Second week of SEC football pits No. 13 Auburn against No. 3 Clemson
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Here are a few things to watch during the second week of the Southeastern Conference football season:
GAME OF THE WEEK: No. 13 Auburn at No. 3 Clemson: Auburn is considered one of the favorites to challenge league favorite Alabama and the Tigers looked solid in their win against Georgia Southern , but the real test comes this weekend against the defending national champions. It also gives the SEC a chance to build upon its opening-week success in matchups with the ACC. After going 4-10 against the ACC last season, the SEC is 3-0 so far this year with Alabama beating Florida State, South Carolina defeating North Carolina State and Tennessee edging Georgia Tech.
MATCHUP OF THE WEEK: Notre Dame offensive line vs. Georgia defensive line: This matchup features at least three likely early-round NFL draft picks in Notre Dame offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame offensive guard Quenton Nelson and Georgia defensive tackle Trenton Thompson. No. 24 Notre Dame is coming off a 49-16 victory over Temple in which the Fighting Irish rushed for 422 yards. Notre Dame’s line paved the way for 100-yard rushing performances from quarterback Brandon Wimbush, Josh Adams and Dexter Williams. Thompson and Co. make Georgia’s defensive line a clear strength for the 15th-ranked Bulldogs.
NUMBERS GAME: Alabama has won its last 65 games with unranked foes heading into Saturday’s home opener with Fresno State. Alabama’s last loss to an unranked opponent came against Auburn in 2007. … Kentucky’s victory over Southern Mississippi last week was the 600th win in program history. … Mississippi WR A.J. Brown set a school single-game record with 233 yards receiving in a season-opening victory over South Alabama . … Auburn allowed just 78 total yards in its season-opening win over Georgia Southern. That’s the lowest total Auburn has yielded in a single game since giving up just 9 yards in a 41-0 victory over Mississippi in 1985. … Mississippi State allowed 0.7 yards per play in its victory over Charleston Southern . That represents the fewest yards allowed per play in school history. Charleston Southern had two first downs and never crossed midfield.
UPSET WATCH: Missouri is a 2½-point favorite at home against South Carolina even though the Tigers struggled to stop FCS opponent Missouri State during the opening weekend. Missouri gave up 35 first-half points before pulling away in the second half for a 72-43 victory . South Carolina was much more impressive in its 35-28 victory over NC State. Sophomore quarterback Jake Bentley threw for 215 yards, three touchdowns and an interception.
IMPACT PERFORMERS: Tennessee WR Marquez Callaway: After catching just one pass as a freshman last season, Callaway delivered a breakthrough performance Monday by collecting four receptions for 115 yards and two touchdowns to help Tennessee rally from a two-touchdown deficit in a 42-41 double-overtime victory over Georgia Tech . Tennessee will be relying heavily on the 6-foot-2 Callaway for some time to come. He looks like the likely No. 1 target for quarterback Quinten Dormady now that Jauan Jennings – the Vols’ top returning receiver – is injured and out indefinitely.