Week three starts off with a battle between two undefeated teams, fighting to claim the title of “most dominant in the land” and wraps up with a battle between two teams wanting to get back into the win column.
Ohio State vs. Clemson
This is a big test for the Buckeyes this season may be the biggest of the entire season. Ohio State travels into Clemson with and offense that has shown that it is no longer one dimensional. Who would have thought going into week three that Buckeye quarterback Xavier Garcia-Allen would be fourth in the country in passing after matchups with both Notre Dame and Auburn? Well, he is and all his receivers are reaping the rewards for it, none other than tight end Marus “Big” Buford. It will take them and old faithful at tailback, Frost Carlson, to be on his A-Game against a Clemson defense that ranks third in the country in points allowed. If any team can do it, it is the new Buckeye attack. Look for them to mix it up and try to keep the Tigers guessing all night.
Defensively, The Sharks are ranked 1st in the country in points against and 3rd in team defense overall. Safety Kevin Brackett has picked up where he left off last season; a monster on defense and the Linebacker corp of Martavis Marriott, Rob Money, and Jacob Flores have gelled early and causing teams fits. Safety Mozzy Chang Jr.has jumped on the scene and made some big plays in both their previous wins. All will need to step up big to slow down this Clemson attack. The key to this game, though, for the Buckeyes may just be their two former All-American corners who have yet to be tested this season; believe me, they will this week.
This Clemson offense, on the other hand, is first in the country in overall offense and second in scoring offense. Pretty impressive in both their wins and freshman quarterback Will Slay is looking like a veteran. He torched Notre Dame for a whopping 443 yards passing and 4 touchdowns. Receiver Keith Blazer has quickly become his favorite target and he gives defenses around the league fits. They are a massive one-two punch that will be looking to continue their magic on Tuesday night. The one guy that will need to step up to take the load off Slay, is tailback Mike Chadwick. If he can contribute, then the road to victory gets easier. Defensively, Clemson may be playing even better than Ohio State. They gave up some points in week one, but nearly blanked the Fighting Irish a week ago, and are ranked number one overall in the country. The two standouts have been linebacker Jack Tyler and safety Barry Allen, both have been incredible through the first two weeks and will make life difficult for the Ohio State offense. And we can’t forget that Clemson has two dynamic corners of their own in Harper Allen and Andrew Fuller. They will be looking to baptize the new receivers of Ohio State. This is going to be a dogfight from start to finish.
Ohio State 42, Clemson 35
NEBRASKA vs. MIAMI
Nebraska has looked like a juggernaut at times this season and could cause a lot of problems for Miami. Veteran quarterback James Kovach has been a wizard in both his games, and is leading the league in passing yards. Even in their loss to Alabama, Kovach put up monster numbers. He will be looking for receivers Bill Volk and Blaze Gunner to do more of the same against Miami. Junior tailback Dowdy Dowell will be looking to bounce back from a subpar performance against the Crimson Tide, and I expect him to do so. If the Huskers can do that and make Miami play the run honest, then it will open up Nebraska to air it out and post a rebound win. The Cornhuskers have a superstar in the making in freshman linebacker Mika Raikkonen. The man does everything and is all over the field. He is clearly an early Defensive Player of the Year candidate. Not to be left out, corner Austin Johnson, defensive end Jabril Jackson, linebacker Colon Xavier, and safety Stokely Ferdinand have all been playing well. If this defense plays as it did in week one then Nebraska improves to 2-1 and will continue to be a playoff contender. The key to this game, though, is the Nebraska offense.
Miami had a heartbreaking loss to USC last week, and will no doubt be looking to avenge it at the cost of Nebraska. The junior signal-caller, Jose Bueno, is a savvy veteran who knows how to beat you with both his arm and legs. Nebraska needs to remember that or Bueno will tear them apart. He will lean heavily on receivers Nick Bagg, King Twixx, Maximilliam Mack, and the senior tight end Andrew Grinnell. They all need to be in the mix and keep pressure on the Huskers defense. Miami’s defense is one of the best in the league, as most thought they might be, and only trail Ohio State by one point from being the stingiest. Safety Buster Bates is the veteran on the defense, and is making sure everybody is on the same page. Guys like defensive end Barney Gumble, linebackers Justin Thyme and Jesse Horrigan, corners Joe Kerr and Devante Quill, and safety Perry Pennel have all contributed in big spots. They are a bend but don’t break defense, and know how to force turnovers. If you think you are going to line it up and push them around then you’ll be looking at a loss by the end of the night. The key for this game may just be the return game of one Joe Kerr, field advantage will be the difference.
Nebraska 28, Miami 21