Week 5 has the potential to be one of the most exciting weeks of the 2021 college football season, with opportunities for upsets aplenty.
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Ball State’s 7-1 2020 season is looking like a complete anomaly with each passing week.
The team that won seven consecutive games — including the Arizona Bowl — and returned most of its players for 2021 are off to a 1-3 start, with the lone win coming via a 10-point win over Western Illinois.
Cardinals quarterback Drew Plitt threw for 41 touchdowns and 13 interceptions from 2019 to 2020 but has thrown three picks to just two scores in what has been a horribly sluggish start. Meanwhile, the best playmaker on offense, wide receiver Justin Hall, has seen his PFF grade dip from 85.8 to 64.7, his worst in his five seasons with the program.
Bettors know what they get themselves into with Army. The Black Knights have thrown the ball only 18 times in four games, including a zero-completion effort last week. Instead, the program leads the country with 267 rushing attempts for 1,401 rushing yards, second behind Air Force. Their 33 explosive rushes of 10 or more yards rank eighth in the FBS.
The Ball State rushing defense is generous, to say the least. Its average depth of tackle is just over five yards downfield, and the unit is allowed 0.64 expected points added per rush play, 113th among 130 FBS defenses.
PFF Greenline supports the troops, with an implied spread of -8.3 instead of the market -7.5. Army has a 13-3 record over its last 16 games and should control this one from start to finish.
|Average offensive snaps||71.5||76.3|
|% run plays||93%||41%|
|% pass plays||7%||59%|
|EPA per run||0.14||-0.06|
|EPA per pass||0.96||-0.33|
These Big 12 teams were involved in completely different losses last Saturday: Texas Tech allowed 70 points and 639 total yards to the Texas Longhorns but did manage to put up 520 total yards of their own in a five-touchdown loss. Meanwhile, West Virginia held leads of 7-0, 10-7 and 13-10, but that still was not enough to put Oklahoma away.
Texas Tech quarterback Tyler Shough suffered a broken collarbone last week, but backup Henry Colombi came in and performed extremely well in his absence, completing 18-of-24 attempts for 324 yards, three scores and a 91.7 PFF grade. The fourth-year passer tossed four big-time throws to zero turnover-worthy plays while throwing over 13 yards downfield on average.
And then you have Red Raiders wideout Erik Ezukanma, whose 406 receiving yards and 260 receiving yards after the catch rank 13th and fourth among FBS wide receivers, respectively. What may also be surprising is that the Red Raiders average six yards per carry. This is a well-rounded offense.
|Metrics||Texas Tech||West Virginia|
|Passer rating when clean||121.5||100.2|
|Passer rating under pressure||83.6||36.8|
|Big-time throw %||4.26%||3.18%|
|Turnover-worthy play %||2.13%||3.82%|
Over on the other sideline, Mountaineers signal-caller Jarret Doege continues to underwhelm for West Virginia and has put up a career-worst 58.2 passing grade this season. Doege boasts an underwhelming stat line of four interceptions, seven sacks, five turnover-worthy plays and only four big-time throws across 135 dropbacks.