LSU gets its chance to topple Alabama in marquee SEC matchup
Here are some things to watch in Week 10 of the Southeastern Conference football season:
GAME OF THE WEEK: No. 19 LSU at No. 1 Alabama. LSU (No. 19 CFP) has done an impressive job resurrecting its season after a stunning home loss to Troy on Sept. 30. The Tigers have won three straight conference games and now get their crack at the top-ranked Crimson Tide. Alabama may feel it has something to prove after being slotted at No. 2 in the opening College Football Playoff rankings on Tuesday.
MATCHUP OF THE WEEK: Georgia running game vs. South Carolina run defense: No. 2 Georgia (No. 1 College Football Playoff) ranks eighth among all Football Bowl Subdivision teams in yards per carry (6.01) and 10th in yards rushing per game (284.0) with a backfield featuring Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. South Carolina has allowed just 3.6 yards per carry and 111 yards rushing per game during its three-game winning streak.
NUMBERS GAME: Alabama has trailed for a total of 2 minutes, 26 seconds, all season. ... No. 16 Auburn (No. 14 CFP) has scored 219 points in SEC competition, its highest total ever through the first five games of league play. Auburn scored 197 points in its first five SEC games in 1970. ... The road team has won each of the five Auburn-Texas A&M matchups since the Aggies joined the league in 2012. ... No. 21 Mississippi State (No. 16 CFP) won 35-14 at Texas A&M last week for the Bulldogs’ most lopsided road victory over a ranked team since a 33-0 blowout of No. 12 Vanderbilt in 1942. The Aggies were ranked 24th at the time of the game. ... Florida has scored in an NCAA record 368 consecutive games. The Gators barely kept that streak alive last week by getting a touchdown with 2:42 left in a 42-7 loss to Georgia . ... Missouri’s Drew Lock has thrown 28 touchdown passes to match West Virginia’s Will Grier for the FBS lead. ... Tennessee has lost four straight and is trying to avoid its first five-game skid since 1988, when the Volunteers dropped their first six games.
UPSET WATCH: Florida is a 3½-point underdog at Missouri, but it’s hard to get much of a feel for the outcome after the Gators parted ways with coach Jim McElwain on Sunday. The Gators are certainly more talented than the Tigers and they might be galvanized by the change in leadership. Then again, they might be beaten down emotionally by the drama and a 42-7 loss to rival Georgia last week.
IMPACT PERFORMER: Auburn running back Kerryon Johnson averages 14 points per game to lead all FBS players, and 13 of those scores have come in SEC competition. He has run for 723 yards and has an SEC-leading 120.5 yards rushing per game. Auburn figures to lean on Johnson even more now that a fractured shoulder bone has sidelined 2016 first-team all-SEC selection Kamryn Pettway, who has been the Tigers’ second-leading rusher this season.
AP Sports Writers Steve Megargee in Knoxville, Tennessee, and David Brandt in Jackson, Mississippi contributed to this story.