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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M pitcher Ryan Prager (18) delivers a pitch during Texas A&M’s game against Kentucky at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at in Omaha, Nebraska on Monday, June 17, 2024. Prager went for 6.2 innings, allowing two hits and zero runs. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
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Around the country: Week 4

No. 4 Florida State @ Clemson
Saturday, Sept. 23 – Memorial Stadium – Clemson, South Carolina
11 a.m. on ABC
Just four weeks into the college football season, Florida State and Clemson are facing arguably the toughest opponents on their ACC slate.
The preseason expectation was that the Seminoles and Tigers would compete for the conference championship, although few likely thought Clemson would take an early loss to Duke to open the season. On the other hand, Florida State put its firepower on display, as it rolled to a 45-24 win over No. 5 LSU. A win on Saturday strengthens the Seminoles’ College Football Playoff resume, while a Tiger victory puts it right in the mix for their eighth conference title in nine years.
The contrast between the two teams begins at quarterback, where redshirt senior Jordan Travis has led Florida State from a 3-6 finish in 2020 back to the national spotlight. He’s passed for 729 yards this season with eight touchdowns compared to one interception. Complementing an offense that’s put up 47.3 points per game are redshirt junior running back Trey Benson and junior wide receiver Keon Coleman with four touchdowns each.
Sophomore quarterback Cade Klubnik aims to be the next great Clemson signal-caller since NFL starters Deshaun Watson and Trevor Lawrence. Since a no-show against the Blue Devils, the Austin native has accounted for eight touchdowns over the past two games, bringing loads of momentum into this matchup. Junior running back Phil Mafah has picked up three touchdowns through three games, while sophomore wideout Antonio Williams and freshman wideout Tyler Brown have reeled in two touchdown catches apiece.
The evidence suggests we’ll see a high-scoring affair in Death Valley, as both teams are averaging over 40 points a game. Florida State ranks seventh in the nation in that regard with 47.3 points, and the experience of Travis gives them an edge. A win for the Seminoles is a major step in bringing the first ACC title to Tallahassee, Florida since 2014.
Prediction: Florida State 42, Clemson 38
No. 14 Oregon State @ No. 21 Washington State
Saturday, Sept. 23 – Gesa Field – Pullman, Washington
6 p.m. on Fox
Welcome to the Pac … 2? The scraps of the Pac-12 battle it out on Saturday, and if they’re making a case to join another major conference, they’ve done a good job so far this season. Oregon State has continued its momentum from last season with its seventh win in a row, rallying behind junior quarterback and Clemson transfer DJ Uiagalelei. While also being picked in the 2023 MLB Draft, Uiagalelei has thrown for six touchdowns while rushing for four more against the likes of San Jose State, UC Davis and San Diego State. Oh well, maybe the Beavers are preparing for the Mountain West competition they’ll face in the near future.
Washington State brings just as potent an offense, ranking sixth in the country at 48.3 points per game. The Cougars jumped into the Top 25 with a 31-22 win over No. 19 Wisconsin at home and bring an experienced transfer quarterback to the table as well. Junior Cameron Ward is in his second year in the Pacific Northwest after leading FCS Incarnate Word to a 10-3 record with 48 touchdowns in 2021. He’s already passed for 986 yards and nine scores while picking up two more on the ground. The most impressive part of his game, though, may be his lack of interceptions. The Texas native has played clean football and he’ll need to keep it up against an Oregon State defense that has allowed just 11 points per game.
Regardless of its upcoming demise, the Pac-12 looks strong this year, from Washington to Utah to Oregon to USC. Wins won’t come easy, making this conference opener a valuable victory for either side. If the Beavers and Cougars want to put their names among the conference’s top teams, now is the time to do it. With a strong defense and offensive line, give me Oregon State in a close one.
Prediction: Oregon State 27, Washington State 21
No. 6 Ohio State @ No. 9 Notre Dame
Saturday, Sept. 23 – Notre Dame Stadium – South Bend, Indiana
6:30 p.m. on CBS
In its 11th time hosting College Gameday, Notre Dame welcomes Ohio State to South Bend, Indiana for the first time since 1996. Historically, the Buckeyes have dominated this matchup, 5-0, and frankly, it hasn’t even been close. The Fighting Irish haven’t even kept it to a one-score game before, losing by double digits every time.
That stops this week.
Notre Dame’s offense, led by graduate quarterback Sam Hartman, looks for real this year. It ranks 16th in the country in total offense, but the passing game is not the only thing to write home about. Junior running back Audric Estime leads the country in total rushing yards with 521, over a hundred yards above the No. 2 spot. The Fighting Irish are stacked offensively, scoring over 40 points in each game they’ve played this season.
For the Buckeyes, they’ve had a less than impressive start to the season, at least to Ohio State standards. Junior quarterback Kyle McCord has stepped into the starting sport after the departure of C.J. Stroud to the NFL and has been good for the Buckeyes, but that has been against subpar competition.
One consistent theme for Ohio State in all of their games this season is slow starts. Despite multiple blowouts against Western Kentucky and Youngstown State, in every game has there been at least one point where college football fans asked, “Wait, are they seriously struggling against this team?” A slow start will prove fatal against Notre Dame’s offense, especially with the Fighting Irish being No. 3 in the country in passing yards allowed.
Notre Dame will get it done against Ohio State, and will send everyone in Columbus into a spiral, as all powerhouse fans do after a loss.
Prediction: Notre Dame 42, Ohio State 27
No. 19 Colorado @ No. 10 Oregon
Saturday, Sept. 23 – Autzen Stadium – Eugene, Oregon
2:30 p.m. on ABC
Choo choo.
The Deion Sanders’ hype train has officially taken the college football world by storm. After a few upsets, blowouts and near all-out brawls — looking at you Colorado State — The Buffaloes next stop is their most challenging yet.
The Ducks and senior quarterback Bo Nix have put Oregon back into the spotlight, doing nigh-illegal things to Portland State, skirting past Texas Tech and thrashing Hawaii. Oregon’s passing game ranks No. 5 in the country, an impressive feat if its opponent wasn’t No. 2.
To compare this Colorado team to last years is an act of futility. Almost the entire roster has been rebuilt, including the addition of junior quarterback Shadeur Sanders and two-way player Travis Hunter. This team is legitimate, and will contend for the — potentially — last PAC-12 title. They’ll have to do this with at least one loss.
The main factors that give the Ducks the victory are home-field advantage, pass defense and Hunter’s injury.
Colorado has had the comfort of being at home the past two weeks, but it’ll be thrown right into the fire at Autzen Stadium. Oregon boasts one of the loudest stadiums, and this will be the first time the Buffaloes have faced anything like not only this year. Pair that with the most potent passing defense they’ve seen all season — with Oregon coming in No. 15 in passing yards allowed — and you’ve got a tall task for Colorado.
To add insult to injury, Hunter is out for three weeks with a lacerated liver — ouch —, so Oregon will be too much to handle. This loss won’t derail the Deion train, but it will surely slow it down.
Prediction: Oregon 38, Colorado 28

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