Mizzou "D" vs Tennessee "O- line" considered key matchup

Mizzou

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ATHENS, GA - OCTOBER 12: Markus Golden #33 of the Missouri Tigers sacks Aaron Murray #11 of the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium on October 12, 2013 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

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AP

Posted on October 31, 2013 at 9:31 AM

Updated Thursday, Oct 31 at 9:31 AM

(AP) -- A look at five things to watch as the Southeastern Conference enters Week 9 of the season:

GAME OF THE WEEK: Florida vs. Georgia: Although both teams are unranked after opening the season in the top 10, this rivalry game in Jacksonville, Fla., still is clearly the best SEC game in a relatively lackluster week. Florida (4-3, 3-2 SEC) and Georgia (4-3, 3-2) both remain alive in the Eastern Division race and received some help last week when No. 14 South Carolina rallied for a 27-24 double-overtime victory over No. 10 Missouri, which absorbed its first conference loss.

BEST MATCHUP: Tennessee offensive line vs. Missouri pass rush: Tennessee's senior-laden offensive line has given up only eight sacks all season. Missouri has produced 25 sacks through its first eight games. Missouri's Michael Sam has 10 sacks, which ties him for first place among all Football Bowl Subdivision players. Tennessee must try to keep Sam and Co. away from freshman quarterback Joshua Dobbs, who is making his first career start.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Three of Auburn's 12 top single-game performances in total offense have come this season. They had a school-record 712 yards against Western Carolina, 628 (tied for 7th) against FAU and 615 (12th) against Texas A&M. Auburn has 1,955 total yards over its last three games. The previous school record for offense in a three-game stretch is 1,726 against LSU, Ole Miss and Chattanooga in 2010. ... Mississippi State's Jameon Lewis has a rushing, receiving and passing touchdown in two games this season. It's the first time an FBS-level player has accomplished the feat twice in a season since 2008.

LONG SHOT: No. 8 Auburn will be more than a touchdown favorite when it travels to face Arkansas on Saturday, but expect the Razorbacks to be highly-motivated for this one. Auburn coach Gus Malzahn and Arkansas coach Bret Bielema have had a few verbal dustups over the past six months — most recently about a game tape exchange — and Malzahn's spread offense will be a big contrast to Bielema's power approach.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Georgia RB Todd Gurley: After missing three games with a sprained left ankle, Gurley has returned to practice and is expected to play Saturday against Florida. His return could provide a huge boost to a Georgia team that has been struggling to deal with multiple injuries on both sides of the ball this season. Gurley has rushed for 450 yards and four touchdowns on 71 carries. "He's a guy that usually if you block for zero yards, he gets about two or three," Georgia coach Mark Richt said. "If you block for three or four, he gets about seven or eight. If you block it just right, anything can happen."

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Complied by AP Sports Writers Steve Megargee in Knoxville, Tenn., and David Brandt in Jackson, Miss.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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