A Look At Week Four In SEC Football

A preview of this week's Southeastern Conference football schedule is featured.

Mississippi State (1-2, 0-1) at LSU (2-1, 0-1)

11:30 a.m., JP Sports

For the odd stat of the week, LSU faces an opposing coach on his 50th birthday for the second week in a row. As for LSU's coach, has he stopped whining yet? Nick, you're on the rules committee, you know the rules, and you'd better get your team focused before road trips to Georgia and Florida to start October.

Mississippi State could only muster seven points against the Division I-AA Black Bears of Maine last week, and the defense they face this week is a bit tougher. The Bulldogs have only scored seven points in the first half in their first three games. Even though LSU is still struggling to find consistent quarterback play, one score might be enough to spoil Sylvester Croom's 50th birthday.

Ole Miss (1-2, 1-1) at Wyoming (1-1, 0-0 Mountain West Conference)

2 p.m. CDT, Pay Per View Television

Just incase any Rebel fans are still riding a high from last season's 10-3 squad, there's nothing like a road trip to Laramie, Wyo., to remind you that you're still Ole Miss. And let's not forget the road trip to Arkansas State in 2001. This contest marks the first time any SEC team has traveled to Wyoming.

The Ole Miss offense is ranked 105th in total yards per game this year, and it won't help that its leading receiver, Bill Flowers, will be out with a lacerated kidney. Flowers caught 10 balls in last week's overtime win over Vanderbilt. Ethan Flatt and Michael Spurlock have split time as first-string quarterback during practice, but Cutcliffe says he'll go with Flatt Saturday.

Wyoming has had a week to rest after getting shut out 31-0 by Texas A&M. The Cowboys rushed for negative yards in the game, and will need to improve that stat if they plan on getting their first win against a BCS team in recent memory.

Vanderbilt (0-2, 0-2) at Navy (3-0)

12:30 CDT, HDNet

Vanderbilt had a chance to get a rare SEC road win last week against Ole Miss, but the Commodores blew a 13-point second half lead to move to 0-2 on the year. The 'Dores have had a tough time stopping the run so far this year, which is good news for a Navy squad that's averaging more than 300 yards offense on the ground through three games.

The Midshipmen rolled up more than 500 yards in last season's 37-27 win in Nashville. Behind the running of quarterback Aaron Polanco and fullback Kyle Eckel, the Navy offense will likely have the same results against Vandy this year in Annapolis.

Alabama (3-0, 1-0) at Arkansas (2-1, 0-0)

2:30 p.m. CBS

Surprisingly, this early-season West battle features the two highest scoring teams in the league. Arkansas quarterback Matt Jones is averaging 300 total yards per game in 2004. Alabama quarterback Brodie Croyle was off to hot start as well, before he tore his ACL against Western Carolina last Saturday.

Senior QB Matt Jones is a key player for the Razorbacks.

Alabama Coach Mike Shula will look to sophomore Marc Guillon, a Miami (Fla.) transfer, who has attempted 12 career passes. Winning a road game in Fayetteville won't be an easy task for a first time starter, but Croyle was able to do it two years ago in his first collegiate start.

Even though Bama is off to a 3-0 start, the Tide hasn't played strong opponents. The Crimson Tide defense is ranked fifth in the country in yards allowed, but we'll see how good it really is after Houston Nutt's troops are done with them.

Kentucky (1-1, 0-0) at Florida (1-1, 0-1)

10:30 a.m. CDT, ESPN2 (In Florida, Kentucky and selected areas)

Florida has won 17 consecutive games in this series, including a 24-21 come from behind win last year in which the Gators overcame an 18-point fourth quarter deficit in Chris Leak's first career start. Kentucky's offense has been very inconsistent so far this year, scoring no points against Louisville and 51 points against Indiana. The Wildcat defense has been consistently bad, giving up 28 and 32 points, and allowing 400-plus yards in both contests.

The Gators come in to this contest bitter at 1-1 after losing a heartbreaker in Knoxville, and should be able to move the ball all they want to Saturday. Not even the refs will be able to do enough to help the Wildcats avoid 18 straight losses to the Gators.

Troy (2-1, 0-1 Sun Belt) at South Carolina (2-1, 1-1)

6 p.m. CDT, No TV

Last week against South Florida, South Carolina quarterback Dondrial Pinkins and tailback Demetris Summers were out with injuries, but that didn't slow the Gamecocks on their way to a 34-3 win. Sophomore Syvelle Newton stepped in at quarterback and passed for more than 300 yards in his first collegiate start. Now that Pinkins is healthy again, Lou Holtz says that both will play against Troy. Summers is expected to play Saturday as well.

USC's Syvelle Newton

After a 2-0 start with wins against Marshall and Missouri, the Troy Trojans got a reality check last Saturday in a loss to New Mexico State. Lou Holtz and the Gamecocks know what Troy is capable of an upset in this game, but that appears unlikely.

Louisiana Tech (2-1, 1-0 WAC) at Tennessee (2-0, 1-0) 6 p.m. CDT, Pay Per View Television

Louisiana Tech, a traditional passing team, has been getting it done this season on the ground behind the legs of junior tailback Ryan Moats. Moats rushed for 1,300 yards last season and is off to a hot start in 2004 with 595 yards through three games. Tennessee is allowing 150 yards per game on the ground, and, in last week's win over Florida, linebacker Kevin Simon went down with another torn ACL and will likely be lost for the season.

Both Erik Ainge and Brent Schaeffer have played much better than can be expected from true freshmen quarterbacks. Through two games, the Vols' offense is averaging more than 220 yards rushing and passing, and those numbers should go up facing a defense like LA Tech. Even if the Moats has a big day and the Bulldogs are able to put some points on the scoreboard, Tech's defense still isn't good enough to slow Tennessee's offense.

The Citadel (0-1, 0-1 Southern) at Auburn (3-0, 2-0)

1:30 p.m. No TV

The Citadel comes to Jordan-Hare Stadium after playing only one game, a 28-14 loss to Appalachian State. In that contest, the Bulldogs managed only 137 yards of total offense. It's hard to imagine that they'll score much on Saturday against Auburn.

Auburn running back Ronnie Brown tweaked a hamstring in last week's 10-9 win over LSU and likely won't play against The Citadel. Quarterback Jason Campbell took a beating last week and probably won't play much more than a quarter. The Auburn coaches don't want a repeat of what happened to Brodie Croyle, especially with a road trip to Knoxville a week from Saturday.

On offense, young backs Carl Stewart and Brad Lester will likely see extensive playing time while backup quarterback Brandon Cox runs the show from under center. The first team defense probably won't play past halftime as well unless the game is much closer than expected. The Citadel is expected to play hard until the final whistle, but the winner should be decided well before halftime.


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