Across the Country – Week 6

Alabama Football

**Note: This was a print-only story**

No. 4 Ohio State at No. 16 Northwestern (Ryan Field – Evanston, Ill., 7 p.m. CT, ABC)

Northwestern football has existed since 1876, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a bigger game in school history than the one it plays Saturday against Ohio State. Since 2008, head coach Pat Fitzgerald has transcended the program from a Big Ten doormat into a perennial contender in the conference, with five consecutive bowl appearances, including the school’s first bowl win since 1948 just a year ago. Though the Wildcats are on the rise, the Buckeyes are established. Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller, who threw for four touchdowns and ran for 83 yards in his return from injury last week against Wisconsin, is always a tough matchup for any defense.

No. 15 Washington at No. 5 Stanford (Stanford Stadium – Stanford, Calif., 9:30 p.m. CT, ESPN)

With Oregon rolling early to start the season, some may be quick to write off Stanford, who has grown stronger with each passing game this season. But just behind Stanford is Washington, who has also looked stronger as the season’s progressed. On offense, Washington will need to get production out of running back Bishop Sankey, who leads the nation with over 150 rushing yards per game; on defense, it will add to its team sack total of 13 by getting to Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan, who is protected by what many believe to be the best offensive line in the country this year. The Huskies must win at least one of their next two games to stay alive in the Pac-12 North race – they host Oregon next week.

No. 6 Georgia at Tennessee (Neyland Stadium – Knoxville, Tenn., 2:30 p.m. CT, CBS)

Both teams outlasted their opponent to get a win last week, but both teams weren’t playing the same level of competition. Georgia defeated LSU in a shootout, 44-41, while Tennessee held on to beat South Alabama, 31-24. The Volunteers may be a team on the rise in the near future, but Georgia is a team that can win now. After falling in its season opener against Clemson, the Bulldogs have reeled off two top 10 wins over South Carolina and LSU, respectively. At quarterback, Aaron Murray is currently fourth in the nation in both passer rating and passing yards per game, as the leader of the Bulldogs sixth-ranked total offense. He should have little trouble finding success against a Tennessee pass defense that has allowed the 18th-most passing yards nationally this season.

No. 25 Maryland at No. 8 Florida State (Doak Campbell Stadium – Tallahassee, Fla., 11 a.m. CT, ESPN)

Who is for real? Any lingering doubt between these two teams should be answered for at least one of these teams after this game is settled. Florida State is led by freshman sensation Jameis Winston, who has greatly exceeded expectations thus far, currently standing as the nation’s No. 2-rated passer. But Winston hasn’t faced a team nearly as good as what Maryland has shown this season. The Terrapins, who have already matched last season’s win total at 4-0, could make a case as being the most balanced team in the country right now, scoring 39.8 points per game and allowing just 10.3, defensively. Senior quarterback C.J. Brown is the best quarterback in the country no one has ever heard of and receiver/returner Stefon Diggs is as electrifying as any player in the country. The jury is still out on whether this will be a high-scoring affair or a low-scoring defensive battle.

No. 22 Arizona State vs. Notre Dame (AT&T Stadium – Arlington, Texas, 6:30 p.m. CT, NBC)

Based off last week’s showing, Notre Dame’s matchup against Arizona State could not have come at a worse time. The Fighting Irish gave up 450 yards to Oklahoma, and now face an Arizona State offense that put up over 600 yards last week against USC. That, and the fact that quarterback Tommy Rees had yet another cause-for-concern performance for Notre Dame. Sun Devils quarterback Taylor Kelly has just about been the polar opposite of Rees, with at least 300 yards passing in all four games Arizona State has played this season. The play of the two quarterbacks should dictate the way the game turns out.

No. 24 Ole Miss at Auburn (Jordan-Hare Stadium – Auburn, Ala., 6 p.m. CT, ESPNU)

Just a week ago, Ole Miss was a trendy pick to knock off top-ranked Alabama. But after getting shutout 25-0 by the Crimson Tide, Ole Miss must now move past all the doubt against a much more competitive Auburn team this year. Both teams employ a hurry-up offense that should see a significant amount of more points scored for Bo Wallace and company compared to last week’s showing. The keys for the Rebels are to take away Auburn’s formidable rushing attack of Tre Mason, Corey Grant and Cameron Artis-Payne and force first-year starting quarterback Nick Marshall to try and beat them with his arm.

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