Week four continues with two big match ups as Auburn travels to South Bend to take on Notre Dame and Miami invades Alabama. For all four of these teams, victory is critical as this season playoff races look to be close ones. Who will step up tonight and who will possibly take a step back? Lets look at both games and the keys for victory.
Auburn vs. Notre Dame
Auburn is coming off a big win against Oregon in which signal-caller Griffin Jelkic is coming off a 188 yard, two touchdown performance in the victory. But, the biggest story of that game was halfback monster Robert Davis looks back to form from last season with a 178 yard, one touchdown, breakout game. If Auburn can continue to work Davis like he did against the Ducks, the they will be very difficult to defeat. Add in wide receivers Cross Ferry III, Bubba Davis, and Derrek Jackson – where Davis and Jackson each caught a touchdown in their previous games – playing well will force defenses to play honest and not stack the box. The last key to the Tiger offense is their protection of the ball. They only have one turnover in three games and we all know if you protect the ball victories become a lot easier. On defense, while linebacker Mark Calloway is having another amazing season he isn’t the only force to be reckon with on this defense. Auburn boasts a three-headed monster in safeties Digger Graves, Bubba Bullard, and Ollie P. Peters, all who are off to a good start to the season, and can not only bring the pain but intercept the ball as well. With that, Notre Dame needs to be careful with the ball against these guys tonight. This defense is very good in applying pressure to the quarterback and only second to Miami in points allowed per game. The Tigers are clicking right now and that means trouble for all opponents.
Notre Dame got their first win of the season against the defending National Champions Texas Longhorns. Quarterback Leo Asiata has picked up the new playbook for The Irish and totaled is first two touchdowns of the season last week. The key for him this week is limited his interceptions. If he can cut that down then the chances for Notre Dame winning raise greatly. Adding to guys who have stepped it up lately is tailback Vidar Lund, who had 158 yards rushing and two scores against Texas. Factor in receiver Albert Saenz’s two touchdown performance and the Irish has a three-headed attack for tonight’s game. Defensive Player of the Year front-runner, linebacker Aaron Davis, will anchor the defense and focus on stopping the run and the passing game of Auburn. In support, the Irish have safeties Minkah Solo, Zues Williams, Wilhelm Schumacher, and linebacker Shoto Pence. Each of them have stepped up this season in major spots. If the Notre Damn defense can stop the Auburn running game and force a turnover or two, then we may be seeing a second victory for them against an SEC power.
Auburn 31, Notre Dame 28
Miami vs. Alabama
Miami is looking to take down the last undefeated school in the league tonight. To do that though they need to find some offense. The Caines are currently averaging 16.7 points per game, and that will catch up with them at some point this season. Veteran signal-caller Jose Bueno has to get back to his form of old, and that is scrambling to set up his passing game. Known as one of the stronger arms in the conference, Bueno is at the bottom of the league in yards per game. We all know that as he goes this team goes. Although Alabama ranks as the top defense in the league their weakness is giving up passing yards. This is where Miami can thrive and if so will be victorious tonight. Defensively, Miami is 6th in the country in total defense, but they are tops in points given up at a whopping 14.7. That is an amazing stat, and people can’t say its because of who they have played this season either. Miami defeated Nebraska and Michigan both teams who have shown this year that they can score touchdowns. Led by safeties Buster Bates and Perry Pennel, both of whom are top 15 in tackles in the country, and Miami has the defensive speed and awareness to dissect any offense. Everyone knows this is the strength of The Miami Hurricanes and if they keep with the trend then Alabama is in for trouble.
Roll Tide, and that is just what Alabama has been doing. Tailback Joe Pantoja and quarterback Balion Seige are one and two in the country rushing, and the next backfield combo isn’t even close. The Tide line up and tell you they are going to run the ball down your throat, then proceed to do so. I’d like to say there is a way to stop them but until someone does it, it is a mute point. Both have piled up a combined 16 touchdowns to only two fumbles. If things stay true to form, then Miami’s defense will be feeling it tomorrow and Bama will still be undefeated. The gems of the Bama defense are safeties Lamar Fant and Zachery Carter, but they are not the only ones having a great season so far, and this team plays as a unit. Corner Jacob McCall and linebacker Buddy Wells have also had big games and seem to make a big stop or play when needed. If Alabama can put Bueno on his back, then this should be an easy game for the Alabama defense. Something has to give tonight with these two teams and right now the tide favors The boys from Bama.
Alabama 28, Miami 10