Oct 11, 2018

Big Ten & SEC Week 7 Preview: Two huge Top-25 matchups highlight Week 7

In the seventh 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 2. Georgia (6-0, 4-0 SEC) at No. 16 LSU (5-1, 2-1 SEC) – 7 p.m. on CBS

This Saturday, LSU and Georgia will square off for the first time since 2013, when ninth-ranked Georgia posted a 44-41 win over sixth-ranked LSU in Athens. The last game between these teams in Baton Rouge came in 2008, with the Bulldogs, once again ranked ninth, logging a 52-38 victory over the 11th-ranked Tigers.

This year marks the 12th time Georgia has started a season 6-0 and the first time the ‘Dawgs have done so in back-to-back seasons.

Georgia will bring a high-powered offense into Baton Rouge, as the defending SEC champs have scored an average of 42.8 points per game thus far, good for second in the conference. The offense is paced by sophomore quarterback Jake Fromm, who is ranked fourth nationally in passing efficiency at 192.5 and fifth nationally in completion percentage at 72.8 percent.

On defense, The Bulldogs are allowing just 13.0 points per game, which ranks second in the nation. The Bulldogs also lead the league in rushing offense (245.2 yards per game) and are third in rushing defense (113.2).

LSU, meanwhile, is looking to bounce back after a 27-19 loss to Florida last week. The Tigers are 6-0 under head coach Ed Orgeron in games following a loss, and LSU hasn’t lost back-to-back games since it dropped three straight in November of 2015. Saturday’s game will also mark the third time in school history that LSU will face three Top 10 teams during the first seven games of the season (1951, 1995).

The Tigers are led on offense by Nick Brossette who has 576 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground in 2018. His total yardage ranks fifth in the SEC and total touchdowns are the second-most by a running back. LSU is 14-0 under Orgeron when the Tigers feature a 100-yard rusher

No. 15 Wisconsin (4-1, 2-0 Big Ten) at No. 12 Michigan (5-1, 3-0 Big Ten) – 7:30 p.m. on ABC

This will be the 67th meeting between Michigan and Wisconsin. The Wolverines hold a 50-15-1 lead in the all-time series and have a 23-6 record in games played at Michigan Stadium.

Michigan’s potent offense has scored 40 or more points in each home game this fall and the offense has scored in three plays or fewer on seven drives. On the other side of the ball, Michigan’s boasts the No. 10 scoring defense in the FBS, allowing just 15.8 points per game.

The Badgers have won 17 straight regular-season Big Ten games, the nation’s longest active conference win streak and the longest run of consecutive league wins in school history. Running back Jonathan Taylor is the nation’s leading rusher, averaging 169.8 yards per game, and has rushed for at least 130 yards in three of his four previous games against ranked opponents.

No. 22 Texas A&M (4-2, 2-1 SEC) at South Carolina (3-2, 2-2 SEC) – 3:30 p.m. on SEC

Saturday’s matchup between Texas A&M and South Carolina will be fifth all-time meeting between the Aggies and Gamecocks. The Aggies have won all four previous matchups between the new SEC West rivals. The winner of Saturday’s game will claim the Bonham Trophy, is named for a South Carolina native (James Bonham) who fought and died in the Alamo during the Texas Revolution.

Texas A&M enters the contest ranked No. 22 in the country; a South Carolina win would give the Gamecocks their first victory over a ranked opponent since a 24-21 win over No. 18 Tennessee on Oct. 29, 2016 — a span that includes seven consecutive losses to ranked teams.

South Carolina comes into this weekend’s game averaging 169.2 yards per game on the ground and 255.8 yards through the air, but may need to rely even more heavily on its passing attack than usual against an Aggies defense that is holding opposing offenses to 82.2 rushing yards per contest, which puts them first in the SEC and fourth in the nation.

Texas A&M is also one of three teams (Iowa and North Texas) to not allow a fourth down conversion this season.

Michigan State (3-2, 1-1 Big Ten) at No. 8 Penn State (4-1, 1-1 Big Ten) – 3:30 p.m. on BTN

Michigan State travels to Penn State on Saturday to face the Nittany Lions in the 33rd matchup between the schools. The Spartans hold a slight 16-15-1 edge in the series thanks to victories in four of the past five meetings.

The winner of this matchup is awarded the Land-Grant Trophy, which honors both school’s unique places in history as the two pioneer land-grant school in the United States. Both schools were founded in February 1855.

Penn State’s ground game has been strong this season, averaging 261.2 yards per contest (2nd in the Big Ten and 12th in FBS). Both running back Miles Sanders (107.6 yards per game) and quarterback Trace McSorley (82 yards per game) are Top-10 rushers in the Big Ten. The Nittany Lions will be challenged, however, by a Michigan State defense that has held eight consecutive opponents to under 100 yards rushing, the longest such stretch for the Spartans since 2012-13.

On offense, the Spartans have benefited from strong quarterback play, as Brian Lewerke ranks second in the Big Ten in passing yardage at 265.2 yards per game. Lewerke completed 33-of-56 pass attempts for 400 yards and two touchdowns with one interception in last year’s win over Penn State.

Other Big Ten and SEC games being played this week:

Tennessee (2-3, 0-2 SEC) at No. 21 Auburn (4-2, 1-2 SEC) – 12:00 p.m. on SEC
No. 14 Florida (5-1, 3-1 SEC) at Vanderbilt (3-3, 0-2 SEC) – 12 p.m. on ESPN
Nebraska (0-5, 0-3 Big Ten) at Northwestern (2-3, 2-1 Big Ten) – 12 p.m. on ABC
Iowa (4-1, 1-1 Big Ten) at Indiana (4-2, 1-2 Big Ten) – 12 p.m. on ESPN2
Rutgers (1-5, 0-3 Big Ten) at Maryland (3-2, 1-1 Big Ten) – 12 p.m. on BTN
Minnesota (3-2, 0-2 Big Ten) at No. 3 Ohio State (6-0, 3-0 SEC) – 12 p.m. on FS1
Purdue (2-3, 1-1 Big Ten) at Illinois (3-2, 1-1 Big Ten) – 3:30 p.m. on FS1
Missouri (1-3, 0-1 MAC) at No. 1 Alabama (6-0, 3-0 SEC) – 7 p.m. on ESPN
Ole Miss (4-2, 0-2 SEC) at Arkansas (1-5, 0-3 SEC) – 7:30 p.m. on SEC

To check out preview content from previous weeks, visit our archive page.


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