(15) BYU -34.5 over UTSA (bought half) -120
In almost 11 years, we’ve encountered our worst start ever to open the CFB campaign. What else could 2020 bring, you ask? Hopefully comebacks, starting with week 5. Recognizing that from here things could only go upward, we start off a more lengthy, broader schedule with the undefeated, 15th ranked Cougars (3-0), hosting the UTSA Roadrunners (3-1 1-1) out of C-USA, from Lavell Edwards Stadium. Last week, Zach Wilson (24/26 328 2 TD) looked every bit and more like Russell Wilson (8-43 5.4 3 TD) accounting for 5 total TD as the Cougars routed the La Tech Bulldogs 45-14. Completing a career high 92% of his passes, Wilson didn’t waste much time doing what he does best propelling BYU to a 21 point second quarter breaking a 7 all tie. Both of Wilson’s scoring passes were 22 yards to paydirt finding Carter Wheat (2-30) and Gunner ROmney (7-101) sandwiched by a one yard run into the end zone by Tyler Allgeier (10-93 9.3 1 TD). BYU recorded 513 yards in total offense, and despite not forcing any turnovers got 4 sacks from Tyler Batty. Luke Anthony (19/27 191 2 TD 1 INT) played respectably but was relatively contained by the Cougar defense, which held UTSA to just 74 yards rushing. Meanwhile, UTSA hung in tough before succumbing to UAB 21-13 last week. Bryson Lucero (18/29 195 3 TD 3 INT) was far from his best but made the plays when they counted, fortunate without the Roadrunners taking full advantages of his miscues. Myron Mitchell (6-65 1 TD) caught an 18 yard TD pass from Lucero to give the Blazers the lead for good late in the first half, and followed it up with scoring passes of 15 and 21 yards to Gerrit Prince (2-36 2 TD). Spencer Brown (26-144 5.5) led a ground attack that produced 214 yards despite unable to find the end zone. While Lucero finished relatively mediocre and was a ble to produce all of UAB’s scoring, Jordan Weeks (7/19 57 1 INT) was miserable and could never really establish a rhythm making successful throws. Sincere McCormick (22-150 6.8 1 TD) scored on a 2 yard run late in the 4th quarter to cut the deficit to one possession, but it wasn’t enough as Hunter Duplessis provided the only other Roadrunner offense with 2 field goals.

Not many expected BYU to come out of the gate with such dominance in doing so undefeated thus far. The Cougars aren’t exactly minding the independent life, however if they hope to be considered for at the very least a NYE6 or National Championship consideration, a step up in class when it comes to scheduling is virtually essential having to rely on major conference powers slipping up. Wilson (60/72 949 6 TD 1 INT) has been super accurate thus far albeit against tepid competition, however you cannot ignore his 83% efficiency rate plus his targets. Romney (16-373 2 TD) is his top target downfield averaging nearly 24 yards per catch, while Dax Milne (17-264 1 TD) is a solid second option who tallied 7 grabs at 90 yards last week. In the ground game, Wilson has already accounted for 5 scores thus far and has a dual depth threat in the backfield featuring Allgeier (34-275 8.1 3 TD) and Lopini Katoa (32-178 5.6 2 TD). BYU’s quick strike offense has averaged nearly 50 points per contest, and that output could be even higher had it not been for head coach Kalani Sitake eventually calling off the dogs in his previous blowouts over Navy and Troy. At 30-25 thus far into his 5th season, he could be coaching for his job as this is his best opportunity to pay dividends sporting this talented bunch. This top ranked offense in the nation has piled up an average of 586 total yards with the 5th rated passing game overall. That’s not boding well for a UTSA defense yielding 447 total yards and nearly 29 points per contest, while allowing 301 passing yards on average. They do have some talented corners in Cassius Grady and safety Dadrian Taylor who each are responsible for 2 of UTSA’s 7 picks thus far. Grady and Rashard Wisdom also lead the team with 31 total tackles apiece which speaks volumes given the fact that BYU, like all of their opponents, are going to have their foot on the gas especially early which could give UTSA momentum to break up the tempo if they can make plays.

The Roadrunners are certainly no pushovers themselves, and were tested right out of the gate by in state rivals Texas St before winning a near triple digit total output by a field goal in OT. Frank Harris (53/80 508 3 TD 1 INT) got off to a great start before suffering an upper body injury prior to the UAB game and is listed as out for the season. Weeks is going to have to be a lot better than last week in order to challenge BYU play for play given the size and class disadvantage. Joshua Ceephus (22-205 3 TD) has been sharp but will need to be a primitive target in an otherwise limited arsenal. Brennon Dingle (14-191) has also shown flashes but will have to be more aggressive as he has not found the end zone this far. McCormick (89-527 5.9 4 TD) is the ground workhorse and may propose a challenge to BYU, whose rushing defense allows only 71 yards , 6th overall in the nation. The Cougs are yielding only 214 total yards and 8 points per contest, second in the country. In 2019, the Cougars had just 17 sacks. In three games of the COVID 19 campaign, they’ve already recorded 13. Batty added a concept of depth after a slow start in his first 3 games. Kennan Pill leads the team with 20 tackles overall while Isaiah Kaufusi and Khiyris Tonga each have a couple of sacks as well. Sitake has praised Ilasia Tualki showing heart and discipline thus far equally stressing the importance of their defense which leads to their momentum taking advantage of short fields and making plays on subsequent possessions. It’s what makes the Cougars so dangerous especially when they can just control clock and tempo if they are spotted out to early leads by the time the second half takes shape.

Even though this spread is extremely large, I think that there is a serious talent disparity present within this matchup. Those who know my style, that speaks my language and volumes. BYU has more talent, depth, and athleticism on both sides of the ball, so if you think you’re watching a rerun of the first 3 games, you might want to turn your sets off early in this one. In what was easily and should have been a winnable game for the Roadrunners at UAB, the coach will turn even more into a pumpkin swirling UTSA back to earth when all is said and done.

I’ll have a second play for Saturday later on.


Liberty -18 over UL Monroe:
It’s rare we focus on 2 independents in the same weekend, but the Flames (3-0) look pretty impressive like undefeated BYU thus far. Granted their victory over FCS North Alabama was a brief respite, Liberty gets back to business Saturday by facing a winless UL Monroe squad (0-4 0-2) out of the Sun Belt at Williams Stadium. Chris Ferguson (13/21 64 3 TD) did his best Kyle Murray impersonation similar to what was done this past Sunday against Carolina. The only difference was his dinks and dunks methodically were plenty to produce a 28-7 victory over the Lions, and I don’t mean Detroit, mind you. Johnathan Bennett (3/4 43 1 TD 1 INT) also found the scoreboard in mop up duty, and Joshua Mack (16-130 8.1) led a ground attack that amassed 250 yards rushing overall. The Flames sacked Relt Files (15/24 156 2 INT) 7 times including 2 each by Stephen Sings V and Durrel Johnson, and their defense forced 4 turnovers in all. Parker Driggers (7-56 8.0 1 TD) scored from 56 yards out to prevent a Liberty shutout as the Lions were held to just 247 total yards. Meanwhile, ULM is coming off a tough 35-30 defeat at the hands of Georgia Southern 35-30. JD King (21-196 9.3 1 TD) and Wesley Kennedy (14-64 4.6 2 TD) led an Eagles ground attack that produced 340 total yards as GSU relies heavily on their running game. Colby Suits (31/54 334 2 TD) is the heir apparent inverse of Georgia Southern as evident by their aerial raid but it fell short late despite completing passes to 10 different receivers. He also carried 7 times for 51 yards (7.3) and Josh Johnson (9-40 4.4 2 TD) kept things close with 2 rushing TD’s. Driving from their own 40 with 2:42 left, Suits completed 4 straight passes and converted a pair of third downs. However, he ran for 7 yards on a fourth-and-6 to make it first-and-goal from the 9 and, two plays later, DE Rashard Byrd stopped a scrambling Suits at the 1 as time ran out.

Liberty has a unique sense of balance in their attack led by Malik Wills (37/51 418 2 TD) and Chris Ferguson (13/23 87 3 TD) who have both been efficient thus far. Mack (52-337 6.5 1 TD) leads the Flames in rushing while Wills (34-253 7.4 3 TD) has thrived in the option sequence. DJ Stubbs (15-177 2 TD) is the Flames’ playmaker despite being limited to just 5 catches and 37 yards last week with a TD catch. Liberty averages about 31 points per game and is otherwise middle of the road in passing and rushing offense. The step down in class spoke volumes that Hugh Freeze called off the dogs in the second half despite the ability to do more damage after a dominating 30 minutes. UL Monroe’s defense is at a distinct disadvantage giving up better than 35 points per game and is especially vulnerable against the run surrendering 286 ground yards per contest. Their secondary is pretty good however, top 10 in defensive passing yardage at 185. Scott Stoker likes to use various schemes that an otherwise young Warhawk defense is still adapting to given his prior experience in a similar situation at UTEP.

Suits (97/153 1043 6 TD 2 INT) can’t foot much of the blame given ULM’s misfortunes to date. He’s got a dual threat target corp in Josh Pederson (16-174) and Jahquan Bloomfield (8-173 1 TD), however both have only been able to find the end zone once thus far. The clear achilles is in the rushing game where Johnson (47-148 3.1 2 TD) has accounted for both scores overall. ULM is averaging a meager 51 yards overall, among the worst in the country. Led by TreShaun Clark and Durrell Johnson, the Flames have five pass rushers who are very skilled coming off the edge. With virtually no ground game for Suits to lean on, it could make for a very long day for the Warhawks. Senior linebacker Anthony Butler leads the defense with 21 total tackles, including a sack and two interceptions.

While technically ULM is ranked seventh in the country in pass defense, the Warhawks have had two triple-option teams (Army and Georgia Southern) and UTEP on the schedule thus far. Liberty on the other hand, has had a ton of success running the ball this season averaging 274.5 yards per game on the ground. Behind Willis, Mack, and a balanced offensive tempo approach that can thrive in the hurry up combined with controlling the pace, there is a vast disparity in both of these gameplans. Liberty is going to run at will. ULM will keep the pressure on with the offense finally starting to function, but it’s not going to do enough against a Flame offense that will control the game throughout.

Best of luck however you play!
YTD 0-6 .000 -6.80


Some big rain coming down for the Liberty Game…

They may need floaties lol


bring em home kid :paw_prints:


So relieved to finally be on the board. Maybe it’s a good omen that both games are on the deuce.