Saturday in the SEC Week Three: Primetime matchup leads the way


Ziyi Liu

Kalija Lipscomb (16) makes a catch as Vanderbilt faced the Auburn Tigers at Jordan Hare Stadium Auburn, Al November 4, 2016. (Ziyi Liu/ The Vanderbilt Hustler)

Betsy Goodfriend, Senior Writer

Week 2 ended with a major upset, as Kentucky beat Florida 27-16 to end a 32-year losing streak to the Gators. Kentucky running back Benny Snell led the team with 175 rushing yards.


Colorado State defeated Arkansas 34-27 earlier in the day at home. Arkansas’ run game was solid, but the deficiencies in the passing game cost the Razorbacks dearly.


Week 3 has a couple of intriguing non conference matchups, and four SEC West teams begin conference play.


12th-ranked LSU visits 7th-ranked Auburn in one of the most anticipated matchups of the week. LSU’s defensive line has earned nine sacks in the first two games and will be challenged by Auburn’s tough offensive line. LSU running back Nick Brossette has been an excellent replacement for Derrius Guice, who is now in the NFL. Brossette has 262 rushing yards on 41 carries. Auburn has a stable of talented running backs in Kam Martin, JaTarvious Whitlow, and Shaun Shivers. The difference in this game will be quarterback play, and Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham has much more experience in big games than LSU’s Joe Burrow, who has only been a starting quarterback for two games.

Prediction: #7 Auburn 31, #12 LSU 21


Alabama travels to Oxford to take on Ole Miss in the other conference game. The Rebels’ defense allowed 41 points to FCS Southern Illinois last week, and they will have a much harder time defending against Tua Tagovailoa’s efficient offense. Of the 13 drives Tagovailoa has led for the Tide, Alabama scored touchdowns on nine of them and a field goal on another drive. This game could get out of reach quickly for Ole Miss.

Prediction: #1 Alabama 56, Ole Miss 17


Vanderbilt faces Notre Dame in South Bend in the next-best game of Week 3. Vanderbilt is 2-0 after overcoming slow starts in both games against Group of 5 competition. Notre Dame beat Michigan 24-17 in an outstanding opening weekend game before squeaking by Ball State 24-16 last week. Fighting Irish quarterback Brandon Wimbush has thrown only one touchdown to four interceptions, while Kyle Shurmur has thrown for four touchdowns and no picks for the Commodores.

Prediction: Vanderbilt 23, #8 Notre Dame 35


Florida hosts Colorado State, who will be playing an SEC opponent for the second straight week. Florida needs Feleipe Franks to get back on track before SEC play resumes. Franks completed less than 45% off his passes against Kentucky, and fans will be hoping to see improvement from him or else backup Kyle Trask will get some playing time against the Rams.

Prediction: Florida 28, Colorado State 13


Missouri visits Purdue on Saturday night. Missouri’s high-powered offense has scored 91 points in two games. Purdue lost by four to Northwestern before losing 20-19 to Eastern Michigan. Purdue is allowing 291 yards per game through the air, so Missouri quarterback Drew Lock should have little to no trouble against the Boilermakers’ secondary.

Prediction: Missouri 45, Purdue 20


Texas A&M looks to bounce back from a close loss to Clemson against Louisiana-Monroe. Quarterback Kellen Mond played an incredible game versus Clemson, and he should be able to build on that performance against an FCS defense that has allowed an average of 436.5 yards per game. Texas A&M has one of the best third-down defenses in the country, allowing opponents to convert on just 20% of their third down attempts.

Prediction: Texas A&M 52, Louisiana-Monroe 7


South Carolina is also coming off of a loss after Georgia beat the Gamecocks 41-17 in Columbia. South Carolina hosts Marshall on Saturday night. Quarterback Jake Bentley has thrown for 519 yards this year, but his most explosive receiver Deebo Samuel has caught 13 passes for just 89 yards.

Prediction: South Carolina 38, Marshall 10


Speaking of the Bulldogs, Georgia plays Middle Tennessee State. Quarterback Jake Fromm has completed almost 80% of his passes. Georgia has three running backs with at least 100 yards already in De’Andre Swift, James Cook, and Elijah Holyfield. Georgia’s defense has only sacked opposing quarterbacks twice in two games and needs to be more disruptive going forward.

Prediction: Georgia 49, Middle Tennessee State 7


Mississippi State welcomes Louisiana-Lafayette to Starkville. The Bulldogs are one of the best teams in the country on third down and are converting on third down 56% of the time. Mississippi State relied on running back Kylin Hill in a 31-10 win over Kansas State last Saturday. Hill ran the ball 17 times for 215 yards and two touchdowns.

Prediction: #16 Mississippi State 54, Louisiana-Lafayette 20


Arkansas takes on North Texas and its Air Raid offense. Arkansas’s offense was shaky against Colorado State, and coach Chad Morris will continue the quarterback competition after it seemed as though Ty Storey would be the starter after the first game. Both Storey and Cole Kelley played poorly in the second game. Storey threw for 36 yards and two interceptions, while Kelley threw for 102 yards and two touchdowns.

Prediction: Arkansas 28, North Texas 34


Kentucky will look to maintain momentum against in-state foe Murray State. Running back Benny Snell is fifth in the nation in rushing yards with 300 yards in his first two games. Linebacker Josh Allen had the strip-sack that sealed the game for the Wildcats against Florida, and he also had 10 tackles in that game.

Prediction: Kentucky 38, Murray State 3


Last and also least, Tennessee hosts UTEP at Neyland Stadium. UTEP is the second-worst team in Division 1 football in turnover margin, and if Tennessee’s defense can force UTEP to turn the ball over a few times, this game could be over before halftime. Wide receiver Marquez Callaway leads the team with 11 receptions and is quarterback Jarrett Guarantano’s favorite target.

Prediction: Tennessee 41, UTEP 6