I started with my first college football write up yesterday. It helps me to think it out instead of just picking one because it looks good.
Miami OH was in control but instead I settled for a push. I predicted a 27-21 final so I was pretty close. Those that got the game at 2.5 great win. On to Thursday...
East Carolina @ UAB
The line opened at 2.5 and dropped to 1.5 but has settled at 2 for now.
ECU is a long shot as far as winning the division but they can finish the the season with 8 wins if they win their last 3. This is their toughest road game left on their schedule. They also have SMU at home in the season finale.
UAB has played in several close games this year. They led FAU all game up until FAU took the lead late on a TD run. They lost in 5 OT's to Tennessee. They also played a very good Mississippi St team very well.
Two of three UAB wins came on the game's final play. They threw a 44 yard hail mary to defeat Troy by 1 point and they went for 2 in the second OT in their 1 point win over Southern Miss.
ECU is no stranger to close games either. They won their opener against Tulsa on a hail mary pass of their own. They beat USM by one point on a late TD and they beat a good NC State team in OT.
The one thing that really jumps out at me when looking at how the two teams seasons have gone is how many rushing yards that ECU has given up in their 4 losses. The four losses are to some talented teams, especially in how physical they play. gave up 249 to Virginia Tech, 263 to UNC, 265 to UCF, and 521 to Navy. That is a whopping 324.50 yards per game that ECU gave up on the ground in their 4 losses (all but the Navy game were road games).
In ECU's 5 wins they gave up a much better 139.20 yards per game. So when looking at the difference in winning and losing I would have to say that ECU needs to keep the ground game of UAB under control.
UAB has averaged 203.34 rushing yards per game in their 3 wins. They also put up 345 yards in their one point loss to FAU. In the other 5 losses UAB averaged only 108 yards per game on the ground.
One thing that I feel quite certain about is that ECU is going to throw it very well against the UAB defense. UAB ranks 84th in the nation in passing efficiency defense. They rank 101st in passing yards on defense. They will be playing a team that ranks 7th in the nation (1st in CUSA) in passing yards per game.
There will be a ton of yards in this game with both teams moving it at will. The issue is how many times can they cash in with TD's? ECU has made 40 trips into the red zone and 30 times they have scored TD's. UAB has enntered the RZ 35 times but has only scored TD's 22 times. Both red zone defense have had a rough time keeping there opponent out of the end zone. ECU has been a little worse (quite terrible actually). They have given up 32 RZ TD's in 46 trips.
In UAB's wins they are even in the turnover department but they are -6 in there 6 losses. ECU is -7 in their 4 losses and +3 in their 5 wins.
PREDICTION: This game comes down to can UAB run the ball and who wins the turnover battle. The fact that Ruffin's team gave up 521 yards on the ground and 76 points in their last game to Navy I fully expect this to be a game where they play with much more attitude. In typical UAB style, they followed up their OT win over a good USM team with a loss to a bad Marshall team. There is no home field advantage for UAB at Legion Field. ECU will score in bunches and their rush defense will slow down UAB enough to put UAB in some bad 3rd down situations. I think UAB mistakes and an explosive ECU offense will be too much for the Blazers.
ECU 44 UAB 32
Big East coming later!
Miami (OH) opened -3.5 but saw it slide down to -2.5. It has settled at a FG as of 2:15 pm on game day.
Miami (OH) is 4-1 in the MAC with an outside chance at a division championship. They are currently in a 3 way tie with Temple and Ohio U. They have already lost to Ohio but they play Temple at home in their season finale. They face a lousy Akron team on the road next week.
Bowling Green is 1-4 in the MAC. They won their last conference game, a 17-14 win over Central Michigan. They lost to Temple by a single point on the road and lost a 2 point game to Buffalo in their conference opener.
The one common opponent game that sticks out is their games against Kent St. The Redhawks beat Kent at home 27-21 but BG lost to Kent at home 30-6. Both were crushed by Ohio (BG played at Ohio) and both allowed the Bobcats to rush the football for a ton of yardage.
Statistically these two teams rank last and next to last in country rushing the football. Miami (OH) has the better rush defense and has played the much tougher non conference schedule. The Falcons gave up almost 500 yards rushing to Michigan at the Big House which does skew their poor rushing defense numbers a bit.
In conference play both teams are +1 in turnover margin. However Miami (OH) has been a little better if you take out the -4 game they had against Ohio.
Bowling Green is averaging a woeful 271 ypg on offense in MAC play. They are being held to less than 60 yards rushing per game. Defensively teams have been able to achieve balance against the Falcons. They are giving up 163.40 on the ground and 178.60 through the air. The Falcons really have nothing to hang their hat on.
Miami is averaging only 76.20 rushing yards per game but they have thrown it very well. They are averaging 284 yards per game in the air in MAC play. They have been pretty solid against the run defensively as well. They are giving up 109.40 yards per game on the ground but 222 of those yards came in their only conference loss to Ohio. In the other 4 games in MAC play they are only giving up 81.25 yards per game. Teams have thrown for about 220 yards per game against the Redhawks in MAC play.
Prediction: Bowling Green will not be able to run the ball at all here. Willie Geter had over 100 yards in their win over Central Michigan. He is expected to play but he is nursing a sore ankle. If the Falcons have a chance they have to give their QB, Matt Shilz time to throw. He had a big game against Temple which allowed Bowling Green to hang in. They are converting less than 38% of their 3rd downs as well. Miami has given up yards through the air but they should be able to keep Bowling Green behind the chains a good bit tonight (as evidenced by the fact they are second in the MAC in tackles for loss). This game will be similar to their game at Central Michigan earlier in the year. They didn’t run well but they didn’t give up any rush yards either. Even though they gave up yards through the air they amassed a lot through the air as well. The key to that win was turnover margin where they finished +3 for the game. I expect a lot of passing, a lot of punts, and a couple of key turnovers to be the key to the victory. But the reason I’m taking Miami (OH) is they have too much on the line to not win against a 1-4 team in their conference. MIAMI (OH) 27 BOWLING GREEN 21