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Southeastern Conference Digest: November 9, 2016 (via Crimson Magazine)

THIS WEEK'S SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE FOOTBALL SCHEDULE:

Mississippi State (4-5, 2-3 SEC) at Alabama (9-0, 6-0 SEC), Series: UA leads, 78-18-3, 11 a.m. CT • ESPN, Last: UA, 31-6 (2015 at Starkville), Tuscaloosa, Ala. • Bryant-Denny Stadium (101,821)

South Carolina (5-4, 3-4 SEC) at Florida (6-2, 4-2 SEC), Series: UF leads, 25-8-3, 11 a.m. CT • CBS, Last: UF, 25-8-3 (2015 at Columbia), Gainesville, Fla. • Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at Steve Spurrier-Florida Field (88,548)

Kentucky (5-4, 4-3 SEC) at Tennessee (6-3, 2-3 SEC), Series: UT leads, 78-24-9, 11 a.m. CT • SEC Network, Last: UT, 52-21 (2015 at Lexington), Knoxville, Tenn. • Neyland Stadium (102,455)

Vanderbilt (4-5, 1-4 SEC) at Missouri (2-7, 0-5 SEC), Series: VU leads, 4-3-1, 2:30 p.m. CT • SEC Network,  Last: VU, 10-3 (2015 at Nashville),  Columbia, Mo. • Faurot Field / Memorial Stadium (71,168)    

Auburn (7-2, 5-1 SEC) at Georgia (5-4, 3-4), Series: UGA leads, 56-55-8, 2:30 p.m. CT • CBS, Last: UGA, 20-13 (2015 at Auburn), Athens, Ga. • Sanford Stadium (92,746)

LSU (5-3, 3-2 SEC) at Arkansas (6-3, 2-3 SEC), Series: LSU leads, 37-22-2, 6 p.m. CT • ESPN, Last: ARK, 31-14 (2015 at Baton Rouge), Fayetteville, Ark. • Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium (72,000)    

Ole Miss (4-5, 1-4 SEC) at Texas A&M (7-2, 4-2 SEC), Series: TAMU leads, 6-2, 6:30 p.m. CT • SEC Network,  Last: UM, 23-3 (2015 at Oxford),  College Station, Texas • Kyle Field (102,512)

SEC FOOTBALL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK:

OFFENSE:
Nick Fitzgerald, QB, Mississippi State:
• Fitzgerald guided MSU to its first victory over a Top-5 ranked team since 2014, accounting for four touchdowns and 391 yards of total offense as the Bulldogs defeated No. 4 Texas


A&M, 35-28.
• Fitzgerald became just the third SEC quarterback in the last 20 years to pass for over 200 yards and rush for over 175 yards in a game, joining Cam Newton and Johnny Manziel.
• Fitzgerald was 18-of-31 for 209 yards and two scores through the air. He went over the 100-yard rushing mark for the third straight game, carrying it 20 times for 182 yards and
two touchdowns.

Rawleigh Williams III, RB, Arkansas:
• Arkansas improved to 5-0 this season when Williams rushes for over 100 yards.
• Williams’ 148 yards rushing were the most by a single player against Florida this season while his 41-yard touchdown run was the longest TD run against the Gators.
• Marked the seventh time this season he’s rushed for 75+ yards in a game

DEFENSE:
Ryan Anderson, LB, Alabama:
• Recorded six total tackles as the Crimson Tide thwarted the LSU offense, surrendering just 125 total yards, including just 25 yards in the second half and only 33 yards rushing.
• He notched two half sacks for a loss of four yards and batted down one pass.
• Was credited with one quarterback hurry in the game while finishing with four total pressures from the Alabama coaching staff.
• His one tackle for loss increased his team-leading total to 12.5 on the season (-65 yards)
• Helped the defense hold LSU to just 1.2 yards per carry on the ground, 3.8 yards per attempt and forced a 3-and-out on nine of the Tigers 12 possessions.

SPECIAL TEAMS:
JK Scott, P, Alabama:
• The junior punter averaged 51.6 yards per kick on his five punts (258 yards) and constantly flipped the field position for the Crimson Tide in a 10-0 win at No. 13 LSU.
• He booted a long of 66 yards with four of his five punts going for 50 yards or more.
• Netted 44.4 yards on his five kicks with two punts pinned inside the Tigers’ 15-yard line, including 54-yard punt in the third quarter that was fielded and dropped at the LSU 3-yard
line.

Rodrigo Blankenship, PK, Georgia:
• Set career-highs by going 4-for-4 on field goals (25, 42, career long 49, 25) and tallying 13 total points, including a game-winner from 25 yards out as time expired to top Kentucky 27-24 in Lexington.
• He is now 9-for-10 on the year and has connected on his last eight in a row.
• Blankenship became the first Bulldog to hit a game-winning
field goal since Marshall Morgan against Missouri last year in a 9-6 victory in Athens and the last Bulldog to do it to end the game since Blair Walsh hit a 37 yarder against Arizona State
in 2009.

OFFENSIVE LINEMAN:
Martinas Rankin, OT, Mississippi State:
• Rankin  had  one  of  the  most  dominant  games  by  an  MSU offensive lineman this season, grading out a champion against one of the elite defensive lines in the nation as MSU defeated
No. 4 Texas A&M.
• He recorded three knockdowns and MSU gave up zero sacks as a  team.  It  was  the  first  time  this  season  that  A&M  did  not record a sack and first since Nov. 7, 2015 vs. Auburn.
• He paved the way as the Bulldogs racked up a season-best 365 yards  rushing,  their  highest  rushing  total  since  recording  409 vs. Houston on Oct. 9, 2010.
• It was the highest rushing total against an SEC team by MSU since tallying 390 vs. Kentucky on Oct. 29, 1994

DEFENSIVE LINEMAN:
Lewis Neal, DE, LSU
• Registered a career-high 11 tackles, including a tackle for a 1-yard loss and 2 QB hurries, in 10-0 loss to top-ranked Alabama.
• The Tigers held Alabama to season lows for points (10), total yards (323), and passing yards (106) in the loss.
• LSU became first team to hold Alabama scoreless in the first half since 2007 (vs. Florida State).
• LSU and Alabama also became the first FBS game this year to enter fourth quarter scoreless ... The 10 points were also the fewest for Alabama since a 9-6 overtime loss to LSU in 2011 and it was the fewest points by the Crimson Tide in a win under Nick Saban (since 2007).
• In 8 games, LSU's defense has allowed just 9 touchdowns.

FRESHMAN:
Jake Bentley, QB, South Carolina:
• The true freshman, making his third career start, had his best game thus far, leading the Gamecocks to a 31-21 win over Missouri.
• Bentley completed 22-of-28 passes for 254 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.
• In three games, Bentley has completed 73 percent of his passes for 622 yards with six touchdowns and no interceptions, helping Carolina to three-straight wins

SEC BASKETBALL NOTES:

• Kentucky was the favorite to win the 2017 SEC championship in a preseason poll of media from around the league and nation. Florida was picked to finish second and was followed
by Texas A&M, Georgia and Arkansas. Arkansas forward Moses Kingsley was the preseason pick for SEC Player of the Year.
• Kentucky is ranked No. 2 in the Associated Press preseason poll and No. 4 by USA Today. Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi State, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt are listed among the
teams receiving votes in one of the polls.
•  One new coach is making his SEC debut this year: Vanderbilt’s Bryce Drew.
•  Kentucky (1), Mississippi State (4), Texas A&M (18) and Auburn (19) have recruiting classes ranked in the Top 25 of ESPN.com’s 2016 na-
tional rankings.
• Six players ranked in the Top 25 of ESPN.com’s Class of 2016 rankings signed with SEC schools, including three of the top 10 players in the class.
• Seventeen of  ESPN.com’s Top 100 players signed with SEC schools in the class of 2016.
• Seven of the top 25 scorers from 2016 are slated to return as well as 10 of the top 20 rebounders and three of the top 10 playmakers.
•  Sixty-two players from SEC schools were listed on opening-day NBA rosters for 2016-17. Kentucky led all schools in the nation with 24 play-
ers. Florida was second among SEC teams with 10 players, LSU had eight, Tennessee five and Vanderbilt four. Arkansas and Texas A&M each have three while Alabama and Missouri both
have two players and Georgia has one.
• SEC teams now include a new uniform patch which recognizes student-athletes who have earned their undergraduate college degree. For SEC student-athletes who have already earned
their degree, but have not exhausted their eligibility, the SEC logo patch on their uniforms is being replaced with a special patch with the word “Graduate” underneath the conference logo.
• 72 men’s basketball students were named to the 2016 SEC Academic Honor Rolls (Winter and First Year) for having a grade point average of 3.00 or above for either the preceding academic year or a cumulative grade point average of 3.00 or above. Over the last two seasons, 186 men’s basketball students have been listed on the SEC Academic Honor Rolls.

PRESEASON WATCH LISTS:

•  Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award Watch List – De’Aaron Fox, Kentucky
•  Jerry West Award Shooting Guard of they Year Watch List – Dusty Hannahs, Arkansas; Malik Monk, Kentucky; Antonio Blakeney, LSU
•  Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award Watch List – Yante Maten, Georgia
•  Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award Watch List – Moses Kingsley, Arkansas; Bam Adebayo, Kentucky; Tyler Davis, Texas A&M; Luke Kornet, Vanderbilt
• The Lute Olson Award – Isaiah Briscoe, Kentucky; Tyler Davis, Texas A&M; J.J. Frazier, Georgia; Moses Kingsley, Arkansas; Yante Maten, Georgia

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