Saturday in the SEC Week 12: Taking a breather

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Saturday in the SEC Week 12: Taking a breather

The Commodores play football at Ole Miss on Saturday, October 14, 2017. Photo by Claire Barnett.

The Commodores play football at Ole Miss on Saturday, October 14, 2017. Photo by Claire Barnett.

Claire Barnett

The Commodores play football at Ole Miss on Saturday, October 14, 2017. Photo by Claire Barnett.

Claire Barnett

Claire Barnett

The Commodores play football at Ole Miss on Saturday, October 14, 2017. Photo by Claire Barnett.

Betsy Goodfriend, Senior Writer

Last week, Tennessee shocked Kentucky with a dominant 24-7 victory. The Volunteers held running back Benny Snell Jr. to 80 yards, and Snell has been held to less than 100 yards in three straight games.

Florida and LSU pulled off closer-than-expected wins over South Carolina and Arkansas.

Week 12 features just three conference games. The rest of the conference will take a breather and play mid-major teams before facing their rivals in the final week of the season.

Tennessee faces Missouri in Knoxville. Tennessee will reach bowl eligibility with a win over the Tigers, who punched their ticket to a bowl game with last week’s victory over Vanderbilt. Missouri’s offense averages almost 25 first downs per game, but if Darrell Taylor can repeat last week’s four-sack performance, Tennessee can keep Missouri’s offense off the field.

Prediction: Tennessee 28, Missouri 27

Vanderbilt hosts Ole Miss with both teams coming off losses. Ole Miss can put up plenty of points, as the Rebels average 37.5 points per game. Vanderbilt averages just 25.8 points per game. The difference in this game will be Vanderbilt quarterback Kyle Shurmur. Running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn carried the load against Missouri, but the Commodores still lost. Will Shurmur be able to lead his team to a win in his second-to-last college game?

Prediction: Ole Miss 42, Vanderbilt 24

Arkansas travels to Starkville to face Mississippi State. The Razorbacks are still looking for the first SEC victory of first-year head coach Chad Morris’ tenure. Mississippi State has one of the stingiest defenses in the country, and their unit holds opponents to 13.5 points per game. On the other sideline, Arkansas’ defense is allowing over 400 yards per game.

Prediction: #25 Mississippi State 24, Arkansas 6

Head coach Nick Saban and Alabama host The Citadel before taking on Auburn in the Iron Bowl the following week. Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was hurt in last week’s game, but he may play at least part of this contest. Mac Jones will likely replace Tagovailoa as soon as the game is out of hand if Tagovailoa does play.

Prediction: #1 Alabama 38, The Citadel 0

Florida hosts FCS Idaho. Florida has given up at least 31 points in three consecutive games for the first time in 101 years. The Gators’ defense should end that unfortunate streak against an Idaho squad that is winless on the road this year.

Prediction: #15 Florida 42, Idaho 3

Kentucky hopes to end a two-game losing streak when it hosts Middle Tennessee State. Kentucky’s lack of a passing threat hurt them in the last two games when the Wildcats had to play from behind. Middle Tennessee State quarterback Brent Stockstill could put points on the scoreboard early and could pull off the upset or at least cover the 14.5-point spread.

Prediction: #20 Kentucky 31, Middle Tennessee State 28

D’Andre Swift and Georgia are the heavy favorites against FBS independent UMass. Swift lived up to his last name and raced to a total of 186 yards on the ground last week. The sophomore averages seven yards per carry and is aided by a strong offensive line.

Prediction: #5 Georgia 59, UMass 0

Auburn hosts Liberty, another FBS independent team. Auburn has had a disappointing season since defeating Washington in Week One. The Tigers will try to wake up their offense in a tune-up before facing Alabama. Auburn ran for 102 yards against Georgia, and the Tigers need to get the run game going to have a shot at knocking off Alabama in two weeks.

Prediction: Auburn 41, Liberty 10

Texas A&M plays a surging UAB team. After disbanding their football program just four years ago, the Blazers are back and leading Conference USA. Texas A&M’s defense should be able to shut down UAB’s freshman quarterback Tyler Johnston III with ease.

Prediction: Texas A&M 35, UAB 7

South Carolina will face off against Tennessee-Chattanooga at home. The Gamecocks are down to only two healthy safeties due to injuries. While that may not matter against Chattanooga, coach Will Muschamp should use this game to prepare his young cornerbacks to move to safety against Clemson and in a possible bowl game. If South Carolina beats Chattanooga, they will be bowl-eligible.

Prediction: South Carolina 31, Tennessee-Chattanooga 10

LSU hosts a 1-10 Rice squad that is one of the worst teams in the country. This game will serve as a welcome break from SEC play for the Tigers. LSU allows just 16.7 points per game to opponents, even as the Tigers have faced one of the toughest schedules in the country. Rice’s offense should be no problem for the Tigers to handle.

Prediction: #10 LSU 41, Rice 0

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