Published October 26, 2012 - 1:15pm
NEW: Discuss this topic in the Google+ community for SEC fans.
Here are six players who will take their game to the next level Saturday:
Johnthan Banks, DB, Mississippi State: In addition to having the SEC’s best tattoo, AJ McCarron has yet to yield an interception this season to go along with his 16 touchdown passes. I’ll take MSU’s secondary against Alabama’s receivers, but it won’t matter if State can’t stop the Tide’s running game. I like Banks to have a big game and force McCarron’s first turnover of the season. It will be a dynamic matchup between Banks and Bama’s emerging freshman star Amari Cooper.
Mike Gillislee, RB, Florida: Georgia’s porous defense has given up 436 yards rushing the last two games to South Carolina and Kentucky, and Mike Gillislee is up next for his shot at the frustrated Dawgs. While I do think UGA will give the Gators their best defensive game, Gillislee may get 30 carries over the course of the game and be the workhorse Florida needs him to be.
Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama: With nearly 62 percent of the season in the books, several players are worn down from an already physical season. But Eddie Lacy has to feel good about his offensive line, because they looked fresh last Saturday against Tennessee. Lacy scored two touchdowns last season in Starkville, and I’m anticipating him having another big game Saturday. Did you see his spin move last weekend against the Vols? It was a thing of beauty.
Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia: Murray had a career day last week against Kentucky, throwing for 427 yards and four touchdowns, and the UGA running game has been so-so the last two games. Florida will try and make Georgia one dimensional, and Murray is going to have to have a huge game against the Gators. He did last year, throwing two fourth-down touchdowns that eventually led to a win for the Dawgs.
Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee: Patterson has been one of the biggest weapons in the SEC to never be used. He averaged over 19 yards per touch entering last week. Do you know how many times he touched it against Bama? Three times. Maybe after a week of watching film and the stool getting to a blazing temperature for Derek Dooley, the offensive staff has learned to give Patterson the football more. He has to be crucial to the offensive game planning.
Loucheiz Purifoy, DB, Florida: Purifoy, along with having one of the best names in football, is Florida’s Honey Badger. He forced two fumbles last week – one on defense and one on special teams. He had the tone-setting play with his forced fumble against Connor Shaw to start the game. Hell, Florida even threw him out there and sent him deep on a pass play that was over thrown. This guy is a playmaker, and he’s the perfect combo at corner for Will Muschamp due to his size and athletic ability. He’ll be making plays Saturday.