Three Games: Welcome back, defense - WDAM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

Three Games: Welcome back, defense

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Auburn quarterback Kiehl Frazier runs away from Arkansas defenders. (Source: Todd Van Emst/Auburn University) Auburn quarterback Kiehl Frazier runs away from Arkansas defenders. (Source: Todd Van Emst/Auburn University)
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(RNN) – After an offensive September, October has dawned as the month for defense lovers.

Below is a look at three games from Week 6 and what they mean going forward followed by a look at three Week 7 games and the impact they will have.

Week 6 recap:

Arkansas 24, Auburn 7

Arkansas' parachute opened and while the freefall might not be over, it has definitely slowed. The beleaguered Razorback defense held Auburn to its fewest points of the season and gave the Hogs something to be excited about for the first time since last year's Cotton Bowl.

The win will go a long way toward keeping the Razorbacks (2-4, 1-2) from finishing last in the SEC West. Arkansas has a chance to climb out of the basement: Kentucky and Ole Miss are its next opponents. It's hard to tell if Arkansas has regrouped any because of how bad Auburn has played, but a win of any kind is welcome at this point.

Auburn (1-4, 0-3) tried to correct some of its ills by replacing Kiehl Frazier at quarterback at halftime. Clint Moseley threw for more yards than Frazier did, and the Tigers' running game had some good moments, but Auburn's problems are too deep to be fixed easily.

Florida 14, LSU 6

What was widely considered to be the best defensive line in the country got manhandled and pummeled into submission by the Gators' OL.

Florida didn't even bother trying to pass because it didn't need to. Mike Gillislee's 146 yards kept Florida's offense moving and the Gators' defense didn't allow LSU to find the end zone.

As dominant as Florida (5-0, 4-0) was, the bigger story is the ineptitude of LSU's offense. After losing running back Alfred Blue to injury, LSU's offensive production has declined severely. Three weeks ago, the Tigers (5-1, 1-0) were No. 20 nationally in the country in third down conversion percentage and second in the SEC. After a 1-for-13 performance against Florida, they are now 10th in the SEC and 79th nationally.

Florida has staked its claim as a national championship contender and replaced LSU as the No. 4 team in the AP poll. Florida has a potential trap game against Vanderbilt before facing South Carolina and Georgia to determine if their title aspirations are legitimate.

South Carolina 35, Georgia 7

What the heck happened here? What has been a hotly contested, evenly matched game in the past – and looked like it would be again – turned into a blowout by halftime.

South Carolina has now beaten Georgia three straight times for the first time in the history of the series, which dates back to 1894. It was also the Gamecocks' biggest ever margin of victory over the 'Dogs. Marcus Lattimore rushed for 162 yards and a touchdown, tying Georgia's Todd Gurley for the SEC lead in rushing scores with nine. Gurley was held to 39 yards and no touchdowns.

Georgia's Aaron Murray threw for just 109 yards and an interception and was replaced as the SEC's leader in passing efficiency by the Gamecocks' Connor Shaw, who passed for 162 yards and two touchdowns.

Games to watch in Week 7 (all times Eastern):

No. 3 South Carolina at No. 9 LSU, 8 p.m., ESPN

Reeling from its loss to Florida, LSU cannot afford to lose again if it is to retain any hopes of a championship. Should LSU lose this game and take a second conference loss, the Tigers would need to win the rest of their games and have Alabama and Mississippi State lose another conference game just to get to the SEC Championship Game.

South Carolina is in a much better position. While national championship dreams are on the line, the Gamecocks' chances of making the SEC title game would be the same. A win over Florida on Oct. 20 gives South Carolina control of the SEC East regardless of the outcome of this game.

Tennessee at No. 19 Mississippi State, 9 p.m., ESPN2

Both teams have a lot to prove. While Mississippi State is 5-0 with two conference wins, those wins came against Auburn and Kentucky. The Bulldogs have a good chance to be 7-0 when they travel to Alabama on Oct. 27, but because of a soft early schedule, they still have a lot of doubters.

Tyler Russell has only thrown one interception this year – Jeff Driskel (1) and A.J. McCarron (none) are the only starting SEC QBs who have been comparable. Russell is fifth in the conference in total offense.

But it is the other side of the ball that has the most intrigue. Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray has thrown for the most yards per game of any quarterback in the SEC and is No. 8 in the country. He has, however, thrown six interceptions and Mississippi State's defense is tied for the conference lead with nine interceptions.

After this, Tennessee faces Alabama and South Carolina. A loss in all three would put bowl eligibility, and coach Derek Dooley's job, in serious doubt.

No. 22 Texas A&M at No. 23 Louisiana Tech, 9 p.m., ESPNU

This game is featured because it's one of only two games involving an SEC team where both are ranked. It was supposed to be the season opener for both teams, but they shared the same open date, and it was postponed because of Hurricane Isaac.

There are some intriguing numbers at play in this one. First off, Louisiana Tech is ranked in the AP poll for the first time since 1999 (second time overall) and in the Coaches' poll for the first time. Tech has never won a game while ranked, but currently holds the nation's longest regular-season winning streak.

If you like offense, this is the place to be. Tech is No. 3 nationally in scoring offense and A&M is No. 8. Defensively, however, the two teams could not be further apart. The Aggies are 14th in scoring defense and the Bulldogs are No. 106 out of 120, lower than all 14 SEC schools.

The stat lines for the quarterbacks should tell you everything you need to know. Johnny Manziel has thrown for 1,285 yards and 11 touchdowns, rushed for 495 yards and seven touchdowns for Texas A&M and ranks sixth in the country in total offense. Louisiana Tech's Colby Cameron has thrown for 1,447 yards with 13 touchdowns and no interceptions.

The Aggies could be the only team standing in the way of an undefeated season for Tech, which will move from the WAC to Conference USA next season. A&M had planned for this to be an off week before starting its gauntlet run of LSU, Auburn, Mississippi State and Alabama. Instead, it has to add another ranked foe to that list and gets no break.

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