- Associated Press - Thursday, September 10, 2015

Here are some things to watch in the Southeastern Conference this week:

GAME OF THE WEEK: No. 14 LSU at No. 25 Mississippi State. The Tigers travel to face the Bulldogs on Saturday night in the first of many SEC Western Division showdowns. It’s a chance for Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott to establish himself as one of the true favorites for the Heisman Trophy and for the Bulldogs to prove the program’s 10-win season in 2014 wasn’t an aberration. LSU played just five minutes of its season opener against McNeese State before it was canceled due to bad weather, robbing the Tigers of experience but also making them much more of an unknown.

MATCHUP OF THE WEEK: Tennessee running game vs. Oklahoma run defense: Tennessee ran for 399 yards last week in a 59-30 victory over Bowling Green, which marked the 23rd-ranked Volunteers’ highest single-game rushing total since a 406-yard outburst in 65-0 blowout of Vanderbilt in 1994. No. 19 Oklahoma’s defense figures to provide a much tougher test. The Sooners ranked eighth nationally in run defense last season and allowed just 3.1 yards per carry in a 41-3 rout of Akron.

NUMBERS GAME: No. 16 Texas A&M;’s nine sacks against Arizona State were its most in a game since a 10-sack performance against Texas Tech in 1995. Daeshon Hall’s four sacks tied the second-highest total in school history. Alex Morris had five sacks for the Aggies against Houston in 1987. … Tennessee’s Alvin Kamara rushed for 144 yards and Jalen Hurd gained 123 yards against Bowling Green, giving the Vols two 100-yard rushers in the same game for the first time since Montario Hardesty and Bryce Brown did it in a 2009 season-opening victory over Western Kentucky.

LONG SHOT: Kentucky is a 7-point underdog in Saturday’s road game against South Carolina, but the Wildcats have had recent success against the Gamecocks with an upset 45-38 victory last season. … Florida is a 20-point favorite over East Carolina on Saturday, but the Gators beat the Pirates by just eight points last season. East Carolina has a new quarterback, but it’s still a program that has consistently beaten teams from major conferences, including Virginia Tech and North Carolina last season.

IMPACT PERFORMER: Texas A&M;’s Daeshon Hall and Myles Garrett: Hall had four of Texas A&M;’s nine sacks and also forced two fumbles against Arizona State. Garrett forced a fumble and added two sacks and three quarterback pressures. Now they’re getting ready to face a Ball State team that returns all five starters from an offensive line that allowed only 12 sacks last season. Only seven Football Bowl Subdivision programs yielded fewer sacks than Ball State last season.


AP College Football website: www.collegefootball.ap.org



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