The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

September 5, 2013

SEC WEEK 2: Things to watch for

— Here are five things to watch in the Southeastern Conference during Week 2 of games:

GAME OF THE WEEK: In an SEC weekend filled with teams facing mostly beatable non-conference opponents, the South Carolina-Georgia game is the most intriguing by a mile. The No. 6 Gamecocks looked good against North Carolina, beating the Tar Heels 27-10 with relatively ease. Eleventh-ranked Georgia came into the season with hopes of contending for a national title, but after a season-opening loss to Clemson, must win to even stay in the conversation.

BEST MATCHUP: Miami running back Duke Johnson vs. Florida's run defense. The Gators were the only Football Bowl Subdivision team that didn't allow anyone to have a run from scrimmage of over 25 yards during the 2012 season. That streak ended in the 2013 season opener when Toledo's David Fluellen had a 28-yard gain, but Florida held the Rockets to 22 net yards on their other 15 carries. Johnson led all FBS players with 186 yards rushing against Florida Atlantic last week. The sophomore already has eight career runs from scrimmage of at least 35 yards.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Inside the numbers: LSU carries an FBS record 42-game non-conference regular-season winning streak into Saturday's game with UAB. LSU hasn't lost a regular-season non-conference game since falling 26-8 at Virginia Tech on Sept. 1, 2002. LSU has dropped four bowl games to non-conference opponents during the length of that streak. Since beating Kent State 47-14 in the second week of the 2012 season, Kentucky has lost its last 10 games against FBS opponents.

LONGSHOT: Former Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino already beat one SEC team in his Western Kentucky debut when the Hilltoppers knocked off Kentucky 35-26. He gets a shot at another SEC school Saturday as Western Kentucky visits Tennessee. Western Kentucky is a 13 ½-point underdog, but Petrino's reputation as an offensive guru and Tennessee's youth at the cornerback position makes this an interesting matchup.

IMPACT PLAYERr: South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney was an absolute terror during the 2012 season, finishing with 23.5 tackles for a loss, including 13 sacks. That led to plenty of Heisman Trophy hype heading into this fall, but the 6-foot-6, 274-pound junior was surprisingly quiet during the Gamecocks' opener. He'll be needed to do much more this weekend against Georgia.

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