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Keep an eye on local Tony Jones in the Notre Dame-Georgia showdown

More national college football: Jimbo Fisher, meanwhile, should be hyper focused on his quarterback, who hasn’t looked all that spiffy this season. Plus staff predictions.
Notre Dame running back Tony Jones Jr. (6) runs through a hole in the line during the first half against Louisville on Sept. 2. [TIMOTHY D. EASLEY  |  AP]
Notre Dame running back Tony Jones Jr. (6) runs through a hole in the line during the first half against Louisville on Sept. 2. [TIMOTHY D. EASLEY | AP]
Published Sep. 20, 2019
Updated Sep. 20, 2019

Local of the week

Notre Dame running back Tony Jones (St. Pete Catholic)

There is, rightfully, plenty of attention on Georgia’s backfield, but don’t ignore the one on the other sideline. Jones, a St. Petersburg native who finished his high school career at IMG Academy, rushed for 110 yards in the Irish’s season-opening win over Louisville and will likely need a big performance to crack the Bulldogs.

GameDay breakdown

Although Notre Dame has double-digit wins in four of the past seven seasons, the Irish haven’t been able to compete against elite talent. Notre Dame is 0-4 against top-five teams under Brian Kelly. Given how well Kirby Smart has recruited at Georgia and the intense environment expected in Athens, it’s hard to see Kelly finally getting his marquee victory.

RELATED: Georgia football’s rise comes at the expense of Florida, in more ways than one

Harbaugh’s Alabama hire

No. 11 Michigan was supposed to spruce up its offense by hiring coordinator Josh Gattis away from Alabama. The Wolverines are still waiting for those points. Gattis’ offense ranks No. 98 nationally in yards per play and is 74th in the advanced metric SP+. And that’s before facing No. 13 Wisconsin, which shut out USF and Jim McElwain’s Chippewas in its first two games.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: The Jim Harbaugh Effect: More sizzle than steak?

Second-generation Nix

Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher calls plays against Lamar during the second on Sept. 14. [SAM CRAFT | AP]

Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher should know all about Auburn quarterback Bo Nix. Two decades ago, Fisher was the quarterbacks coach for Nix’s dad, Patrick, who started for the Tigers in 1994-95. The connection is cool, but Fisher needs to focus on his own quarterback. Kellen Mond has been mediocre (No. 63 nationally in passing efficiency) after a breakout sophomore season and will be challenged by one of the country’s best defensive lines.

Week 4: By the numbers

16 — Average fourth-quarter points allowed per game by FSU. Only Texas, Colorado State and Troy are giving up more

299 — FSU wins at Doak Campbell Stadium

221.50 — Passing efficiency for Samford quarterback Chris Oladokun, a USF transfer and Sickles High alumnus. That’s No. 2 in Division I-AA.

5 — Consecutive times Oklahoma State has beaten Texas in Austin

4.21 — Yards per play for Florida Atlantic and supposed offensive genius Lane Kiffin. That’s second-to-last nationally

4.11 — Yards per play for UCLA and supposed offensive genius Chip Kelly. That’s last nationally.

Tampa Bay Times staff predictions for week 4

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  1. Auburn center Austin Wiley guards Florida forward Omar Payne during the first half of their game on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in Gainesville. Payne, a freshman out of Montverde Academy, finishes with a career-high 19 points and 11 rebounds for his first double double in college. [MATT STAMEY  |  AP]
    Freshman Omar Payne has a career-high 19 points and 11 rebounds as UF earns its most impressive victory of the season.
  2. Florida's Keyontae Johnson, shown here scoring against Arkansas in last season's SEC tournament, is averaging 13 points and 6.8 rebounds this season. [MARK HUMPHREY  |  AP]
    UF looks for an elite win Saturday at home, where it has won five in row, to help strengthen its NCAA Tournament resume.
  3. Florida guard Andrew Nembhard shoots over Mississippi guard Devontae Shuler during their game Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, in Gainesville. [BRAD MCCLENNY  |  AP]
    Coach Mike White says his point guard missed practice Thursday and Friday. If he’s out, freshmen Tre Mann or Ques Glover likely will start Saturday.
  4. Todd Monken spent two seasons in Tampa Bay, the last as offensive coordinator, before being dismissed along with the rest of head coach Dirk Koetter's staff after the 2018 season.
    Tampa Bay’s former play-caller will be designing game plans for the Bulldogs against the Florida Gators next season.
  5. Florida Gators wide receiver Antonio Callaway (81) runs the ball during the Outback Bowl in January at Raymond James Stadium. (Times file)
    Antonio Callaway was a talented but troubled player for the Gators who didn’t last two seasons with the Cleveland Browns.
  6. Florida receiver Josh Hammond (18) on the field during practice for the East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field on Monday. [DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    Plus Plant High product Jake Fruhmorgen’s journey from Clemson to UF to Baylor to the East-West Shrine Game.
  7. From left, Florida's Andrew Nembhard, Kerry Blackshear and Noah Locke are key parts of a team that has had its ups and downs this season. Tuesday's rout of Mississippi gets the Gators back on track. [WILFREDO LEE  |  AP]
    UF rebounds from a bad loss in Missouri with a big home victory.
  8. Florida Gators quarterback Feleipe Franks (13) gets emotional after scoring a touchdown during the fourth quarter against Miami in the season opener. [ALLIE GOULDING  |  Times]
    The Florida Gators finished about where I thought. But about Willie Taggart’s job security ...
  9. LSU quarterback Joe Burrow holds the trophy after their win against Clemson in a NCAA College Football Playoff national championship game Monday, Jan. 13, 2020, in New Orleans. LSU won 42-25. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) [DAVID J. PHILLIP  |  AP]
    The Heisman Trophy winner becomes the first Division I-A quarterback to throw 60 touchdowns in a season.
  10. LSU tight end Thaddeus Moss celebrates after scoring during the first half of Monday night's national championship game against Clemson in New Orleans. [DAVID J. PHILLIP  |  AP]
    LSU, of course, finished No. 1. But where did Matt Baker put the Florida Gators and UCF Knights?