Here are some things to watch during Week 11 of the Southeastern Conference football season:
GAME OF THE WEEK
Auburn (No. 24 College Football Playoff) at No. 5 Georgia (No. 5 CFP): This rematch of last year’s SEC championship game is important to Georgia’s playoff hopes. If Georgia falls to Auburn for a second regular-season loss, the Bulldogs could have a tough time making the four-team playoff field even if they upset No. 1 Alabama (No. 1 CFP) in the SEC championship game. Auburn and Georgia met twice last season. Georgia lost 40-17 at Auburn during the regular season before beating the Tigers 28-7 in the SEC championship game .
MATCHUP OF THE WEEK
Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa vs. Mississippi State’s pass defense. Tagovailoa has established himself as the Heisman Trophy favorite after throwing 27 touchdowns and just one interception over his first nine games. The top-ranked Tide (No. 1 CFP) are averaging 51.3 points per game. Mississippi State’s defense has been among the best in the nation, giving up just nine offensive touchdowns all season. The 18th-ranked Bulldogs (No. 16 CFP) are especially good at stopping the passing game: They’ve given up just 167.2 yards through the air per game, which ranks first in the SEC.
South Carolina will be attempting to beat No. 19 Florida (No. 15 CFP) for the sixth time in their last nine meetings Saturday. Before that stretch, Florida went 18-1 against South Carolina from 1964-2009. … No. 12 Kentucky (No. 11 CFP) will try to beat Tennessee in Knoxville for the first time since 1984 this week. The Wildcats have lost to Tennessee at Neyland Stadium 16 straight times. … Missouri’s Drew Lock could move as high as third place on the SEC’s career passing list this week. Lock currently ranks sixth in career yards passing with 11,089. He’s in position to pass Florida’s Chris Leak (11,213 from 2003-06), Tennessee’s Peyton Manning (11,201 from 1994-97) and Georgia’s Eric Zeier (11,153 from 1991-94) this week. The record is held by Georgia’s Aaron Murray, who threw for 13,166 yards from 2010-13. … Mississippi is the only team in the country to have a player ranked in the top 20 in yards passing (Jordan Ta’amu with 3,001), yards rushing (Scottie Phillips with 923) and yards receiving (A.J. Brown with 920).
Kentucky is favored by six points at Tennessee, which is a risky play considering the Wildcats have lost 16 straight games in Knoxville. … Florida is a six-point favorite at home against South Carolina, but the Gators haven’t looked very good the past few weeks, losing their past two games by an average of 20 points. South Carolina has won two straight.
Georgia running back D’Andre Swift has rushed for over 100 yards in back-to-back games and had a career-high 156 yards last week in a 34-17 victory at Kentucky that enabled the Bulldogs to clinch the SEC East title. Swift had touchdown runs of 20 and 83 yards against Kentucky. Swift has rushed for 622 yards and has gained 6.3 yards per carry while teaming up with Elijah Holyfield in Georgia’s backfield.
Source: The Associated Press