College Football Picks Week 4: Defenses That Will Engulf Opponents
You know what they say, "Defense wins...games in Week 4 of the 2012-2013 college football season."
There are several intriguing games on the slate this week, including a couple of conference showdowns that will highlight two rugged defenses.
While scoring points is always exciting, dominant defenses have a way of turning the tide on the battlefield.
Here's a look at three defenses I see engulfing their opponents in Week 4.
Note: I tried to highlight games I thought would be relatively close. Thus, LSU at Auburn is not included (sorry, Tigers fans).
No. 24 Boise State (vs BYU)
I know, I know what you're thinking..."But, but, Boise State gave up 210 rushing yards and two touchdowns against Michigan State's Le'Veon Bell in Week 1, you uninformed swine!"
Yes, but name-calling aside, Boise State also gave up 17 points to Michigan State, then went on to allow just 12 points against Miami (OH).
That's because the pass defense has been solid.
Michigan State quarterback Andrew Maxwell averaged 6.5 yards per attempt and threw three interceptions against the Broncos. RedHawks quarterback Zac Dysert averaged 6.5 yards per attempt as well, with no touchdowns.
Beyond that, BYU's offensive line has struggled lately, giving up four sacks in the 24-21 loss to Utah last week.
No. 4 Florida State (vs No. 10 Clemson)
Florida State's defense has been dominant so far.
Albeit against lesser opponents, the Seminoles have allowed just three points while scoring a combined 176 in their first three games. They've shut out their last two opponents, Savannah State and Wake Forest.
Overall, the defense has combined for 26 tackles for loss, 11 sacks (including 6.5 sacks by junior defensive end Bjoern Werner), seven QB hurries and two forced fumbles, per CFBStats.com.
I know Clemson has an electric offense behind quarterback Tajh Boyd, running back Andre Ellington and receivers Sammy Watkins and DeAndre Hopkins, but the Tigers' offensive line hasn't seen a defensive front like this yet.
Florida State's defense is crazy fast and I think it will disrupt the Clemson offense, particularly the passing game.
No. 11 Notre Dame (vs No. 18 Michigan)
Last but not least, we have Notre Dame hosting Denard Robinson and Michigan.
We all know what Robinson can do on the football field, but he's a completely different player against tough run defenses who force him to throw the ball. We saw that against Alabama, but we knew about it from last season.
Against Michigan State's dominant run defense last season, Robinson was contained on the ground (18 carries, 42 yards). It resulted in him going 9-of-24 while averaging 5.1 yards per attempt.
Against Illinois, which allowed 3.3 yards per carry last season, Robinson ran for 30 yards on 12 carries. He passed for 92 yards, throwing an interception along the way.
Against Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl, he rushed for just 13 yards on 13 carries. He went 9-of-21 for 117 yards and two touchdowns to one interception.
The star of that game wasn't Robinson; it was the Michigan defense.
Get my drift?
Which game are you most excited to watch?
When you are able to contain Robinson on the ground, you force him to air it out, which is not his strong suit.
Notre Dame has allowed 3.0 yards per carry and zero rushing touchdowns this season, led by inside linebacker Manti Te'o.
The defense just held Michigan State quarterback Andrew Maxwell to 187 passing yards (4.2 yards per attempt), while allowing Le'Veon Bell to rush for just 77 yards and no touchdowns on 19 carries.
Notre Dame's defense will prevail over Denard Robinson and Co.
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