TJ’S THREE: WEEK 13
Last week: 2-1 Straight Up; 0-3 ATS (Against the Spread)
Season: 22-14 Straight Up; 15-20 ATS
Ole Miss @ Mississippi State (Starkville, MS) “The Egg Bowl” Mississippi State -1.5 per FanDuel
Ole Miss is 9-2 and ranked #9 in the College Football Playoff Poll. The Rebels are led by Heisman Hopeful QB Matt Corral. The junior signal caller has thrown for 3,100 yards, 19 TD’s and 3 Int’s while adding 552 rushing yards and 10 rushing TD’s. A pair of junior RB’s make up the bulk of the Rebels’ run game as Jerrion Ealy has 643 yards and 5 TD’s while Snoop Conner has 561 yards and 11 TD’s. Ealy has chipped in 171 receiving yards and 1 TD. Corral’s top target is senior WR Dontario Drummond who has 53 catches for 786 yards and 8 TD’s. Fellow senior WR Braylon Sanders has 22 catches for 486 yards and 3 TD’s. The defense has been leaky, giving up 25.4 points per game and 436.3 yards per game while getting 37 sacks, 10 Int’s and 10 fumble recoveries. Senior LB Chance Campbell leads with 87 tackles, 36 solo, 6 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and 3 fumble recoveries. Junior A.J. Finley has 81 tackles, 34 solo, 3 Int’s, 1 TD and 1 forced fumble. Senior DL Sam Williams is tied for 5th in the country with 10.5 sacks.
Mississippi State is 7-4 coming into the Egg Bowl. The Bulldogs are coached by Mike Leach, a master of the Air Raid Offense. Sophomore QB Will Rogers is 2nd in the nation with 4,113 passing yards, 6th with 34 TD’s and has 8 Int’s. 2 sophomore RB’s, Dillon Johnson and Jo’Quavious Marks, have combined for 168 rushes, 749 yards and 9 TD’s. They’ve also combined for 126 catches for 769 receiving yards and 4 TD’s. Junior WR Makai Polk is Rogers’ top target, hauling in 88 passes for 891 yards and 9 TD’s. Sophomore WR Jaden Walley has 47 catches for 569 yards and 5 TD’s while senior WR Austin Williams has 45 receptions for 519 yards and 4 TD’s. As is typical with the Mike Leach Air Raid, 17 different Bulldogs have caught a pass this season. The defense has been decent, giving up 24.7 points per game, 326.1 yards per game while getting 25 sacks, 10 Int’s and 5 fumble recoveries. Junior LB Jett Johnson leads with 73 tackles, 32 solo, 1 forced fumble and 2 fumble recoveries. Sophomore Emmanuel Forbes has 46 tackles, 35 solo, 1 sack, 3 Int’s and 1 forced fumble. Senior DL Tyrus Wheat leads the Bulldogs with 6 sacks.
Prediction: When these 2 coaches were hired at these schools, I couldn’t wait for the Egg Bowl! Mike Leach uses a pass-heavy version of the Air Raid while Lane Kiffin uses more runs but also utilizes some of the Air Raid concepts. Both coaches are money when it comes to quotes, Kiffin more so on Twitter than Leach. If you like high flying offenses, like I do, this is probably going to be the best game to watch on Thanksgiving Day, even better than the NFL games. Ole’ Miss’ defense has played much better lately and while this game is in Starkville, I just can’t go against how well the Rebels are playing. Ole’ Miss: 47 Mississippi State: 45 Take Ole’ Miss getting the points.
Oklahoma @ Oklahoma State (Oklahoma City, Ok) “Bedlam” Oklahoma State -4.5 per FanDuel
Oklahoma is 10-1 and ranked #10 in the College Football Playoff Poll. The Sooners are led by Freshman QB Caleb Williams who has 1,418 yards passing with 15 TD’s and 4 Int’s. He’s also 2nd on the team in rushing with 372 yards and 6 TD’s. Junior RB Kennedy Brooks leads with 162 rushes for 972 yards and 10 TD’s. Junior RB, and Tennessee transfer, Eric Gray has 330 yards rushing, 2 rushing TD’s, 204 receiving yards and 1 receiving TD. The sophomore WR duo of Marvin Mims and Jadon Hasselwood have combined for 65 catches, 1,025 yards and 10 TD’s. The defense has been Jekyll & Hyde, at times decent and at times abysmal. They’ve given up 24.2 points per game, 372.9 yards per game while getting 28 sacks, 8 Int’s and 12 fumble recoveries. Junior LB Brian Asamoah leads with 69 tackles, 45 solo and has 1 sack. Junior LB Nik Bonitto has 35 tackles, 6 sacks and 3 fumble recoveries. Senior DL Isaiah Thomas leads with 7 sacks and 3 forced fumbles.
Oklahoma State is 10-1 and ranked #7 in the College Football Playoff Poll. The Cowboys are led by junior QB Spencer Sanders who has thrown for 1,997 yards, 15 TD’s and 6 Int’s. He also chipped in 417 rushing yards and 5 rushing TD’s. Senior RB Jaylen Warren has 1,078 rushing yards and 10 TD’s. Senior WR Tay Martin has 54 catches for 765 yards and 6 TD’s while sophomore WR Brennan Presley has hauled in 35 passes for 422 yards and 5 TD’s. The offensive numbers for Oklahoma State this season are low for a typical Mike Gundy offense. But with the yin comes the yang, as the defense has been incredible. They give up only 14.9 points per game, 261.3 yards per game, have gotten 41 sacks, 8 Int’s and recovered 6 fumbles. Senior LB Malcolm Rodriguez has 95 tackles, 55 solo, 1 sack, 3 forced fumbles and 2 fumble recoveries, 1 of which was for a TD. Junior safety Jason Taylor, II has 34 tackles, 2 Int’s and 1 TD. Freshman DE Collin Oliver leads the Pokes with 6.5 sacks.
Prediction: While Mike Gundy has shed the Gullet and the high-flying offense this season his defense would be talked about a lot more if not for how good Georgia’s defense has been. In a league like the Big 12, where most people feel defense is optional, the numbers they’ve produced are outstanding. Oklahoma’s offensive numbers are down compared the last 4 or 5 years and both QB’s, Caleb Williams and Spencer Rattler, have struggled at times. Okie State’s offense does just enough to get the job done in most games and honestly, I don’t think OU will move the ball much against the Pokes defense. Oklahoma State: 27 Oklahoma: 20. Take Oklahoma State giving the points.
Penn State @ Michigan State (East Lansing, MI) “Land Grant Trophy” Michigan State -1.5 per FanDuel
Penn State is 7-4 this season and led by Senior QB Sean Clifford who has thrown for 2,599 yards, 17 TD’s and 6 Int’s while also adding 142 rushing yards and 2 TD’s. Sophomore RB Keyvone Lee has 416 rushing yards and 2 TD’s while junior RB Noah Cain has added 322 yards and 4 TD’s. The Nittany Lions top receiver is senior WR Jahan Dotson who has 83 catches for 1,045 yards and 10 TD’s. All of Dotson’s numbers are far greater than the next Penn State receiver. Sophomore WR Parker Washington has 53 catches for 662 yards and 3 TD’s, all are 2nd highest for the Nittany Lions. The defense has been good, giving up 331.6 yards per game but only 15.5 points per game while registering 21 sacks, 11 Int’s, 2 TD’s and 7 fumble recoveries. Senior LB Ellis Brooks has 91 tackles, 51 solo and 1 sack. Senior DE Arnold Ebiketie is tied for 10th nationally with 9.5 sacks. Senior safety Ji’Ayir Brown has 57 tackles, 48 solo, 4 Int’s, 1 TD, 1 forced fumble and 2 fumble recoveries.
Michigan State is 9-2 and ranked #12 in the College Football Playoff Poll. Sophomore QB Payton Thorne has thrown for 2,618 yards, 22 TD’s and 8 Int’s while adding 138 yards on the ground and 3 TD’s. Junior RB Kenneth Walker III is 2nd nationally with 1,498 rushing yards and tied for 4th with 17 rushing TD’s. Walker was hurt last week in the game against Ohio State but is expected to play against Penn State. Junior WR Jayden Reed has 47 catches for 857 yards and 7 TD’s. Fellow junior WR Jalen Nailor has 31 catches for 587 yards and 6 TD’s. Nailor missed the Ohio State game and is questionable to play this week. The defense has been bad, specifically the pass defense. They rank last in the country in team passing defense out of 130 teams, giving up 339.9 passing yards per game. The Spartans are giving up 25.5 points per game, 444.3 total yards per game and have 34 sacks, 9 Int’s and 8 fumble recoveries. Senior safety Xavier Henderson has 89 tackles, 57 solo, 3 sacks, 1 Int and 1 forced fumble. Junior LB, and Tennessee transfer, Quavaris Crouch has 75 tackles, 37 solo, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble and 1 fumble recovery. Sophomore DE Jeff Pietrowski and senior DE Jacub Panasiuk have combined for 11 sacks, 3 forced fumbles and 2 fumble recoveries.
Prediction: While Michigan State has been the talk of the Big 10 this season, their pass defense is downright terrible. I don’t think terrible is enough of a word to describe how bad it is. Penn State has the weapons to throw the ball and exploit this weakness and I think they’ll get a lot of yards and a decent number of points. But Michigan State also has a good offense and if Kenneth Walker III is fully healthy he will gash the Nittany Lion defense. I think this will be a final possession type of game. Michigan State: 30 Penn State: 28. Take the Spartans getting the points.