Games to Watch for Week 9

Steve Helwick

  • No. 8 Wisconsin vs. Northwestern
  • Saturday – 11 a.m. – ABC

The two Big Ten West teams combine to allow 36.7 points per game on defense, so expect a low-scoring struggle similar to last year’s 13-7 Wildcat victory. 

Northwestern is 4-4, but with losses to powers such as Ohio State, Nebraska and undefeated Western Michigan. The Wildcats nearly upset the Buckeyes in Columbus last Saturday and looks to take down the Badgers in Evanston. 

Wisconsin overcame injured linebackers and special teams miscues to hand Nebraska its first loss last weekend. To beat Northwestern, the Badgers will have to establish an offense co-led by senior running backs Dare Ogunbowale and Corey Clement.

No. 11 Florida vs. Arkansas

  • Saturday – 2:30 p.m. – CBS

Florida is quietly 6-1, but the Gators have only defeated one team with a winning-record—Kentucky.

Arkansas will host the SEC East favorites in Fayetteville, looking to forget its 56-3 loss to Auburn last outing. The Razorbacks have succeeded in close games this year, surging in the fourth quarter to beat Louisiana Tech, TCU and Ole Miss. 

Junior quarterback Austin Allen has thrown for over 2,000 yards this year but will face the second-ranked passing defense in the nation. Florida’s star junior cornerback Teez Tabor has feasted on quarterbacks all season, earning four interceptions in only five games. Florida needs a quality victory, and stopping Arkansas with a suffocating defense could provide that.

No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 13 LSU

  • Saturday – 7 p.m. – CBS

The rivalry between the SEC foes has been one-sided recently. Including the 2011 BCS National Championship, Alabama has won five straight, and usually succeeds in Death Valley. 

The Crimson Tide own a 26-9-2 record as visitors in the series, and look as strong as ever in 2016. Senior defensive end Jonathan Allen leads the defense that has tallied 12 non-offensive touchdowns this season. 

LSU counters with junior running back Leonard Fournette, a physical back with a gift for trucking defenders. Against Ole Miss, Fournette rushed for 284 yards and three touchdowns on only 16 carries. Alabama owns an FBS-best 20-game win streak, which the Tigers have the chance to suppress.

No. 10 Nebraska vs. No. 6 Ohio State

  • Saturday – 7 p.m. – ABC

It took an overtime period to knock off Nebraska and a blocked field goal return to knock off Ohio State. 

This top-10 matchup features two one-loss programs, fighting to stay alive for playoff consideration. 

Ohio State’s offense has fallen off lately, scoring only 45 combined points in its last two contests. Both defensive units remain stellar, giving up under 20 points per game apiece. 

The Buckeyes are led by sophomore free safety Malik Hooker. Hooker had a career-high 14 tackles last week but has also made his presence known in the secondary with four interceptions in 2016. 

Nebraska senior quarterback Tommy Armstrong will have to carve up the Ohio State defense through the air and ground for the Cornhuskers to jump to 8-1.