By Steve Megargee | AP
Here are some things to watch during the third week of the Southeastern Conference football season.
GAME OF THE WEEK
No. 9 Florida at Kentucky: After ending a 31-game losing streak in this annual series last year, Kentucky will attempt to earn a second straight win over the Gators. Florida is a 7 ½-point favorite over Kentucky, which lost quarterback Terry Wilson for the rest of the season when he tore his patellar tendon last week in a 38-17 victory over Eastern Michigan. Troy transfer Sawyer Smith takes over as Kentucky’s starting quarterback. Kentucky’s offensive line will face a major task containing a Florida defense that has recorded 15 sacks to lead all Football Bowl Subdivision teams.
MATCHUP OF THE WEEK
Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy vs. South Carolina cornerback Jaycee Horn: Jeudy won the Biletnikoff Award as college football’s top receiver last year and has opened his junior season by catching 18 passes for 240 yards and four touchdowns in the second-ranked Crimson Tide’s first two games. The 6-foot-1 Jeudy should spend at least part of Saturday’s game lining up against Horn, a 6-1 sophomore who already has forced two fumbles this year after emerging as one of the SEC’s top freshman defensive players last season.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
This marks the first time that Alabama and South Carolina have faced each other since the 19th-ranked Gamecocks stunned the top-ranked Crimson Tide 35-21 in 2010. That marks the last time Alabama lost to a team ranked outside the top 15. … Georgia’s starting offensive linemen average 6-foot-5 and 328.6 pounds. That makes this the largest Georgia offensive line in program history. … Mississippi State’s Kylin Hill has rushed for 320 yards to rank second among all Football Bowl Subdivision players. Appalachian State’s Darrynton Evans ranks first with 333 yards rushing. … Florida has gained at least 500 yards in four of its last six games. The Gators had 500-plus yards of total offense in just three games from 2015-17. … Auburn defensive end Marlon Davidson has made 41 consecutive starts. The only Football Bowl Subdivision player with a longer active streak is Louisiana Tech offensive lineman Ethan Reed with 42 straight starts. … Tennessee is off to its first 0-2 start since 1988 . The Volunteers lost their first six games that season before surging down the stretch to finish 5-6. … Missouri gave up just 30 yards rushing in a 38-7 victory over West Virginia last week. Missouri hadn’t yielded fewer yards rushing to an FBS opponent since limiting Colorado to minus-14 in 2009.
Kansas State will be a dangerous 7 ½-point underdog when it heads to Mississippi State. Kansas State lost 31-10 to Mississippi State last year but looks like an improved team in its first season under Chris Klieman , who won four Football Championship Subdivision titles at North Dakota State. Kansas State trounced FCS program Nicholls 49-14 and Bowling Green 52-0 in its first two games. The Wildcats have rushed for over 300 yards in each of their first two games.
LSU quarterback Joe Burrow justifiably garnered much of the attention after throwing for 471 yards and four touchdowns Saturday in a 45-38 victory at No. 12 Texas, but his receivers also deserve plenty of praise. Justin Jefferson scored three times against Texas and is the SEC’s leading receiver thus far with 14 catches for 250 yards and four touchdowns. LSU has three of the SEC’s top six receivers in Jefferson, Ja’Marr Chase (10 catches, 168 yards, 1 TD) and Terrace Marshall Jr. (10-154-4).