Five SEC games to pay attention to this season

Thursday, August 21, 2014 | 6:00 a.m. CDT; updated 6:49 a.m. CDT, Thursday, August 21, 2014

Five SEC Games to pay attention to this season

1. At South Carolina — Even after losing defensive end Jadeveon Clowney to the NFL, South Carolina’s defense is still expected to test the Tigers’ offense in Missouri's first SEC game of the season.

Gamecocks running back Mike Davis will pose problems to a Missouri defense that allowed 153 yards per game on the ground last season. The Gamecocks handed the Tigers their first loss of last season with a 27-24win in double-overtime.

Place kicker Andrew Baggett missed two field goals, including a 24-yarder that would have sent the game to a third extra period.

2. Against Georgia — Senior quarterback Hutson Mason has big shoes to fill this year after the graduation of four-year starter Aaron Murray. Mason can rely on running back Todd Gurley and a defense that returns all but one starter to help shoulder the load.

Missouri squashed any doubts that they weren’t legitimate in their 2013 showdown with Georgia, beating the Bulldogs 41-26 in Athens, Ga.

3. At Florida — In what could be a make or break season for head coach Will Muschamp, the Gators will look to its defense to carry it. Florida allowed 21.1 points per game in 2013,third in the SEC. 

The Gators also return ten starters along with several highly ranked incoming freshmen. The Tigers dismantled Florida in 2013, holding the Gators to just 151 total yards in a 36-17 drubbing. Missouri will look to repeat its success amidst the sea of chompers in Gainesville.

4. At Texas A&M — The Aggies not only lost Johnny Manziel to the NFL, but also top-ten NFL draft picks Jake Matthews and Mike Evans. Texas A&M doesn’t know yet whether true freshman Kyle Allen or sophomore Kenny Hill will start at quarterback to replace Manziel.

Repeating the drama of the 2013 match-up between Missouri and Texas A&M will be tough, in which Henry Josey’s 57-yard touchdown run sent the Tigers to its first SEC Championship Game and sparked Missouri fans to storm the field.

5. At Tennessee — The Volunteers didn’t qualify for a bowl game in their first year under head coach Butch Jones. Tennessee’s offense ranked 11 in the SEC in scoring offense, and after losing its entire offensive line to graduation and failing to find a great option at quarterback, it could be another tough year in Knoxville. Maty Mauk picked the Vols apart in their 2013 match-up, throwing for three touchdowns and running for 114 yards in a 31-3 blowout.

2014 Football Schedule

1. South Dakota State in Columbia
When: 2:30 p.m. Aug. 30 CDT
2013 result: DNP

2. Toledo in Toledo, Ohio

When: 11 a.m. Sept. 6 CDT
2013 result: W, 38-23

3. Central Florida in Columbia
When: 11 a.m. Sept. 13  CDT
2013 result: DNP

4. Indiana in Columbia
When: Sept. 20, TBA
2013 result: W, 45-28

5. South Carolina in Columbia, S.C.
When: Sept. 27, TBA
2013 result: L, 27-24 (2OT)

6. Georgia in Columbia
When: Oct. 11, TBA
2013 result: W, 41-26

7. Florida in Gainesville, Fla.
When: Oct. 18, TBA
2013 result: W, 36-17

8. Vanderbilt in Columbia
When: Oct. 25, TBA
2013 result: W, 51-28

9. Kentucky in Columbia
When: Nov. 1, TBA
2013 result: W, 48-17

10. Texas A&M in College Station, Texas
When: Nov. 15, TBA
2013 result: W, 28-21

11. Tennessee in Knoxville, Tenn.
When: Nov. 22, TBA
2013 result: W, 31-3

12. Arkansas in Columbia
When: 1:30 p.m. Nov. 28, 1:30 p.m. CST
2013 result: DNP

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