Huge shoutout to @robcarlson77 for stepping in and doing a great job the past two weeks!
Match-Up: Marshall (2-3) at Kent State (2-3)
Stormstopper Line: Kent State (-2.5)
Coach @Traith and the Flashes host the Thundering Herd. Both teams are scoring under 17 Points/Game, yet allow over 20. QB Cameron Hare has struggled this season, throwing more interceptions than Touchdowns and completing just under 53% of his passes. It's hard to imagine him improving much over the remainder of the season, but if Kent State has any hopes of going Bowling, Hare has to step up. RB C.J. Williams has improved recently, and now sits just under 400 Yards on the year on 4.68 YPC. He's rushed for 4 Touchdowns as well. This Flashes Offense really needs Williams to play well. If he can pace the offense and keep them ahead of schedule, this team has a real chance at winning games. TE Mark Ashley has been Hare's favorite target, leading the team with 20 Receptions. Behind are WRs Ashton Hannah and A.J. Addison with 12 and 18. This passing game is essentially broken right now. Kent State averages 259.8 YPG. It's hard to see them winning with that kind of output. Defensively, Marshall defends the pass pretty well, giving up just 226 PYPG. DE Enrique Mendez (3.5/3.5) for the Herd will be in Hare's face all game long. OLB Milo Mize (3.5/4.5) will be the key guy to defend. He plays off of Mendez very well and is able to get outside and hit the Quarterback regularly. The Thundering Herd Secondary isn't all that talented, but they've played well so far this year, not having given up more than 240 Yards in any game. The success for Kent State will have to come on the ground. Offensively, it's the QB Francesco Griffiths (3/3.5) show. The Scrambler has to do basically everything for this team. Marshall gets just 269 YPG on Offense, with 210 coming through the air. Marshall's wins this season have come win they rush for 100 Yards. That seems like an obvious strategy to win. It should be noted that they also threw for 200 yards in those two wins, and haven't done that in any of their losses. RB Griffin Ames (2.5/3) is Griffiths' backfield partner. He's, not good. Francesco has to lead the way on the ground as well if Marshall wants to win. The Herd Receivers aren't great, their top guy is Jonah Kitchen (3/3), while the #2 guy is Greg Sprague (2.5/3.5). Neither of these two should really scare Kent State. Marshall's OL is bad, I can't see this unit getting consistent push against the Kent DL. On that DL is DE Geno Mason, who has been disappointing this season. He has 5 Tackles and 2 Sacks. This defense needs him to be a constant presence in the opposing backfield, if he can do that, the rest of the defense is unleashed. ILB Cooper Merritt will be the top guy in shutting down the run, he leads the team with 27 Tackles. He has to shut down Ames. Kent State's secondary isn't great, but they are more talented than what Marshall has out wide, so that should be a victory for the Flashes. In the end, I think Kent State's defense is better than Marshall's.
My Prediction: Kent State 20 Marshall 13
Match-Up: Miami (OH) 0-5 at Buffalo (1-4)
Stormstopper Line: Buffalo (-4)
Coach @chawsley continues to look for his first win as the Redhawks travel to Buffalo to take on Coach @Jordan and the Bulls. The Miami offense has been an unmitigated disaster. They're scoring just 6.2 PPG, while gaining under 200 YPG. Just, bad. The first 4 games were a pass heavy attack from the Redhawks, but last week they went super run heavy to try and limit the impact of their QB. Ashton Hilliard has been the worst QB in the MAC, and there are some bad ones in the conference folks. He's completed under 50% of his passes with 3 TDs and 6 Picks. Getting a QB Rating under 100 is very bad in the college game, Hilliard currently sits at 88.74. RB Nazir Randolph has been almost as bad. he's rushed for 237 Yards on 3.76 YPC with just one TD. If you're @chawsley, who do you turn to? The top receiver for the Redhawks has been WR Ahmed Crosby with 15 Receptions for 186 Yards and 1 TD. Miami has a 3.1 OL Rating, and has allowed 10 Sacks. The OL should be the strength of the offense, but they've played very poorly as well. For Buffalo defensively, they're a mess right now. They're allowing over 320 YPG, and just over 28.2 PPG. Buffalo has managed to sack the opposing QB only 3 Times this year. Can Buffalo defend the run? Sometimes. They're allowing 89.4 RYPG, but they've played Bowling Green and BYU - two teams who don't want to run. They gave up over 100 to Stanford and over 150 to Akron. I don't know if Buffalo can contain the Miami rushing attack. If Randolph goes for over 130 again, it may be hard for Buffalo to have the ball enough to extend their lead. On Offense, Buffalo is a team. They don't pass well, however in Week 6 (their lone win), they aired it a little more and it was fairly effective. QB Levi Thompson has been...ok. He's completing 60% of his passes for 3 TDs with 1 Pick. That kind of passing attack can be stomached if he's also making plays on the ground, which he is not. He's rushed for just 76 Yards on 3.8 YPC. RB Alec Self has mostly been solid, but not much else. He has 597 Yards with 6 TDs on 5.06 YPC. Their best rushing game of the year was also against Bowling Green. If Buffalo can continue to run the ball like they did in Week 6, this team can win some games. For as bad as the offense has played, I think Miami's defense has actually played pretty well. They're giving up 26.6 PPG and over 330 YPG. Those numbers aren't great, but they really should be much worse. This offense has left the Defense out to dry in a bad way, and they've reacted fairly well. DT Morris Jackson is a key guy right up the middle. The big fella has to get a good push into the backfield and force Self/Thompson to adjust their runs. DE Josiah Ornelas will need to apply pressure from the outside and help force the running game into Jackson, or get pressure on Thompson as he tries to throw the ball. ILB Kayden Shaw has to keep the middle of the field locked down, while CB Jeremiah Christy will lock down whoever the Bulls throw against him. Buffalo really should be a touchdown or two better than Miami, and I think they will be this week.
My Prediction: Buffalo 17 Miami 7
Match-Up: Appalachian State (0-5) at Central Michigan (3-2)
Stormstopper Line: Central Michigan (-32)
Coach @robcarlson77 and the Chips host Coach @Nittany Boiler boiler and the Mountaineers. QB Byron Suggs is my lord and savior. I've sang his praises all season long. The Junior (please declare) is completing 63% of his passes for 1,720 Yards with 15 Touchdowns and 1 Interception. Jesus. When your QB has as much weight of the offense as Suggs does, and he just doesn't turn the ball over, you've got a great QB there. RB Daveed Huff was bad for 4 games, and then decided to be good against Miami. he has 319 yards with 5 TDs on 4.49 YPC. If his play in Week 6 continues into Week 7, App State will be out of this game by the end of the 1st Quarter. Central has 4 guys with 298+ Receiving Yards and 3+ Receiving TDs. Suggs really fed Aikman and Peppers last season, but has spread the ball around much more efficiently this year. Instead of covering 2 guys, you now have to cover 4. The Chips OL is the biggest weakness of this offense. They average a 3.7 Rating (actually pretty good for the MAC) and have given up 7 Sacks. This unit playing well will only make this offense even better somehow. For App State on Defense, their best game was a 25 Point effort giving up to UL-Lafayette. They allow 38.2 PPG and give up about 390 YPG as well. Do you want to throw on App State? Go right ahead. Do you want to run on App State? Please, be my guest. This defense doesn't have any playmakers. The top guy is CB Shane Pepper (3.5/4) and for as good as he is, this Defense needs more. ILBs Zach McNeal (2.5/3.5) and Kayden Whitfield (2.5/3.5) are the other top guys, that's just not good. I can't envision this defense getting consistent pressure on Suggs, consistently covering all the Receivers, or consistently stuffing Huff in the running game. Offensively, they aren't much better and may actually be worse. They score 12.8 PPG and are able to muster just 214.6 YPG. QB Kareem Witherspoon (3.5/3.5) is a Dual Threat guy, but doesn't have the support to make plays consistently. RB DeVante Mingo (2.5/2.5) is not much help. WRs Ronnie Wallace (3/3) and Julian Shipman (2.5/2.5) are backup quality players who are being forced to start. The Mountainer OL is possibly the worst in FBS. On Defense for Central, the Chips allow 21.8 PPG and give up 290 YPG. After the first couple games, Central's Defense has really clamped down and held their past three opponents to under 300 Yards each (including Toledo). DE Dante Joiner, DT Kareem Lindsey, and DE Jay Huff have combined for 34 Tackles, 4.5 Sacks, and 10 TFL. This trio has played so well this year, and they should feast this week. ILB Justice Noriega leads the team with 30 Tackles and shuts down the middle of the field. CB DeSean Mathis has played well too, picking off 2 Passes and Defending another. This defense isn't great, but they've stepped up recently and are playing well. I just don't see how App State keeps this close.
My Prediction: Central Michigan 52 Appalachian State 7