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Friday September 30th, 2022 8:30AM

No. 20 Florida versus No. 11 Tennessee highlights SEC action

By The Associated Press
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Things to watch in Week 4 of the Southeastern Conference:

GAME OF THE WEEK

No. 20 Florida (2-1, 0-1 SEC) at No. 11 Tennessee (3-0, 0-0). This was often the battle for SEC East supremacy before No. 1 Georgia's recent run. Now, both are more likely vying with No. 8 Kentucky for second-best, nothing to scoff at given how dominant the Bulldogs have been. But it's the first time both were ranked coming into the game since 2017. Florida has won the last five meetings and 16 of 17. The Gators and much-hyped quarterback Anthony Richardson fizzled in their SEC opener, a 26-16 loss to the Wildcats. Richardson had a miserable stat line in that game: 14-of-35 passing for 135 yards with one of his two interceptions returned for a touchdown. Tennessee's Hendon Hooker and the Vols are off to a much better start. They're sporting a Top 5 offense in scoring, passing and total yards. The Gators are 121st in passing offense, averaging just 141 yards per game. Tennessee is a 10-1/2-point favorite, according to SportsDuel Fanbook.

BEST MATCHUP

No. 10 Arkansas (3-0, 1-0) versus No. 23 Texas A&M (2-1, 0-0) in Arlington, Texas. This is practically a pick ‘em game with the Aggies favored by 2-1/2 points. Texas A&M rebounded nicely from a loss to Appalachian State with a 17-9 victory over No. 25 Miami. In an effort to jump-start a sputtering offense, Jimbo Fisher turned to LSU transfer Max Johnson at quarterback in that game. The Aggies still have a lot of work on that side of the ball. The Razorbacks have been clicking better on offense behind quarterback K.J. Jefferson and the SEC’s leading rusher Raheim Sanders (440 yards in three games). Jefferson ranks behind only Georgia's Stetson Bennett in total offense at 313 yards a game.

IMPACT PLAYER

Zach Evans, RB, Mississippi. The TCU transfer has lived up to the billing and then some. Evans and freshman Quinshon Judkins have produced a terrific 1-2 rushing combo for a team that had to replace its top three tailbacks. Evans is averaging 105.7 rushing yards with three touchdowns, while gaining 6.47 yards a carry. He's the league's No. 2 rusher, one spot ahead of Judkins, who has 289 yards, three TDs and a 6.72-yard average.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

Auburn is one of four FBS teams that hasn't forced a turnover, along with Fresno State, Notre Dame and Temple. ... Richardson ranks last among SEC starting quarterbacks in passing yards (423). ... Tennessee has sold out back-to-back games at Neyland Stadium for the first time since 2016. ... Georgia is averaging a league-best 7.9 yards per play and leading the SEC in passing at 376.7 yards a game. ... Alabama has won 22 consecutive meetings with Vanderbilt, which visits Saturday night. ... Mississippi State will wear throwback uniforms to commemorate the 50th anniversary of its first Black varsity football players, Frank Dowsing, Jr. and Robert Bell. ... Kentucky is trying to extend its nation-leading, 18-game nonconference win streak against Northern Illinois. ... LSU's last two opponents, Southern and Mississippi State, have converted just 5 of 24 third-down attempts. ... South Carolina and Charlotte are set to meet for the first time despite being separated by just 107 miles on Interstate 77.

UPSET WATCH

Auburn is a 7 1/2-point favorite over Missouri, per FanDuel.com, making its first venture into Jordan-Hare Stadium. Auburn has committed eight turnovers without forcing a single one and likely needs to turn that around to avoid an upset. Both teams have been blown out in their lone game against a Power Five team. Auburn is coming off a 41-12 loss to No. 14 Penn State, while Missouri fell 40-12 to Kansas State two weeks ago. Auburn's quarterback situation doesn't appear settled after three weeks of starting T.J. Finley while also playing the more mobile Robby Ashford. Finley has been intercepted four times while throwing for just one touchdown. Ashford also only has one TD pass but has thrown a pair of picks. Coach Bryan Harsin has deflected questions about who would start.

___

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