Free College Football Picks Week 6

October 6, 2012


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*AIR FORCE over NAVY by 12

Navy has revenge for an infuriating, referee-aided overtime home loss last season. But being shut out at home by San Jose State is no way to get ready for Air Force. Navy’s coaching staff told the world they were recruiting higher-caliber athletes…so, they are no doubt updating their resumes these days as their bluff has been exposed. When Navy’s triple-option attack gets only 1.8 yards per rush (last Saturday), it’s time for a court-martial! AIR FORCE, 25-13.

Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio is a happy man this week. Because they’re playing the Indiana softie defense, he and his staff can revert to not thinking too hard during the week for their paychecks, and skip having a real offensive game plan — again. ‘Hey, we can run LeVeon Bell left, right and up the middle for big yards! Life is good!’ They also may get to face Indiana’s #3 quarterback. MICHIGAN STATE, 24-7


Both sides are relatively balanced and can move the ball and score points against soft defenses, which they each have. Northern Illinois’ defense is a bit more takeaway-oriented and although they have allowed big rushing totals, the per carry yield of 4.1 isn’t bad. Their defense also tends to get into the backfield more than Ball State’s. But when they don’t make the tackle, they give up the big gain. BALL STATE, 41-39.


After 60-minute knockdown-dragouts against Northern Illinois and Wake Forest, Army wasn’t up for playing Stony Brook, who out-Armyed Army by running tailbacks Miguel Maysonet and Marcus Coker 52 times for 273 yards against them last Saturday? Probably not. And if the name Marcus Coker sounds familiar, yeah, it’s the kid who scored 15 touchdowns for Iowa two years ago. The teams that have beaten Boston College this season have a combined record of 13-2. Army is 0-4. But that doesn’t mean much. Boston College is 0-3 ATS and might not beat Stony Brook. BOSTON COLLEGE, 24-20.


Remember something about Akron, a team that was “competitive” at Florida International and Tennessee, but didn’t cover the spread that was “bet down” in half vs. Miami- OH last week: Those non-conference opponents weren’t necessarily game-planning for Akron. They were more like scrimmages. MAC foes will take them seriously, and they probably have the worst collection of talent in the MAC. BOWLING GREEN, 31-24.


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Miami-OH is a lousy rushing team and if their QB Zac Dysert puts the ball in the air 49 times like he did against Akron last Saturday, he would figure to be intercepted at least 3 times. First hunch is that the Bearcats would figure to make Miami-OH think twice about committing to this series, but Cincinnati’s own offense is kind of hit-and-miss and not very polished. CINCINNATI, 29-10.


Georgia Tech’s defense allowed 42 points playing down in class at Middle Tennessee last Saturday and will now be known as the Al Groh Clown Show. Everybody knows that Clemson can move the ball and score points, but their defense doesn’t make too many stops and Georgia Tech’s offense is due to wake up. Now that Tech is taking scores instead of laying them, it would be no surprise if they find a way to cash the ticket. CLEMSON, 34-26.

*DUKE over VIRGINIA by 3

We won an official pick against Virginia with Louisiana Tech last week when Louisiana Tech was bringing an up-tempo passing attack to the Cavs’ table. Why should we like Virginia this week, when they are the guest at another opponent’s up-tempo passing attack? Duke’s defense has pesky pass pickers like La. Tech’s, so UVa’s underwhelming QB Mike Rocco is almost as likely to implode. Duke’s #1 QB Sean Renfree didn’t finish the win at Wake last Saturday after an injury to his throwing elbow, but the Virginia defense is way down near the very bottom of college football in tackles for loss. DUKE, 27-24.

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Temple was supposed to be better than last in the Big East in total offense (276 ypg), passing offense (121 ypg), first downs (12.3)) and third-down conversions (32.5%). Also, next to last in time of possession (26:37 per game). Has Temple head coach Steve Addazio been sandbagging non-conference season, perhaps ready to put some better players out there to take the Big East by storm? He had a bye week to re-shuffle the deck while USF was tackling Florida State home, a game to which the Bulls couldn’t help but devote a lot of attention and energy. TEMPLE, 20-19.



You had to like the way Northwestern’s defense rattled the pocket passer on Indiana last Saturday, which, if repeated, would mess with the success that Penn State QB Matt McGloin has been having. Penn State has been riding the Turnover Train this season: +4 in Turnover Margin vs. Virginia and Navy, +1 vs. Temple, +3 vs. Illinois. When the Turnover Train comes to a stop, it’s usually like one of those sudden, emergency brake pull situations when everybody and everything on board falls this way and that way in a complete disruption. Which is what playing against Northwestern’s offense often does to an opposing defense, anyway. Penn State’s Mr. ‘I’m From the NFL’ head coach has a preparation nightmare against two different Northwestern offensive packages for two different quarterbacks, which has been working out well enough for the Wildcats to have set a school record for single-game yardage last Saturday. NORTHWESTERN, 24-17.

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When the coach of a lousy program like Eastern Michigan’s comes in and wins a few more games each year than the one or two they usually won before him, they say he’s starting to turn the program around when he actually isn’t. Ron English’s Eastern Michigan team hasn’t improved in the passing game and their run defense appears to be regressing, as it ranks next to Rice’s around the bottom of the list. Although Kent State allowed 42 points to Ball State, they do have a good defense. It’s all relative. Kent State is usually overmatched in the passing game against anyone they play, but that isn’t the case here. Like we’ve said a few times in other match-ups in recent weeks, if you want to win on the road, bring a good defense and a good running attack with you. Kent State has both, and it’s a bonus that EMU is netting less than 300 yards per game on offense. Yes, they played Big Ten defenses, but ‘vanilla’ Big Ten defenses. KENT STATE, 24-9.


How do you feel about a UConn offense that had to run its over-used running back 29 times while down in class to beat Buffalo, by less than the spread, and the back didn’t even gain 100 yards? Do you give them credit for using bare-bones resources and expect them to open up the arsenal now that conference season is here? Or, do you figure that they ain’t got nothin’ else? Unlike UConn, Rutgers allowed their QBs Nova and Dodd to settle the question of #1 by opening the playbook and suffering a little, and it appears to have paid dividends now that Nova has earned the job. RUTGERS, 24-13.

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Wouldn’t touch NC State with a 10-foot pole. These cheeseballs had that over-the-top turnover season last year, and now, when they don’t get them, the defense couldn’t stop a beach ball on a calm afternoon. Oh, and now it’s them making the turnovers, like being –5 vs. Miami-FL last Saturday, and -3 vs. Tennessee earlier. They look big boys in the eye and cry. Wouldn’t give two cents toward their revenge angle for last season’s 34-0 loss at FSU. FLORIDA STATE, 48-30.


We don’t like sandbaggers around here (unless we know they’re doing it all along), so after UMass pulled a 503-yard offensive performance out of thin air vs. Ohio in the MAC opener, worst wishes go their way for the rest of the season. Western Michigan’s #2 QB tossed 3 INTs and the team was –4 in TO Ratio in the lopsided home loss to Toledo last Saturday, so everyone who likes them is hoping that Alex Carder is back in the saddle for the Broncos in this game. WESTERN MICHIGAN, 27-11.


Missouri’s offense took a while to get untracked last week because one of their former QBs spent two weeks with the UCF coaches and defense reviewing the Missouri playbook. James Franklin, Vandy head coach, is no dummy. With two weeks to prepare and UCF tape as their teacher, Vandy should also make Missouri’s offense look sluggish with James Franklin, Missouri quarterback, not 100% healthy. MISSOURI, 19-9.


Anyone coming off a big win against Arkansas can’t be taken too seriously because Arkansas is so bad and makes some teams look better than they really are. Anyone coming off a game that was closer than expected against Alabama can’t be taken too seriously because Alabama’s “C” game makes some teams look better than they are. TEXAS A&M, 37-26.


Virginia Tech is now 4-12-1 ATS since the beginning of last season. But, Virginia Tech will probably win the ACC, or at least their division of it, right? Still, their offense is so bad that eventually, a Cincinnati hack passer who was 19-for-42 against their defense eventually flung enough junk on the wall that stuck. UNC quarterback Bryn Renner has had way too easy a time long-balling it lately and will face much tighter coverage against much more pressure. VIRGINIA TECH, 21-20.

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It’s the first time Washington will play against an opposing offense that will test the Huskies’ defensive edge on a unit with six freshmen. First-season defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox has been DC against Oregon twice: first, for Boise State in 2009 when his side was home on the blue turf. Boise had a very solid offensive line and all off-season to prepare, and his offensive pals hogged the football for an 89-59 snap edge in a 19-8 season opener win for Boise. The following season, at Tennessee, despite that prior experience, he watched Oregon’s offense roll for 45 straight points with 202-245 Run-Pass balance on SEC grass. Washington RB Bishop Sankey was a blessed sacrament against Cardinal Defense, but his grace period could be over if Oregon gets a lead, at which time a Huskies backer would have to worry about the sins — six sacks, two INTs and a lost fumble by QB Keith Price – committed by the Huskies in last season’s loss being repeated. Price – kind of brittle — hasn’t been as productive in 2012 as he was last season. “Just imagine if we had an offensive line,” said one program insider to the media. OREGON, 55-17.


Spurrier can coach circles around UGa’s Mark Richt, and his defense, via the extraordinary rush ends, can make Georgia QB Aaron Murray do bad things like throw a pick-6, as he did against Tennessee when there wasn’t much pressure on the play. Against this defense, South Carolina’s running game won’t flow as well as it has been this season, and the Georgia defense hits hard enough so that Gamecocks’ QB Connor Shaw is yet another one solid hit away from being a spectator. SOUTH CAROLINA, 19-16.


“Wow, Geno Smith for Heisman!” Yeah, that’s real easy and predictable for people to say after a quarterback throws for 656 yards against the Baylor D. His team didn’t cover the spread, did it? Heisman, Schmeisman, the spread is what it’s all about, rube! If you want to win on the road, then run successfully (here, against a good home defense) and bring along a defense that can make some stops. West Virginia doesn’t have the clear-cut first requirement, and definitely doesn’t have the second. TEXAS, 41-33.

*TCU over IOWA STATE by 11

Every other offensive or special teams play is a bobble with these teams. TCU’s defense is holding up its end of the bargain during the offense’s stinko period, which had rain to blame last week but nothing to blame in prior mistake-filled efforts. The injury to RB Wayman James wasn’t supposed to hurt them because they were supposedly “loaded” in the backfield. Iowa State QB Steele Jantz is such a team-killing turnover maker that they couldn’t come close to winning a home game in which their own defense returned an INT for a touchdown. TCU, 27-16.


Players who play for first-season coaching staffs need to buy into the new way of doing things for the transition to go well. It appears as if Illinois players have opted out of the Tim Beckman Experience. This team was going to go as far as its defensive line could carry it, and the limit is now looking like “Week 1 against Western Michigan.” Wisconsin’s o-line has underachieved. So has the quarterback position. But Illinois could be everyone’s wake-up call in the Big Ten this season. WISCONSIN, 24-6.

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Will the K-State kids come out flatski off the byeski after spending two weeks basking in the post-Oklahoma glow? First-season head coaches like Kansas’ Charlie Weis aren’t asked for much – just compete hard and don’t get embarrassed in the rivalry game (which was 59-21, K-State last season at KU). KANSAS STATE, 34-14.



The Mora gang travels for the second straight week. Cal’s quarterback Zach Maynard threw 4 interceptions to the Bruins in last season’s 31-14 loss at the Rose Bowl. Are you surprised? No! UCLA began three scoring “drives,” if you want to call them that, on the Cal 15- or 20-yard-line. After the Bruins were accidentally propelled to the lead, they muscled up and ran the ball to protect it. Not even Maynard can present the Bruins the gift of a field so tilted again, right? Maybe the UCLA QB Brett Hundley can play lousy like Maynard often does. Says his offensive coordinator: “He’s still raw, and he just hasn’t played enough football to make judgments.” If Maynard kills the bet, we promise: No more Cals. CALIFORNIA, 27-20.


Regarding the Razorbacks, in the immortal words of hoopster Micheal Ray Richardson: Ship be sinkin! How many players will be mentally opting out of the John “L.” Smith traveling horror show? Auburn’s staff and players smell the blood in the water. On paper, you’re supposed to take the passing Arkansas dog against the weak-passing Auburn favorite and expect back-door point-spread coverage at worst. But some underdogs render these advantageous angles useless. Maybe John L. is trying to get out of bankruptcy by bettin’ the other side? If he is, he’s 4-0 ATS so far, well on his way back into the black! AUBURN, 32-20.


After QB Denard Robinson and RB Fitzgerald Toussaint helped gash Purdue’s defense for 339 rushing yards in last season’s 36-14 win, head coach Brady Hoke said, “”Playing defense and then running the football and being able to knock people off the line of scrimmage — that, in my mind, is what Michigan football is.” Losing coach Danny Hope said, “They did a great job of forcing our running attack inside. We just weren’t physical enough.” MICHIGAN, 24-19.

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It’s Homecoming Day for Nevada! Everyone in Reno is revved up for the return of all their ol’ buddies so they can go out and support their conquering hero Wolfpackers, coming home off two road wins. Good times, good times. But packing them into Mackay Stadium means, what, 25,000 people? And Wyoming won’t be uncomfortable with the elevation – they’re coming down from 7,000 feet altitude in Laramie. The Cowboys have the Mountain West’s Freshman of the Year Quarterback Brett Smith back in the saddle. Smith’s completion percentage of 64.8% and YPA of 10.7 are both improved upon last season. They had a bye week to help their shaky run defense better cope with Nevada’s Pistol attack, an offense that Wyoming head coach Dave Christensen ran for a decade when he was offensive coordinator at Missouri, and for a short time here. Christensen’s defensive coordinator Chris Tormey was fired as Nevada head coach nine years ago by then-athletic director, now AD/head coach Chris Ault. If the visitors put it all together, there can be a lot of sour faces at the Sunday pancake social. WYOMING, 39-38.

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New Mexico State QB Andrew Manley has not been playing like a Manley man lately, but Idaho’s secondary – which has allowed more 20+ yards pass plays than anyone in the nation – could help give him a bounce-back game. New Mexico State’s defense has only 5 sacks in five games, so Idaho should get back on the board a handful of times after the shutout loss at North Carolina, which they can write off as a business expense. IDAHO, 38-31.


Stanford scores are looking quite different than they did when Andrew Luck played quarterback for the Cardinal, aren’t they? Three times, they’ve scored 21 or fewer. Only 235 offensive yards against Washington’s defensive bowling pins. Four times, their defense has allowed 17 or fewer. They just lost outright as the favorite at Washington despite scoring a defensive touchdown – not a good sign! They’re a plodding pro-style team trying to defend a collegiate offense (unlike the wins against the pro-style offenses of Duke, USC and San Jose State) and probably shouldn’t be trusted as the favorite in such a situation. STANFORD, 28-20.


The Oklahoma D is not getting into the opposing offense’s backfield much and they’ve intercepted only one pass in three games. Texas Tech’s D is the most improved in the nation, statistically, and intercepted the Iowa State quarterback three times last Saturday. Oklahoma has revenge for a 41-38 loss last season in which their defense was very banged-up and Tech QB Seth Doege picked them apart. This time, they’re healthy off a bye week, but not without question marks on both sides of the ball. OKLAHOMA, 24-21.


Toledo went to Central Michigan and picked CMU’s #2 quarterback three times. CMU’s Ryan “Raudabaugh” Radcliff threw only one interception last Saturday vs. Northern Illinois and has drastically cut down on the picks. But after Northern Illinois gang-rushed Central Michigan for 407 yards (7.4 per carry), you’d have to worry about what Toledo’s David Fluellen can do to CMU after he gained 213 yards in 21 carries at Western Michigan. TOLEDO, 37-27.


Southern Miss doesn’t have anything close to its passing game of recent seasons, but their rushing splits are similar to the Michigan State team that used only the basics to beat Boise State in the opener: 42-146 to 41-176. Boise State can be controlled by an opposing rushing attack that stays away from throwing a pick-pick here and a pick-pick there against Boise’s sticky-fingered secondary in their 4-2-5 defensive alignment. Put Boise’s offense on a long field and they don’t do much damage these days. BOISE STATE, 17-10.

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*MEMPHIS over RICE by 6

While Rice is off a targeted rivalry game at Reliant Stadium vs. crosstown rival Houston (failing miserably) Memphis is off a bye, has revenge for a 28-6 loss at Rice last season, and they might have the better defense despite allowing 487 yards per game (Rice’s F&F defense – fatigue and frustration — allows 500+). Give Memphis some credit for muscling it up and rushing for 40 more yards per game this season vs. a year ago (124 vs. 84). If Rice quarterback Taylor McHargue is still hurting, opponents will stack the box against his raw replacement Driphus Jackson and make Rice’s offense less efficient than it already was with McHargue. MEMPHIS, 26-20.


Even as Maryland head coach Randy Edsall was intentionally ruining last season to point for this season, the Terps’ offense gained 415 yards in only 23:15 of clock time against Wake in a 31-10 road loss. They missed two field goals and failed to convert two red-zone fourth downs, so the game wasn’t lopsided at all. Competent home team, with revenge, off a bye week. Remember something was telling us to avoid taking loser Boston College vs. Clemson in that situation? Not getting the same vibe here. MARYLAND, 31-24.

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If you want to win impressively on the road, then bring a good running game and a good defense with you. Check, and check for Mississippi State. Their bye week doesn’t mean much. We like them more for the unimpressive wins against Troy and South Alabama that followed their long-awaited win against Auburn. That stretch was tinker time! Returning to SEC play should be ‘go time.’ Kentucky quarterback Maxwell Smith was 26-for-33 passing in last year’s home loss to the Bulldogs. Kentucky quarterback Maxwell Smith was 1-for-1 last week against South Carolina before leaving with an ankle injury, when he already had a bad shoulder and had missed the week before. So, it appears that Maxwell’s hammer won’t be coming down on the head of Misssissippi State, and that Kentucky might have to expose 44%, 4.8 ypa freshman Jalen Whitlow to a defense that won’t treat him like a curiosity as South Carolina’s monsters did last week. Either way: MISSISSIPPI STATE, 33-6.


Not gonna stand in Oregon State’s way much this season. As we have stated, last year was the season of stinking while they were pointing to this season. They are probably better at run defense than pass defense, so pass-happy Washington State is in there with a slap-fighter’s chance against the physical Beavers, a chance we’re in no hurry to take. QB Sean Mannion makes OSU head coach Mike Riley look smarter every day for helping to rid them of Ryan Big Stiff Katz. OREGON STATE, 41-28.


After winning while up in class against Houston, Illinois and Virginia, and with this game not a conference game, our pet September team, the La. Techies, are a bit of a bloated flounder that may not be as ravenous as it oughta be come bottom-feeding time. But we certainly wouldn’t be surprised if the Air Raid Boys hung 60+ on the less-than-common defensive players on the visitors. LOUISIANA TECH, 58-27.


Like we said about Marshall a few weeks ago, it’s just not as easy as the Blundering Herd’s coaches yelling, “Stop making bad mistakes, you idiots!” Two INTs returned for TDs against QB Rakeem Cato put first-half nails in the coffin in the game at Purdue they weren’t supposed to have a chance to win, but might have. It didn’t kill them, so it should make them stronger for this next outing. However, Tulsa’s defense just recorded 78 sack yards against UAB’s quarterback, leads the nation in sacks, and Marshall has just as lousy a running game as UAB had. TULSA, 37-34.

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(at Chicago)

Transitioning from two weeks of football against the Al Groh Clown Show and NC State’s fake defense, the Hurricanes’ offense, which has also enjoyed putting up big points against Boston College’s defensive statues, seems like it would be lucky to get to 17 points against what has been a solid Irish defense. NOTRE DAME, 27-17.

*OHIO over BUFFALO by 10

Ohio needed to run one player – Beau Blankenship – 43 times to eke past UMass last Saturday. Is Frank Solich really Mark Dantonio of Michigan State or Paul Pasqualoni of UConn in a Frank Solich costume? Dude better have more up his sleeve than that if he wants to contend for the MAC East title, because Ohio’s defense just made a prep school passer look like Andrew Luck, and Buffalo beat the Bobcats last season. A kid Buffalo has been saving – RB Branden Oliver – gained 179 yards and scored 3 TDs vs. Ohio in that game. OHIO, 31-21.


Nebraska’s defense must stop an opposing quarterback who runs, which they rarely do, and a couple of other quality backs who have a softer front to dent – with lack of experience in the linebackers — than Michigan State’s, which OSU dented well enough. Respect Nebraska’s 7.0+ yards per play on offense so far. OHIO STATE, 27-23.


Norm Chow – Mr. Collegiate Football Pass Doctor of All Time – is converting Hawaii to a pro-style offense, which is nonsensical. The Yards Per Attempt numbers are at near-bottom college level 5.0, which is way down from the 9.0 range of the June Jones era, and the 8.0 range under Greg McMackin, Ugh. Ryan Big Stiff Katz tossed 3 INTs in only 23 attempts for San Diego State last Saturday. Ugh. SAN DIEGO STATE, 31-10.


Against the one opponent out of five that could really throw the ball well, Colorado State gave up 429 passing yards at 11.9 per attempt to San Jose State. Here come Fresno’s QB Derek Carr, completing 69% of his throws for 8.2 ypa and 14-3 TD-INT. Uh-oh. FRESNO STATE, 41-24.

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*FLORIDA over LSU by 1

Auburn’s defense doesn’t excite many people, but it held LSU to 10 offensive points in Baton Rouge a couple of weeks ago. Florida’s defense is probably better than Auburn’s, right? Which one of the first-season starting quarterbacks makes the worst mistake, LSU’s Mettenberger or Florida’s Driskell? FLORIDA, 17-16.



Lobo, or Pogo? ‘We have seen the enemy, and he is us,’ is what New Mexico head coach Bob Davie will say after studying game-tape of Dennis Franchione’s Texas State team that incorporates plenty of option in its offensive attack and has been doing it longer than New Mexico has been doing its own triple-option. If you can’t hurt Texas State through the air – like Texas Tech QB Seth Doege did when he threw 5 TD passes against them and like Nevada’s QB Cody Fajardo did last week when he threw 3 TD passes against a defense that has allowed 325 passing yards per game, then you probably can’t hurt Texas State too much. New Mexico is completing only 8 passes per game for 59 yards, and is not about to change identity and ramp up a passing attack that doesn’t exist. As it is, their 78% rushing attack is squeezing out only 61 plays per game. TEXAS STATE, 27-20.

*UTEP over SMU by 3

Garrett Gilbert, the SMU quarterback we like to trash, was 15-for-40 last Saturday with 5 INTs. Rain was an excuse, you say? Well, he can play poorly in any weather. UTEP QB Nick Lamaison, 6-for-23 against Oklahoma and 9-for-27 against East Carolina last Saturday, is on hand to make Gilbert feel better about himself. UTEP RB Nathan Jeffrey is back in business and should do a nice job against SMU’s D, but be aware that UTEP’s starting safety, the defensive captain, is out for the season. UTEP, 23-20.


If the first-season head coach of Tulane was hired to “turn the program around,” he’s doing a good job of going from bad to worse. Maybe they’ll sneak the team’s real quarterback Ryan Griffin into this game, instead of one of the kids who isn’t ready and who tossed two pick-6s against UL-Monroe last Saturday to help expedite another New Orleans-style burial. ULL has two game-ready quarterbacks, as if Tulane’s beleaguered defense needed any unusual obstacles to preparation. LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE, 37-13.


Last year’s game started like this: The Monrovians run the opening kickoff back 59 yards, start first drive on the Middle Tennesse 38-yard-line, score a touchdown. They kick off, and MTS loses a fumble on their third play. UL-M takes over at midfield, scores a TD. They kick off, and MTS throws an interception on their first play. UL-M takes over at midfield, scores a TD. It’s 21-0 and MTS has had only four offensive snaps. They go 3-and-out on their next series. UL-M gets the ball back and throws a 50-yard TD pass to make it 28-0. Middle Tennessee then goes 3-and-out. UL-M gets the ball back and a guy runs 41 yards for a TD to make the score 35-0. If they’d stopped it and started over – which is essentially what this re-hook is – Louisiana lightning couldn’t have struck twice like that. MIDDLE TENNESSEE, 31-30.



[North Texas, plus the points.] Houston’s 35-14 rivalry win against Rice last Saturday was not close to being as impressive as the scoreboard might suggest. Their suspect defense was able to stack the box and play aggressively against Rice’s back-up quarterback who isn’t ready to make the best decisions or get the ball downfield. The North Texas offensive line sees an opportunity here to go hit some south Texas boys in the mouth, pushin’ ’em back and eatin’ up yards and clock. Houston’s offense isn’t separating from opponents early in games this season, which allows viable opposing rushing attacks to operate productively instead of being abandoned for desperate displays of lousy passing in an attempt to keep up. UNT quarterback Derek Thompson played all the way in last season’s 48-23 loss to Houston – a 20-17 game at the half — and should be better for the experience. HOUSTON, 29-28.

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