By R.J. Younger and Laken Litman
FOX Sports activities Faculty Soccer Writers
We’re heading into Week 4 of the school soccer season, and issues are about to get severe.
That is as a result of we’re coming into the thick of convention play. No extra preseason video games serving as glorified scrimmages. Each matchup now issues within the quest for convention championship video games and potential postseason glory.
There are a selection of attention-grabbing convention matchups we’re protecting our eyes on Saturday, main off with Maryland at Michigan on “Large Midday Kickoff” on FOX.
The No. 4 Wolverines (3-0) have rolled by way of the early a part of their schedule and seem intent on defending their Large Ten crown, however the Terrapins (3-0) are wanting to make a press release and have gamers like Greg China- Rose who do not know the which means of “give up.”
Greg China-Rose’s journey to Maryland
“Large Midday Kickoff” and Tom Rinaldi inform the story of Greg China-Rose’s journey from walk-on to starter with the Terrapins.
However that is not all we’ve got occurring this weekend. Here is what we’re trying ahead to watching in a few of the greatest matchups on Saturday.
What are you watching in Maryland at Michigan (midday ET; FOX and the FOX Sports activities app)?
Younger: In faculty soccer, solely rival followers and media care that “You Performed Any individual.” Three cupcakes to start out the yr causes of us like me to yell, “They ain’t performed no person!”
However by December, when that very same staff is hitting 9 or 10 wins? That is the way you fundraise.
However when you lose to a cupcake — put cash within the bag — you are gonna catch a load of cream filling to your face like a clown. You might additionally lose your job. Just like the Rolling Stones taught us, “Do not play with cupcakes ‘trigger you are taking part in with hearth.”
See: Nebraska ($1.423 million for a loss to Georgia Southern), Arizona State ($1.5 million for a loss to Jap Michigan). In case you get a bonus for being bowl-eligible, why would not you schedule three wins utilizing different individuals’s cash? You’d. You undoubtedly would.
Now that the Wolverines have eaten their dessert earlier than the primary course, let’s have a look at if they’ve room for his or her greens — ie, Maryland.
Final season, the Wolverines had been a two-touchdown favourite in opposition to the Terps and gained 59-18. I need to know if Michigan simply will get up for Maryland or if this recreation is a harbinger of convention video games to come back, because it was a yr in the past.
Is Michigan’s schedule too tender for the CFP?
RJ Younger examines how good the Michigan Wolverines have regarded up to now this season.
litman: How does JJ McCarthy look in his first convention begin? Final week, Michigan shut out UConn, 59-0, and the first-year beginning quarterback accomplished 15 of 18 passes for 214 yards by way of nearly three quarters. There was just one passing TD the entire recreation, which did not come from McCarthy, however he did not throw an interception both.
The Wolverines rushed for six scores, together with 5 from working again Blake Corum, and completely dominated Jim Mora’s Huskies. Michigan had extra first downs (26-2), extra complete yards (465-110) and did not even enable UConn to succeed in the crimson zone.
Maryland involves Ann Arbor with a top-20 offense (499.0 yards per recreation) and a top-30 scoring offense (40.3 factors per recreation). Can veteran quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa (Tua’s brother) take a look at the yet-to-be-tested UM secondary? Can the Terps’ protection get strain on McCarthy and power him to make errors?
Even when Maryland can do these issues, to have any hope of an upset it has to cease committing penalties. By means of three video games, Maryland is the second-most penalized staff within the nation, averaging 10.3 per recreation. Michigan, in the meantime, has dedicated the second-least quantity at 2.7.
What storylines are you watching in Duke at Kansas (midday pm ET; FS1)?
Younger: When Lance Leipold was employed to educate Kansas in Could 2021, I believed athletic director Travis Goff nailed his alternative to flip KU soccer from embarrassing to enchanting.
Leipold has made Goff (and me) look good, first with a win at Texas final season, and now with a 3-0 begin for the primary time since 2009. It isn’t honest to say that Duke, additionally 3-0, presents the problem West Virginia and Houston did to the Jayhawks, however it’s honest to say they’re strolling right into a recreation for the primary time in over a decade with strain to win.
I will be to learn how the Jayhawks reply to expectations not that they will compete, however that they will win.
litman: A basic basketball matchup!
You must love that each of those groups are 3-0 and led by up-and-coming head coaches Mike Elko (Duke) and Lance Leipold (Kanas). Final yr round this similar time, the Blue Devils beat the Jayhawks, 52-33, then did not win one other recreation. KU has already surpassed final yr’s win complete of two video games.
Some individuals say faculty soccer is best when applications like Texas, USC, Miami and Notre Dame are good. Properly, it is actually extra attention-grabbing when Duke and Kansas are undefeated.
how about Minnesota at michigan state (3:30 p.m. ET; BTN)?
litman: How does Michigan State reply after getting beat up by Washington final week? The Spartans had been ranked No. 11 heading into that highway matchup and fell out of the AP Ballot following a 39-28 loss.
Michigan State did not play effectively in any section of that recreation — it could not run the ball (it had simply 42 complete dashing yards) or defend quarterback Payton Thorne — and Washington QB Michael Penix Jr. threw for almost 400 yards and 4 touchdowns. The Spartans have so much to scrub up earlier than heading into its Large Ten schedule.
Younger: As I wrote in our workers picks piece this week, maintain your eye on Minnesota’s Mohamed Ibrahim, who rushed for greater than 200 yards in opposition to Colorado and has put collectively 12-straight 100-yard dashing performances relationship again to 2019.
The Gophers are one in all simply two groups averaging greater than 300 rush yards per recreation this season. The opposite is an academy staff (Air Drive).
The Gophers are my decide to characterize the Large Ten West within the Large Ten title recreation.
Why Minnesota is a top-10 staff
Within the preseason, RJ Younger predicted Minnesota would win the Large Ten West and play Ohio State within the Large Ten Championship.
how about Oregon at washington state (4 p.m. ET; FOX and the FOX Sports activities app)?
Younger: The pitcher’s duel between Wazzu quarterback Cameron Ward and Oregon quarterback Bo Nix must be enjoyable. Each arrived at their new applications this yr as ballyhooed transfers and have been paired with offensive coordinators they’re greater than a bit accustomed to. And each have already led their applications to wins in opposition to top-25 groups.
This recreation ought to serve to show who can problem Washington, Utah and USC for Pac-12 supremacy when the time comes.
litman: Which Nix are we getting this week? Whereas the Oregon quarterback has been inconsistent all through his profession, he had a stellar efficiency in final week’s 41-20 beatdown of BYU. Nix went 13-for-18 for 222 yards with two passing touchdowns and ran for 3 extra.
How will he carry out in opposition to a stingy Washington State protection? The Cougars are permitting simply 12.7 factors per recreation, and the group is led by senior linebacker Daiyan Henley, who leads the Pac 12 in sacks (4) and is fourth in tackles (30). In final week’s win over Colorado State, he had 13 tackles and three sacks. Can he get to Nix and power him into making errors?
What pursuits you most in Wisconsin at Ohio State (7:30 p.m. ET)
litman: Now that the Buckeyes have reached Large Ten play, will we see extra of Jaxon Smith-Njigba? That is my query each week given how totally different the Buckeyes’ offense appears to be like when he is wholesome and starring alongside CJ Stroud. And that is saying so much, contemplating OSU scored 77 factors on Toledo final week.
Younger: If the Badgers are going to mount a cost for the Large Ten West title, there isn’t any higher time to take action than in opposition to the No. 3-ranked Buckeyes. However that is a tall order, even for a Jim Leonhard protection.
Ohio State additionally has overwhelmed Wisconsin eight occasions in a row.
The Buckeyes fell simply 13 yards shy of the varsity file (776) for yards in a recreation final week in opposition to Toledo, they usually had been in a position to try this with Stroud and TreVeyon Henderson sitting for many of the recreation.
Alongside USC quarterback Caleb Williams and Georgia QB Stetson Bennett, Stroud has established himself as a Heisman front-runner. By means of three video games, he is handed for 941 yards, 11 TDs and 0 INTs whereas placing collectively a 208.6 passer ranking.
What’s value watching in Kansas State at Oklahoma (8 p.m. ET; FOX and the FOX Sports activities app)?
litman: Kansas State is coming off a 17-10 loss to Tulane. Oklahoma is coming off a 49-14 win over Nebraska. This recreation might and possibly will get ugly.
Younger: I agree with Laken that this recreation might get ugly. The Wildcats have been all however putrid offensively with Ok-State quarterback Adrian Martinez passing for simply 306 yards — 4.6 yards per completion — by way of three video games.
After watching Brent Venables’ protection methodically dismantle Nebraska in Lincoln, it is onerous to see how Chris Klieman pulls out a win in opposition to an Oklahoma staff that’s, as soon as once more, charging towards the Faculty Soccer Playoff.
What are you searching for in USC at Oregon State? (9:30 p.m. ET; PACN)?
Younger: After watching the Trojans lose twice as many video games (eight) as they gained (4) final season, Lincoln Riley has a possibility to match final season’s win complete earlier than the month of September ends.
He is executed that with excellent quarterback play from Heisman contender Caleb Williams, but in addition regardless of the protection’s efficiency. Final week Fresno State quarterbacks mixed to finish 21 of 30 move makes an attempt for 257 yards, and working again Jordan Mims rushed for 114 on simply 15 carries.
Going through an undefeated Oregon State brimming with confidence, I need to see if Alex Grinch’s protection establishes an identification that may be counted on to hold it to the Pac-12 Championship Sport.
litman: The Riley-Williams prepare is transferring proper alongside this season. USC is 3-0 and is scoring greater than 50 factors per recreation. Williams has among the best quarterback scores within the nation (190.49) and has thrown eight touchdowns and 0 interceptions. Whereas an evening recreation in Corvallis might be an early lure recreation for the new-look Trojans — USC is only a 6.5-point favourite — Williams merely has too many choices out huge and can pose the hardest take a look at the Beavers’ protection faces all yr.
And at last, what catches your eye in Stanford at Washington (10:30 p.m. ET; FS1)?
litman: How does Washington look per week after pulling off such a dominant win over Michigan State? Will it overlook Stanford, or be ready? These sorts of video games are all the time difficult for groups that spend a lot time getting overvalued for large video games.
Younger: After knocking off Michigan State’s top-25 opponent final week, Kalen DeBoer’s Huskies aren’t sneaking up on anybody. With Michael Penix Jr. main the league in passing and a protection overflowing with confidence, I, like Laken, need to see if Washington is nice sufficient to problem for the Pac-12 title with a goal on its again.
And here is only a enjoyable notice: The general collection between these applications is tied at 44-44-4.
– CFP, Heisman and different predictions from FOX Sports activities workers
– Pac-12 is again within the highlight, for all the correct causes
– The Final Faculty Soccer Highway Journey hits Tennessee
– Maryland-Michigan and extra: Week 4 by the numbers
– Oklahoma on the rise: Joel Klatt’s prime 10
– USC, Oklahoma on a CFP collision course?
Laken Litman covers faculty soccer, faculty basketball and soccer for FOX Sports activities. She beforehand coated faculty soccer, faculty basketball, the US Girls’s Nationwide Soccer Staff and the Olympics at Sports activities Illustrated, USA Immediately and The Indianapolis Star. Her first e book, written in partnership with Rizzoli and Sports activities Illustrated and titled “Robust Like a Lady,” was revealed in spring 2022 marking the fiftieth anniversary of Title IX.
RJ Younger is a nationwide faculty soccer author and analyst for FOX Sports activities and the host of the podcast “The Quantity One Faculty Soccer Present.Comply with him on Twitter at @RJ_Young and subscribe to “The RJ Younger Present” on YouTube.
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