Nov 02, 2017

Big Ten & SEC Week 10 Preview: As LSU Battles ‘Bama on Road, MSU and PSU Aim to Rally After First Conference Losses

In the 10th 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:

No. 18 LSU (6-2, 3-1 SEC) at No. 2 Alabama (8-0, 5-0 SEC) – 8:00 p.m. on CBS

LSU will travel to Tuscaloosa in a matchup of top-20 teams and the 82nd meeting between the Tigers and the Crimson Tide. LSU and Alabama are both coming off bye weeks for the contest. LSU’s most recent game was a 40-24 victory against Ole Miss, the team’s third straight win since its stunning 24-21 loss to Troy in the Tigers’ homecoming game. Their other loss came to Mississippi State in Week 3.

Led by quarterback Danny Etling (1,452 yards and nine touchdowns) and running back and former Citrus Bowl MVP Derrius Guice (101.6 yards per game), the Tigers’ offense have outgained their opponents in seven of eight games this season and are averaging 417.8 yards of total offense per game. The defense includes linebacker Devin White, who has 80 total tackles on the season and leads the SEC with 10.0 tackles per game.

Alabama’s record remains perfect after defeating Tennessee 45-7 in Week 8. The Crimson Tide have been dominant on both sides of the ball this season and are the only team in the country ranked in the top 12 in scoring defense (first), scoring offense (fifth), rushing defense (first), rushing offense (seventh), total defense (first) and total offense (12th). They are outscoring their opponents by a margin of 33.2 points per game (43.0-9.8), outrushing the opposition by 232.4 yards per game (298.8-66.4) and have a total offense advantage of 230.6 yards per game (484.9-254.3). Quarterback Jalen Hurts leads the offense with 1,223 yards and nine touchdowns on the season. He is flanked by running back Damien Harris, who is ranked fourth nationally in yards per carry at 8.6.

The Tigers will be looking to snap a six game losing streak against Alabama, including a 10-0 defeat in last year’s game — the first shutout in the series since Alabama’s 21-0 win over LSU in the 2012 BCS National Championship Game. Overall, Alabama leads the all-time series 51-25-5. Alabama head coach Nick Saban has an 8-4 record against the Tigers, while LSU head coach Ed Orgeron is seeking his first win against the Crimson Tide, as he stands 0-4 all-time including a 0-1 mark in his time in Baton Rouge. (His other three losses came during his tenure at Ole Miss, with each coming by three points.)

No. 7 Penn State (7-1, 4-1 Big Ten) at No. 24 Michigan State (6-2, 4-1 Big Ten) – 12:00 p.m. on FOX

Both Penn State and Michigan State are looking to rally from their first Big Ten losses of the season as they meet on Saturday in an East Division matchup in Spartan Stadium.

The Nittany Lions were dealt their first loss of the season by Ohio State, which rallied from an early 21-3 deficit to escape with a 39-38 win. Before Week 9, Penn State won its previous four Big Ten games by an average of 21.5 points. The Nittany Lions boast the No. 14 scoring offense in the country at 39.8 points per game and are led by Saquon Barkley, the national leader in all-purpose yards (206.3 yards per game), as well as Trace McSorley, who has the 13th highest completion percentage among FBS quarterbacks (.659).

Michigan State, meanwhile, is coming off a 39-31 triple-overtime loss to Northwestern, their second defeat of the season so far. Sparty’s first loss came in Week 4 at the hands of Notre Dame. Michigan State should provide a stiff test to Barkley and the Nittany Lions offense, as the Spartans rank eighth in the nation, holding opponents to 283.4 yards of offense per game. They are also among the FBS top 20 in multiple defensive statistics including rushing (4th), first downs (14th), pass efficiency (17th) and third-down (19th). Linebacker Joe Bachie leads Michigan State in tackles with 71 for a unit that ranks fourth nationally, allowing just 89.8 yards per game on the ground.

The Land Grant Trophy is on the line during Penn State’s latest trip to East Lansing. The trophy was introduced in 1993 when the PSU-MSU series was renewed with the Nittany Lions’ entrance into the Big Ten. It honors both schools’ unique places in history as pioneer land-grant institutions in the United States. Michigan State is looking to take the trophy back after losing it and the Big Ten East Division Championship in last year’s meeting, a 45-12 win for Penn State. The 32nd meeting between the programs, Saturday’s tilt will break a 15-15-1 overall tie.

No. 6 Ohio State (7-1, 5-0 Big Ten) at Iowa (5-3, 2-3 Big Ten) – 3:30 p.m. on ESPN

Ohio State is taking the momentum from its 39-38 upset over Penn State to Iowa City this weekend, as the Buckeyes face the Iowa Hawkeyes.

Last week’s victory against the Nittany Lions was Ohio State’s sixth in a row after falling 31-16 to Oklahoma in Week 2. Quarterback J.T. Barrett has been the catalyst for an offense that ranks second nationally with 571.3 yards of total offense per game. Barrett is ranked among the top quarterbacks in the nation at No. 3 in passing efficiency (176.2), and the Buckeye offense also sits in the top 20 in several major categories, including rushing (18th), passing (11th), first downs (2nd), team passing efficiency (3rd) and scoring (2nd). The defense is also a threat as it ranks in the top 15 in total defense (302.5 yards per game) and rushing defense (107.3 yards per game).

Iowa is entering Saturday’s contest after a 17-10 victory over Minnesota last week. The Hawkeyes’ three losses this season came to Penn State, Michigan State and Northwestern by a combined 16 points. Quarterback Nate Stanley is completing 57.5 percent of his passes this year and has 1,704 passing yards, 17 touchdowns and four interceptions on the year. Stanley’s favorite target is wide receiver Nick Easley, who has 36 catches for 275 yards and four touchdowns. On the ground, Akrum Wadley leads the offense with 643 yards and five touchdowns.

On the other side of the ball, Hawkeyes linebacker Josey Jewell ranks fourth nationally in tackles per game with 11.4. Joshua Jackson also leads both the Hawkeye secondary and the entire nation with 17 total passes defended.

Saturday will mark the 65th meeting in a series that began with a 12-9 Iowa win in 1922. Since then, Ohio State has built a comfortable 47-14-3 overall advantage and is riding a five game win streak head-to-head. The Hawkeyes are looking for their first victory over the Buckeyes since 2004, when Iowa won 33-7 in Kinnick Stadium. Ohio State holds a 17-6-2 advantage in Iowa City and has been victorious in seven of the last eight games played there. Saturday is the first meeting between the programs since 2013 and just the fifth contest in the last 11 years.

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

No. 9 Wisconsin (8-0, 5-0 Big Ten) at Indiana (3-5, 0-5 Big Ten) – 12:00 p.m. on ABC
Northwestern (5-3, 3-2 Big Ten) at Nebraska (4-4, 3-2 Big Ten) – 3:30 p.m. on BTN
South Carolina (6-2, 4-2 SEC) at No. 1 Georgia (8-0, 5-0 SEC) – 3:30 p.m. on CBS
Minnesota (4-4, 1-4 Big Ten) at Michigan (6-2, 3-2 Big Ten) – 7:30 p.m. on FOX

Other Big Ten and SEC games being played this week:

Illinois (2-6, 0-5 Big Ten) at Purdue (3-5, 1-4 Big Ten) – 12:00 p.m. on BTN
No. 14 Auburn (6-2, 4-1 SEC) at Texas A&M (5-3, 3-2 SEC) – 12:00 p.m. on ESPN
UMass (2-6) at No. 16 Mississippi State (6-2, 3-2 SEC) – 12:00 p.m. on SEC Network
Florida (3-4, 3-3 SEC) at Missouri (3-5, 0-4 SEC) – 12:00 p.m. on ESPN2
Western Kentucky (5-3, 3-2 CUSA) at Vanderbilt (3-5, 0-5 SEC) – 12:00 p.m. on ESPNU
Maryland (4-4, 2-3 Big Ten) at Rutgers (3-5, 2-3 Big Ten) – 3:30 p.m. on BTN
Ole Miss (3-5, 1-4 SEC) at Kentucky (6-2, 3-2 SEC) – 4:00 p.m. on SEC Network
Coastal Carolina (1-7, 0-5 Sun Belt) at Arkansas (3-5, 1-4 SEC) – 4:00 p.m. on SEC Network
Southern Miss (5-3, 3-2 CSUA) at Tennessee (3-5, 0-5 SEC) – 7:30 p.m. on SEC Network

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