Top performers: Franklin returns ahead Mizzou showdown vs A&M - News, Weather & Sports

Top performers: Franklin returns ahead of Mizzou showdown with Texas A&M

Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon had a career-high 160 yards against Mississippi State. (Source: Alabama Athletics) Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon had a career-high 160 yards against Mississippi State. (Source: Alabama Athletics)
Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall led the Tigers to a 43-38 win over Georgia. (Source: Todd van Emst/Auburn University) Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall led the Tigers to a 43-38 win over Georgia. (Source: Todd van Emst/Auburn University)
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(RNN) – Here's a weekly look at who to watch in Week 13 and who had outstanding games last week.

Who to watch in Week 13:

1. James Franklin, QB, Missouri – Franklin has been penciled in to return as the starter this week against Ole Miss. He'll be jumping back into the fire after five weeks away due to a shoulder injury.

The Tigers (9-1, 5-1) went undefeated with Franklin at the helm, including a 41-26 win over Georgia when he left the game with the injury. Without him, Missouri downed Florida before falling to South Carolina in overtime and rebounded with wins over Tennessee and Kentucky.

Missouri closes the season with two of its four ranked opponents this season – No. 24 Ole Miss and No. 12 Texas A&M. An SEC championship game berth and BCS bowl bid are attainable, but only with wins in both those games.

2. Robert Nkemdiche, DL, Ole Miss – Nkemdiche was a highly-touted prospect, but hasn't received much attention since joining the Rebels (7-3, 3-3). He leads all SEC freshman with an average of .88 tackles for loss per game and recorded his first career sack against Troy.

He was named the SEC's defensive lineman of the week following the game when the Trojans were held to -13 yards rushing. It was the first time Ole Miss had held an opponent to negative rushing yards since 2008.

With two teams featuring mobile quarterbacks left on the Rebels' slate, that defense will play a key role in Ole Miss' final bowl position.

3. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M – The Aggies can make a final push for a return trip to the Cotton Bowl with wins over LSU and Missouri.

As he always does, Manziel will feature prominently in this week's game against LSU. The Tigers have allowed 38 points or more twice this season and the Aggies (8-2, 4-2) have scored at least 41 in every game this season, and has scored 51 or more in three consecutive games.

4. Jeremy Hill, RB, LSU – With numbers like those, it makes sense that LSU (7-3, 3-3) would lean on its rushing game and Hill, who is fourth in the SEC with 964 yards, will be primary ball-carrier.

LSU's rushing offense is in the middle of the pack in the SEC averaging 184 yards a game, but A&M's rushing defense is next to last in the conference and 105th nationally allowing 210 yards per game.

5. Dak Prescott/Tyler Russell, QB, Mississippi State – Mississippi State is fighting for bowl eligibility with games against Arkansas and Ole Miss still to be played. The Bulldogs (4-6, 1-5) will have to win both to get it and they'll have to do it with questions at quarterback.

Both Prescott and Russell are injured and both are considered day-to-day. It's likely at least one of them – if not both – will be able to play. But if not, the duty will fall to freshman Damian Williams, who is 11-for-23 this season with one interception.

Week 12 top performers:

1. Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt – Matthews' 12 catches for 141 yards in Vanderbilt's 22-6 win over Kentucky, made him the first receiver in SEC history with two 80-catch seasons. He's second in the conference with 1,076 yards and already holds the all-time receiving record with 3,358 yards. He was named the SEC's offensive player of the week and only needs four more catches to set the conference's career receptions record.

The win also made the Commodores (6-4, 3-4) bowl eligible for the third straight year and they still have games against Tennessee and Wake Forest that could improve their position.

2. Nick Marshall, QB, Auburn – Marshall had a more impressive game than Matthews, throwing for 229 yards and a touchdown and rushing for 89 yards and two touchdowns in a 43-38 win over Georgia.

Marshall benefited from a lucky break on an underthrown desperation heave in the fourth quarter when it was tipped by Georgia defenders and landed in the hands of receiver Ricardo Louis. The win helped Auburn move up to No. 6 in the BCS standings. The Tigers (10-1, 6-1) have an off week before playing Alabama in a game where the winner will advance to the SEC championship game.

3. Cody Mandell, P, Alabama – Alabama survived a turnover-laden game with Mississippi State to stay undefeated and plays Chattanooga before the showdown with Auburn.

Despite four turnovers, the Tide won 20-7 and T.J. Yeldon, who had a fumble, rushed for a career-high 160 yards. It was a forgettable performance for the Tide's offense, but the Tide (10-0, 7-0) defense was it's usual, dominant self.

The Bulldogs were held to 197 yards, including 53 yards on the ground and linebacker C.J. Mosley was named the SEC defensive player of the week for the second consecutive week after recording eight tackles and forcing a fumble.

Mandell was the star of the game, though, punting four times for a career-best 55-yard average. He had a career-long 63-yard punt, a 61-yard punt and two of his kicks were downed inside the 5-yard line. He's averaging a school-record 47 yards per punt, which is second in the SEC. His average would be tied for second in the nation if he weren't three punts short of having enough attempts to qualify.

4. Elliott Fry, K, South Carolina – It was a banner day for specialists in the conference as Fry kicked four field goals, including two in the fourth quarter that gave South Carolina the lead and then extended it in a 19-14 win over Florida.

Thanks to Georgia's loss to Auburn, the Gamecocks (8-2, 6-2) only need Missouri to lose one of its two remaining games against Ole Miss and Texas A&M to make the SEC championship game.

5. Bo Wallace, QB, Ole Miss – Wallace threw for 272 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 66 yards and a touchdown in a 51-21 win over Troy.

Copyright 2013 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

  • WAVE 3 Online Poll

  • Who do you think will win the two games featuring ranked teams this week (No. 8 Missouri at No. 24 Ole Miss and No. 12 Texas A&M at No. 22 LSU)?

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