Oct 19, 2018

Big Ten & SEC Week 8 Preview: Bulldogs, Spartans look to keep momentum going

In the eighth 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’s a look at some of the most highly-anticipated games on the schedule this week:

No. 6 Michigan (5-1, 3-0 Big Ten) at No. 24 Michigan State (3-2, 1-1 Big Ten) – 12 p.m. on FOX

At noon on Saturday, Michigan and Michigan State will face off in the Battle for the Paul Bunyan Trophy. Both teams are coming off big weekends, as the Spartans entered the Associated Press Poll this week at No. 24 following their 21-17 win at No. 8 Penn State, while the Wolverines jumped up to No. 6 after defeating No. 15 Wisconsin, 38-13.

With the exception of 1943 and 1944, when the series was suspended due to World War II, the Wolverines and Spartans have met on the gridiron every year since 1910. The Wolverines lead the all-time series 69-36-5, but Michigan State will be looking for its ninth win in the last 11 meetings.

Both teams will look to get their run games going, as the ground battle has been the key to past matchups. In 43 of the last 48 games in the MSU-UM series, the team with the most productive ground attack has won.

This bodes well for Michigan State, which ranks first in the FBS in rushing defense, allowing just 62.3 yards per game through six games. The Wolverines defense has also been impressive and shares the league lead and is tied for fifth in the nation in defensive TDs with three.

On the other side of the ball, Michigan’s offense is tied for first in the B1G and tied for fifth in FBS in turnovers lost with just five.

No. 22 Mississippi State (4-2, 2-1 SEC) at 5 LSU (3-2, 2-2 SEC) – 3:30 p.m. on SEC

Both LSU and Mississippi State come into Saturday’s matchup with Top-10 wins under their belts. The Tigers jumped back into the Top 5 this week following their win over No. 2 Georgia, while State is coming off an open week after earning a 23-9 victory against then-No. 8 Auburn at home on Oct. 6.

LSU leads the all-time series 73-35-3, but last year, the Bulldogs recorded their largest victory over then-No. 11 LSU, 37-7, in Starkville. It also was the Bulldogs’ second-biggest margin of victory over an AP ranked team since a 33-0 win over No. 12 Vanderbilt on Oct. 17, 1942.

Mississippi State represents the fifth Top 25 team that LSU has faced this year. The Tigers are 3-1 against ranked opponents, with all three wins coming over Top 10 teams (Miami, Auburn, Georgia). This is now the third season in LSU history that the team has beaten three Top 10 teams in the regular season (1982 and 2011).

LSU will look to jump-start its ground attack on offense, which is led by Nick Brossette (640 yards and nine touchdowns). His total yardage ranks fifth in the league and total touchdowns rank first among running backs. LSU is 15-0 under coach Ed Orgeron when the Tigers feature a 100-yard rusher.

LSU’s defense will also hope to sustain the level of play from last week, when the Tigers defensive unit came up big against second-ranked Georgia, holding the Bulldogs to season-lows for points (16), total yards (322) and rushing yards (113). Georgia entered the game averaging 42 points and 485 total yards per game.

LSU’s defense will hope to match the level that State’s has been at all season. The Bulldogs defense leads the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 12.7 points per game, and ranks eighth in total defense (289.7). The Bulldogs also rank 13th in passing defense (174.3) and 19th in rushing defense (115.3).

No. 18 Penn State (4-2, 1-2 Big Ten) at Indiana (4-2, 1-2 Big Ten) – 3:30 p.m. on ABC

Penn State travels to Bloomington on Saturday to face the Hosiers in the 22nd matchup between the schools. The Nittany Lions have won 20 of the previous 21 meetings between the two teams.

Indiana looks to get back on track after taking losses in three of its last four games, including defeats to Michigan State and Ohio State. Quarterback Peyton Ramsey leads a pass-heavy offense that ranks 10th in the FBS with 24.6 completions per game, while J-Shun Harris II is the Big Ten’s leading punt returner (12.5 yards per return). On the other side of the ball, the Hoosier defense leads the Big Ten with 14 takeaways

The Indiana pass attack will try to keep pace with a Penn State offense that is averaging more than 40 points per game. Trace McSorley, now Penn State’s career passing yards leader, leads a Nittany Lions offense that ranks second in the Big Ten in scoring (44.2) and third in total yards (491.2).

Other Big Ten and SEC games being played this week.

Maryland (4-2, 2-1 Big Ten) at No. 19 Iowa (5-1, 2-1 Big Ten) – 12 p.m. on ESPN
Illinois (3-2, 1-1 Big Ten) at No. 23 Wisconsin (4-2, 2-1 Big Ten) – 12 p.m. on FS1
Northwestern (3-3, 3-1 Big Ten) at Rutgers (1-6, 0-4 Big Ten) – 12 p.m. on BTN
Tulsa (1-5, 0-3 AAC) at Arkansas (1-6, 0-4 SEC) – 12 p.m. on SEC
Auburn (4-3, 1-3 SEC) at Ole Miss (5-2, 1-2 SEC) – 12 p.m. on ESPN
No. 1 Alabama (6-0, 3-0 SEC) at Tennessee (3-3, 1-2 SEC) – 3:30 p.m. on CBS
Minnesota (3-3, 0-3 Big Ten) at Nebraska (0-6, 0-4 Big Ten) – 3:30 p.m. on BTN
Memphis (4-3, 1-3 AAC) at Missouri (3-3, 0-3 SEC) – 4 p.m. on SEC
Vanderbilt (3-3, 0-2 SEC) at No. 14 Kentucky (5-1, 3-1 SEC) – 7:30 p.m. on SEC
No. 2 Ohio State (6-0, 3-0 SEC) at Purdue (2-3, 1-1 Big Ten) – 7:30 p.m. on ABC

Click here to check out previews of games from earlier this season.

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