JIMMY THE GREEK SAYS - WEEK 14


#1

(10) Penn St -39.5 over Rutgers:
In a clash that was virtually a must game to win in order to have any shot at the CFB playoff, Penn St (9-2 6-2) gave a valiant effort but fell short against top ranked Ohio St 28-17 last week at the shoe. JK Dobbins (36-157 4.4 2 TD) braved the elements and scored both of his TD in the first quarter and Josh Fields (16/22 188 2 TD) was efficient throwing for 2 more scores despite the Buckeyes committing 4 turnovers, 2 lost fumbles each by the aforementioned. Sean Clifford (10/17 71) was sacked 6 times and virtually a non-factor struggling to move the Nittanies downfield, while PSU was held to just 99 yards rushing, 227 overall. Chase Young returned with 10 tackles and made a huge impact recording 4 of OSU’s 6 sacks. Journey Brown (11-64 5.8 1 TD) and Will Levis (18-34 1.9 1 TD) brought Penn St to within 4 late in the third, but that’s as close as they could get. The Nittany Lions head to Piscataway to face Rutgers (2-9 0-8), as the Scarlet Knights are almost assured to butter a Big 10 bagel. Last week, Brian Lewerke (21/30 239 3 TD 1 INT) kept Sparty’s bowl hopes alive hooking up 3 times with Cody White (11-136 3 TD) as Michigan St pitched a 27-0 shutout over RU. MSU outgained Rutgers 395-140 recorded 4 sacks, forced 3 turnovers, and produced 25 first downs to the Scarlet Knights’ 7. Johnny Langan (8/20 57 1 INT) played miserably as Adam Korsak punted 9 times with Rutgers failing to generate any offense in their 3rd straight loss.

Clifford (178/299 2521 22 TD 6 INT) has had quite the contrast when it comes to overall performance in an otherwise successful season. Hoping for the Nittanies to earn a NY6 spot, he’s been extremely efficient in PSU’s wins but extremely subpar in their 2 defeats. His overall completion efficiency has come down despite limiting his mistakes and taking chances in tough spots. Hamler (49-836 8 TD) has had a solid season as Clifford’s top target, but a focus on next season will look to be depth in the recruiting class adding to a more experienced Patt Freiermuth (40-464 7 TD) and Jahan Dotson (23-418 3 TD). Brown (97-585 6.0 7 TD) has fared pretty well given the opportunity to rush for lenghty gains, but Clifford actually leads the team in opportunities on the ground (103-374 3.6 5 TD) when it comes to designed draws or options. Their attack is scrappy, but as the schedule loomed tougher, so did their overall efficiency averaging just 24 points over their last 6. Rutgers has shown heart at times as oversized dogs beating Liberty outright and scoring the most points against Ohio St all season. However, in addition to being mostly lackadaisical especially on defense where they’ve allowed almost 38 points per contest, they don’t have enough weapons to show urgency on either side of the ball. Willington Previlion and Tyreek Maddox-Williams each have registered 6 sacks, but overall have a nation low 8 total takeaways.

Major changes are in store come next season for overmatched and undersized Rutgers, especially at the helm. Nunzio Campanile has plenty of work to do with this offense after RU failed to bring back Greg Schiano as head coach, perhaps a good thing. Langan (68/135 676 4 TD 9 INT) is just a Freshman and lacks the accuracy, personnel, and arm strength despite ideal for a QB size at 6’3" and 235. The Scarlet Knights also can use depth in the receiving core led by a paltry Bo Melton (27-375 2 TD), although Raheem Blackshear (29-310 2 TD) has appeared in only 4 games due to a voluntary redshirt status. They need more depth especially at RB to complement one of their few bright spots in Isaih Pacheco (152-633 4.2 7 TD). Penn St allows just 15 points per contest and 90 rushing yards, 4th in the country against the ground game overall. Micah Parsons is a beast on the outside with his team leading 86 tackles, and Yetur Gross Matos has recorded a team high 10 sacks and will look to chase down Langan in an effort to limit opportunities for an otherwise inept Rutgers offense.

This may be a lot of points to lay away from Happy Valley, but truthfully when is it not when you have this much of a mismatch on paper and the field? We’re hoping this is a third-time charm hoping to be on the right way in Piscataway as we were unsuccessful not gaining any Liberty love nor bullying around from the top ranked team in the country several weeks back. The Rose Bowl might be out of the equation, but sitting a 12 in the CFP rankings, there’s an outside shot a 10-2 Nittany Lion team can move up into the top ten and be in the mix for a New Year’s Six bowl game.

I’ll have a second selection for Saturday later on in week 14.


#2

(3) Clemson -27 over South Carolina:
So now the fun begins. Outlast 2 more weeks on the left side and there’s no turning back now that Clemson (11-0 8-0) will be destined to defend their 2018 National Championship. In what was deemed yet another scrimmage 2 weeks ago against an AFC foe, the Tigers walloped Wake Forest 52-3 at Death Valley. Trevor Lawrence (21/27 272 4 TD) continued to silence his critics after a pedestrian start to the campaign and now has thrown for 19 TD passes against just 3 INT since week 5. Travis Etienne (16-121 7.6 1 TD) led a balanced Clemson attack both on the ground and in the air that generated 526 total yards and 26 first downs. Jamie Newman (6/14 41 2 INT) provided no answers for a fierce Tigers’ defense and the Deamon Deacons managed just 105 total yards and a field goal committing 3 turnovers. Heading out of conference but in an interstate rivalry, South Carolina (4-7 3-5) was trounced last week by Texas A&M 30-6 and officially eliminated from bowl contention. Cordarrian Robinson (6-130 21.7 1 TD) gave the Aggies the lead for good early in the second quarter breaking free for a 75 yard TD scamper. Kellen Mond (20/33 221 1 TD) ran for a score and also hooked up with Robinson on a 17 yard TD pass while Seth Small came up big connecting on all 3 of his field goal attempts. The Game cocks were held to just 45 yards rushing, Ryan Hillinski (16/41 175) was way off his game, and Parker White provided the only offense with 2 field goals.

Lawrence (190/279 2575 27 TD 8 INT) has remained cool as a cucumber in this, his sophomore season. His accuracy and sheer cleanup of mistakes along with a presence of mind to know when pressure is coming off a quick 4 step drop provides defenses with not much time to react supported by a balanced personnel in the receiving core and running game. Tee Higgins (40-799 8 TD) and Justyn Ross (43-537 6 TD) are top targets and a dastardly dup of playmakers Lawrence has in his arsenal. Etienne (153-1355 8.7 14 TD), who has 6 games north of producing 100+ yards on the ground is quite the TD maker and might have eclipsed 2,000 yards this season if needed, calling it a day against much lesser competition not needed to finish what he started. Let’s face it, Dabo’s got the goods when it comes to balance and proficiency. Clemson’s offense does most of their damage early and often no matter who their opponent is. Their 543 total yards per contest and 46 points per game is third in the country, so good luck stopping this valiant bunch. You can’t even say that this is at the very least a mild test for the Tigers, because while the Gamecocks have been fairly respectable, especially in their upset win over 4th ranked Georgia, are too much a step behind and not as physical to make lightning strike twice. What is impressive enough is the combination of Aaron Sterling and Dj Wonnum with 10 sacks apiece, Ernest Jones with a team high 89 tackles, and 5 picks by Israel Mukuamu. SC allows only 25 points per game, but are middle of the road against the run and pass yielding about 382 yards overall per contest.

Hillinski (220/379 2252 11 TD 4 INT) overall has been respectable in a more controlled methodical approach in the passing game, but he’s no Tua, Trevor or Burrow either. He does dependable target in Bryan Edwards (71-816 6 TD), although the building blocks are steady and moreso conservative up field. Tavien Feaster (112-625 5.6 5 TD) and Rico Dowdle (99-478 4.8 4 TD) share the duties in a formidable backfield. SC averages 24 points per contest, but that includes scoring 72 in a cupcake opponent in Charleston Southern. Clemson surrenders only 11 points per game and has not given up more than 20, which was, oh yeah that nailbiter against North Carolina earlier this summer. Isaiah Simmons at 6’4" and 230 is the unit’s top tackler and a force to be reckoned with as evident by his 75 takedowns along with 6 sacks. Tanner Muse is a great cover option and a speedster as evident by his 5 INT’s. Clemson is lethal against the pass second in the nation allowing only 129 yards through the air.

This arguably could be Dabo Sweeney’s most balanced and dominating unit on both sides of the ball, but it’s equally important to remember that the Tigers can’t afford to look ahead or get too non-chalant in their approach allowing opponents to put a scare into them, especially with repeat championship aspirations. SC has nothing to play for except the spoiler’s role and state bragging rights. Expect the Tigers to continue to pounce on their prey, remaining hungry for National domination going forward.

Best of luck however you play!
YTD 13-11-2 .538 +.30