We’re coming off a mediocre 2-2 performance for this weekly article but will try to get back into the green in Week 11. There are some marquee matchups this week that will dominate the headlines, but for betting purposes, we’ll be looking at under-the-radar contests in the Sun Belt, Mountain West and Conference USA.
The model I use for my projections is independent from PFF Greenline, but the good news is that there is agreement between the two on some of these plays this week. I’ll go over those here, and be sure to check out Greenline for all of your college football betting needs as we head into the weekend.
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It’s almost impressive to see how many categories Southern Mississippi's offense ranks dead last in this season:
|Team||EPA/Play||Successful Drive Rate||Offensive Grade||Passing Grade||EPA/Rush|
The quarterback position has been a revolving door, with three different players taking more than 50 dropbacks for the Golden Eagles. None have been effective, with PFF passing grades of 36.5, 40.2 and 46.3 between the three. It’ll be Jake Lange as the starter this week, and he is coming off a performance against North Texas where he averaged 4.6 yards per pass attempt in a blowout loss. Overall, he enters this game with a ratio of three big-time throws to 10 turnover-worthy plays.
This UTSA defense should totally dominate the matchup, considering it comes in ranked 20th in EPA per play. It should be able to squash this Southern Miss passing game into the ground, ranking 21st in pass-rushing grade and 32nd in EPA per throw. Look for a big day out of UTSA’s Clarence Hicks, who leads all linebackers with nine sacks and has earned an elite 90.7 pass-rushing grade on the year.
The Roadrunners’ run defense has arguably been even better, ranking 15th in EPA per carry and 17th in yards before contact per attempt. That should be another area for this defense to dominate, with the Eagles ranking dead last in EPA per carry and 129th in run-blocking grade.
UTSA's offense has been very efficient this season and should have a lot of success in the passing game here. However, the Southern Miss run defense has shown plenty of signs of life, with top-30 rankings in run-defense grade and rushing success rate allowed. Meanwhile, the Roadrunners rank just 68th in rushing success rate. We’ll probably see a heavy dose of the ground game, considering UTSA should have a comfortable lead, but that is one department where Southern Miss stacks up well here.
Overall, the Golden Eagles haven’t topped 20 points against an FBS opponent this season, and they likely won’t be contributing much at all to the total in this game. This is a PFF Greenline agreement as well, as it’s showing a small edge with an average projection of 53.4.
UTEP Miners @ North Texas Mean Green UNDER 55
This matchup features two offenses that rank outside the top 100 in success rate. Let's start with North Texas, which has really struggled to move the ball in the passing game. On the year, it’s ranked 121st in passing grade, 113th in pass-blocking grade, 119th in receiving grade and 121st in yards per attempt. It won’t get any easier this week, either, with UTEP ranking 32nd in passing success rate allowed and 16th in pass-rush win rate. On the edge, UTEP’s duo of Praise Amaewhule and Jadrian Taylor have combined for 13 sacks and 49 pressures this season, with Amaewhule’s 89.4 pass-rushing grade ranking 22nd among all edge defenders.
UTEP has been even more dominant against the run, though, ranking seventh in run-defense grade. Prior to last week’s loss against UTSA, the Miners hadn’t allowed any of their FBS opponents to generate positive expected points added (EPA) per carry in a game. This unit should dominate in the trenches, with North Texas ranking just 93rd in run-blocking grade.