No. 22 Texas A&M big underdog in road game vs No. 1 ’Bama
Here are some things to watch during the fourth week of the Southeastern Conference football season:
GAME OF THE WEEK: No. 22 Texas A&M at No. 1 Alabama. Top-ranked Alabama is a 27-point favorite in Tuscaloosa, but there’s legitimate reason to believe this game could be competitive. Texas A&M played a very good game against then-No. 2 Clemson on Sept. 8 before losing 28-26 in College Station. That game served notice that new coach Jimbo Fisher could have the Aggies among the top SEC teams sooner rather than later.
MATCHUP OF THE WEEK: Missouri WR Emanuel Hall vs. Georgia CB Deandre Baker: Hall, the second-leading receiver in the FBS ranks, has 18 catches for 430 yards and three touchdowns. Baker already has two interceptions this season and is tied for second in the SEC in passes defended. Assuming Hall isn’t bothered by the groin injury that limited him a bit last week against Purdue, his potential matchup with Baker bears watching.
NUMBERS GAME: With a victory over Kentucky on Saturday, Joe Moorhead would become the first Mississippi State coach ever to get off to a 4-0 career start. ... Kentucky is seeking to get off to its first 2-0 start in SEC competition since 1977, when the Wildcats went undefeated in league play. ... Alabama is scoring 56.7 points per game to lead all Football Bowl Subdivision teams. ... Alabama also has scored a whopping 16 touchdowns on interception returns over its last 47 games. ... No. 6 LSU is the only FBS team that hasn’t committed a turnover this season. LSU also is the first school to beat two top-10 teams in the first three weeks of the season since Missouri did it in 1976. That Missouri team ended up with a 6-5 record. ... Georgia’s Jake Fromm has an FBS-leading completion percentage of .804. ... Only three FBS teams rank in the top 15 in both rushing offense and rushing defense. Two of them are in the SEC. Mississippi State is fifth in rushing offense and 13th in run defense. Texas A&M is tied for ninth in rushing offense and is 14th in run defense. The other school is Air Force (14th in rushing, second in run defense).
UPSET WATCH: No. 14 Mississippi State is a 9½-point favorite on the road against Kentucky on Saturday. That line makes sense considering Mississippi State’s talented roster and recent success in the series — the Bulldogs have won eight of the past nine. But Kentucky won the last time this game was in Lexington (2016) and the Wildcats already have an impressive victory this season over Florida. Sixth-year Kentucky coach Mark Stoops may have his best team since arriving on campus.
IMPACT PERFORMER: LSU safety Grant Delpit has played a major role in the sixth-ranked Tigers’ surprising start. Delpit may be stationed in the secondary, but he has collected two sacks and four tackles for loss to lead LSU in both categories. He had a team-high 10 tackles and an interception last week to help LSU rally for a 22-21 victory over No. 9 Auburn.
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