By PETE IACOBELLI
Here are things to watch in Week 7 in the Southeastern Conference:
GAME OF THE WEEK
No. 8 Florida at No. 5 Georgia. This will go a long way to deciding the SEC Eastern Division when these teams play Saturday. The Gators (3-1) went three weeks between games with a bye week after a postponement due to a team COVID-19 outbreak that included head coach Dan Mullen testing positive. Florida returned to action last week and looked as crisp as ever in a 41-17 victory over Missouri. Gators quarterback Kyle Trask has thrown four or more TD passes in each of his three games this season. Georgia (4-1) bounced back from its loss to Alabama with a 14-3 win over Kentucky. The Bulldogs are playing championship-style defense, limiting opponents to 300 yards of offense a game — while Florida is averaging over 430 yards so far. But Georgia is dealing with injuries on defense, most notably to cornerback Richard LeCounte who was in motorcycle accident and won’t play against the Gators. LeCounte was moved out of intensive care Monday. Georgia coach Kirby Smart said defensive lineman Julian Rochester won’t play because of a knee injury.
MATCHUP OF THE WEEK
Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond against South Carolina’s secondary. This will be Mond’s fourth start against the Gamecocks (2-3) and he’s thriving in coach Jimbo Fisher’s attack, steadily moving up career lists for the Aggies (4-1). Mond has already set career marks for passing yards and completions. He’s within four touchdowns of holding that record, too. It won’t be easy with the way South Carolina’s secondary has played. The group has allowed just nine passing touchdowns this season and they bedeviled Auburn quarterback Bo Nix with three interceptions in a 30-22 victory in South Carolina’s last home game three weeks ago.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
There are only four SEC games this week with six teams, including No. 2 Alabama, having the week off. All league teams are scheduled for action next week. … Half the teams in the top eight are from the SEC with Alabama, No. 5 Georgia, No. 7 Texas A&M and No. 8 Florida. … Mississippi State’s Air Raid offense under first-year coach Mike Leach is averaging just 30 yards rushing a game. The Bulldogs, who play Vanderbilt on Saturday, have one rushing TD. … South Carolina looks to break another streak and check off the final box in its SEC resume. The Gamecocks beat Auburn 30-22 three weeks ago for the first time since joining the league. They are 0-6 all time against the Aggies, dating to when Texas A&M entered the SEC.
Arkansas (2-3) has exceeded expectations in coach Sam Pittman’s first year with victories over Mississippi State and Ole Miss. The Razorbacks could have a winning record if not for a questionable call against Auburn that led to the Tigers’ game-winning field goal at the end. Now, Arkansas could keep momentum strong against the Vols (2-3), who have lost their past three games after starting 2-0. Arkansas is averaging 369 yards and 24 points a game. The Vols have surrendered more than 33 points per contest this year.
Florida quarterback Kyle Trask continues fashioning a special season and he’ll get the chance for his biggest splash this season against Georgia. Trask is second in SEC passing efficiency with 14 touchdowns and just one interception in three games. He’s completed nearly 72 percent of his throws for 996 yards. He was also was the object of a Florida-Arkansas brawl right before halftime as he took a what looked like a late hit from a Razorbacks defender. Three players were ejected and Florida coach Dan Mullen was fined $25,000 by the SEC for his part in enflaming instead of diffusing the situation.