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Big Ten & SEC Week 3 Preview: Tigers clash in Auburn, Ohio State meets TCU

In the third week of the college football season, members of the Florida Citrus Sports Team Selection Committee are making visits throughout Big Ten and SEC country, meeting with fans across both conferences in advance of the Citrus Bowl on New Year’s Day.

Here’s a look at some of the most highly-anticipated games on the schedule this week:

No. 12 LSU (2-0, 0-0 SEC) at No. 7 Auburn (2-0, 0-0 SEC) – 7 p.m. on ESPN

In an early clash of SEC West heavyweights, LSU will travel to Auburn as both teams open conference play with a Tigers vs. Tigers showdown. The matchup will be the second statement game of the season for both teams, each of whom opened the season with wins against Top 10 teams (LSU defeated No. 8 Miami 33-17, and Auburn beat No. 6 Washington 21-16).

Overall, Auburn has averaged 42 points per game to start the season, while quarterback Jarrett Stidham has completed 68.1 percent of his passing attempts. Against Washington, Stidham recorded the highest completion percentage in an Auburn season opener, going 26-for-36 (.722) for 273 yards. Auburn’s defense is ranked third nationally in total sacks, averaging 4.50 per game this season, and ranks 16th nationally in tackles for loss per game (9.0).

LSU is opening conference play against Auburn for the 11th time in program history. LSU is 5-5 against Auburn in SEC openers. LSU’s defense enters the game having allowed just 17 points in its first two games while forcing five turnovers. The LSU defense also ranks third in the SEC in rushing defense, allowing only 74.0 yards per game. The Tigers are giving up an SEC-best 1.9 yards per rush.

On the other side of the ball, Nick Brossette has rushed for over 100 yards in each of LSU’s games and ranks 14th in the country with 262 yards on the season. LSU leads the series between the two programs 29-22-1, but Auburn came away with an 18-13 win in the last meeting at Jordan-Hare Stadium, in 2016. In 19 all-time match-ups at home, Auburn holds a 12-7 edge.

No. 4 Ohio State (2-0, 1-0 Big Ten) at No. 15 TCU (2-0, 0-0 Big 12) – 8 p.m. on ABC

A pair of top-15 teams will clash in Arlington as Ohio State and TCU square off inside AT&T Stadium. Both the Horned Frogs and the Buckeyes will be facing their stiffest competition of the season, as TCU has beaten Southern and SMU 55-7 and 42-12, respectively, while Ohio State topped Oregon State 77-31 in Week 1, then beat Rutgers 52-3.

The Buckeyes have looked impressive on both sides of the ball this season. The offensive unit, led by quarterback Dwayne Haskins, ranks second nationally at 650.0 yards per game and 64.5 points per game. On the other side of the ball, Nick Bosa and the OSU defense held Rutgers to 134 total yards last week and ranks 17th in the nation in total defense this season.

TCU has also been potent on offense, averaging 48.5 points per game, however, the Horned Frogs’ defense has been the standout unit and ranks fourth among FBS programs in passing efficiency defense (70.36), sixth in total defense (213.5 yards per game) and eighth in passing yards allowed per game (106.0). Through two games, the Horned Frogs have only allowed their opponents to reach the red zone once.

The Horned Frogs are 2-2 at AT&T Stadium all-time and are looking to start the season 3-0 for the 10th time in 18 years under coach Gary Patterson. Ohio State is 2-0 at AT&T Stadium with a win over USC in the 2017 Cotton Bowl and a win over Oregon in the 2015 CFP championship game. TCU and Ohio State are meeting for the seventh time in their history and first time since 1973.The Buckeyes hold the series edge 4-1-1 with all six previous matchups taking place in Columbus.

BYU (1-1) at No. 6 Wisconsin (2-0, 0-0 Big Ten) – 3:30 p.m. on CBS 

BYU and Wisconsin will face off for the fourth time when the Cougars pay a visit to Camp Randall Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Wisconsin leads the series 2-1, including a 40-6 win in Provo last season and a 27-17 home victory in 2013.

Wisconsin is coming off of convincing non-conference wins over Western Kentucky (34-3) and New Mexico (45-14) and has relied heavily on running back and Heisman Trophy candidate Jonathan Taylor, who leads the nation in rushing with 199 yards per game. Last week, Taylor racked up a career-high 253 yards and three touchdowns.

The Badgers currently own a 41-game win streak in non-conference home games — the fifth-longest streak by any FBS team in the modern era. The Badgers have also won 20 consecutive regular season games dating back to October 22, 2016. (Their only loss last year came against Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship.)

BYU, meanwhile, is coming off of back-to-back nailbiters against Pac 12 competition. The Cougars topped Arizona 28-23 in Tucson in Week 1 before falling to Cal 21-18 at home. In order to bounce back against the sixth-ranked Badgers, BYU will need a strong performance out of running back Squally Canada, who rushed for three touchdowns against Arizona, and will look for another strong performance out of the defense, which forced three turnovers against Cal.

A win over the Badgers would give BYU its first win over a ranked team since a 35-24 win over No. 20 Boise State in Provo on Sept. 12, 2015. Both head coaches in Saturday’s matchup are coaching at their alma mater. Paul Chryst played quarterback for the Badgers from 1986-88, while Kalani Sitake was a fullback at BYU in 1994 and from 1997-2000.

Vanderbilt (2-0, 0-0 SEC) at No. 8 Notre Dame (2-0) – 2:30 p.m. on NBC

In a matchup of undefeated teams, Vanderbilt travels to South Bend to face the eighth-ranked Fighting Irish. Saturday’s game marks the third meeting all-time between the Commodores and the Irish, and Notre Dame is 2-0 in the previous two.

Vanderbilt enters the game having won 10 of its last 12 games against non-SEC teams. The streak includes seven straight victories against non-conference opponents. The Commodores opened the 2018 season with home victories over Middle Tennessee (35-7) and Nevada (41-10), and senior quarterback, Kyle Shurmur has been solid leading a Commodores offense that is averaging 38 points more than 400 yards per game.

Shurmur currently sits second all-time in program history with 44 career touchdown passes; he trails only Jay Cutler, who threw 59 touchdown passes for the ‘Dores between 2002-05.

Notre Dame comes into Saturday’s game a winner of two close matchups, as the Irish topped Michigan 24-17 in Week 1 and beat Ball State 24-16 last week. Wide Receiver Miles Boykin, the MVP of the 2018 Citrus Bowl, hauled in a career-high six receptions for 119 yards that led all players in the victory over Ball State. On the season, Boykin ranks 39th nationally in yards per reception at 21.00.

Additionally, the Irish are one of only four teams in the Top 10 of both national polls to have faced and defeated a top-25 foe so far this season (along with Auburn, Stanford, and Georgia).

Other Big Ten and SEC games being played this week:

Murray State (0-2, 0-0 OVC) at Kentucky (2-0, 1-0 SEC) – 12 p.m. on SEC
UTEP (0-2, 0-0 C-USA) at Tennessee (1-1, 0-0 SEC) – 12 p.m. on SEC
Kent State (1-1, 0-0 MAC) at No. 11 Penn State (2-0, 0-0 Big Ten) – 12 p.m. on FS1
Rutgers (1-1, 0-1 Big Ten) at Kansas (1-1, 0-0 Big12) – 12 p.m.
Ball State (1-1, 0-0 MAC) at Indiana (2-0, 0-0 Big Ten) – 12 p.m. on BTN
Temple (0-2, 0-0 AAC) at Maryland (2-0, 0-0 Big Ten) – 12 p.m. on BTN
Troy (1-1, 0-0 Sun Belt) at Nebraska (0-1, 0-0 Big Ten) – 12 p.m. on BTN
SMU (0-2, 0-0 AAC) at No. 19 Michigan (1-1, 0-0 Big Ten) – 3:30 p.m. on BTN
Miami (OH) (0-2, 0-0 MAC) at Minnesota (2-0, 0-0 Big Ten) – 3:30 p.m. on BTN
USF (2-0, 0-0 AAC) vs Illinois (2-0, 0-0 Big Ten) – 3:30 p.m. on BTN
Colorado State (1-2, 0-1 Mountain West) at Florida (1-1, 0-1 SEC) – 4 p.m. on SEC
North Texas (1-0, 0-0 Mountain West) at Arkansas (1-1, 0-0 SEC) – 4 p.m. on SEC
No. 1 Alabama (2-0, 0-0 SEC) at Ole Miss (2-0, 0-0 SEC) – 7 p.m. on ESPN
Middle Tennessee (1-1, 0-0 C-USA) at No. 3 Georgia (2-0, 1-0 SEC) – 7:15 p.m. on ESPN2
Louisiana (1-0, 0-0 Sun Belt) at No. 16 Mississippi State (2-0, 0-0 SEC) – 7:30 p.m. on SEC
UL Monroe (2-0, 0-0 Sun Belt) at Texas A&M (1-1, 0-0 SEC) – 7:30 p.m. on SEC
Missouri (2-0, 0-0 SEC) at Purdue (0-2, 0-1 Big Ten) – 7:30 p.m. on BTN
Marshall (2-0, 0-0 C-USA) at South Carolina (1-1, 0-1 SEC) – 7:30 p.m. on ESPNU
Northern Iowa (0-1, 0-0 MVC) at Iowa (2-0, 0-0 Big Ten) – 7:30 p.m. on BTN
Akron (1-0, 0-0 MAC) at Northwestern (1-1, 1-0 Big Ten) – 7:30 p.m. on BTN

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