Saturday in the SEC Week 10: division champions will emerge


Emily Gonçalves

The Wildcats beat the Commodores 14-7 at Kentucky on Saturday, October 20, 2018. (Photo Emily Gonçalves)

Betsy Goodfriend, Senior Writer

Georgia prevailed over Florida 36-17 in Week Nine’s most anticipated game. Florida committed three turnovers, and the Gators’ secondary allowed Jake Fromm to throw three touchdown passes.

Kentucky preserved its chances at winning the SEC East title (yes, in football, not basketball) with a wild 15-14 victory over Missouri. Kentucky was given an untimed down when Missouri was called for defensive pass interference as the clock ran out at the end of the game. Terry Wilson threw a two-yard touchdown pass to C.J. Conrad for the walk-off win.

Mississippi State upset Texas A&M at home 28-13. Nick Fitzgerald threw for two touchdowns and ran for two more scores to lead the Bulldogs.

The SEC East title game takes place in Lexington, Kentucky this week when Georgia visits Kentucky. The winner will clinch the division title with three regular season games remaining, which shows the immense gap in talent between the top of the East and the bottom of the division.

Kentucky is tied with Clemson for the fewest points allowed this season. The Wildcats have allowed opponents to score just 13 points per game. Linebacker Josh Allen leads the unit, which also only allows 108.5 rushing yards per game. Georgia relies heavily on running backs Elijah Holyfield and D’Andre Swift. If Allen and his linebacker unit can keep the duo of backs under 100 yards, Kentucky could pull off the upset.

Prediction: #6 Georgia 38, #11 Kentucky 20

LSU and Alabama play in what will likely end up being the SEC West championship game. Alabama has dominated every game on its path to Baton Rouge, while LSU lost to Florida and nearly lost to Auburn this season. LSU running back Nick Brossette leads the SEC in rushing touchdowns with ten. The Crimson Tide’s front seven has allowed just three rushing touchdowns on the year, which is the lowest in the nation.

If this game is close, it could come down to the kickers, which is the only advantage LSU has over Alabama. LSU kicker Cole Tracy leads the country with 21 made field goals, and the graduate transfer from Assumption College has already kicked a game-winning field goal against Auburn. Meanwhile, Alabama’s Achilles heel is its kicking game, yet again. Louisiana native Joseph Bulovas has made 67% of his field goal tries and missed from his only attempt of over 50 yards.

Prediction: #1 Alabama 28, #4 LSU 20

Texas A&M heads to the Plains to take on Auburn. Both teams expected to have better records than 5-3 at this point in the season, which makes this game even more important to the teams. Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham and Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond have completion percentages around 60% and have thrown for eight and 11 touchdowns, respectively. Mond has been sacked 25 times, which is the most of any quarterback in the SEC. Stidham has an inconsistent run game to rely on, and often has to throw more than 30 times per game.

Prediction: Auburn 24, #25 Texas A&M 21

Ole Miss hosts South Carolina, who is coming off of a close win over Tennessee. Ole Miss quarterback Jordan Ta’amu has thrown for over 2,600 yards this season. Jake Bentley has had a disappointing season under center for the Gamecocks. He’s thrown eight interceptions and just 11 touchdowns.

Prediction: Ole Miss 45, South Carolina 31

After a heartbreaking loss to Kentucky, Barry Odom takes his Missouri Tigers to the Swamp to play Florida. Missouri’s cornerback duo of DeMarkus Acy and Christian Holmes have combined for 15 passes defended. Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks already has issues with accuracy on longer throws, and the cornerbacks could take advantage off a few off-target throws to nab momentum-shifting interceptions.

Prediction: #11 Florida 35, Missouri 21

Mississippi State looks to maintain momentum from the win over Texas A&M when it takes on Louisiana Tech. Louisiana Tech defensive lineman Jaylon Ferguson leads the nation in sacks with 10.5. Nick Fitzgerald is a mobile quarterback who can escape the pocket if there is pressure from Ferguson. Louisiana Tech’s defense has allowed 16 rushing touchdowns this year, and Fitzgerald and running back Kylin Hill should be able to add to that figure with ease.

Prediction: #18 Mississippi State 54, Louisiana Tech 17

Tennessee faces Charlotte in a non-conference matchup. Charlotte is allowing under 90 yards per game on the ground. Tennessee averages 141 rushing yards per game, and the workload is about split between sophomore running backs Tim Jordan and Ty Chandler. Tennessee is the only Power Five team Charlotte will face this season, but the 49ers didn’t even score double digits against Appalachian State or UAB, the two best teams they have faced this year.

Prediction: Tennessee 49, Charlotte 3