SEC Week 12: Players who will boom and those who will bust
Here is a look at a few players and units in the SEC with Week 12 matchups that will allow them to boom and a few that will bust.
- RB Peyton Barber – Peyton Barber needs just 100 yards to become the third Auburn running back in as many years to eclipse the 1,000-yard rushing mark. The sophomore goes up against an Idaho Vandals defense that’s susceptible against the run. Auburn and Idaho don’t exactly have many common opponents, but someone always seems to play New Mexico State, so we’ll use the Aggies as a barometer. Idaho allowed New Mexico State’s Larry Rose III to rush for the 212 yards and four touchdowns against them. Florida and Ole Miss held the Aggies’ Rose III to a combined 90 yards (64 and 26 yards, respectively). Ipso facto, Barber should have no problem reaching the 1,000-yard plateau.
- DE Derek Barnett – Derek Barnett is a late-bloomer when it comes to sacks, but the Tennessee defensive end sure makes up for lost time. Barnett has a team-high 7.0 sacks on season, with all but one of them coming in the second half of the year. It’s the same pattern as last year in which he tallied 8 of his 9 sacks in the second half of the 2014 campaign. The Volunteers face a Missouri offensive line at allows 7.5 tackles-for-loss per contest, last in the SEC. Expect a big day for Barnett as he looks to equal his sack total from last year.
- RB Derrick Henry – This might be an obvious one, but it’s hard not to like a player who’s rushed for more than 200 yards in three of his last four games going up against Charleston Southern’s defense. Henry (1,458 yards, 19 TDs) is another big day from overtaking Leonard Fournette of LSU for tops in the nation. Charleston Southern holds opponents to 101.2 rushing yards per game, but if LSU (210 yards) couldn’t prevent a Henry 200-yard game, what chance do the Buccaneers have at slowing the junior running back?
- RB Tra Carson – Texas A&M running back Tra Carson (864 yards) is zeroing in on a 1,000 yard-season, but he might find difficulty moving the ball in Week 12 against Vanderbilt, especially when it comes to putting it in the end zone. The Commodores boast the SEC’s No. 1 red zone defense and the NCAA’s No. 17 ranked defense. Carson, conversely, has only scored six touchdowns on the year. The senior has 100-yard performances in each of his last three games, but the matchup doesn’t favor a big day when Vanderbilt welcomes the Aggies to Nashville.
- Mississippi State Time of Possession – Expect to see a lot of the Arkansas offense on the field when the Razorbacks play host to Mississippi State in Week 12. Bret Bielema’s squad is firing on all cylinders these days, and the biggest, most unheralded reason, might be the team’s time of possession. Arkansas is tops in the SEC and No. 5 in the FBS, holding onto the ball for roughly 33 minutes per contest. Mississippi State? Not so much. The Bulldogs rank last in the conference in time of possession and No. 125 in the nation when it comes to keeping the ball, averaging about eight minutes less per contest than the Razorbacks. That’s not to say this won’t be a close game, rather a conflict in styles.
- Florida Gators Offensive Line – The Florida Gators might be the SEC East champs, but Jim McElwain’s squad has the dubious distinction of yielding the most sacks in the SEC — and ranks No. 108 in the nation giving up 2.80 sacks per game. The Gators keep it in state this week, playing host to Florida Atlantic. The Owls can put pressure on opposing quarterbacks, ranking No. 3 in Conference USA and No. 46 in the nation tied with quality defenses such as in Memphis and Vanderbilt with 2.3 sacks per contest and 23 as a team on the season.