Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:00 AM
Saturday's Late Bowl Tips
Editor's Note: Brian Edwards has started the bowl season with a 5-2 record. Ride winners with B.E. all the way into the CFP finals with his bowl package, and make sure to get on his next pay-if-it-wins-only selection!
Buffalo vs. Troy
-- The MAC and the Sun Belt will square off at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, AL., for the Dollar General Bowl. As of early this morning, most books had Buffalo (10-3 straight up, 9-4 against the spread) listed as a one-point favorite with a total of 49.5.
-- Troy (9-3 SU, 8-3-1 ATS) saw its four-game winning streak snapped in its regular-season finale at Appalachian State, as the Mountaineers won a 21-10 decision as 12-point home favorites. The Trojans took the cash, but App. St. won the SBC’s East Division on its way to winning the SBC Championship Game vs. UL-Lafayette. Troy QB Sawyer Smith completed 17-of-33 passes for 160 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions in Boone. Deondre Douglas had six receptions for 69 yards and one TD.
-- Troy has been an underdog three times this season, compiling a 2-1 spread record with one outright win at Nebraska (24-19).
-- Neal Brown’s team took its other two defeats vs. Boise State (56-20) and at Liberty (22-16). The Trojans were nine-point home underdogs vs. BSU and 12-point ‘chalk’ at Liberty.
-- Troy won six games by double-digit margins, including a 35-21 win at Ga. Southern as a two-point favorite. Sawyer Smith completed 21-of-28 passes for 287 yards and one TD without an interception. RB B.J. Smith had his five-game streak of rushing for 100 yards or more halted, but he still had 86 rushing yards and two TDs on 22 attempts. Luke Whittemore had three receptions for 110 yards and one TD, while Sidney Davis hauled in 10 catches for 85 yards.
-- Troy starting QB Kaleb Parker sustained a season-ending injury on Oct. 4 in a 37-20 home win over Georgia State. Since then, Sawyer Smith has started six games. He has connected on 61.1 percent of his passes for 1,349 yards with a 10/6 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Sawyer Smith has 192 rushing yards and one TD.
-- B.J. Smith has run for a team-best 1,090 yards and 12 TD while averaging 5.5 yards per carry. Jabir-Daughtry-Frye has run for 369 yards and a pair of scores while averaging 7.1 YPC in a back-up role.
-- Sawyer Smith has a trio of wideouts he looks to the most, starting with Damion Willis, who has 43 receptions for 775 yards and eight TDs. Douglas has 44 catches for 437 yards and seven TDs, while Sidney Davis has 39 grabs for 337 yards and two TDs.
-- Buffalo allowed a 29-10 third-quarter lead over No. Illinois to get away in the MAC Championship Game at Ford Field in Detroit. The Huskies rallied with 20 unanswered points in the game’s final 15:17. NIU quarterback Marcus Childers found D.J. Brown for a 35-yard scoring strike with 1:09 remaining to cap the rally. Buffalo QB Tyree Jackson completed 18-of-35 passes for 252 yards and two TDs without an interception in the losing effort. Anthony Johnson had seven receptions for 124 yards and two TDs.
-- Buffalo won nine of its first 10 games with the only defeat coming at home vs. Army by a 42-13 count when Johnson was injured. The most impressive wins included scalps at Temple (36-29), vs. Eastern Michigan (35-28), at Rutgers (42-13), at Toledo (31-17) and vs. Miami (OH.) (51-42). However, the Bulls lost two of their last three games both SU and ATS, including a 52-17 loss at Ohio as 2.5-point underdogs.
-- Buffalo has been a single-digit ‘chalk’ six times this season, posting a 4-2 record both SU and ATS.
-- I often talk about location and motivation being keys in bowl games. I think the motivation for both team here is about the same. Buffalo lost its league-title game, while Troy lost its regular-season finale that would’ve earned it a spot in its conference-championship contest. But as for location, this game is being played just two hours down the road in from the Trojans’ campus in Mobile.
-- Jackson has completed 55.1 percent of his passes for 2,857 yards with a 27/11 TD-INT ratio. The first-team All-MAC signal caller has great size (6’7”, 245 lbs.) that he can use in short-yardage and goal-line situations. Jackson has run for 165 yards and seven TDs with a 3.4 YPC average. Johnson is his favorite target with a future at the next level. The senior WR, who was a first-team All-MAC selection this year and in 2017, has 52 receptions for 944 yards and 11 TDs. K.J. Osborn has 49 catches for 835 yards and six TDs.
-- Buffalo has two excellent RBs in Jaret Patterson and Kevin Marks. Patterson has rushed for 911 yards and 13 TDs with a 5.7 YPC average. Marks has produced 805 rushing yards, 12 TDs and a 4.7 YPC average. Patterson, a true freshman, was named the MAC’s Freshman of the Year.
-- Buffalo TE Tyler Mabry was a first-team All-MAC pick. He has 25 catches for 213 yards and two TDs. Also, Buffalo senior center was a first-team All-MAC choice after garnering third-team All-MAC honors as a sophomore and junior in 2016 and ’17.
-- Buffalo’s defense had two players as first-team All-MAC selections. LB Khalil Hodge produced 138 tackles, six tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, five QB hurries, three passes broken up, one forced fumble and one interception for 33 return yards. Senior DE Chuck Harris recorded 44 tackles, 6.5 sacks, one TFL, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, one QB hurry and one PBU.
-- Buffalo fourth-year head coach Lance Leipold was named MAC Coach of the Year. He has the Bulls bowling for the first time since 2013 and only the third time in school history. They are 0-2 in previous postseason appearances, losing 49-24 to San Diego State at the 2013 Idaho Potato Bowl and 38-20 to UConn in the 2008 International Bowl.
-- Troy is 4-3 in seven all-time bowl appearances. After going 4-8 in his first season at the helm, Brown has led the Trojans to a third straight bowl game. They finished 10-3 in 2016 and 11-2 last year after beating Ohio 28-23 as a 4.5-point ‘chalk’ at the 2016 Dollar General Bowl and thumping North Texas by a 50-30 count at the 2017 New Orleans Bowl.
-- The ‘over’ is 7-5 overall for Troy, but it has seen the ‘under’ cash in back-to-back games and three of its last four. The Trojans have watched their games average combined scores of 50.9 PPG.
-- The ‘over’ is 9-4 overall for the Bulls, going 4-1 in their past five games. They’ve seen their games average combined scores of 59.5 PPG.
-- Kickoff is slated for 7:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.
La. Tech at Hawaii
-- As of Friday night, most books had Hawaii (8-5 SU, 5-7-1 ATS) listed as a one-point favorite with a total of 61. However, the Bulldogs had moved into the ‘chalk’ role as one-point favorites by early this morning.
-- This is a true road assignment for La. Tech and a home game for the Warriors at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu. Since 2006, Hawaii has hosted this bowl game four times. The Warriors are 2-2 both SU and ATS in those four games. They trounced Arizona State 41-24 as seven-point ‘chalk’ in the 2006 Hawaii Bowl and stroked Middle Tennessee 52-35 as seven-point underdogs in 2016. In 2008, Notre Dame came to the island and left with a 49-21 victory as a two-point favorite, and Tulsa coasted to a 62-35 win as a 10-point underdog in 2010.
-- Hawaii was the nation’s biggest surprise in September, as Nick Rolovich’s team sprinted out to a 6-1 start. However, an insane travel schedule caught up to the Warriors in October and the first weekend in November when they lost four consecutive contests both SU and ATS. All four of those defeats came by margins of at least 18 points. Rolovich’s bunch finally got an open date on Nov. 10 after playing 11 Saturdays in a row, including five games East of the Pacific Ocean.
-- Since the bye week, Hawaii has found a second win and won back-to-back games vs. UNLV (35-28) and at San Diego State in the regular-season finale. Rolochich’s squad won a 31-30 decision in overtime against the Aztecs as an 18-point underdog. It was the team’s third outright win of the season as a double-digit underdog.
-- Hawaii QB Cole McDonald was the catalyst in the OT win at San Diego State. With his team trailing 28-13 early in the fourth quarter vs. UNLV the previous week, McDonald was Yankee in favor of back-up Chevan Cordeiro, who completed 4-of-5 passes for 153 yards and three TDs without an interception to rally the Warriors to victory. Rolovich went back to McDonald as his starter against the Aztecs nonetheless, and his signal caller reward him. McDonald, who had a 29/3 TD-INT ratio in his team’s first eight games, had a 3/5 TD-INT ratio in a three-game slump. But that slide ended for McDonald as he torched San Diego State by completing 29-of-46 passes for 452 yards and three TDs without an interception. Cedric Byrd had six catches for 140 yards and one TD, while JoJo Ward had six receptions for 120 yards and one TD. McDonald’s 10-yard scoring strike to Ward put Hawaii up 31-24 after the first possession of OT. The Aztecs answered on the next play with a 25-yard TD run from Juwan Washington, but Rocky Long elected to go for two and the conversion try failed.
-- McDonald has completed 59.3 percent of his passes for 3,790 yards with a 35/8 TD-INT ratio. He also has 370 rushing yards, four TDs and a 3.0 YPC average. Senior WR John Ursua garnered first-team All-Mtn. West Conference honors thanks to 89 receptions for 1,343 yards and 16 TDs. McDonald has two other elite wideouts in Byrd and Ward. Byrd hauled in 76 catches for 939 yards and nine TDs, while Byrd had 51 grabs for 865 yards and nine TDs.
-- Hawaii is ranked No. 101 out of 130 FBS team in total defense, No. 106 in run defense and No. 111 in scoring ‘D’ (35.4 PPG). The Warriors had one defensive player selected as a second-team All-MWC pick. That was junior DE Kaiman Padello, who racked up 22 tackles, 7.5 sacks, four TFL’s, seven QB hurries, one PBU and one forced fumble.
-- Hawaii went 5-2 SU and 3-4 ATS in seven home games. Meanwhile, La Tech (7-5 SU, 6-6 ATS) had a 4-3 SU record and a 5-2 ATS mark in seven road assignments.
-- La. Tech finished in a second-place tie in C-USA’s West Division. Skip Holtz’s squad lost three of its past four games both SU and ATS. The Bulldogs dropped a 30-15 decision to Western Kentucky as 10.5-point home favorite in the regular-season finale. The Hilltoppers jumped out to a 23-0 lead, only to see La. Tech answer with 12 points in the last 1:43 of the second quarter. The Bulldogs got a 19-yard TD run from Israel Tucker, a safety with 31 ticks left and a 33-yard field goal from Bailey Hale as time expired. They made it a one-possession game with 11:53 remaining in the third on Hale’s 20-yard FG, but the offense was blanked the rest of the way.
-- After missing a bowl during a 4-8 season in his first year on the job in 2013, Holtz has led La. Tech to five straight postseason bids. Holtz won nine games apiece from 2014-16 before the Bulldogs finished 7-6 last year. They’re unbeaten in four bowls under Holtz with a 3-1 spread record. La. Tech blasted Illinois 35-18 as a 6.5-point ‘chalk’ at the 2014 Heart of Dallas Bowl, then trounced Arkansas State 47-28 in the 2015 New Orleans Bowl but failed to cover in a 48-45 triumph over Army as a seven-point favorite in the 2016 Armed Forces Bowl. In last year’s Frisco Bowl, the Bulldogs spanked SMU by a 51-10 count as five-point underdogs.
-- La. Tech QB J’mar Smith had a bit of a junior slump. As a sophomore in 2017, he threw for 2,974 yards with a 16/5 TD-INT ratio and rushed for 371 yards and six TDs. Smith completed 56.9 percent of his passes this year for 2,873 yards with a 14/9 TD-INT ratio. He wasn’t as effective with his legs, rushing for just 138 yards and two TDs.
-- Smith has a pair of outstanding WRs in Adrian Hardy and Teddy Veal. Hardy has 69 receptions for 1,052 yards and six TDs, while Veal has caught 62 balls for 609 yards and one TD. RB Jaqwis Dance has a team-best 610 rushing yards, nine TDs and a 5.6 YPC average.
-- The ‘under’ has cashed in five straight games and is on an 8-1 run for the Bulldogs, who saw their first three games of the year go ‘under’ the total. Their games have average combined scores of 47.9 PPG.
-- The ‘over’ is 8-5 overall for Hawaii, going 3-1 in its last four games, but the ‘under’ went 4-3 in its seven home outings. The Warriors have watched their games average combined scores of 67.5 PPG.
-- Kickoff is scheduled for 10:30 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.
Follow Brian Edwards' sports gambling opinions on Twitter at @vegasbedwards.