What to watch in the SEC West Saturday

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The SEC West has a snoozer of a weekend as far as big-time matchups, as the silence is deafening building up to next week’s game between Alabama and Texas A&M.

But it’s still SEC football, and it’s still a great opportunity for your team to come away with another win…or your first win.

Here’s what to watch for:

Alcorn State at Mississippi State

Player to watch: QB Dak Prescott
Buzz: With Tyler Russell out, Dan Prescott is in. Will we see a more conventional spread offense with Prescott running the ball similar to what we saw with Chris Relf? Alcorn State doesn’t have Steve McNair, and they won’t put up much of a fight. Still, State fans want to walk away satisfied, and nothing other than an offensive explosion from Dan Mullen’s offense will do it, especially after a poor showing last week against Oklahoma State.

Related: What’s wrong with Mullen’s offense?

Samford at Arkansas

Player to watch: RB Jonathan Williams
Buzz: Samford won’t exactly come in and roll over for Arkansas, so the Hogs will have to be on their game. The Bulldogs will also show a base-run offense, presenting a good challenge for the front seven and inexperienced linebacking corps to get better. Running backs Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins are must-see TV. Both run with a purpose and finish runs with physicality. You can already see the ideology and the offensive mindset of Bret Bielema taking shape.

Related: Williams, Collins perfect for Hogs’ smash-mouth style

UAB at #9 LSU

Player to watch: WR Odell Beckham
Buzz: UAB will get run out of Death Valley, but it will be a nice little tune up before playing – cough – Kent State next weekend. But we’re starting to see Odell Beckham evolve as an impact player. He’s been a great athlete up to this point, but the revamped passing game will allow Beckham to blow into the player everyone thought.

SE Missouri State at Ole Miss

Player to watch: DE Robert Nkemdiche
Buzz: Last week WR Laquon Treadwell and DB Tony Connor stole the freshman spotlight. This week it’s Nkemdiche’s turn against an FCS opponent. It’s hard for a freshman to have a major impact in the trenches, but this could be his breakout week. Treadwell should have another big game, as should RB Jeff Scott. I was impressed with Bo Wallace’s decision making last week against Vanderbilt, and his evolution into a game manager is essential for the Rebels.

Sam Houston State at #7 Texas A&M

Player to watch: QB Johnny Manziel
Buzz: I don’t want to bore you with Johnny talk, but he’s going to go off this week against Sam Houston State. The Bearkats are going to score some points, but Manziel will get his first chance to start this season. I love the playmakers around him, and the rapport and confidence he creates with Mike Evans, Ricky Seals-Jones and Malcome Kennedy will be essential heading into next week.

Arkansas State at Auburn

Player to watch: RB Corey Grant
Buzz: For all the talk surrounding QB Nick Marshall and the passing game struggles, Auburn has a legit running game. The trio of Corey Grant, Tre Mason and Cameron Artis-Payne combined for 271 yards and two touchdowns against Washington State. Auburn and Arkansas State are very similar, as their strength lies on the ground attack. But Auburn is much better, headlined by the breakout candidate Grant, who rushed for 146 yards on nine carries. If Auburn’s passing game takes flight, there is no reason they shouldn’t win eight games or more.

Photo Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

COMMENTS

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  • I’m glad to see that Corey Grant has found early success at Auburn. Alabama had high hopes for Grant, who Saban had stolen from Auburn’s own backyard. But Grant came into the program having to battle with a stable of RBs that included Ingram, Richardson, Lacy, and Fowler. Best of luck to him throughout the season. His speed definitely compliments Malzahn’s offensive philosophy.