Nov 02, 2018

Big Ten & SEC Week 10 Preview: Wildcats, Bulldogs battle for SEC East title

In the 10th week of the college football season, members of the Florida Citrus Sports Team Selection Committee are making visits throughout Big Ten and SEC country, meeting with fans across both conferences in advance of the Citrus Bowl on New Year’s Day.

Here’s a look at some of the most highly-anticipated games on the schedule this week:

No. 6 Georgia (7-1, 5-1 SEC) at No. 9 Kentucky (7-1, 5-1 Big Ten) – 3:30 p.m. on CBS

After a comeback last week against Missouri, Kentucky returns to Kroger Field this week to host Georgia with an SEC East crown and trip to the SEC Championship Game on the line. The Bulldogs lead the all-time series against Kentucky 57-12-2.

At 7-1, Kentucky is off to its best start to a season since the 1976 squad went 10-1. The Wildcats lead the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 13 points per game, and have held every opponent to 20 points or less. The Wildcat defense is led by senior pass rusher extraordinaire Josh Allen, who has a league-high 10 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss this season.

On the other side of the ball, the Bulldogs defense will try to contain Kentucky running back Benny Snell Jr., who has continued his assault on the record books this season, piling up 935 yards with nine scores. The Maxwell Award semifinalist owns the school record with 41 career touchdowns and has moved into second place UK’s career rushing list (3,359) and career 100-yard games (16).

The Wildcats defense will have its hands full with a Bulldogs offense that is averaging the second-most points in the SEC this year (38.6). Georgia is on pace to set a record for scoring average in a season after scoring 40 or more points in five of eight games this year.

No. 16 Iowa (6-2, 3-2 Big Ten) at Purdue (4-4, 3-2 Big Ten) – 3:30 p.m. on ESPN2

Purdue will host a ranked opponent for the third time this season as No. 19 Iowa visits Ross-Ade Stadium on Saturday. This year marks the first time since 2006 that three Top 25 teams have traveled to West Lafayette. The Boilermakers are 2-0 in such games, knocking off both Boston College and Ohio State earlier this season.

The Iowa defense has been a force all year and has played a key role in the team’s success thus far. The Hawkeyes rank second in the Big Ten in scoring defense (16.1), run defense (84.4), pass defense (180.5) and total defense (264.9). The Hawkeyes are the only team to rank in the top two in all four categories.

Purdue will look to true Freshman Rondale Moore to have another big game. Moore has been a incredible in his initial season at Purdue and already has five 100-yard receiving games. He needs two more games with 100 or more yards receiving to tie Steve Griffin (1984) and John Standeford (2002) for the most in a season at Purdue.

Purdue will also lean on senior running back Markell Jones, who recently moved past two-time consensus All-American and 1968 Heisman Trophy runner up Leroy Keyes on Purdue’s career rushing yardage list. Jones has rushed for 2,363 yards in his four-year Boilermaker career and currently sits 10th all-time.

No. 14 Penn State (6-2, 3-2 Big Ten) at No. 5 Michigan (7-1, 5-0 Big Ten) – 3:45 p.m. on ESPN

In Big Ten battle of Top-25 teams, Trace McSorely leads the No. 14 Nittany Lions into the Big House to face No. 5 Michigan. This will be the 22nd meeting between Michigan and Penn State. The Wolverines have a 13-8 advantage in the all-time series and are 7-3 at Michigan Stadium, including wins in each of their past two home games in the series.

McSorley and the Penn State offense are averaging 459.5 yards per game and boast a rushing attack, led by McSorely and Miles Sanders, that is averages 225.4 rushing yards per game, good for fourth in the Big Ten. The Nittany Lions offense will be face a strong challenge, as Michigan leads the FBS in total defense, yielding just 220.0 yards per game.

The Wolverines also have strong rushing attack and have gained more than 170 rushing yards in seven straight games. The team’s top two rushers, Karan Higdon and Chris Evans, have combined for 1,025 yards on 191 carries (5.4 yards per carry) and have combined for eight rushing touchdowns this fall.

Michigan has also been one of the nation’s best controlling the football this season, averaging 34:18 minutes per game of possession time. The Wolverines lead the Big Ten and are seventh nationally in time of possession.

No. 20 Texas A&M (3-4, 1-4 SEC) at Auburn (5-3, 2-3 SEC) – 12 p.m. on ESPN

Texas A&M travels to Auburn this week in an SEC showdown. The Aggies hold a 5-3 lead in the all-time series coming in, and the visiting team has won every matchup since Texas A&M joined the SEC in 2012.

The Tigers defense has been impressive this year and ranks 13th nationally in scoring defense, allowing just 16.5 points per game. Additionally, the Tigers have allowed only three rushing TDs, tied with Alabama for the best mark in the country, and have held six of eight opponents without a rushing TD this season.

The Aggies defense has also been impressive and ranks first in the SEC and seventh in the FBS in third-down conversions, holding opposing teams to just 25-of-91 (27.5%). The Aggies defense is also holding opposing teams to 89.3 rushing yards per game.

Jimbo Fisher and Gus Malzahn will meet for the second time and first time since Fisher’s Florida State Seminoles defeated Malzahn and the Tigers in the 2014 BCS championship game.

Other Big Ten and SEC games being played this week.

South Carolina (4-3, 4-3 SEC) at Ole Miss (5-3, 1-3 SEC) – 12 p.m. on SEC
Rutgers (1-7, 0-5 Big Ten) at Wisconsin (5-3, 3-2 Big Ten) – 12 p.m. on BTN
Michigan State (4-3, 2-2 Big Ten) at Maryland (5-3, 3-2 Big Ten) – 12 p.m. on ESPN2
Nebraska (2-6, 1-4 Big Ten) at Ohio State (7-1, 4-1 Big Ten) – 12 p.m. on FOX
Minnesota (4-4, 1-4 Big Ten) at Illinois (3-5, 1-4 Big Ten) – 3:30 p.m. on BTN
Charlotte (4-4, 3-2 C-USA) at Tennessee (3-5, 1-4 SEC) – 4 p.m.
Missouri (4-4, 0-4 SEC) at No. 11 Florida (6-2, 4-2 Big Ten) – 4 p.m. on SEC
No. 4 Notre Dame (8-0) at Northwestern (5-3, 5-1 Big Ten) – 7:15 p.m. on ESPN
Louisiana Tech (6-2, 4-1 C-USA) at No. 18 Mississippi State (5-3, 2-3 SEC) – 7:30 p.m. on SEC
No. 1 Alabama (8-0, 5-0 SEC) at No. 3 LSU (7-1, 4-1 Big Ten) – 8 p.m. on CBS

Click here to check out previews of games from earlier this season.



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