Ge­or­gia look­ing to im­prove its play­off hopes with win

The Sun News - - Sports - AP writ­ers Steve Megargee in Knoxville, Ten­nessee, and David Brandt in Jack­son, Mis­sis­sippi, con­trib­uted to this story.

Here are some things to watch dur­ing Week 11 of the South­east­ern Con­fer­ence foot­ball sea­son:

GAME OF THE WEEK

Auburn at No. 5 Ge­or­gia: This re­match of last year’s SEC cham­pi­onship game is im­por­tant to Ge­or­gia’s play­off hopes. If Ge­or­gia falls to Auburn for a sec­ond reg­u­lar-sea­son loss, the Bulldogs (No. 5 Col­lege Foot­ball Play­off) could have a tough time mak­ing the four-team play­off field even if they up­set No. 1 Alabama (No. 1 CFP) in the SEC cham­pi­onship game. Auburn (No. 24 CFP) and Ge­or­gia met twice last sea­son. Ge­or­gia lost 40-17 at Auburn dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son be­fore beat­ing the Tigers 28-7 in the SEC cham­pi­onship game.

MATCHUP OF THE WEEK

Alabama QB Tua Tago­v­ailoa vs. Mis­sis­sippi State’s pass de­fense: Tago­v­ailoa has es­tab­lished him­self as the Heis­man Tro­phy fa­vorite af­ter throw­ing 27 touch­downs and just one in­ter­cep­tion over his first nine games. The top-ranked Tide (No. 1 CFP) are av­er­ag­ing 51.3 points per game. Mis­sis­sippi State’s de­fense has been among the best in the na­tion, giv­ing up just nine of­fen­sive touch­downs all sea­son. The 18th-ranked Bulldogs (No. 16 CFP) are es­pe­cially good at stop­ping the pass­ing game: They’ve given up just 167.2 yards through the air per game, which ranks first in the SEC.

NUM­BERS GAME

South Carolina will be at­tempt­ing to beat No. 19 Flor­ida (No. 15 CFP) for the sixth time in their last nine meet­ings Satur­day. Be­fore that stretch, Flor­ida went 18-1 against South Carolina from 1964-2009. … No. 12 Ken­tucky (No. 11 CFP) will try to beat Ten­nessee in Knoxville for the first time since 1984 this week. The Wild­cats have lost to Ten­nessee at Ney­land Sta­dium 16 straight times. … Mis­souri’s Drew Lock could move as high as third place on the SEC’s ca­reer pass­ing list this week. Lock cur­rently ranks sixth in ca­reer yards pass­ing with 11,089. He’s in po­si­tion to pass Flor­ida’s Chris Leak (11,213 from 2003-06), Ten­nessee’s Pey­ton Man­ning (11,201 from 1994-97) and Ge­or­gia’s Eric

Zeier (11,153 from 199194) this week. The record is held by Ge­or­gia’s Aaron Mur­ray, who threw for 13,166 yards from 201013. … Mis­sis­sippi is the only team in the coun­try to have a player ranked in the top 20 in yards pass­ing (Jor­dan Ta’amu with 3,001), yards rush­ing (Scot­tie Phillips with 923) and yards re­ceiv­ing (A.J. Brown with 920).

UP­SET WATCH

Ken­tucky is fa­vored by six points at Ten­nessee, which is a risky play con­sid­er­ing the Wild­cats have lost 16 straight games in Knoxville. … Flor­ida is a six-point fa­vorite at home against South Carolina, but the Ga­tors haven’t looked very good the past few weeks, los­ing their past two games. South Carolina has won two straight.

IM­PACT PER­FORMER

Ge­or­gia run­ning back D’An­dre Swift: Swift has rushed for over 100 yards in back-to-back games and had a ca­reer-high 156 yards last week in a 34-17 vic­tory at Ken­tucky that en­abled the Bulldogs to clinch the SEC East ti­tle. Swift had touch­down runs of 20 and 83 yards against Ken­tucky. Swift has rushed for 622 yards and has gained 6.3 yards per carry while team­ing up with Eli­jah Holy­field in back­field.

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