Iron Bowl highlights games during SEC rivalry week
Here are some things to watch in the final weekend of the Southeastern Conference's regular season:
GAME OF THE WEEK: No. 16 Auburn at No. 1 Alabama: Alabama has already earned a spot in the SEC title game against Florida on Dec. 3, but that doesn't take much away from a terrific rivalry. Auburn can derail the Tide's perfect season and also position itself for a better bowl location with an unexpected win. Alabama has won six out of the past eight meetings.
MATCHUP OF THE WEEK: Florida State running back Dalvin Cook vs. Florida run defense: Cook is No. 15 Florida State's all-time leading rusher and has run for 1,467 yards this season to rank second among Power Five running backs. In a 27-2 victory over Florida last year, Cook rushed for 150 yards and two touchdowns in the fourth quarter alone and ended up with 183 yards. No. 13 Florida ranks 20th nationally in run defense and has allowed 122.1 yards rushing per game and 3.3 yards per carry. Florida's run defense showed its strength last week with a game-saving goal-line stand in a 16-10 victory over LSU to clinch the SEC East title.
NUMBERS GAME: Tennessee's Derek Barnett is the first SEC player ever to have at least 10 sacks in three seasons. Barnett has 31 career sacks, one off Reggie White's school record. … Auburn hasn't allowed a touchdown run in its last eight games. … Kentucky's Stanley ''Boom'' Williams and Benny Snell Jr. have each run for over 1,000 yards, marking the first time the Wildcats have had two 1,000-yard rushers in the same season. … In a 63-37 loss to Tennessee last week, Missouri ran 110 offensive plays, the second-highest total by any Football Bowl Subdivision team this season. … Vanderbilt's Ralph Webb has 3,117 career yards rushing. He's 26 yards shy of Zac Stacy's school record.
UPSET WATCH: Mississippi State is a 7+-point underdog on the road in the Egg Bowl against rival Ole Miss. That makes sense at some level: The Bulldogs are just 4-7 and have given up a combined 109 points in back-to-back losses against Alabama and Arkansas. But the Rebels have their own set of problems. They lost to Vanderbilt 38-17 last weekend and are using freshman Shea Patterson at quarterback after senior Chad Kelly was lost for the season due to a knee injury earlier this month.
IMPACT PERFORMER: Arkansas running back Rawleigh Williams rushed for a career-high 205 yards and four touchdowns while also throwing a touchdown pass last week in a 58-42 victory over Mississippi State. He's the first non-quarterback this season to rush for four touchdowns and throw a touchdown pass in the same game. He also was the first Arkansas player to run for 200 yards and four touchdowns in an SEC game. Williams has an SEC-leading 1,209 yards rushing (109.9 per game) heading into the final week of the regular season.
AP Sports Writers Steve Megargee in Knoxville, Tennessee, and David Brandt in Jackson, Mississippi, contributed to this story.
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