Saturday in the SEC Week Nine: same old, same old


Emma Stapleton

Vanderbilt football plays University of South Carolina, on Saturday, September 22nd, 2018. Photo Courtesy of Emma Stapleton/Vanderbilt Hustler

Betsy Goodfriend, Senior Writer

Week Eight was uneventful in the SEC. Every team that was favored won, and the closest victory was Kentucky’s 14-7 win over Vanderbilt.

The conference enters Week Nine with four teams in the top 10 and six in the top 16. Cue the SEC-SEC-SEC chants.

This weekend features a top-10 matchup in the Florida-Georgia game, or Georgia-Florida game, depending on which side of the state border you’re on.

Both Georgia and Florida are coming off bye weeks. In Week Seven, Georgia lost to LSU, and Florida beat Vanderbilt.

Georgia’s defense allowed 275 rushing yards to LSU, while Florida averages over 197 rushing yards per game. If running backs Jordan Scarlett and Lamical Perine can find success against Georgia’s front seven, the Gators can control the clock and the ball. Both quarterbacks have struggled when their teams relied on their arms to win. Jake Fromm posted a 47% completion percentage against LSU, and in Florida’s loss to Kentucky, Feleipe Franks completed less than 45% of his passes. The quarterback who attempts fewer passes should win this rivalry game.

Prediction: #9 Florida 28, #7 Georgia 26

Kellen Mond and Texas A&M travel to face Mississippi State. Mond has thrown for 1,800 yards in seven games. Running back Trayveon Williams has run for eight touchdowns and is the key to opening up the defense for Mond. Mississippi State only managed to score three points last week against LSU. Bulldogs’ quarterback Nick Fitzgerald has been disappointing in his first season under head coach Joe Moorhead. Fitzgerald, who had Heisman hopes coming into the year, has thrown seven interceptions and just four touchdowns. His run game, which was his strength last year, has been poor against strong defenses like Florida and Kentucky.

Prediction: #16 Texas A&M 31, Mississippi State 13

Missouri hosts Kentucky after routing Memphis in Week Eight. Senior quarterback Drew Lock has thrown for 16 touchdowns and almost 2,000 yards. Missouri’s defense only allows 120 rushing yards per game, but Benny Snell is unlike any running back the Tigers have faced. Memphis running back Darrell Henderson, who averages over 10 yards per carry, left last week’s game against Missouri in the first quarter. Meanwhile, Snell carried the ball 32 times for 169 yards against Vanderbilt.

Prediction: #12 Kentucky 35, Missouri 31

Tennessee looks to rebound from a 58-21 loss to Alabama when the Volunteers take on South Carolina. Turnovers have plagued the Gamecocks, who have a turnover margin of minus-six in conference play. Tennessee has only forced eight turnovers on defense this year. If South Carolina can reach the red zone, they should find points. Tennessee is the worst red zone defense in the country, allowing opponents to score on every red zone possession.

Prediction: South Carolina 21, Tennessee 20

Vanderbilt heads to Fayetteville to play Arkansas. The worst teams in both divisions will face off, and the winner gets their first, and possible only, SEC victory. Linebacker Jordan Griffin has been one of the few bright spots for Vanderbilt, and he leads the SEC in tackles with 86. Second in the conference is Arkansas linebacker De’Jon Harris with 82 tackles. Both players have been forced to make so many tackles because their teams’ inept offenses keep the defense on the field for much of the game.

Prediction: Vanderbilt 17, Arkansas 10