the series dating back to 2000, when Auburn beat LSU 34-17 in Jordan-Hare Stadium. LSU has not lost a game to Auburn in Baton Rouge since 1999. In their last 22 meetings, at least one of the teams was ranked at the time of the game, and both teams were ranked in 12 of those 22 games.

No. 9 Ohio State (5-1, 3-0 Big Ten) at Nebraska (3-3, 2-1 Big Ten) – 7:30 p.m. on FS1

Ohio State is heading to Lincoln, Nebraska, this weekend for for the second time since the Huskers left the Big 12 for the Big Ten.

The Buckeyes’ 62-14 blowout against Maryland last week was the third consecutive game the Buckeyes scored 54 or more points while holding their opponent to 35 or less. In addition to posting 584 yards on offense, Ohio State’s defense had a season-high six sacks, forced three fumbles and gave up just 16 passing yards while limiting Maryland to 66 total yards. The Buckeyes are ranked in the FBS top 15 for total offense (4th) and total defense (14th). Ohio State’s defense has given up less than 300 yards of total offense in its last four games and ranks second in the nation with 57 tackles for loss.

The Huskers are coming off a 38-17 home loss to No. 9 Wisconsin that saw the Badgers pull away with three touchdowns in the last 20 minutes. Tanner Lee completed 16 of 32 passes for 262 yards and had one touchdown, but also threw a costly pick-six, his fourth of the season. One bright spot came in the second quarter, when Lee connected with Stanley Morgan Jr. on an 80 yard touchdown pass — the seventh-longest pass play in school history.

Overall, Morgan caught four passes for a career-high 115 yards , while Devine Ozigbo rushed 23 times for a career-high 112 yards and became the first 100-yard rusher against Wisconsin since LSU’s Leonard Fournette last season. The game against the Buckeyes will be the first time in school history that Nebraska will face top-10 opponents in consecutive weeks at Memorial Stadium.

Ohio State enters Saturday leading the all-time series 4-1. The two programs are meeting for the second straight year and the fourth time as Big Ten opponents. The only time Nebraska has ever defeated the Buckeyes was in 2011 — the teams’ only other meeting in Lincoln. Last season in Columbus, No. 6 Ohio State dominated the No. 10 Cornhuskers in a 62-3 blowout.

Here are the rest of the Big Ten and SEC games our selection committee members will attend:

Rutgers (1-4, 0-2 Big Ten) at Illinois (2-3, 0-2 Big Ten) – 12:00 p.m. on BTN
South Carolina (4-2, 2-2 SEC) at Tennessee (3-2, 0-2 SEC) – 12:00 p.m. on ESPN
No. 17 Michigan (4-1, 1-1 Big Ten) at Indiana (3-2, 0-2 Big Ten) – 12:00 p.m. on ABC
Northwestern (2-3, 0-2 Big Ten) at Maryland (3-2, 1-1 Big Ten) – 3:30 p.m. on ESPN2
Purdue (3-2, 1-1 Big Ten) at No. 7 Wisconsin (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten) – 3:30 p.m. on BTN
Arkansas (2-3, 0-2 SEC) at No. 1 Alabama (6-0, 3-0 SEC) – 7:15 p.m. on ESPN
Missouri (1-4, 0-3 SEC) at No. 4 Georgia (6-0, 3-0 SEC) – 7:30 p.m. on SEC Network
No. 21 Michigan State (4-1, 2-0 Big Ten) at Minnesota (3-2, 0-2 Big Ten) – 8:00 p.m. on BTN

Other Big Ten and SEC games being played this week:

BYU (1-5) at Mississippi State (3-2, 1-2 SEC) – 12:00 p.m. on SEC Network
Vanderbilt (3-3, 0-3 SEC) at Ole Miss (2-3, 0-2 SEC) – 3:30 p.m. on SEC Network

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