Published October 5, 2012 - 2:30pm
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Running the football and stopping the run are two great ingredients to building winning programs. If teams can do just one of the two, it keeps them in football games usually for four quarters with a chance to win it late.
This weekend, several premier SEC running backs will be suiting up and squaring off for what will be another physical week of conference games, and that means physical run defenses will have to rise to the challenge and bring their A-game.
#5 Georgia bouts with #6 South Carolina
|Run Defense||147.8 ypg (9th)||77.6 (2nd)|
|Rush Offense||248.8 ypg (1st)||171.8 ypg (9th)|
Key Players: Jarvis Jones, UGA (8.0 tfl, 4.5 sacks); Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina (9.5 tfl, 5.5 sacks)
We know the caliber of running backs on the field for both teams with names like Marcus Lattimore, Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall. Lattimore has exploited the Georgia defense the last two seasons, running through would-be tacklers with ease, and the Gamecocks have won two in a row because of it. South Carolina’s run defense has been stout thus far, only allowing a mere 77.6 yards per game, but they haven’t faced the likes of Gurley or Marshall yet. South Carolina’s red zone defense, which has allowed only six touchdowns, will be key in stopping Georgia. However, South Carolina must limit Georgia’s big plays, as the Dawgs lead the country in plays over 20 and 30 yards. Stopping the run for both teams will be the biggest priority and key in this sexy matchup. Georgia averages 6.2 yards per carry.
#4 LSU takes a trip to #10 Florida
|Run Defense||83 ypg (3rd)||119.2 ypg (6th)|
|Rush Offense||229.6 ypg (2nd)||224.5 (3rd)|
Key Players: Jon Bostic, Florida (4.0 tfl, 22 tackles); Sam Montgomery, LSU (6.5 tfl)
Will Muschamp and Les Miles play a similar style of football – establish a physical running game and give their team a chance to win it in the fourth quarter. LSU will feature three running backs in Kenny Hilliard, Spencer Ware and Michael Ford, but Florida will feature just one running back in Mike Gillislee. LSU will run from under center and try to exert their will on Florida’s defense from the get-go. Florida is more creative in their running plays, and while Gillislee is featured in the power running game from under center, the Gators will mix it up and let quarterback Jeff Driskel run the football and all-purpose Trey Burton run plays in the wildcat set. Whichever team limits the rushing attack will force the opposing quarterback to make plays through the air to win the game. I’m not sure either team can afford that type of in-game situation. Which defense is going to rise to the challenge?
Texas A&M meets Ole Miss in a possible track meet
|Texas A&M||Ole Miss|
|Run Defense||106 ypg (4th)||125.2 (7th)|
|Rush Offense||210.5 (5th)||223.8 (4th)|
Key Players: Damontre Moore, Texas A&M (10.5 tfl, 6.0 sacks); Denzel Nkemdiche, Ole Miss (6.0 tfl, 2.0 sacks)
On paper, these two teams are rather evenly matched. Ole Miss’ MO on offense is run as many plays as they can and run the football down the opponent’s throat. Hugh Freeze’s offense has had success doing just that this season, and they’re sitting at #4 in rushing offense, averaging 223.8 yards per game on the ground. Texas A&M has run the football pretty well, but it’s mostly been Johnny Manziel. He leads the team in rushing, and the Aggies are going to have to get the running game going from the three talented backs to give them another punch on offense. Both teams will load the box and try and make the quarterbacks throw for plus yardage. This should set up to be a great game in Oxford.