Friday's Tip Sheet
October 12, 2016
By Brian Edwards
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**Duke at Louisville**
-- Louisville (4-1 straight up, 3-1-1 against the spread) has no room for error in its quest to get to the College Football Playoff. U of L has just one loss, a 42-36 defeat at unbeaten Clemson, but it remains firmly entrenched in the CFP discussion and I love its chances if it can win out. According to the oddsmakers as of Wednesday afternoon, that shouldn’t be a problem Friday night at Papa John’s Stadium, where the Cardinals will take on Duke as huge favorites. The number was 34.5 points with a total of 71.5. The only global shop offering a money-line return on the Blue Devils was [...] (85/1).
-- Louisville trailed 28-10 at Clemson at intermission, only to respond by scoring the first 26 points of the second half to take a 36-28 advantage on Lamar Jackson’s 11-yard touchdown scamper with 7:52 remaining. However, a long kickoff return set the Tigers up with great field position and they cashed in on Deshaun Watson’s 20-yard scoring strike to Mike Williams with 7:05 left. Watson would put Clemson back in front with a 31-yard TD pass to Jordan Leggett with 3:14 remaining. But Jackson would march his team right back down the field and into the red zone. On a fourth down play with 33 ticks left, Jackson threw to James Quick who appeared to have room to get the first down if he cut up the field. Instead, he inexplicably ran to the sideline and out of bounds without giving up his body in an attempt to attain the first down. Clemson won the 42-36 decision as a one-point home underdog.
-- Before the loss in Death Valley, U of L had handed out four consecutive beatdowns vs. Charlotte (70-14), at Syracuse (62-28), vs. FSU (63-20) and at Marshall (59-28). Jackson torched the Seminoles for 146 rushing yards and four TDs. He also threw for 216 yards and another TD.
-- Jackson is currently the -225 favorite to win the Heisman Trophy at the Westgate SuperBook. He’s deserving of that ‘chalk’ role based on his eye-popping stats. The true sophomore QB out of Boynton Beach High School in South Florida is 10th in the nation in rushing yards (688) and leads the country with 14 rushing scores (seven players ahead of him in rushing yards have played six games compared to his five). Jackson is averaging 7.5 yards per carry. He has completed 59.4 percent of his passes for 1,625 yards with a 14/4 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
-- U of L senior RB Brandon Radcliff has rushed for 496 yards and three TDs while averaging 8.4 YPC. James Quick has 23 receptions for 443 yards and four TDs, while Jamari Staples has 18 catches for 348 yards.
-- U of L leads the country in total offense (659.2 yards per game) and scoring (58.0 points per game).
-- Louisville senior LB Treyvon Young is out for the season due to the hip injury sustained in last year’s Music City Bowl win over Texas A&M. Young had 32 tackles, 8.5 sacks, 1.5 tackles for loss, two passes broken up, one interception and three QB hurries in 2015.
-- Duke (3-3 SU, 3-3 ATS) has wins vs. NC Central (49-6), at Notre Dame (38-35) and vs. Army (13-6). The Blue Devils have lost vs. Wake Forest (24-14), at Northwestern (24-13) and vs. Virginia (34-20). They are off an ugly 13-6 win over the Black Knights that nonetheless hooked up their backers as 5.5-point home ‘chalk.’ Duke was only able to generate nine first downs and 189 yards of total offense. The Blue Devils’ defense saved the day, holding Army to eight first downs and 214 yards of offense. They also forced three turnovers. QB Daniel Jones threw a 22-yard TD pass to Andy Davidson and also ran for a team-best 55 yards.
-- Jones, a sophomore, had a breakout game in South Bend where he completed 24-of-32 passes for 290 yards and three TDs with only one interception. However, his performance was deplorable the following week at home vs. UVA as he single-handedly delivered the victory to the Cavaliers. Jones threw for 324 yards but had five interceptions and coughed up a fumble that was recovered for a UVA touchdown. For the season, Jones has connected on 62.3 percent of his passes for 1,455 yards with a 7/8 TD-INT ratio.
-- Duke’s two best WRs are Anthony Nash and T.J. Rahming. Nash has 27 receptions for 382 yards and two TDs, while Rahming has 33 catches for 306 yards and one TD.
-- Duke ranks 26th in the nation in total defense and 34th in scoring ‘D,’ giving up only 21.5 points per game. This unit is led by sophomore MLB Ben Humphreys, who has a team-high 48 tackles. Humphreys has also recorded 5.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, three QB hurries, one pass broken up and one interception. In the first four games, senior CB DeVon Edwards was leading the team in stops with 29, but he went down with a season-ending knee injury against the Fighting Irish. Edwards had also contributed three sacks, three TFL’s, one PBU, one forced fumble and two QB hurries. He came into the year with eight career TDs, including six kickoff returns and two pick-sixes.
-- Another defensive starter in sophomore LB Tinashe Bere was lost for the season in Week 4. Bere, who had 58 tackles last season, had 13 this year. One defensive starter and two offensive starters for the Blue Devils were listed as ‘questionable’ on Wednesday. Sophomore DT Edgar Cerenord was nursing a hand injury that kept him out of the win over Army, while senior RB Jela Duncan and junior center Austin Davis were also question marks. Duncan has rushed for a team-high 354 yards and four TDs while averaging 5.4 YPC.
-- Just how far has David Cutcliffe advanced this Duke program during his nine-year tenure? Consider this: Until the Blue Devils were double-digit underdogs at Notre Dame on Sept. 24, they had not been listed as ‘dogs of more than 7.5 points since the 2013 ACC Championship Game against eventual national champion Florida State and the subsequent Chick-fil-A Bowl against Texas A&M before Johnny Football lost his mind.
-- Duke owns a 19-16-1 spread record in 36 games as a road underdog on Cutcliffe’s watch since 2008.
-- The Cardinals own a 6-6 spread record in 12 games as home favorites during Bobby Petrino’s second tour of duty at the school.
-- U of L’s combined scores have been 84, 90, 83, 87 and 78 points. This has resulted in an easy-as-hell 5-0 record for the ‘over.’
-- The ‘under’ has cashed at a 5-1 overall clip for Duke, going 1-1 in its two road assignments. The combined scores have been 55, 38, 37, 73, 54 and 19 points.
-- Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.
**Mississippi State at Brigham Young**
-- As of Wednesday, most books had BYU (3-3 SU, 5-1 ATS) installed as a 7.5-point favorite with a total of 57.5. The Bulldogs were +240 on the money line (risk $100 to win $240).
-- After losing three straight games by seven combined points, Kalani Sitake’s first BYU squad has won back-to-back games vs. Toledo (55-53) and at Michigan State (31-14). The Cougars went into East Lansing last week and turned a 7-3 halftime deficit into a 31-14 win thanks to a stout defensive effort and Jamaal Williams’ workmanlike performance. They limited the Spartans to 206 yards of total offense and held them to only 2.7 yards per rush. Williams rushed 30 times for 163 yards and two TDs, while Taysom Hill ran for 47 yards and one TD on eight attempts. Hill completed 18-of-27 throws for 138 yards and one TD without an interception.
-- BYU took its three defeats at Utah (20-19), vs. UCLA (17-14) and at West Va. (35-32 in Landover, MY.). The Cougars opened the season by beating Arizona 18-16 as a one-point road favorite in Glendale.
-- Since 2006, BYU owns a 31-24 spread record as a home favorite. The Cougars went 4-1 ATS in such spots last year, but they are 0-1 this season after failing to cover in the 55-53 win over Toledo two weeks ago as 3.5-point home ‘chalk.’
-- Williams ranks second in the nation in rushing yards with 866, trailing only San Diego St.’s Donnel Pumphrey (891). After missing all of 2015 due to a year-long suspension, Williams has upped his career rushing yards to 3,392. That leaves him only 64 yards away from breaking Harvey Unga’s all-time school record. He has 10 rushing scores this year and a 6.2 YPC average.
-- After going down with a season-ending knee injury in Week 1 at Nebraska last year, senior QB Taysom Hill beat out Tanner Mangum for the starting job in August. Mangum had passed for 3,377 yards with a 23/10 TD-INT ratio after replacing Hill as a true freshman in 2015. Hill has connected on 60.3 percent of his passes for 1,255 yards with a 6/7 TD-INT ratio while taking every snap under center this season. Hill has rushed for 268 yards and three TDs with a 4.4 YPC average.
-- BYU wide receiver Nick Kurtz has 21 receptions for 232 yards and one TD. Jonah Trinnaman has 18 catches for 218 yards and one TD, while Colby Pearson has 18 grabs for 185 yards and two TDs.
-- Mississippi State (2-3 SU, 2-3 ATS) is in a tough spot off a horrible performance and in desperate need of a victory. The Bulldogs are not only venturing West to play in altitude, but they are doing it on a short week of preparation. Dan Mullen’s team started the year by losing at home to South Alabama by a 21-20 count as a 28-point favorite after missing a chip-shot field goal off the crossbar on the game’s final play. MSU also lost 23-20 at LSU and posted its wins vs. South Carolina (27-14) and at UMass (47-35).
-- With a 2-2 record and two weeks to prep for a home game against Auburn, Mississippi State laid a complete egg at home in last week’s 38-14 loss that wasn’t even that close. The Bulldogs trailed 35-0 at intermission and were beaten in every facet of the game. Nick Fitzgerald completed 17-of-34 passes for 181 yards with two TDs and one interception. He rushed for a team-best 61 yards on 17 carries.
-- Fitzgerald has completed 57.0 percent of his passes for 778 yards with a 7/2 TD-INT ratio. He has rushed for a team-high 390 yards with a 6.1 YPC average. Fred Ross is his favorite target, hauling in 30 receptions for 334 yards and five TDs.
-- Mississippi State has been a road underdog 21 times on Mullen’s watch, going 10-11 ATS.
-- These schools played a home-and-home series in 2000 and ’01. Mississippi State won 44-28 at BYU as a one-point road ‘chalk’ in 2000, but the Cougars answered with a 41-38 win as six-point road favorites in Starkville the following year.
-- The ‘under’ is 4-1 overall for the Bulldogs, 1-1 in their road contests. Meanwhile, BYU has watched the ‘under’ go 4-2 overall, 1-1 in its home outings.
-- ESPN will have the telecast at 10:15 p.m. Eastern.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
-- There are two other games on Friday’s slate, including Memphis at Tulane and San Diego State at Fresno State. The Tigers are Green Wave will collide at Yulman Stadium in New Orleans for an 8:00 p.m. Eastern kick on ESPNU. The Aztecs and Bulldogs will square off in Fresno at 10:00 p.m. Eastern on the CBS Sports College Network.
-- Memphis (4-1 SU, 2-3 ATS) opened AAC action by rallying for a 34-27 home win over Temple last Thursday at the Liberty Bowl. The Tigers’ only loss came at Ole Miss, 48-28. They were favored by 11.5 over the Green Wave as of Wednesday. The total was 53.5 points.
-- Tulane (3-2 SU, 3-2 ATS) took its only losses to a pair of teams that have only been beaten once to date. Willie Fritz’s squad lost 7-3 at a Wake Forest team that’s 5-1. The Green Wave lost 21-14 at home to a 4-1 Navy squad that just beat Houston.
-- San Diego State (4-1 SU, 2-2-1 ATS) owns an 8-5 spread record in 13 games as a road favorite during Rocky Long’s six-year tenure. The Aztecs opened Mtn. West play with last week’s 26-7 win over UNLV as a 16.5-point home favorites. They took their only loss of the year by a 42-24 count at South Alabama as 19.5-point road ‘chalk.’
-- San Diego State just lost two defensive starters to season-ending injuries. Senior LB Na’im McGee (foot) was the team’s second-leading tackler in 2015 when he recorded 81 tackles, 3.5 TFL’s, one sack and seven PBU. McGee had 20 tackles and one interception this season. Also, senior LB Randy Ricks (toe) is done for 2016. Ricks had 11 tackles, three TFL’s, one sacks, two PBU, two QB hurries and one forced fumble in the first five games.
-- Fresno State (1-5 SU, 2-3 ATS) returns home after dropping back-to-back games at UNLV (45-20) and at Nevada (27-22) to start league play. The Bulldogs are 3-4 ATS in seven games as home ‘dogs since Tim DeRuyter took over in 2012. DeRuyter replaced Pat Hill after Fresno State went through a 4-9 campaign in 2011, instantly guiding the Bulldogs to 9-4 and 11-2 seasons in ’12 and ’13. However, the program has fallen on hard time since then, losing 22 of its last 32 games.
-- As of Wednesday, most spots had San Diego State favored by 17 with a total of 54 points.
-- Illinois QB Wes Lunt (6/1 TD-INT) is listed as ‘questionable’ at Rutgers.
-- UCLA QB Josh Rosen (10/5 TD-INT) is ‘questionable’ at Washington State due to a shoulder injury.
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