The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

September 19, 2013

No. 6 LSU, Auburn meet in battle of unbeatens

BEST GAME: Auburn at No. 6 LSU. Auburn (3-0) already has matched its win total from last season under new head coach Gus Malzahn. Seven of the last nine games between these two teams have been decided by eight points or less, including LSU's 12-10 victory last year. "I think this year it's not about the other team, and it's not about who we're playing against," LSU receiver Jarvis Landry said. "It's all about us. If we approach these games with a level head and with a mentality that we have to execute at a high level, it doesn't matter who the other team is."

BEST MATCHUP: Arkansas running backs Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams vs. Rutgers run defense. Collins ranks eighth among all Football Bowl Subdivision players with 139.3 yards rushing per game, while Williams is 12th with 131 per game. Collins is the first freshman in SEC history to open his career with three straight 100-yard performances. Rutgers is ranked fifth nationally in run defense and is allowing 59.3 yards rushing per game and 2.0 yards per carry.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel has the top three single-game total offense performances in SEC history. He gained 576 yards against Louisiana Tech last year, 562 against Alabama last week and 557 against Arkansas last season. SMU gets its shot at slowing down Manziel on Saturday.

LONG SHOT: Since getting off to a 7-0 start last year, Mississippi State has lost seven of its last nine games. The Bulldogs (1-2) can't afford to overlook 14-point underdog Troy (2-1). Quarterback Corey Robinson leads a dynamic Troy offense that has completed five passes of 50 yards or longer, the most of any FBS team. Troy nearly upset a pair of SEC teams last year, losing 30-24 at home to Mississippi State and 55-48 at Tennessee. "The teams are going to know each other, and they're going to have confidence they're going to be able to play with us," Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen said.

IMPACT PLAYER: Florida's Jeff Driskel has 10 turnovers in the Gators' last three losses and sprained his left knee Sept. 7 at Miami, but the junior quarterback says he's feeling fine. The 19th-ranked Gators need him to bounce back when they open SEC play against Tennessee. Driskel threw two touchdown passes and rushed for 81 yards in a 37-20 victory over Tennessee last year.

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