College soccer Week 10 – A information to the largest video games

Tennessee will journey to Georgia on Saturday in what needs to be probably the most extremely anticipated SEC East video games in current historical past. What’s on the road? Oh, simply the within observe to a division crown, a spot within the SEC title sport and, in the end, a agency spot within the College Football Playoff combine.

The excessive profile matchup is not the one prime 10 battle between SEC foes this weekend as Alabama travels to LSU to play underneath the lights at Tiger Stadium. The groups might are available in with three losses mixed however a giant win on this rivalry sport would get both the Crimson Tide or the Tigers again on the fringes of the playoff and a probable date with both Georgia or Tennessee within the convention title sport.

Outside of the SEC motion, Clemson travels to South Bend, the place it misplaced to Notre Dame in double time beyond regulation in 2020 regardless of a standout efficiency from then-freshman DJ Uiagalelei. The now-junior will get one other try to topple the Irish and maintain the Tigers within the CFP prime 4 for an additional week.

Per week after hammering Oklahoma State 48-0, Kansas State has the chance to notch one more high quality win with Texas headed to Manhattan. And Thursday night time will get a style of the Fun Belt this week when Appalachian State and Coastal Carolina meet in an important Sun Belt East conflict.

These are the largest storylines from the perfect video games of Week 10.

No. 1 Tennessee at No. 3 Georgia (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS)

One of the extra dominant items in all of faculty soccer over the previous two seasons has been Georgia’s protection.

The Dawgs’ protection a yr in the past — the one with 5 NFL first-round picks — gave up simply 16 touchdowns in 15 video games on the best way to Georgia’s first nationwide championship in 41 years. It’s been extra of the identical this season, as Georgia has held its first eight opponents to only seven touchdowns.

But Saturday in Sanford Stadium, Georgia’s protection might be examined in a means that it hasn’t all season in opposition to a Tennessee offense that leads the nation in scoring (49.4 factors per sport) and has scored 34 or extra factors in each sport, together with 40 or extra in its previous 4 video games.

While no person has been capable of decelerate quarterback Hendon Hooker and the Vols, they have not confronted a protection the caliber of Georgia’s or a entrance seven on protection that smothers the run the best way the Dawgs do. They’ve given up simply two dashing touchdowns all season and are permitting 85.4 dashing yards per sport.

“You can say it each sport, however you have to win the road of scrimmage,” Tennessee coach Josh Heupel mentioned. “You’ve received to have the ability to run the ball some, as a result of in the event that they get you in a bunch of third-and-long conditions, that is proper the place they need you.”

Tennessee moved the ball in addition to anyone on Georgia a yr in the past in a 41-17 loss, particularly early within the sport, however could not end drives. The Vols completed with 387 yards in whole offense and 22 first downs, however solely managed 55 dashing yards. Meanwhile, the Dawgs had 274 dashing yards.

If Tennessee goes to snap a five-game dropping streak on this collection and take an enormous step towards its first SEC championship sport look since 2007, the Vols should discover a technique to even up these dashing numbers.

Georgia coach Kirby Smart did not thoughts one bit seeing the Vols No. 1 and the Dawgs No. 3 within the first College Football Playoff rankings on Tuesday night time. Not that the defending nationwide champs wanted any further motivation, however there it’s. Think the “no-respect” theme has been talked about a few times on the Georgia apply discipline this week?

Smart downplayed the rankings — interval. At least to reporters.

“We’ve handled this so lengthy now with final yr happening and understanding that it actually does not matter,” Smart mentioned. “It does not matter. It issues the way you play.” — Chris Low

No. 6 Alabama at No. 10 LSU (Saturday, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN app)

Set apart the apparent penalties, and what stood out from Alabama’s protection throughout an in depth name at Texas and loss at Tennessee was an absence of depth at cornerback. Outside of Kool-Aid McKinstry, there simply weren’t very many dependable choices for coach Nick Saban to select from.

But which may have modified two weeks in the past in opposition to Mississippi State when Eli Ricks lastly stepped into the beginning lineup after seven video games and shined. Against a pass-happy Bulldog offense, Ricks performed as much as his potential, broke up 4 passes and allowed just one completion.

While it took longer than anticipated since transferring through the offseason — Saban mentioned they labored arduous to enhance Ricks’ fundamentals and understanding of a brand new defensive scheme — his popping out celebration comes at an opportune time. On Saturday, he’ll expertise a reunion of types, returning to LSU the place he turned an All-American as a freshman two seasons in the past.

Long with bodily abilities, Ricks might match up properly in opposition to proficient receivers Kayshon Boutte and Malik Nabers. Quarterback Jayden Daniels is enjoying his finest soccer of the season, having thrown for 597 yards, 5 touchdowns and no interceptions in wins in opposition to Florida and Ole Miss.

But Saban mentioned what’s necessary for Ricks is to strive to not do an excessive amount of in opposition to his former group.

“I believe it is necessary that he simply goes into this sport and is himself and does not assume he has to do one thing implausible simply because he is enjoying in opposition to a group he used to play for,” Saban mentioned. “I believe that is at all times necessary psychologically for guys to have the ability to concentrate on what’s in entrance of them and do their job effectively.” — Alex Scarborough

No. 24 Texas at No. 13 Kansas State (Saturday, 7 p.m. ET, FS1)

The Longhorns’ sport in opposition to the Wildcats presents a conundrum. Texas is coming off a bye week however blew a second-half lead in opposition to Oklahoma State in a loss to the Cowboys the week earlier than. Last week, Kansas State beat No. 9 OSU 48-0. The Longhorns are coming off their fifth straight street loss and their 1-6 street report up to now two seasons is the worst within the Big 12.

Yet the Longhorns are favored by 2.5 factors, simply the fifth time because the 1978 FBS/FCS break up {that a} group unranked within the AP ballot is favored on the street in opposition to a prime 15 opponent.

So what provides? Okay-State coach Chris Klieman says he sees it on movie.

“If there’s one factor I’d say simply watching Texas, they do nearly as good a job as anyone that we have performed so far as, we’re getting our greatest gamers the soccer and we will just remember to need to defend our greatest gamers for 4 quarters from sideline to sideline whether or not it is the large receiver to the tight finish to the working again,” Klieman mentioned.

The Wildcats would seem able to defend them, rating sixth nationally in defensive effectivity and permitting simply 15 offensive touchdowns — the fewest within the Big 12.

It might be a battle between two of the perfect working backs in Big 12 historical past, the Wildcats’ Deuce Vaughn vs. the Longhorns’ Bijan Robinson. Both are among the many prime six in league historical past (minimal 25 video games performed) in profession scrimmage yards per sport — Robinson is fourth at 130.4 yards per sport whereas Vaughn is sixth with 128.4. Texas is the one Big 12 faculty that hasn’t allowed a 100-yard rusher this yr, a check for Vaughn.

The Longhorns have received 5 straight in opposition to Okay-State, which is the longest energetic streak in opposition to a convention opponent. But 5 of the previous six video games have been determined by six factors or fewer. Both nonetheless have a shot at a Big 12 title sport look, however the Wildcats can seemingly thwart the Longhorns’ hopes with a win.

“I believe that we have performed good soccer,” Texas coach Steve Sarkisian mentioned this week. “I believe we have a group that is dedicated for this closing month of the season, however we’ve to be cautious to not look down the street. We’ve received to concentrate on this sport and we have to deal with our enterprise this week, and it’ll be a heck of a sport.” — Dave Wilson

No. 4 Clemson at Notre Dame (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, NBC)

Two years in the past, DJ Uiagalelei began as a real freshman on the street in opposition to Notre Dame and delivered a efficiency that — largely — set expectations hovering as soon as he formally turned the Clemson beginning quarterback.

Uiagalelei threw for 439 yards and two touchdowns in a 47-40 double-overtime loss to the Irish, as Trevor Lawrence sat out with COVID-19. Based on his two begins that yr, Uiagalelei headed into the 2021 season as a preseason Heisman hopeful — the most recent in a line of extremely profitable Clemson quarterbacks.

But 2021 didn’t go easily as Uiagalelei and the Clemson offense struggled, and questions on his long-term future have been the subject du jour in 2022. Though Uiagalelei has performed much better than he did a yr in the past — with 2,150 whole yards, 21 whole touchdowns and 4 interceptions — getting benched after turning the ball over thrice in opposition to Syracuse introduced the doubters again as Uiagalelei and No. 4 Clemson return to Notre Dame.

Coach Dabo Swinney has spent the previous 11 months defending his quarterback, and did it once more after he introduced in Cade Klubnik to assist rally Clemson to a 27-21 win over the Orange. Though Swinney pulled Uiagalelei from that sport, he has reaffirmed a number of instances over the previous two weeks that Uiagalelei stays the starter.

“You put your ace on the mound and there’s a sure expectation,” Swinney mentioned throughout his weekly information convention. “But even the perfect of the perfect, subsequent factor they’ve hit three house runs off him within the second inning and it simply ain’t his day. You’re not going to let him get 4 house runs. If you do, you are simply silly. But that man’s going to come back again each time his subsequent begin is, he’ll get proper again at it.

“We’re folks, and individuals are not good. We have moments once in a while. You need to be manufactured from the correct stuff to have the ability to let it assist you to get higher. We’re not 8-0 if it isn’t for DJ. He had a foul sport, however that is why you’ve a group. I’m actually pleased with DJ, and the way he is dealt with himself and the way he is led. He is aware of he cannot go play like that. There’s a normal. He’s the ace. You’ve received to go do your job.”

Believe it or not, Clemson has received 14 straight video games — the longest energetic streak within the nation — and Uiagalelei has began each single one. But the margin for error headed into the ultimate stretch is small. At No. 4 within the first College Football Playoff rankings, Clemson is in nice place to make one other playoff look if it wins out. But a loss down the stretch, and people possibilities will diminish considerably or vanish all collectively. Notre Dame has received 26 straight regular-season video games in opposition to ACC opponents, however if you wish to get technical — Clemson did beat the Irish within the 2020 ACC championship sport.

Appalachian State at Coastal Carolina (Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN app)

The Sun Belt East is greater than seemingly going to be determined in Conway, South Carolina, between Appalachian State and Coastal Carolina.

A win over App State would give Coastal Carolina a 97% probability to win the division, whereas a Mountaineers victory raises their 33% probability to 56%, in accordance with ESPN Stats & Information.

“Our children are locked in and targeted,” App State head coach Shawn Clark mentioned at his weekly information convention. “They know it’ll be a giant soccer sport. We can sit right here and say it isn’t, that it is the subsequent sport, however it’s a huge soccer sport, and each week’s a giant sport within the Sun Belt. That’s one thing we stay up for.”

Coastal Carolina comes into the sport recent off a 24-13 rebound win on the street at Marshall, after dropping the earlier week at house to Old Dominion 49-21.

“We know we’ve an incredible opponent coming in,” Coastal coach Jamey Chadwell mentioned at his weekly information convention. “They’re coming in, they’re rested. They principally had an open week final week the place they have been capable of relaxation a variety of starters, so we all know they will be recent and had an opportunity to arrange for us slightly greater than we had an opportunity to arrange for them however our guys might be able to go and we’ll exit and play effectively.”

The quarterback matchup on this one stands out. App State’s Chase Brice is having the perfect season of his profession, having thrown for over 1,900 yards and 22 touchdowns with simply 4 interceptions in eight video games.

On the opposite facet, Grayson McCall has continued to show that 2020 wasn’t just a few magical season for the Chanticleers, however quite the brand new normal. He’s thrown for over 2,000 yards, with 19 touchdowns and only one interception, whereas including 4 dashing touchdowns as effectively.

And in the event you’re a fan of environment (you are a school soccer fan studying this, after all you’re), Thursday night time goes to be an incredible one with Coastal Carolina having a blackout on their signature teal turf with the Sun Belt East on the road. — Harry Lyles Jr.