6 players to watch Saturday
The SEC’s week four schedule brings just two conference games in Auburn-LSU and Florida-Tennessee. Of course every player is worth watching, but let’s point out seven who will be interesting to watch for several reasons.
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Alex Collins, RB, Arkansas: What’s not to like about the SEC’s leading rusher? Collins has rushed for 418 yards and two TDs, and he’s 2013’s version of Todd Gurley/TJ Yeldon. His explosiveness combined with his vision creates the total package for Bret Bielema. With QB Brandon Allen likely out, the Hogs are going to pound the rock 75 percent of the time or more, and Collins will get his 20-plus carries, along with Jonathan Williams. Rutgers is 5th in the country in run defense, allowing just 59.33 yards per game.
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Dominique Easley, DT, Florida: He’s arguably been the best defensive player through three weeks. The dancing machine, Easley is quicker off the ball and created havoc in Toledo and Miami’s backfields. Now, he faces his toughest test yet against Tennessee’s mammoth offensive line. Tackles aren’t known for getting after the quarterbacks, but Easley has recorded two tackles for loss and three QB hurries. He’ll be key against the Vols.
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AJ Johnson, LB, Tennessee: Where has he been? Largely considered a first-team All-SEC performer, Johnson has looked slower this season than last. He leads the Vols in tackles with 17, but he’s largely had a minimal impact thus far. Johnson will be key in stopping Florida’s running game.
Nick Marshall, QB, Auburn: All eyes are on Auburn’s Nick Marshall. He’s made tremendous strides from week one to three, including the game-winning TD with 10 seconds left last week. Things get real this week against LSU, and he may have to play a near-perfect game for the Tigers to escape Death Valley with a win. He’s thrown four TDs and two INTs in three games.
Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU: Could this be Mettenberger’s coming out party? Many see the transition he has made under Cam Cameron, but it’s a cautiously optimistic approach against a worthy conference foe. Auburn is the perfect game for Mettenberger to show his evolution as a QB. The Tigers’ SEC-worst secondary will be tested by Mett Saturday night.
Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia: After a week off, Murray gets back on the field. It’s not so much who they’re playing, but Murray is sitting on 99 career TD passes. Florida’s Danny Wuerffel still holds the career record with 114, and Murray will become only the second SEC QB to throw for 100 career TDs. What an amazing feat and accomplishment for the record-breaking senior.
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