Things to watch in Week 11 of the Southeastern Conference football season:
GAME OF THE WEEK: No. 4 Alabama at No. 14 LSU: Alabama will try to keep its playoff hopes alive against an LSU team that has won three straight games. Don’t expect a lot of points in this game – Alabama ranks second and LSU is fourth among all Football Bowl Subdivision teams in scoring defense. Alabama has allowed 14 points per game, while LSU has yielded only 15.9 points per game. Alabama is fifth and LSU 16th in the College Football Playoff rankings. ”Our football team seems to play biggest on a big stage, and we’ll look forward to getting to Tiger Stadium and allowing that fan base to rock the place, make a lot of noise, come early, stay late, eat concessions,” LSU coach Les Miles said. ”Our guys will look forward to it. Our team plays best in Tiger Stadium. It’s a magical place.”
MATCHUP OF THE WEEK: Auburn offensive line vs. Texas A&M defensive line: No. 3 Auburn (No. 3 CFP) has allowed only six sacks all season, the fewest of any SEC team. That line should provide an interesting test for Texas A&M freshman defensive end Myles Garrett, who leads the SEC and ranks third among all FBS players with 11 sacks. Texas A&M could have a tough time slowing down Auburn’s running game. Auburn leads the SEC with 277.5 yards rushing per game and averages 5.9 yards per carry.
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NUMBERS GAME: LSU is 45-4 during Miles’ tenure when one of its running backs rushes for at least 100 yards. … Tennessee’s 45-42 overtime victory at South Carolina last week marked the first time the Volunteers had ever won a game after trailing by at least 14 points with less than five minutes left in the fourth quarter. … South Carolina has lost three games this year in which it led by at least 13 points in the fourth quarter.
LONG SHOT: No. 17 Georgia (No. 20 CFP) is a 10-point favorite at Kentucky, but the Bulldogs have to be feeling the effects of a shocking loss to Florida last weekend. The Wildcats won five of their first six games of the season, but have now lost three straight to LSU, Mississippi State and Missouri. UK quarterback Patrick Towles will try to bounce back from one of his worst games of the season – he completed just 19 of 37 passes for 158 yards, one touchdown and one interception against Missouri.
IMPACT PERFORMER: Ole Miss WR Vince Sanders takes over as the Rebels’ lead receiver after Laquon Treadwell was lost for the season because of a broken left leg and dislocated ankle suffered last weekend against Auburn. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Sanders has been productive this season, with 33 catches for 536 yards and four touchdowns. Coach Hugh Freeze has says Sanders is ”one of the more underrated players in this conference.”
AP Sports Writers Steve Megargee in Knoxville, Tennessee, and David Brandt in Starkville, Mississippi, compiled this story.