No. 4 LSU, No. 7 Alabama meet in SEC West showdown
A few things to watch as the Southeastern Conference football season hits Week 10:
GAME OF THE WEEK: No. 4 LSU (No. 2 College Football Playoff) at No. 7 Alabama (No. 4 CFP): The game between Western Division rivals has become must-see TV over the past several years and Saturday will be no exception. LSU RB Leonard Fournette gets another chance to prove he’s the Heisman Trophy front-runner. Alabama is on a five-game winning streak since losing to Mississippi in September.
MATCHUP OF THE WEEK: South Carolina WR Pharoh Cooper vs. Tennessee CB Cam Sutton: Cooper set a school single-game record last season with 233 yards receiving in a 45-42 overtime loss to Tennessee. He caught 11 passes and scored two touchdowns in that game. Cooper has caught 44 passes for 609 yards and four touchdowns this year despite playing on a team that has gone through multiple quarterbacks. Tennessee knows it must do a better job of slowing down Cooper this season and has one of the SEC’s top cornerbacks in Sutton, who figures to be covering him at least part of the game. ”They move him around,” Sutton said. ”They just find ways to get him the ball.”
NUMBERS GAME: Arkansas running back Alex Collins has 960 yards rushing. He is aiming to join Darren McFadden as the only players in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in three straight seasons. … Florida running back Kelvin Taylor’s eight touchdown runs in SEC competition are the most by a Gator in league play since his father, Fred Taylor, had nine in 1997. … After having just one sack in his first five games, Tennessee DE Derek Barnett has four sacks in his last three games. Last season, Barnett had nine of his 10 sacks in the final seven games of the season.
LONG SHOT: Arkansas at No. 19 Mississippi (No. 18 CFP). The Razorbacks are 11-point underdogs in Oxford on Saturday, which makes sense considering the Rebels have had a much better season so far. But the Razorbacks have had recent success in the series, winning 30-0 in Fayetteville last season and the program’s physical nature under coach Bret Bielema has given the Rebels problems.
IMPACT PERFORMER: LSU QB Brandon Harris: The quarterback position was expected to be LSU’s biggest worry, but Harris has thrown nine touchdown passes without being intercepted all season. Of course, Harris has benefited from playing in a backfield that features Heisman Trophy favorite Leonard Fournette. Alabama’s defense may cause Fournette to have a little tougher time than usual Saturday, which means Harris might need to do more than simply avoid turnovers as LSU attempts to remain unbeaten.
AP Sports Writers Steve Megargee in Knoxville, Tennessee, and David Brandt in Jackson, Mississippi, contributed to this story.