Faculty soccer Week 4 – Florida-Tennessee, Clemson-Wake Forest spotlight the most important video games



Faculty soccer’s final weekend in September is formally right here, that means convention rivalries transfer to the forefront of Saturday’s slate.

Positive, we’ll miss the nonconference battles like Appalachian State upsetting Texas A&M in Faculty Station or Georgia proving why the title nonetheless runs via Athens, however convention play is the place seasons are outlined.

Saturday’s schedule kicks off with some historic matchups and newfound rivalries. Wake Forest welcomes Clemson to city in what ought to be a litmus check for this system whereas Ohio State hosts Wisconsin in an age-old rivalry that has been somewhat one-sided of late.

Talking of latest lopsided rivalries, Florida travels to Tennessee, the place the Vols are favored regardless of their ineptitude within the SEC East conflict over the previous couple of many years. Arkansas and Texas A&M meet within the Southwest Basic, the place the Hogs erased a nine-year dropping streak final 12 months and, whereas it is not a convention sport, Kansas and Duke play in a battle of unbeatens — sure, you learn that proper.

With October across the nook and the season heating up whereas the temperatures settle down, these are school soccer’s prime storylines this weekend.

No. 5 Clemson Tigers at No. 21 Wake Forest Demon Deacons (Saturday, midday ET, ABC/ESPN app)

Every week in the past, Liberty‘s Dennis Osagiede raised eyebrows by calling the Wake Forest offense “cute.” Get stress on Sam Hartman, he surmised, and the Deacons had been weak.

Seems, he was proper.

In fact, suggesting a QB underneath stress performs worse than one who’s not is not precisely breaking information, however the important thing to Liberty’s near-upset was the Flames’ means to disrupt the Wake backfield. The Deacons all however deserted their run sport, and Hartman had an up-and-down day. Via three video games now, Wake’s QBs are 5-for-13 with an interception and 6 sacks when pressured, with a uncooked QBR of 0.5 — second-worst in FBS.

Here is the actual downside: This week, the Deacons get Clemson, which can have one of the best defensive entrance in school soccer.

“That is the place we misplaced this sport a 12 months in the past,” Wake coach Dave Clawson mentioned. “I imply, immediately. What number of sacks did we’ve within the first quarter?”

The reply: 4. Wake averaged a couple of half-yard per dropback within the first quarter of final 12 months’s 48-27 loss to the Tigers, and albeit, Clawson mentioned, there weren’t many solutions up entrance. Clemson introduced unique seems to be, stacked the field, blitzed repeatedly. That helped neutralize Wake’s largest asset — a deep and proficient receiving corps that had feasted on explosive performs.

“Attempting to mess up their timing, on the again finish, it helps,” Clemson co-defensive coordinator Mickey Conn mentioned. “That is a giant a part of defensive soccer.”

The road of scrimmage presents a transparent benefit for the Tigers.

Clemson has NFL-caliber expertise throughout the D-line, from Bryan Bresee to Tyler Davis, K.J. Henry to Myles Murphy.

What Wake has is an skilled O-line with far much less pedigree.

That is largely been the distinction between the Deacons and the large, unhealthy Clemson Tigers, who’ve gained each head-to-head matchup courting again 15 years, together with final season, when Wake gained the division title however nonetheless proved no match for the Tigers on the sector.

“It is somewhat bit the character of our offense is that they outnumber us within the field,” Clawson mentioned. “Final 12 months, we did not execute the passing sport, partially, due to the stress. We did not shield effectively sufficient. They don’t seem to be going to allow us to run the ball. They by no means have. And they are going to stress the quarterback and be disruptive. That is the sport. Can we shield lengthy sufficient to get guys open?” — David M. Hale

No. 20 Florida Gators at No. 11 Tennessee Volunteers (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS)

It took Josh Heupel all of what he says was “most likely 30 seconds” as soon as he arrived on Tennessee’s campus as coach final 12 months to appreciate what the Florida sport means to the parents on Rocky Prime.

As soon as one of the vital anticipated rivalries on the sector within the SEC, the Florida-Tennessee rivalry has been a rivalry in title just for a lot of the previous 20 years. The Gators enter Saturday’s sport at Neyland Stadium having gained 16 of the final 17 conferences within the collection.

Therefore the significance to Tennessee followers of lastly breaking free from the Florida stranglehold on this collection. Even in these years when the Vols had been at the very least nearly as good (and even higher), the Gators have managed to discover a technique to win the sport, and extra instances than not, the Vols have managed to discover a technique to lose the sport.

Heupel is not a lot of a believer in psychological hurdles. He is modified the atmosphere contained in the Tennessee soccer advanced and introduced a much-needed steadiness to this system. The Vols are as much as No. 11 within the newest AP ballot and taking part in with as a lot confidence and momentum as they’ve in years.

“Our youngsters are extraordinarily assured, as they need to be,” Heupel mentioned. “They’ve ready the precise manner. They’ve labored exhausting, and we proceed to develop. They know that preparation goes to be an important factor.”

In different phrases, Heupel is not seeing ghosts. He has a veteran quarterback in Hendon Hooker, who has accounted for 42 touchdowns, thrown simply two interceptions and accomplished 68% of his passes since taking up because the starter a 12 months in the past in Week 3.

It is at all times a plus in a lot of these video games to have a seasoned quarterback. Florida’s Anthony Richardson continues to be studying the right way to play the place, however has uncanny athletic means and an enormous upside. However after dazzling within the season-opening win over Utah, he is thrown 4 interceptions in his final two video games and has but to throw a landing go this season. The 6-4, 232-pound Richardson could look to run extra on this sport and check the Tennessee protection on the sting. He rushed for 106 yards and three touchdowns towards Utah, however the subsequent week, Kentucky stored one participant assigned to Richardson (a spy) and restricted him to only 4 yards on six carries.

An much more vital matchup on this sport is Florida’s entrance seven on protection towards a Tennessee offense that operates at warp pace and averages 7.1 yards per play. The Gators allowed 230 dashing yards towards Utah and 286 dashing yards final week in a 31-28 win over South Florida. The Vols’ working sport is augmented by Hooker’s means to run on zone learn performs, and so they’ve additionally harm groups with explosive performs. In three video games, they have already got seven performs from scrimmage of 40 yards or longer.

This can be Florida’s first highway sport of the season and Richardson’s first profession begin in a real highway sport. Napier, whereas not particularly dissing the atmosphere at Neyland Stadium, nonetheless stoked the fires amongst Tennessee followers when he downplayed what a highway atmosphere would imply for Richardson.

“It is not like we will Canada and they are going to change the principles,” Napier mentioned. “It should be the identical sport. It should be somewhat louder and taking part in at a distinct location.” — Chris Low

Wisconsin Badgers at No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN app)

It has been 17 years — seventeen — since Wisconsin has gained at Ohio State, and it could be a jaw-dropping, field-storming upset if it occurred on Saturday.

(Not that we have seen any of these this season.)

Unranked Wisconsin, which is 1-2 in three straight house video games and has but to beat a Energy 5 staff, hasn’t defeated the Buckeyes since 2010, and hasn’t gained within the Shoe since 2004. The Badgers are making their first highway journey for what would be the Large Ten opener for each groups, and ESPN’s FPI provides Ohio State an 89% probability to win.

Here is why Wisconsin has a shred of hope: The Badgers can run the ball, management the clock and boast one of many nation’s greatest defenses. Since 2015, Wisconsin’s opponents have scored a landing on simply 46.4% of purple zone drives, the bottom share allowed by any staff throughout that span. The Badgers enter Columbus permitting simply eight factors per sport — however are dealing with an offense that is averaging 47.7 factors.

The statistics for each groups are a bit deceptive, because the Buckeyes are coming off a 77-21 win towards Toledo, and Wisconsin’s wins had been towards FCS Illinois State and New Mexico State.

Whereas Ohio State and Wisconsin are in several divisions, they’re effectively conscious of what to anticipate from one another. Wisconsin is infamous for its punishing working sport, which this 12 months is led by Braelon Allen. He is averaging 4.6 dashing yards per try after contact, the third-most in FBS amongst gamers with at the very least 40 rushes.

Wisconsin’s first-year offensive coordinator, Bobby Engram, has aimed to make the Badgers’ offense extra balanced, and to this point it is working. Via the primary three video games, Wisconsin has 1,436 yards of whole offense, 781 via the air and 655 on the bottom.

“They’re much more a number of than you suppose whenever you take a look at what they’re doing on offense,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day mentioned. “They’re throwing the ball greater than they ever have, at the very least in recent times. We have got to be ready as a result of they’re very clever. They’ll deal with excessive ranges of data.”

The query is that if they will deal with Ohio State’s offense. — Heather Dinich

Duke Blue Devils at Kansas Jayhawks (Saturday, midday ET, FS1)

In maybe probably the most inconceivable matchup of undefeated groups this week, Duke (3-0) travels to Kansas (3-0) to play a giant early season … soccer sport. Notice to misplaced readers: Their basketball groups, which have mixed for 9 nationwide titles, are scheduled to play one another Nov. 15.

There are such a lot of “firsts” with each groups, it could take up an excessive amount of house to incorporate all of them. However it is very important level out that Kansas soccer has had a for much longer dry spell than Duke. That is its first 3-0 begin since 2009. Duke began 3-0 as not too long ago as 2018, however coach Mike Elko is the primary Duke soccer coach since Fred Goldsmith in 1994 to win his opening three video games.

Maybe most spectacular for Kansas is the way in which the Jayhawks have carried out it, with two large come-from-behind victories towards West Virginia and Houston on the highway. Think about this: The Jayhawks gained simply three highway video games whole from 2010-21.

Kansas officers expect a capability crowd of 47,233 to fill Memorial Stadium on Saturday, an indication that enthusiasm is excessive for a staff that coach Lance Leipold has rolling proper now. That begins with the offense and quarterback Jalon Daniels, who has thrown for seven touchdowns and rushed for 3 extra. The Jayhawks have scored 159 factors via three video games, matching its greatest three-game offensive stretch to begin the season (2007).

Kansas director of sports activities efficiency Matt Gildersleeve has had a entrance row seat for the transformation of the staff, coming with Leipold from Buffalo following the 2020 season. He mentioned each step of the method put in place was intentional. “Day-after-day on this program, we have at all times talked about making the most of each day we’ve to fill the hole of the place we had been, the place we at the moment are and the place we need to go.

“I am so completely satisfied for the fellows that the work that they put in is all coming to, however in addition they know we won’t sit there and discuss 3-0. We’re not frightened about that. That is handed. It is this sport proper now. It is this second.”

Kansas has gone 12 straight seasons successful three or fewer video games. The Jayhawks have already got their three. That countdown to basketball season must be placed on maintain in the intervening time.

“The concept of getting the chance to go take over a program that’s thought-about a basketball college,” Gildersleeve mentioned, “I like that.” — Andrea Adelson

Arkansas Razorbacks vs. Texas A&M Aggies (at AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas, Saturday, 7 p.m., ESPN/ESPN app)

On its face, this previous rivalry sport seems to be a battle of weaknesses. Texas A&M ranks 99th nationally in passing offense, throwing for 208 yards per sport. Arkansas, in the meantime, permits 335 passing ypg, 131st nationally.

The Aggies are favored within the sport by 1.5 factors, however have scored simply 31 whole factors previously two weeks towards Appalachian State (a shocking 17-14 loss) and Miami (a 17-9 win).

“I do know this sounds loopy, however we’re so much nearer than it appears in some issues,” Aggies coach Jimbo Fisher mentioned this week. “We’re getting it and it is received to maintain progressing.”

The Aggies’ offense struggled mightily towards the Razorbacks final 12 months, gaining simply 272 yards in a 20-10 loss that snapped a nine-game successful streak over Arkansas because the Aggies joined the SEC in 2012.

May the Razorbacks be the remedy for Fisher’s ailing passing assault? Razorbacks coach Sam Pittman is pissed off along with his staff’s efficiency within the secondary.

“We will stay with guys getting good throws,” he mentioned. “We will not stay with guys large open.”

However the Hogs lead the nation with 17 sacks, so stress may very well be a problem towards a struggling Aggies offensive line.

Pittman, in the meantime, is not letting on if he thinks he has a bonus.

“I am certain that coach is engaged on no matter issues they could have,” he mentioned of Fisher. “I do not see numerous them. I see an incredible opponent we’re on the brink of play.” — Dave Wilson

Source link