Week Zero RewindEditor's note: Brian Edwards is 1-0 going into Week 1 after cashing an easy winner with the Hawaii-CSU 'over' that hit before the end of the third quarter. Don't miss out on winners galore from Edwards all year long!
College football fans were treated to a four-game appetizer of games on Saturday, whetting the appetite for this week’s main course. It’s being called Week Zero and here’s what we found out.
Hawaii sophomore quarterback Cole McDonald had himself a game in his first career start at Colorado State, completing 26-of-37 passes for 418 yards and three touchdowns without an interception. McDonald also rushed for a team-high 96 yards and two TDs on merely 13 attempts.
Cedric Byrd, a juco transfer making his FBS debut, hauled in 11 receptions for 181 yards and one TD. Senior WR John Ursua had seven catches for 123 yards and two TDs, including a fourth-and-goal grab on the opening drive that allowed the Rainbow Warriors to draw first blood.
As a 17-point underdog, Nick Rolovich’s squad darted out to a 37-7 lead with less than four minutes remaining in the third quarter. CSU quickly launched a comeback with 20 unanswered points to trim the deficit to 37-27 with 8:15 left. However, Hawaii responded with a field goal to make it 40-27.
Mike Bobo’s squad didn’t quit, though, scoring on a nine-yard TD pass from K.J. Carta-Samuels to Izzy Matthews with 4:42 remaining to pull to within six. But Ryan Meskell’s 35-yard field goal, his third make of the night, gave the Rainbow Warriors a 43-34 win.
Hawaii hooked up money-line supporters with a gorgeous +700 return (paid $700 on $100 wagers). Rolovich’s team was also a sweet money-line winner for first-quarter bets (+260) and first-half plays (+330).
Carta-Samuels connected on 34-of-50 throws for 537 yards and five TDs compared to just one interception in the losing effort. Preston Williams, a former 5-star recruit by Butch Jones to Tennessee who sat out last season as a transfer, had nine receptions for 188 yards and two TDs. Olabisi Johnson had six catches for 157 yards and two TDs.
My first pick of the season (and only of the weekend) was on the CSU-Hawaii showdown to go ‘over’ 56 points. That was a winner before the third quarter ended. I posted my play on Wednesday, but 56 was still available late Friday afternoon. On Saturday morning, the total started moving North and closed at 58 or 58.5 at most spots.
New Mexico State hosted Wyoming in the late game hoping to post a fourth straight win over a Mountain West Conference foe. The Cowboys weren’t willing to play along, though. They dominated the Aggies from start to finish in a 29-7 victory as 5.5-point road favorites. The 36 combined points dipped ‘under’ the 46-point total.
Craig Bohl’s team enjoyed a 450-135 advantage in total offense. Nico Evans was the catalyst offensively, rushing 24 times for 190 yards and two TDs.
Wyoming gave up its only score at garbage time when NMSU QB Matt Romero found Drew Dan for a 31-yard TD pass with only 1:16 left. The Cowboys host Washington State at War Memorial Stadium on Saturday. Meanwhile, the Aggies are in a horrible spot on super-short rest going to Minnesota to face the Gophers on Thursday night.
UMass is an under-the-radar team I’ve spent a lot of time talking about this summer on my Games Galore podcast over at BrianEdwardsSports.com (feel free to subscribe on I-Tunes if you wish!). I took the Minutemen to go ‘over’ 5.5 wins at a -120 price.
Mark Whipple’s club has a dynamic offense led by senior QB Andrew Ford, who has a 50/18 touchdown-to-interception ratio during 20 career starts. Ford, who had a 22/4 TD-INT ratio last year, led UMass to a 63-15 win over Duquesne as a 21.5-point home ‘chalk.’ The 78 combined points went ‘over’ the 69.5-point total.
Ford completed 13-of-19 throws for 186 yards and two TDs without an interception. Andy Isabella had five catches for 131 yards and two TDs, and the senior WR also had a 14-yard rushing score. Bilal Ally rushed for 109 yards and one TD on nine attempts, while Marquis Young ran 15 times for 90 yards and one TD. Back-up QB Ross Comis threw for two TDs without an interception and rushed for 49 yards and one TD on just two carries.
Senior safety Brice McAllister, a grad transfer from UConn, had two interceptions and a pick-six for 60 yards. The Minutemen, who are 9-2 against the spread in their past 11 games as road underdogs, are 18-point ‘dogs at Boston College in Week 1.
Rice jumped out to a 16-0 lead midway through the second quarter against Prairie View A&M as a 23-point home favorite. The Panthers scored 21 second-quarter points, however, to take a 21-19 edge into halftime. They extended the lead to 28-19 going into the fourth quarter.
Rice, playing its first game under new head coach and former Stanford offensive coordinator Mike Bloomgren, cut the deficit to 28-26 with 11:46 remaining on Austin Walter’s eight-yard TD run. Then the Owls forced a punt and a bad snap flew over the punter’s head and resulted in a game-tying safety with 10:15 left.
Rice would get into field-goal range on its final drive to set up a game-winning attempt. Jack Fox was good from 23 yards out on the game’s final play to give the Owls a 31-28 non-covering victory.
Rice RB Emmanuel Esukpa rushed for 173 yards and one TD on 32 carries. Walter added 83 rushing yards and two TDs on 11 attempts. The Owls will play host to Houston on Saturday.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
-- Michigan confirmed reports of a foot injury to redshirt freshman WR Tarik Black on Sunday. He is being termed as out indefinitely pending further evaluation. The four-star recruit in the 2017 class started the Wolverines’ first three games last year before going down with a season-ending foot injury. Black had 11 receptions for 149 yards and one TD in those three games.
-- Scott Frost has named true freshman Adrian Martinez as his starting QB. The Cornhuskers open at home Saturday vs. Akron. They were favored by 23.5 points over the Zips as of Sunday afternoon. We should note that Martinez did enroll early and participate in spring practice. Also, RB Tre Bryant announced his retirement due to lingering injuries to both knees. In Nebraska’s first two games last year, Bryant rushed for 299 yards and two TDs with a 5.9 yards-per-carry average.
-- Kentucky starting offensive tackle Landon Young is out for the season after sustaining a knee injury at practice last week. Young, a junior, has started nine career games in his first two years with the Wildcats, who have one of the nation’s top RBs in Benny Snell.
-- Rutgers has named true freshman Artur Sitkowski as its starting QB. Like Nebraska’s Martinez, he enrolled early and was at spring practice. The Scarlet Knights open at home vs. Texas State from out of the Sun Belt Conference.
Follow Brian Edwards' sports gambling opinions on Twitter at @vegasbedwards.
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