Bulldogs vs. Bulldogs matchup features 2 unbeaten teams

FILE - This Oct. 1, 2011 file photo shows Georgia head coach Mark Richt having a word with an official during the second half of an NCAA college football game against the Mississippi State in Athens, Ga. There's just not a whole lot of history between Georgia and Mississippi State, who share a league and a nickname but little else. Despite being alleged rivals in the Southeastern Conference, these teams have met only 23 times over the years. When they face off Saturday, Sept 23, 2017 in Athens, it will be the first time they’ve played with both ranked in the Top 25. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, file)

Things to watch in the Southeastern Conference in Week 4:

GAME OF THE WEEK: No. 17 Mississippi State at No. 11 Georgia: The first matchup between the SEC’s two sets of Bulldogs since 2011 features a pair of undefeated teams. This is the first time Georgia and Mississippi State have met when both teams were ranked. Mississippi State is coming off a 37-7 blowout of No. 25 LSU, which was ranked 12th at the time of the game. Mississippi State is the only team in the nation to rank in the top 10 in both scoring offense and scoring defense. Georgia has beaten Mississippi State nine straight times. Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald directs an offense that scores an SEC-leading 47.7 points per game , while Georgia has an exceptional defense that already silenced Notre Dame’s potent rushing attack this season.

MATCHUP OF THE WEEK: Alabama rushing attack vs. Vanderbilt run defense: Vanderbilt has allowed the fewest points per game (4.3) and yards per game (198.3) of any Football Bowl Subdivision team. That defense clearly faces its toughest test Saturday against the top-ranked Crimson Tide. Alabama averages 6 yards per carry with a backfield that includes quarterback Jalen Hurts and running backs Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough. Hurts has a team-high 312 yards rushing and has gained 8.7 yards per carry. Hurts has run for over 100 yards in each of the Tide’s last two games. This should be a busy day for Vanderbilt linebacker Emmanuel Smith, who had a team-high 12 tackles in the Commodores’ victory over Kansas State last week.

NUMBERS GAME: No. 20 Florida is seeking to beat Kentucky for the 31st straight time this week. Florida’s 30 straight victories over the Wildcats represent the longest active winning streak by any team in an uninterrupted annual series. The NCAA record is owned by Notre Dame, which beat Navy 43 straight times from 1964-2006. … Texas A&M’s 45-21 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette last week marked the first time the Aggies ever had four true freshmen score touchdowns in one game. The touchdowns came from Kellen Mond, Jhamon Ausbon, Jacob Kibodi and Camron Buckley. … LSU has won 48 straight nonconference home games heading into Saturday’s game with Syracuse. Harvard owns the NCAA record with 55 straight nonconference home wins from 1890-95. … Vanderbilt has outscored its first three opponents 63-7 in the first half. … Auburn’s defense is allowing just 3.18 yards per play to lead the nation. Ranking second is Mississippi State (3.34) and third is Vanderbilt (3.44).

UPSET WATCH: Florida is a 2 +-point favorite at Kentucky and obviously has history on its side in this annual series, but the Wildcats arguably have looked more impressive thus far. Kentucky is coming off a 23-13 victory at South Carolina , while Florida is still missing nine suspended players. Kentucky is seeking its first victory over Florida since 1986 and its first 2-0 start in SEC competition since 1977.

IMPACT PERFORMER: Tennessee running back John Kelly leads the SEC with 349 yards rushing and also has 16 catches to match the second-highest total in the conference. He’s averaging 180 all-purpose yards per game to rank sixth among all FBS players .


AP Sports Writers Steve Megargee in Knoxville, Tennessee, and David Brandt in Jackson, Mississippi, contributed to this story.


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