PLAYERS TO WATCH
New Mexico State: WR/KR Taveon Rogers returned seven kickoffs for 145 yards against Nevada last week and could be a dangerous weapon on returns again this week. Georgia gave up a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and another long return that set up a field goal in last week’s win over Florida, and the Bulldogs are last in the SEC in kickoff coverage.
Georgia: QB Aaron Murray will be in the spotlight as he’ll attempt to keep the offense moving despite the severe shortage at tailback. Murray struggled with his accuracy in the second half of the win over Florida and will be missing top receiver Malcolm Mitchell, who is still recovering from a hamstring injury.
FACTS & FIGURES
Aggies quarterback Matt Christian set a career high with 432 yards passing and three touchdowns in last week’s 48-34 loss to Nevada, including seven passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns to Rogers. … New Mexico State has not played in the postseason since the 1960 Sun Bowl. … New Mexico State lost at Auburn 52-20 in 2007 in its last game against a team from the SEC. … Georgia’s defense has given up only six offensive touchdowns and held both Florida and Tennessee to negative yards rushing in the six-game winning streak. … Georgia is looking to win seven straight for the first time since the end of the 2007 season.
Purdue (4-4, 2-2 Big Ten) at No. 19 Wisconsin (6-2, 2-2), 3:30 p.m. (ABC).
Line: Wisconsin by 26 1/2.
Series Record: Wisconsin leads 41-29-8.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
Wisconsin’s shot at a national championship probably evaporated with a last-second loss at Michigan State two weeks ago. Then the Badgers lost at Ohio State in similarly gut-wrenching fashion, and now must scramble _ and get some help _ to earn a spot in the Big Ten title game. Purdue, surprisingly, is in a three-way tie with Wisconsin and Ohio State for second place in the Leaders division. But the Boilermakers haven’t won a road game this season, and it would be surprising if that were to change as a wounded but dangerous Wisconsin team returns home Saturday.
Purdue DT Kawann Short vs. Wisconsin’s interior line. For all the angst about the two decisive late-game touchdowns the Badgers defense allowed in back-to-back losses, they might not have been in position to lose if their offense had been more productive earlier in both games. Wisconsin’s offensive line is massive but has been humbled of late, allowing QB Russell Wilson to be sacked five times in two games. The Boilermakers aren’t exactly a pass-rushing force, but Short leads them with 3 1/2 sacks and 11 1/2 tackles for loss.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Wisconsin: WR Nick Toon. When healthy, he’s a legitimate NFL prospect. But Toon missed the Badgers’ Oct. 15 victory over Indiana because of a sore left foot and hasn’t been the same since. He hasn’t caught a touchdown pass in either of the past two games; he caught two passes for 58 yards against Michigan State and three passes for 39 yards against Ohio State.