Big Ten & SEC Week Five Preview
Early on in the season, members of the Florida Citrus Sports Team Selection Committee are out on the road to meet with fans of our partner schools to spread the word about our brand-new home field opening for the 2014 bowl season.
This weekend, we’ll be at seven notable games featuring teams from our partner conferences*:
Missouri (3-1, 0-0 SEC) heads to Columbia to square off against South Carolina (3-1, 2-1 SEC) in the Tigers’ season opener. Mizzou is coming off of its first loss this season after the Indiana Hoosiers shocked them at home, scoring the go-ahead touchdown with 22 seconds remaining. The Gamecocks traveled to Nashville for their third conference matchup of the season where they were tasked with a tough test from a Vanderbilt team that has struggled early on this season. The Commodores took an early 14-0 lead after scoring their first and second first quarter touchdowns of the season. The Gamecocks stormed back with 24 unanswered points before going back-and-forth with the Commodores for much of the third quarter. Two late fourth quarter touchdown runs put the game away giving the Gamecocks their second conference win of the season. The series with the Tigers is tied 2-2 with Missouri taking the first two meetings and the Gamecocks winning the most recent two, including last year’s 27-24 double-overtime win in Mizzou.
Vanderbilt (1-3, 0-2 SEC) hits the road for the first time this season to face Kentucky (2-1, 0-1 SEC) in an SEC East showdown. Both teams are looking for their first conference victory after a close defeat in their previous game. The Wildcats are coming off of a bye week after falling just short against Florida the week prior. Kentucky surprised the Gators taking them to three overtimes before the Gators were able to sneak out with a victory. The Vanderbilt-Kentucky series which dates back to 1896 is tied 41-41-4 despite Vanderbilt taking an early lead winning the first 17 games while not allowing a point in the first 11. The Commodores have won the past three meetings but the Wildcats have taken 12 of the last 18.
Georgia (2-1, 0-1 SEC) hosts Tennessee (2-1, 0-0 SEC) in the Volunteers’ conference opener in Athens. The Bulldogs dominated the Troy Trojans last week, winning 66-0 in the first game after their tough loss on the road at South Carolina. Georgia ran for 367 yards and averaged 9.4 yards a carry as a team. The Volunteers are coming off of their bye week following a loss to Oklahoma on the road in Norman. Tennessee holds the slight edge in the all-time series, 21-20-2, but have not won since 2009. The Volunteers last win “Between the Hedges” in Athens came in 2006 when they topped the Bulldogs, 51-33.
Arkansas (3-1, 0-1 SEC) looks for their first conference victory of the season when they face Texas A&M (4-0, 1-0 SEC) Saturday afternoon at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The Razorbacks’ only loss of the season came on the road against Auburn in week one and they have put up 49+ points in each of their three games since the defeat. Arkansas features one of the top rushing backfields in the nation having scored 17 touchdowns (second-most in FBS) and run for 1,298 yards (fifth-most in FBS) through four games. Texas A&M also features a high-powered offense, primarily through the air. The Aggies are second in the nation with 16 touchdown passes and 1620 passing yards, trailing only Washington State in both categories. After a commanding win on the road against South Carolina to open the season, the Aggies have continued to dominate their opposition, outscoring their opponents 169-19 over the past three games. Arkansas holds a 41-26-3 edge in the all-time series while Texas A&M has won the past two meetings.
Illinois (3-1, 0-0) visits Nebraska (4-0, 0-0 Big Ten) looking to knock off one of the remaining two unbeatens in the Big Ten in the conference opener for both teams. The Fighting Illini’s only blemish thus far came on the road against the Washington Huskies in week 3. Despite having their game on Saturday delayed for more than two hours due to weather, the Illini came from behind to remain unbeaten at home, knocking off Texas State 42-35. Quarterback Wes Lunt leads the Illini, entering the game with the eighth-most passing touchdowns and ninth-most passing yards in the nation. Nebraska outlasted the Miami Hurricanes at home this past weekend putting up 41 points against their ACC foe. Heisman hopeful and the nation’s second-leading rusher, Ameer Abdullah, led the way for the Cornhuskers, compiling 229 yards and 2 touchdowns against Miami. Nebraska leads the series with Illinois 8-2-1 and has gone 4-0-1 in their last five meetings dating back to 1925. In last season’s matchup the Cornhuskers notched a 39-19 victory at home in Memorial Stadium.
Minnesota (3-1, 0-0 Big Ten) opens up their conference schedule on the road against Michigan (2-2, 0-0 Big Ten) in a cross-division matchup for the Little Brown Jug. The Golden Gophers are led by running back David Cobb who has the sixth-most rushing yards in the country as well as a team-leading four touchdowns. The Gophers bounced back following a loss to TCU to knock off San Jose State at home 24-7 last week. The Wolverines were unable to overcome Utah and a rainstorm at home last week as they fell to 2-2 on the season following a 26-10 defeat. The only touchdown of the game for the Wolverines came on the defensive side of the ball when Willie Henry intercepted a screen pass and took it seven yards to the house to tie the game at 10 in the first half. The Utes tallied the final 16 points of the game which was delayed in the fourth quarter for over two hours due to weather to sink the Wolverines. Michigan leads the rivalry 73-24-3 and has won 22 of the past 23 meetings. The Golden Gophers last victory came in 2005 when they upset a ranked-Wolverines team in Ann Arbor on a last-second field goal, 23-20.
Maryland (3-1, 0-0 Big Ten) opens up its inaugural Big Ten conference schedule when it travels to Bloomington to face Indiana (2-1, 0-0 Big Ten). The Terrapins knocked off Syracuse on the road last weekend 34-20 following a close loss to West Virginia. The Terrapins are led by quarterback C.J. Brown, who has found the end zone six times through the air and four times on the ground while carrying for just shy of 250 yards to lead the team. After a disappointing loss to Bowling Green, the Hoosiers went into Columbia, Missouri, where they upset a ranked and undefeated Mizzou squad. Indiana and Maryland have only met twice prior to this matchup with Indiana winning both the 1934 and 1935 matchups.
* — In years when a Big Ten team is assigned to a non-semifinal Orange Bowl, we will replace our Big Ten selection with the first post-CFP selection from the ACC, inclusive of Notre Dame. We’re already on the road at ACC partner schools via our relationship for the Russell Athletic Bowl.