BATON ROUGE, La. — SEC play begins with a West faceoff between No. 14 LSU and Mississippi State headlining three contests. The defending West Division champions rebounded from their opening-game loss to Florida State with a 72-10 rout of FCS Grambling 72-10 in the first meeting against the historically Black college. MSU topped Pac-12 Arizona 31-24 in overtime in a Power 5 matchup that improved first-year coach Zach Arnett to 3-0. Other league showdowns feature East squads as South Carolina visits top-ranked and two-time defending national champion Georgia, while No. 11 Tennessee visits rival Florida.
Things to watch in Week 3 of the Southeastern Conference:
GAME OF THE WEEK
No. 14 LSU (1-1) visits Mississippi State (2-0) as SEC play begins with three games. The defending West Division champions bounced back from their opening-game loss to Florida State by blowing out FCS team Grambling 72-10. The Bulldogs topped Arizona 31-24 in overtime. MSU has aspirations of challenging in the West after going 9-4 last season. The Tigers lead the series 77-36-3 and won last year's matchup 31-16 in Baton Rouge.
No. 11 Tennessee (2-0) at Florida (1-1). This September matchup in The Swamp features two teams with differing fortunes and expectations. The Volunteers are projected to finish second in the East Division and perhaps challenge top-ranked Georgia. They broke a five-game series losing streak to the Gators last season and seek their first win in Gainesville since 2003. Florida aims to end a four-game slide that includes the Vols and earn a critical East victory.
Tennessee brings in the nation's No. 26 offense (477.5 yards per game) against a Florida defense that leads the SEC (191 yards allowed). The Vols' defense ranks 29th (270) and faces Florida's 40th-ranked offense (453.0).
South Carolina (1-1) faces a steep climb between the hedges at No. 1 Georgia, and not just because the Gamecocks enter the nationally televised game on CBS as a 26 1/2-point underdog, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. The Bulldogs (2-0) lead the series 54-19-2 and have won seven of the past eight matchups by an average margin of nearly 26 points. That includes last year's 48-7 rout at South Carolina that was a shutout until a Gamecocks touchdown with 53 seconds left.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
LSU scored TDs on its first 10 possessions against Grambling. ... LSU QB Jayden Daniels (354.0 yards), South Carolina QB Spencer Rattler (342.0) and Mississippi QB Jaxson Dart (339.0) rank eighth, 10th and 11th respectively in FBS total offense. ... Kentucky quarterback Devin Leary threw touchdown passes on four consecutive possessions to rally the Wildcats twice against Eastern Kentucky 28-17. Two went to Tayvion Robinson, who finished with six receptions for 136 yards. .... Mississippi State linebacker Jett Johnson had a career-best two interceptions against Arizona, while his 11 tackles marked his eighth career effort with 10-plus stops. ... Georgia intercepted three passes while steamrolling Ball State, 45-3.
Mississippi State running back Jo'Quavious Marks leads SEC rushers with 250 yards and three touchdowns through two games after his first 100-yard efforts against Southeastern Louisiana and Arizona. But he has made his mark catching passes out of the backfield, and his next reception will give him 200 and break the school record he currently shares with Fred Ross. That would also place him 12th all-time in the SEC.
Marks has a reception in all 38 games played — fourth most among active FBS players — and is the only running back with a reception in 25 consecutive games. He has 1,149 yards receiving out of the backfield.