Sep 17, 2015

Week 3 Preview: Two Big SEC Match-Up’s

In the third week of the college football season, members of the Florida Citrus Sports Team Selection Committee are making visits all throughout SEC and Big Ten country, as they continue to meet with fans across both conferences in advance of the 70th Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl on January 1.

SEC

No. 15 Ole Miss (2-0, 0-0 SEC) takes a trip to Tuscaloosa to take on Nick Saban and No. 2 Alabama (2-0, 0-0 SEC) in the conference opener for both teams. The Rebels are coming into the game after a 73-21 route over Fresno State at home.  Junior QB  Chad Kelly who completed all but five of his 25 pass attempts for 346 yards and 4 touchdowns to lead Ole Miss. The Crimson Tide defeated Conference USA opponent Middle Tennessee State 37-10 thanks in large part to the 96 yard, three-touchdown effort by junior RB Derrick Henry. Alabama will be looking to avenge its only regular season loss, a 23-17 decision in Oxford a year ago.

No. 13 LSU (1-0, 1-0 SEC) plays host to No. 18 Auburn (2-0, 0-0 SEC) as the two sets of Tigers face off in a pivotal early season conference clash. Auburn comes into the game after needing to come from behind to beat FCS Jacksonville State 27-20 in overtime last week on the Plains. LSU opened with a win over Mississippi State 21-19, holding off a late rally by the Bulldogs. LSU averaged over four yards per carry on 11 zone read run plays, while visiting Auburn has allowed the most rushing yards on the zone read of any Power 5 defense (293).

Florida (2-0, 0-0 SEC) travels to Kentucky (2-0, 1-0 SEC) to take on a confident group of Wildcats after UK defeated South Carolina 26-22 for its first road win in 22 games. The Gators enter the contest after defeating East Carolina 31-24 behind the arm of freshman signal caller Will Grier’s two passing touchdowns.

South Carolina (1-1, 0-1 SEC) is on the road at No. 7 Georgia (2-0, 10 SEC) with a new starting quarterback after sophomore Connor Mitch suffered a separated shoulder in the team’s loss to Kentucky. The Georgia defense will now prepare to stop junior Perry Orth and the Gamecock offense. Sophomore Nick Chubb (309 rushing yards) will carry the workload offensively for the Bulldogs.

Texas Tech (2-0, 0-0 Big 12) heads to Fayetteville for a Saturday night matchup with Arkansas (1-1, 0-0 SEC) on ESPN 2. The Razorbacks will be looking to rebound after suffering an upset loss to Mid-American Conference foe, Toledo.

Other conference games this weekend: Missouri (2-0, 0-0 SEC) hosts Connecticut, Tennessee (1-1, 0-0 SEC) hosts Western Carolina, Vanderbilt (0-2, 0-1 SEC) hosts FCS Austin Peay, Mississippi State (1-1, 0-1 SEC) hosts FCS Northwestern State and Texas A&M (2-0, 0-0 SEC) hosts Nevada.

Big Ten

No. 23 Northwestern (2-0, 0-0 Big Ten) travels to Duke (2-0, 0-0 ACC) in a game of bragging rights. After knocking off Pac-12 conference hopeful Stanford in its opening game of the season, Northwestern is one of only four teams that have yet to allow a touchdown. The Blue Devils will look to continue to establish its power running game against a stout Northwestern defense. Duke rushers have racked up nearly 300 yards after first contact, the third most among Power 5 conference teams.

Penn State (1-1, 0-0 Big Ten) will welcome the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers (1-1, 0-0 Big Ten) to historic Beaver Stadium for each teams’ first conference game of the season.  The Nittany Lions enter the match up after dispatching Buffalo 27-14, thanks in part to a retooled offensive line that kept junior quarterback Christian Hackenberg’s jersey clean and opened up holes for freshman rusher Saquon Barkley. Rutgers enters the game looking to replace one of its top offensive weapons after All-Big Ten wide receiver Leonte Carroo was suspended from the team indefinitely. The Knights will turn to sophomore Jamrion Grant, a special teams’ ace, to try and pick up some of the production.

Nebraska (1-1, 0-0 Big Ten) heads to the Sunshine State to square off against Miami (2-0, 0-0 ACC). The Cornhuskers are coming off a 48-9 victory over South Alabama that saw junior Terrell Newby rush for 198 yards and two touchdowns.  In four of the last six meetings between the two teams, the winner has been crowned the AP national champion.

Purdue (1-1, 0-0 Big Ten) hosts ACC opponent Virginia Tech (1-1, 0-0 ACC) at Ross-Ade Stadium. After losing in week one to Marshall, the Boilermakers were able to rally and deliver a commanding 38-14 victory over the Sycamores of Indiana State. QB Austin Appleby will be facing arguably the best defense the Boilers will face all season in the Hokies.

Illinois (2-0, 0-0 Big Ten) is on the road at North Carolina (1-1, 0-0 ACC). In a 44-0 shutout win over Western Illinois, Fighting Illini’s junior quarterback went 33-46 for 316 yards and a touchdown. Illinois’ receiving core was led by senior Geronimo Allison who took eight receptions 124 yards.

Iowa (2-0, 0,0 Big Ten) takes on Pitt (2-0, 0-0 ACC) in Iowa City. The Panthers are coming off a 24-7 win over the Zips of Akron, while Iowa got an emotional win over rival Iowa State a week ago.

Other conference action includes: No. 1 Ohio State (2-0, 0-0 Big Ten) hosts Northern Illinois, Indiana (2-0, 0-0 Big Ten) hosts Western Kentucky, Maryland (1-1, 0-0 Big Ten) hosts USF, Michigan (1-1, 0-0 Big Ten) hosts UNLV, Michigan State (2-0, 0-0 Big Ten) hosts Air Force, Minnesota (1-1, 0-0 Big Ten) hosts Kent State and Wisconsin (1-1, 0-0 Big Ten) hosts Troy.

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