The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

Saturday in the SEC: Bama is unstoppable, what’s new?

Claire Barnett
The Commodores play South Carolina in their first SEC football matchup of the season on Saturday, September 22, 2018. Vanderbilt lost 37-14 at home. (Hustler Multimedia/Claire Barnett)

Florida defeated Mississippi State 13-6 in Coach Dan Mullen’s return to Starkville. The Gators’ defense shut down Nick Fitzgerald, holding him to only 98 passing yards and 32 rushing yards. Kentucky, Texas A&M, South Carolina, and Georgia also won conference matchups in Week Five.

LSU visits Florida, and Kentucky travels to Texas A&M for the conference’s most anticipated Week 6 games.

Florida moved back into the AP poll at No. 22, and LSU remains in the fifth spot. Florida is allowing just 140 yards per game through the air. LSU’s quarterback Joe Burrow threw for 292 yards against Ole Miss, but he has not faced a secondary as talented as Florida’s yet. This rivalry game often comes down to special teams. Florida has blocked three kicks in six games, and LSU kicker Cole Tracy has made 83% of his field goal tries, with a long of 54 yards.

Prediction: #5 LSU 31, #22 Florida 20

Texas A&M hosts Kentucky. The Aggies are hoping to get the statement win they have been searching for since losing a close game to Clemson in Week 2. Since he threw for 430 yards against Clemson, Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond has not thrown for more than 210 yards in a game. Kentucky has been this year’s surprise team in the SEC, with running back Benny Snell Jr. leading the way. Snell is averaging almost 128 rushing yards per game and has run for eight touchdowns.

Prediction: Texas A&M 28, #13 Kentucky 27

Auburn plays Mississippi State in a SEC West showdown. Auburn’s secondary has picked off opposing quarterbacks seven times this year. Nick Fitzgerald has struggled against Power Five defenses and is only completing 46% of his passes against such teams. The key of this game will be Mississippi State running back Kylin Hill; if he can take pressure off of Fitzgerald, the Bulldogs have a shot at pulling off the upset.

Prediction: #8 Auburn 38, Mississippi State 23

Missouri faces off against South Carolina. The Tigers have one of the best rushing defenses in the country and are allowing just 102 yards per game on the ground. Rico Dowdle has run for over 100 yards in both of the Gamecocks’ wins, and he has been held to under 50 yards in both of their losses.

Prediction: Missouri 42, South Carolina 31

The top-ranked Crimson Tide travel to Arkansas to face the Razorbacks. Alabama’s offense is operating like a machine. The Tide are converting almost 60% of their third-down attempts and lead the nation in average points per game, with 54.2 points. Meanwhile, Arkansas’s offense is only averaging 23.8 points per game and has been ineffective against Group of Five competition.

Prediction: #1 Alabama 59, Arkansas 3

Georgia hosts Vanderbilt in Athens. Vanderbilt’s defense struggled against FCS Tennessee State last week, and the secondary cannot afford to give Jake Fromm that many open throwing lanes. Fromm is third in the country in completion percentage, and he is completing almost 73% of his throws.

Prediction: #2 Georgia 41, Vanderbilt 17

Ole Miss looks to bounce back from a lopsided loss to LSU with a home game against Louisiana-Monroe. Senior Jordan Ta’amu has thrown for 1,537 yards for the Rebels. His two favorite targets, A.J. Brown and D.K. Metcalf, are first-round NFL talents at wide receiver. The duo have combined to catch seven touchdowns from Ta’amu.

Prediction: Ole Miss 45, Louisiana-Monroe 10

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About the Contributors
Betsy Goodfriend, Former Deputy Sports Editor
Betsy Goodfriend ('21) was the Deputy Sports Editor for The Vanderbilt Hustler. She majored in Human and Organizational Development with a minor in Business. In her free time, she enjoys online shopping, creating to-do lists and watching football even if she has no interest in either team playing. She can be reached at [email protected].    
Claire Barnett, Former Multimedia Director
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