College soccer Week 10 – A information to the most important video games

November is formally right here and with it comes a prime 5 matchup that has all of the stakes a fan may ask for.

Tennessee will journey to Georgia on Saturday in what must be one of the 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 recreation and, in the end, a agency spot within the College Soccer 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 could are available with three losses mixed however a giant win on this rivalry recreation would get both the Crimson Tide or the Tigers again on the fringes of the playoff and a possible date with both Georgia or Tennessee within the convention title recreation.

Exterior 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 preserve 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 Enjoyable Belt this week when Appalachian State and Coastal Carolina meet in a vital Solar Belt East conflict.

These are the most important 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 many extra dominant models in all of school soccer over the previous two seasons has been Georgia’s protection.

The Dawgs’ protection a 12 months in the past — the one with 5 NFL first-round picks — gave up simply 16 touchdowns in 15 video games on the way in which to Georgia’s first nationwide championship in 41 years. It has been extra of the identical this season, as Georgia has held its first eight opponents to simply seven touchdowns.

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

Whereas no one has been in a position to 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 way in which the Dawgs do. They’ve given up simply two dashing touchdowns all season and are permitting 85.4 dashing yards per recreation.

“You can say it every game, but you’ve got to win the line of scrimmage,” Tennessee coach Josh Heupel stated. “You’ve got to be able to run the ball some, because if they get you in a bunch of third-and-long situations, that’s right where they want you.”

Tennessee moved the ball in addition to anyone on Georgia a 12 months in the past in a 41-17 loss, particularly early within the recreation, however could not end drives. The Vols completed with 387 yards in complete offense and 22 first downs, however solely managed 55 dashing yards. In the meantime, 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 recreation look since 2007, the Vols must discover a option to even up these dashing numbers.

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

Sensible downplayed the rankings — interval. No less than to reporters.

“We’ve dealt with this so long now with last year going on and knowing that it really doesn’t matter,” Sensible stated. “It doesn’t matter. It matters how you play.” — Chris Low

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

Put aside 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. Exterior of Kool-Help McKinstry, there simply weren’t very many dependable choices for coach Nick Saban to select from.

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

Whereas it took longer than anticipated since transferring in the course of the offseason — Saban stated they labored onerous to enhance Ricks’ fundamentals and understanding of a brand new defensive scheme — his popping out get together comes at an opportune time. On Saturday, he’ll expertise a reunion of types, returning to LSU the place he grew to become an All-American as a freshman two seasons in the past.

Lengthy with bodily abilities, Ricks may match up properly towards gifted 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 towards Florida and Ole Miss.

However Saban stated what’s essential for Ricks is to attempt to not do an excessive amount of towards his former crew.

“I think it’s important that he just goes into this game and is himself and doesn’t think he has to do something fantastic just because he’s playing against a team he used to play for,” Saban stated. “I think that’s always important psychologically for guys to be able to focus on what’s in front of them and do their job well.” — Alex Scarborough

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

The Longhorns’ recreation towards the Wildcats presents a conundrum. Texas is coming off a bye week however blew a second-half lead towards Oklahoma State in a loss to the Cowboys the week earlier than. Final week, Kansas State beat No. 9 OSU 48-0. The Longhorns are coming off their fifth straight highway loss and their 1-6 highway file previously two seasons is the worst within the Large 12.

But the Longhorns are favored by 2.5 factors, simply the fifth time because the 1978 FBS/FCS break up {that a} crew unranked within the AP ballot is favored on the highway towards a prime 15 opponent.

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

“If there’s one thing I’d say just watching Texas, they do as good a job as anybody that we’ve played as far as, we’re getting our best players the football and we’re going to make sure that you have to defend our best players for four quarters from sideline to sideline whether it’s the wide receiver to the tight end to the running back,” Klieman stated.

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

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

The Longhorns have gained 5 straight towards Ok-State, which is the longest energetic streak towards a convention opponent. However 5 of the previous six video games have been determined by six factors or fewer. Each nonetheless have a shot at a Large 12 title recreation look, however the Wildcats can probably thwart the Longhorns’ hopes with a win.

“I think that we’ve played good football,” Texas coach Steve Sarkisian stated this week. “I think we’ve got a team that’s committed for this final month of the season, but we have to be cautious not to look down the road. We’ve got to focus on this game and we’ve got to handle our business this week, and it’s going to be a heck of a game.” — 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 highway towards Notre Dame and delivered a efficiency that — largely — set expectations hovering as soon as he formally grew to become 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 mostly on his two begins that 12 months, Uiagalelei headed into the 2021 season as a preseason Heisman hopeful — the newest in a line of extremely profitable Clemson quarterbacks.

However 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. Although Uiagalelei has performed much better than he did a 12 months in the past — with 2,150 complete yards, 21 complete touchdowns and 4 interceptions — getting benched after turning the ball over 3 times towards 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. Although Swinney pulled Uiagalelei from that recreation, 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 is a certain expectation,” Swinney stated throughout his weekly information convention. “But even the best of the best, next thing you know they’ve hit three home runs off him in the second inning and it just ain’t his day. You’re not going to let him get four home runs. If you do, you’re just stupid. But that guy’s going to come back whenever his next start is, he’s going to get right back at it.

“We’re individuals, and persons are not excellent. We’ve got moments every so often. It’s important to be product of the appropriate stuff to have the ability to let it allow you to get higher. We’re not 8-0 if it isn’t for DJ. He had a nasty recreation, however that is why you will have a crew. I am actually happy 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 typical. He is the ace. You have to go do your job.”

Believe it or not, Clemson has won 14 straight games — the longest active streak in the country — and Uiagalelei has started every single one. But the margin for error headed into the final stretch is small. At No. 4 in the first College Football Playoff rankings, Clemson is in great position to make another playoff appearance if it wins out. But a loss down the stretch, and those chances will diminish significantly or vanish all together. Notre Dame has won 26 straight regular-season games against ACC opponents, but if you want to get technical — Clemson did beat the Irish in the 2020 ACC championship game.

Since 2018, the Tigers are the only ACC team to beat Notre Dame. — Andrea Adelson



ESPN’s faculty soccer crew discusses the rankings reveal for the High 6 of the College Soccer Playoff.

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

The Sun Belt East is more than likely going to be decided in Conway, South Carolina, between Appalachian State and Coastal Carolina.

A win over App State would give Coastal Carolina a 97% chance to win the division, while a Mountaineers victory raises their 33% chance to 56%, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

“Our children are locked in and targeted,” App State head coach Shawn Clark said at his weekly news conference. “They know it may be a giant soccer recreation. We will sit right here and say it isn’t, that it is the subsequent recreation, however it’s a massive soccer recreation, and each week’s a giant recreation within the Solar Belt. That is one thing we sit up for.”

Coastal Carolina comes into the game fresh off a 24-13 rebound win on the road at Marshall, after losing the previous week at home to Old Dominion 49-21.

“We all know we have now an awesome opponent coming in,” Coastal coach Jamey Chadwell said at his weekly news conference. “They’re coming in, they’re rested. They mainly had an open week final week the place they had been in a position to relaxation a variety of starters, so we all know they will be recent and had an opportunity to organize for us a little bit greater than we had an opportunity to organize for them however our guys can 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 aspect, Grayson McCall has continued to show that 2020 wasn’t just a few magical season for the Chanticleers, however somewhat the brand new customary. He is thrown for over 2,000 yards, with 19 touchdowns and only one interception, whereas including 4 dashing touchdowns as effectively.

And should you’re a fan of ambiance (you are a school soccer fan studying this, in fact you might be), Thursday night time goes to be an awesome one with Coastal Carolina having a blackout on their signature teal turf with the Solar Belt East on the road. — Harry Lyles Jr.