Spotlight on two college football games for Friday:
MINNESOTA GOLDEN GOPHERS at MARYLAND TERRAPINS, 7:30 PM ET (ESPN)
BetOnline College Football Odds: Minnesota -19, Total 61
Needless to say, Minnesota's 49-24 loss to a very young Michigan squad last week was a surprise. While the Gophers returned a lot of key offensive personnel, including Tanner Morgan (30 TD's, 7 INT's last year), the defense, particularly up front, was undergoing a lot of turnover. And Michigan ran roughshod over them (8.2 ypc). This isn't the kind of thing the fiery PJ Fleck will abide too well. So you can expect a fired-up Minnesota squad.
And maybe that's not such a good thing for Maryland. The best thing we can say about the Terps right now is that they are in a rebuilding mode. Life in the Big Ten is rough for those schools who came in from lesser conferences, and we're not sure you want to go into the rebuilding phase with Mike Locksley, who now has a 6-41 record as a head coach.
One youngster who is taking his lumps is Taulia Tagovailoa, and yes he is the brother of Tua. He's got a long way to go, as he was intercepted three times with 94 yards on 25 pass attempts in the 43-3 loss to Northwestern. He may not look ready, but there's no other choice for the Alabama transfer, as senior Josh Jackson opted out of the season. Well, maybe Lance LeGendre, but Locksley has insisted that the dual threat will be used for special packages primarily.
Things may get worse for Maryland before they get better. MINNESOTA - go you Gophers.
EAST CAROLINA PIRATES at TULSA GOLDEN HURRICANE, 9 PM ET, ESPN2
BetOnline NCAA Football Line: Tulsa -16.5, Total 59.5
It's been something of a rocky road for Tulsa, which has been hit by COVID-19 cases and had to sit out a lot of time - almost three weeks, in fact - before going into Tampa and blowing out South Florida.
Undoubtedly, there is going to be a frenzy - at least among the true Tulsa faithful - as the 'Cane lines up for its first home game in almost a full year. It ought to be an inviting atmosphere, especially as East Carolina is giving up 458 yards per game. Maybe they can control things on the ground with Deneric Prince (6.4 ypc), although Zach Smith, the Baylor transfer, has been solid but unspectacular (63%, 8.2 ypa).
If you are looking for a pleasant surprise here, it's the Tulsa defense, which in the category of yards allowed per game is in the nation's top 35, surrendering just 3.3 yards per rush attempt, despite having to face Oklahoma State and Central Florida. According to the advanced stats at Football Outsiders, their defensive line is 8th in the country in both Adjusted Line Yards and Stuff Rate (holding opponents to no gain or a loss on running plays). So they'll make ECU one-dimensional.
And maybe you were looking for some additional incentive for the Golden Hurricane to put some distance between themselves and this opponent? Well, Tulsa gathered the 28th greatest total of points in the latest Associated Press poll, which means they are pretty close to getting in the national rankings. Playing a little "bully ball" won't hurt the cause. We'll lay the points with TULSA.
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