Friday Night College Football
Marshall -23 @ Florida International O/U 48.5 CANCELLED
Minnesota -20 @ Maryland O/U 63
East Carolina @ Tulsa -16.5 O/U 61.5
Hawaii @ Wyoming -1 O/U 61
Minnesota (41.5 Implied Team Total)
A year after throwing for 3,000+ yards and 30 TDs, QB Tanner Morgan struggled against Michigan in the season opener. The junior completed 18 out of 31 pass attempts for 197 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT while being sacked 6 times. He should bounce back against a Maryland defense that was throttled for 43 points in their season opener by Northwestern. Northwestern QB Payton Ramsey posted 23 fantasy points (212 passing yards, 1 pass TD and 47 rushing yards and 1 TD rush). The Golden Gophers offense favored the run (63.4/36.6 run-pass split and averaged 67.9 plays per game last season.
Mo Ibrahim was the lone bright on Saturday night. The Minnesota RB ran for 140 yards and 2 TDs on an eye-popping 26 carries. He had 5.4 yards per carry against a difficult Michigan run defense. He’s in a phenomenal spot as the Maryland run defense was jackhammered by Northwestern ball carriers in their season opener. 4 different runners found paydirt; in total Maryland allowed 325 yards rushing on 53 carries (6.1 yards per carry). He challenges Knox for the overall RB1 on Friday night. Treyson Potts is the backup RB. He ran for 18 yards on 5 carries in the season opener; he figures to see extra carries if this game turns into a blowout.
Notable target counts from the season opener: Rashod Bateman (12), Mo Ibrahim (4), Ko Kieft (3), Treyson Potts (2), Chris Autman-Bell (2), Cam Wiley (1), Brevyn Spann-Ford (1), Daniel Jackson (1), Clay Geary (1), Bryce Witham (1).
Clearly, Bateman is the best playmaker on the Minnesota team. The star WR caught 9 passes for 101 yards on Saturday night. He’s recorded 6+ receptions in 5 out of the last 6 games, dating back to last season. He’s easily the WR1 on Friday night. Autman-Bell and Jackson were the other starting WRs. It was mentioned on the broadcast that Autman-Bell was primarily running routes underneath last season with Tyler Johnson and Bateman taking the deeper routes. However, with Johnson gone, Autman-Bell role will change and he’ll be the guy along with Bateman taking the deep routes. Autman-Bell’s lone reception went for 45 yards. Jackson was held out of the box score. He’s a 4-star prospect and will likely carry little-no-ownership after Saturday night’s game.
Ko Kieft recorded 2 receptions for 29 yards; he was the recipient of QB Morgan’s lone TD pass. Maryland allowed a game high 5/53/0 to Northwestern’s TE John Raine.
In 2020 (1 game), Minnesota is 43rd in passing yards allowed with 225 yards/game. They are 96th in rushing yards allowed with 256 yards/game. The defense has given up 5 TDs on the ground (5 TD/game) and 1 TD through the air (1 TD/game) this season.
Maryland (21.5 Implied Team Total)
Taulia Tagovailoa was brutal in his 1st college start. Tua’s little brother threw for 94 yards and 3 INT in Saturday’s 43-3 loss at Northwestern. It looks like he’ll get another start (over the dual threat Lance LeGendre) this week against Minnesota. A run-heavy approach from Maryland’s offense seems like the most logical plan for Maryland this week. Minnesota was blasted by the Michigan running game in their season opener (256 yards rushing and 5 rush TDs allowed). However, it remains to be seen scene if Maryland has the talent to push around Minnesota’s d-line like Michigan was able to. If they can’t, Taulia will have to make plays in the passing game. He’s a former 4-star prospect so one would believe he has the ability to makes plays in the passing game. The young QB faces off with a Minnesota defense that allowed 225 passing yards and 1 TD to UM’s Joe Milton (also made his 1st career start). Milton also ran for 52 yards and 1 TD on 8 carries. Taulia is listed a pro-style QB which is backed up by his -18 rushing yards in limited game time over last 1+ years. The Maryland offense favored the run (55.4/44.6 run-pass split) and averaged 63.9 plays per game last season.
Jake Funk started at RB and Isaiah Jacobs was the 1st RB off the bench. Funk was limited to 35 rushing yards on 6 carries as Northwestern blew the doors of Maryland. The senior also caught 2 balls for 9 yards. Funk has played sparingly over his Maryland career. Meanwhile, Jacobs is the younger brother of Raiders star RB Josh Jacobs. Isaiah was a former 4-star recruit who received several high-profile scholarship offers. I wouldn’t be surprised if he takes over the starting job from Funk sooner than later. Tayon Fleet-Davis was listed as a backup with Jacobs prior to the season opener. He did not play despite running for 265 yards and 2 TDs on 63 carries last season. He also had 15 receptions for 181 yards and 2 TDs.
Target counts from the season opener: Dontay Demus Jr. (7), Jeshaun Jones (6), Rakim Jarrett (4), Nick DeGennaro (3), Darryl Jones (2), Isaiah Jacobs (2), Jake Funk (2), DeJuan Ellis (1), Brian Cobbs (1), and Penny Boone (1).
Demus Jr. and Jones start on the perimeter and they’re joined Cobbs in the slot. Demus Jr. is likely the Terps’ best playmaker on offense. The junior had 41 receptions for 625 yards and 6 TDs in 2019. Cobbs is the 2nd leading returning WR from 2019 (16/243/0). Meanwhile Jones flashed big play ability in 2018 (22/288/5) before missing all of 2019. Jones and Demus Jr. recorded 9 out of the Terps’ 18 receptions. They also were responsible for 78 out of the 143 passing yards. DeGennaro led the team with 42 receiving yards (3 receptions) in the season opener. He didn’t appear on the 2-deep prior to the season opener so he’s probably not relevant this week. In regards to this week, Ronnie Bell led all UM pass catchers in Minnesota’s season opener with 4 receptions from 74 yards from the X-receiver spot (Jeshaun Jones’ spot).
Tyler Baylor was held out of the box score despite starting the season opener at TE.
In 2020 (1 game), Maryland is 34th in passing yards allowed with 212 yards/game. They are 101st in rushing yards allowed with 325 yards/game. The defense has given up 4 TDs on the ground (4 TD/game) and 1 TD through the air (1 TD/game) this season.
East Carolina (22.5 Implied Team Total)
Holton Ahlers is expected to start this week after missing the team’s last game due to COVID. In 3 starts this season, the junior has completed 60 out 105 pass attempts for 673 yards, 6 TDs, and 4 INT. Ahlers has also recorded 77 rushing yards on 24 attempts. When he’s playing well, Ahlers has monster upside. However, the matchup with Tulsa this week is brutal. The Golden Hurricane are limiting opposing passers to 218.7 passing yards. They’ve only surrendered 2 pass TDs in 3 games; they’re limiting enemy QBs to 6.13 yards per attempt (2nd best on the slate only behind Marshall). Also, it’s not like Tulsa isn’t playing anybody either. They played at Oklahoma State and at UCF in their 1st 2 games this season. The ECU offense is favoring the run (57.5/42.5 run-pass split) and averages 74.8 plays per game this season.
Rahje Harris is establishing himself as the Pirates top threat in the backfield. The freshman has posted box scores of 22/172/1 (NAVY) and 19/115/2 (USF) over the last 2 games. Keaton Mitchell also sees time in the backfield. The freshman has 127 rushing yards on 29 carries; he also has 4 receptions for 29 yards. It’ll be a difficult challenge for the rising freshman duo. Tulsa has limited opposing ball carriers to 3.29 yards per carry. In total, they’re allowing around 130 rushing yards per game and they’ve ceded 3 rush TDs in 3 games. The Golden Hurricane held OSU star RB Chuba Hubbard below 100 rushing yards despite receiving 27 carries.
Notable target counts through 4 games: Blake Proehl (30), Tyler Snead (27), CJ Johnson (19), Audie Omotosho (17), Keaton Mitchell (4), and Rahjai Harris (3).
Proehl has done virtually nothing outside of a 11/83/0 (18 targets) stat line in Game 2. In the other 3 games combined, Proehl has 8 receptions on 12 targets for 61 yards and 0 TDs. Sneads’ stat lines look nearly identical to Proehl. In Game 2 the sophomore posted 11/103/0 on 12 targets. In the other 3 games, he has 9 receptions on 15 targets for 89 yards and 1 TD. Johnson is the WR to roster if you’re considering a Pirate this week. The big bodied sophomore has 7 receptions for 166 yards and 3 TDs through 4 games. He’s also the top returning pass catcher from last season. As a freshman CJ posted 55/922/4. Omotosho is the last relevant pass catcher. The senior has 56 or less receiving yards in all 4 games (0 TD). The ECU passing game is in a tough spot this week; all 4 guys will likely go low-owned in GPPs as a result.
In 2020 (4 games), ECU is 58th in passing yards allowed with 245.5 yards/game. They are 85th in rushing yards allowed with 212.8 yards/game. The defense has given up 12 TDs on the ground (3 TD/game) and 7 TDs through the air (1.75 TD/game) this season.
Tulsa (39 Implied Team Total)
Zach Smith finds himself in another home-run spot as the Golden Hurricane host ECU. The Pirates are allowing 245.5 passing yards per game and they’ve been burnt for 7 pass TDs in 4 games. They’re allowing 8.32 yards per attempt which is 2nd most on the slate. Smith also provides leverage of the much chalkier Tulsa run game this week (more on that below). The senior QB has completed 51 out of 81 pass attempts for 671 yards, 5 TDs, and 3 INT through 3 games. Despite playing 2 top 15 teams, Smith has managed to throw for at least 1 TD in all 3 games this season. He thrown at least 24 passes in all 3 games but hasn’t attempted more than 29 passes in any single game. The Tulsa offense is favoring the run (57.9/42.1 run-pass split) and averages 65 plays per game this season.
With TK Wilkerson unavailable last week, Corey Taylor II started at RB and rotated with the Deneric Prince. Taylor II ran for 67 yards and 2 TDs on 12 carries while Prince ran for 109 yards and 2 TDs on 15 carries. The sophomore Prince looked explosive every time he touched the ball. Taylor II has played a significant role in Tulsa’ running game over the last 2 seasons (over 1,300 yards and 17 TDs combined in 2018 and 2019). If Wilkerson is out again, Taylor II provides leverage off the likely chalkier Prince. However, if Wilkerson is back, we could see a 3-way RBBC. Wilkerson ran for 86 yards and 1 TD on 22 carries in Tulsa’s 34-26 upset win over UCF. Through 2 games, the sophomore has 108 rushing yards and 1 TD on 31 carries. This is a smash spot for the Tulsa backfield. ECU has the worst run defense amongst the teams playing on Friday night (it remains to be seen how bad Maryland is against the run fwiw). The Pirates are allowing nearly 213 rushing yards per game and they’ve been jolted for 12 rush TDs in only 4 games. Additionally, enemy ball carriers are averaging 4.86 yards per carry. 3 straight RBs have recorded multiple TD games against ECU (Coates (GAST), Ford (USF), and Smith (NAVY).
Notable target counts through 3 games: Sam Crawford Jr. (22), Keylon Stokes (19), Josh Johnson (12), JuanCarlos Santana (11), Josh Stewart (5), TK Wilkerson (2 – 2 games), and Deneric Prince (1).
Crawford Jr., Stokes, and Johnson all have 11+ receptions, 150+ receiving yards, and at least 1 TD reception this season. Crawford Jr. has 4 receptions in all 3 games this season; he’s topped 70 receiving yards in 2 consecutive games. Stokes has been relatively quiet this season and it’s only a matter of time before he blows up. The senior has at least 4 receptions in all 3 games and he’s cleared 55 yards receiving in all 3 games. Stokes posted 62/1,040/6 a season ago. Johnson cleared 60 yards receiving and scored a TD in the 1st 2 games before posting 4/23/0 against USF last week. Santana is TD dependent as he’s not cleared 45 yards receiving in any of the 3 games this season. Crawford Jr. posted 5/93/1 and Stokes went for 4/76/1 in last year’s season opening win over ECU. QB Smith threw for 331 yards and 5 TDs in that game. ECU has been smoked by perimeter WRs this season which sets up well for Crawford Jr. and Stokes (and Johnson). UCF’s Robinson went for 9/150/2, Georgia State’s Pinckney went for 7/134/2, and USF’s Williams posted 8/93/0.
In 2020 (3 games), Tulsa is 38th in passing yards allowed with 218.7 yards/game. They are 39th in rushing yards allowed with 129.3 yards/game. The defense has given up 3 TDs on the ground (1 TD/game) and 2 TDs through the air (.67 TD/game) this season.
Hawaii (30 Implied Team Total)
Chevan Cordeiro has the QB position all to himself this season. The dual threat signal caller threw for 229 yards and rushed for 116 yards and 2 TDs (13 carries). While Hawaii annihilated Fresno State via the ground game, this week’s game will likely be a game in which Cordeiro will be forced to make plays through the air. This week’s opponent, Wyoming, shut down Nevada’s run game (76 rushing yards and 1 TD on 27 carries) in their season opener but were destroyed by Nevada QB Carson Strong (420 passing yards and 4 TDs). Additionally, Wyoming had one of the better run defenses in the FBS in 2019 (allowed 109.1 rushing yards per game and 3.0 yards per carry). In the season opener, the Hawaii offense ran 53 running plays and 31 pass plays in Todd Graham’s offense.
Miles Reed is the primary ball carrier with Calvin Turner and Dae Dae Hunter also seeing time in the backfield. Reed led all ball carriers with 21 carries (109 rushing yards). The junior was the Warriors’ leading rusher from 2019 (908 rushing yards and 8 TDs on 174 carries). Turner, a Jacksonville State transfer, ran for 60 yards and 2 TDs on 8 carries in his first action at Hawaii. Hunter tallied 43 rushing yards on 8 carries.
Target counts from the season opener: Rico Bussey Jr. (12), Jared Smart (9), Nick Mardner (4), Miles Reed (2), and Calvin Turner (2).
Bussey Jr., Lincoln Victor, Zion Bowens, and Jared Smart were listed as starters on the season opening depth chart. Bussey Jr. the former North Texas WR caught 8 balls for 86 yards in the season opener. The big play WR posted 68/1,017/12 at North Texas in 2018. He’s a good bet to lead the Warriors in receiving this season. Smart had a monster 2019 season for Hawaii (87/1,119/5 on 126 targets). He opened the 2020 season with 7 receptions for 89 yards. Hawaii is undergoing a major transition on offense this season as they move away from Hawaii’s traditional air raid offense. HC Todd Graham wants to be more physical so expect a shift toward the run game this season. Mardner (listed behind Bowens on the depth chart) caught 2 passes for 26 yards. His 6’6” frame should come in handy in the red zone. Smart and Bussey Jr. should feast on Wyoming secondary which allowed 7/119/2 to Nevada TE Cole Turner and 12/117/1 to Romeo Doubs in their season opener.
In 2020 (1 game), Hawaii is 88th in passing yards allowed with 289 yards/game. They are 26th in rushing yards allowed with 120 yards/game. The defense has given up 3 TDs on the ground (1 TD/game) and 1 TDs through the air (1 TD/game) this season.
Wyoming (31 Implied Team Total)
Levi Williams should make the start at QB for the Cowboys with Sean Chambers sidelined with a broken leg. Williams threw for 227 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT in the season opener. He also ran for 40 yards and 2 TDs on 10 carries. The redshirt freshman saw action in 3 games last season. In those 3 games, Williams completed 19 out of 39 pass attempts for 343 yards, 3 TDs, and 2 INT while also recording 181 rushing yards and 2 TDs on 40 attempts. Obviously, he’s intriguing because of his dual threat ability. The matchup with Hawaii should be a decent spot. While Hawaii only allowed 1 passing TD, they did surrender 289 yards to Fresno State in their season opener. Moreover, they allowed a staggering 9.32 yards per pass attempt. The Cowboys offense favored the run (69.2/30.8 run-pass split) and averaged 63.9 plays per game last season.
Xazavian Valladay ran for 87 yards on 22 carries in Wyoming’s season opening defeat. The productive runner tallied 7 receptions for 44 yards on a team high 7 targets. Valladay is coming a monster 2019 season. The junior ran for 1,265 yards and 6 TDs while also catching 11 balls for 211 yards and 2 TDs. Hawaii held Fresno State ball carriers to 3.24 yards per carry in last week’s game. Despite a solid first outing by the Hawaii run defense, I’m not sold yet. The Warriors were trucked by opposing runners in 2019. They allowed an average of 203.1 rushing yards and 2.5 TDs to enemy backfields last season.
Target counts from the season opener: Xazavian Valladay (7), Treyton Welch (6), Isaiah Neyor (5), Ayden Eberhardt (3), Dontae Crow (2), Gunner Gentry (2), Nate Weinman (2), Jackson Marcotte (1), and Trey Smith (1).
Gentry and Eberhardt are the starting WRs with Welch starting at TE. Neyor rotates with Eberhart at the Z-spot while Alex Brown rotates with Gentry at the X-spot. Neyor led the team with 3/102/0 in the season opener. Neyor is a former 2-star prospect and he stands in at 6’3”. RB Valladay is actually the team’s top returning pass catcher as they lost their top 3 pass catchers from 2019. Eberhardt hauled in 8 balls for 168 yards and 2 TDs last season. Gentry had 6/130/0. Both guys were relatively quiet in the season opener. Gentry caught the lone TD pass (2/28/1). Eberhardt was held to 1 reception for 15 yards. Welch had 1 reception for 24 yards. Gentry was a former 3-star recruit and is the younger brother of Wyoming star Tanner Gentry. Eberhardt is a former 2-star QB recruit. Hawaii allowed a team high 3/73/0 to Fresno State’s X-receiver Kendric Wheatfall. As a result, I’m favoring Gentry over Eberhardt this week.
In 2020 (1 game), Wyoming is 100th in passing yards allowed with 420 yards/game. They are 8th in rushing yards allowed with 76 yards/game. The defense has given up 1 TD on the ground (1 TD/game) and 4 TDs through the air (4 TD/game) this season.
Target counts pulled from Pro Football Focus