Jones continues to be a force for Georgia - Tucson News Now

Jones continues to be a force for Georgia

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Georgia's Jarvis Jones (29) recovers a fumble against Florida. (Source: Georgia Athletics) Georgia's Jarvis Jones (29) recovers a fumble against Florida. (Source: Georgia Athletics)
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(RNN) - Here's a weekly look at five of the SEC's top performers in Week 9 and who to watch in Week 10.

Week 9 recap:

1. Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia

Jones recorded 13 tackles and three sacks, but his most important contribution to Georgia's 17-9 win over Florida was forcing and recovering two fumbles. Jones forced the Gators' sixth and final turnover late in the fourth quarter when Jordan Reed caught a pass in the red zone and made his way toward the goal line.

Reed jumped to avoid defenders at about the 5-yard line and Jones grabbed Reed from behind, knocking the ball loose with his right hand. The ball was recovered in the end zone by Georgia (7-1, 5-1) for a touchback to seal the win.

It isn't Jones' first game-clinching forced fumble. He had another against Missouri earlier in the season. Jones missed a game earlier in the season, but he still leads the nation in tackles for loss and forced fumbles and is second in sacks per game.

2. Tyler Bray, QB, Tennessee

Bray has been the SEC's most prolific passer this season with 2,282 yards and 20 touchdowns – both first in the SEC – and 368 of those yards and four of those touchdowns came in a 38-35 loss to South Carolina last week.

The Vols' running game has been inconsistent all season and Bray has had to carry the load. Tennessee (3-5, 0-5) is yet to win a conference game and yet to beat a ranked team. There are no more ranked teams left on Tennessee's schedule, but the Vols must face Missouri, Vanderbilt and Kentucky and will have to beat at least two to be bowl eligible.

Vanderbilt is third in the SEC and fifth in the nation against the pass, and Bray has thrown the conference's most interceptions, so getting there won't be easy.

3. Connor Shaw, QB, South Carolina

With Marcus Lattimore sidelined for the rest of the season and maybe longer, more responsibility will be heaped on Shaw's shoulders. He answered the call, throwing for 356 yards and three touchdowns against Tennessee last week and was at one time the SEC's most efficient passer.

He has dropped to third, but still completes more than two-thirds of his passes and is third in the SEC in completion percentage, behind Alabama's AJ McCarron and Ole Miss' Bo Wallace.

The best passing defense remaining on South Carolina's schedule is Clemson, which is 68th in the country. The only other FBS school remaining on the Gamecocks' slate is Arkansas, whose pass defense ranks 116th out of 120.

4. Dennis Johnson, RB, Arkansas

If you haven't heard of Johnson, that's OK. He's far from a household name, and being the top running back on a team that ranks 13th in the conference in rushing isn't something that is likely to get you noticed.

But despite not beginning the season as the starter, Johnson has turned in Arkansas' three best individual rushing performances the last three weeks, rushing for 76, 82 and 161 yards, respectively. He also has six touchdowns, which is more than anyone else has for the Razorbacks (3-5, 2-3), besides quarterback Tyler Wilson.

If Arkansas wants to gain some respectability, Johnson will have to be active against South Carolina (7-2, 5-2), Mississippi State and LSU to close the year, because relying on the passing game won't be enough against those teams.

5. Trey Williams, RB, Texas A&M

Somebody other than Johnny Manziel had a good game for the Aggies? Believe it or not, it's true. Albeit against Auburn's SEC-worst rushing defense, Williams ran for 109 yards and a touchdown and became the third player to have a 100-yard game for the SEC's best rushing offense.

Manziel still had the best game for the Aggies (6-2, 3-2), throwing for 260 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for 90 yards and three touchdowns, but Williams picked up more than half of his total yards on the season in one game.

Who to watch in Week 10

1. AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama

The biggest difference in the two games Alabama played against LSU last year was the play of McCarron. In the 9-6 regular season overtime loss, McCarron was 16-of-28 for 199 yards with an interception. In the 21-0 BCS championship game win, he was 23-of-34 passing for 234 yards and was named the game's offensive MVP.

Now, as the nation's leader in passing efficiency and one of only two starting quarterbacks in the country not to have thrown an interception this year, McCarron's production will be the deciding factor again. He's been dealing with some minor injuries the last couple of weeks, but hasn't appeared to be limited.

McCarron averages 210 yards passing per game – nearly 40 more yards a game than LSU's Zach Mettenberger – and is second in the SEC in passing touchdowns with 18. LSU's defense, which is second in the SEC and fourth in the nation against the pass, will be the toughest test the Crimson Tide (8-0, 5-0) has faced, but if McCarron can continue to hit passes – he leads the SEC in completion percentage – and stay mistake-free, the offense should keep the ball moving.

Unless…

2. Jeremy Hill, RB, LSU

…LSU's offense can move the ball against Alabama's top-ranked defense. It's hard to attach an individual's name to LSU's running game because the Tigers use so many backs, but Hill has gotten the most yardage in recent games.

LSU (7-1, 3-1) averages more than 200 yards a game on the ground and Alabama allows an average of 57 yards a game, so something will have to give. Given LSU's faulty passing offense, which is 12th in the SEC and 106th in the nation, if the rushing game doesn't get it done, nothing will.

Hill, Michael Ford, Kenny Hilliard and Spencer Ware will have to keep each other fresh, fight for tough yards and not turn the ball over for LSU to have an opportunity to put points on the board. The Tigers have had two weeks to prepare for the game, so something unexpected may happen in the Tigers' game plan. If not, LSU will be paying close attention to who is in the backfield and hoping it isn't an Alabama defender.

3. Zac Stacy, RB, Vanderbilt

Including Stacy on this list implies that someone will be watching Vanderbilt (4-4, 2-3) play Kentucky (1-8, 0-6) this week on ESPNU. Whoever decides to do that will want to keep an eye on Stacy because he averages 85 yards a game.

Kentucky's defense is 11th in the SEC in total defense, passing defense and rushing defense, which sets up well for Vanderbilt because its offense hovers between seventh and ninth in those categories.

Vanderbilt is two wins away from being bowl eligible and faces Kentucky, Ole Miss, Tennessee and Wake Forest to try to pick up those wins. Stacy is the fifth-leading rusher in the SEC and keeps the Commodores' offense moving smoothly.

4. Tyler Russell, QB, Mississippi State

Undoubtedly, Russell will be the least exciting of the two quarterbacks in this game, but against Texas A&M, he may have the better game. Johnny Manziel has struggled against tough defenses.

The Bulldogs (7-1, 3-1) have the fourth-best defense in the SEC, so "Johnny Football" could have problems if he turns the ball over, which has been a problem for him at times. But The Aggies are 12th in the SEC in passing defense, allowing opposing quarterbacks to throw for nearly 250 yards a game against them.

Russell has been averaging less than that per game, and has thrown 15 touchdowns against just interceptions. Mississippi State is fourth in the nation in turnover margin, so if Russell gets the ball in good field position, he could have a career day.

5. Jeff Scott, RB, Ole Miss

Scott gets 87 yards a game on the ground and Georgia gives up 156 yards a game on the ground – 10th in the SEC.

Georgia is well known for winning close games and letting its opponents stick around longer than they should, and coming off an emotional win over Florida may have a bit of a letdown. The Rebels (5-3, 2-2) are one win away from bowl eligibility, and would love to get that game out of the way, because with Vanderbilt, LSU and Mississippi State left on their schedule, it won't come easy.

Ole Miss has the SEC's fifth-best passing game, but if Scott can pick up yards on the ground against Georgia's defense, it will open a lot of things, including the door to not just a bowl, but a respectable bowl.

Copyright 2012 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

  • Southeastern ConferenceMore>>

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