TJ’S THREE: WEEK 4
Last week: 2-1 Straight Up; 1-2 ATS (Against the Spread)
Season: 4-5 Straight Up; 4-5 ATS
Notre Dame -v- Wisconsin (@ Soldier Field, Chicago, IL) Wisconsin -6.5 per FanDuel
This could be known as the Jack Coan bowl as the Sr. Notre Dame QB was the QB for Wisconsin the past 3 years. Coan transferred to Notre Dame after he missed last season with an injury and was replaced at Wisconsin by Graham Mertz. The Irish are 3-0 to start the season and Coan has been a major reason for that. He has passed for 828 yards and 8 TD’s with 2 Int’s. The run game, as usual on a Brian Kelly coached team, is low on output only averaging 105.7 yards per game. But the passing game is Kelly’s bread and butter. Coan’s top target is sophomore TE Michael Mayer who has 17 grabs for 26 yards and 3 TD’s. Sophomore RB Kyren Williams is the leading rusher with 211 yards and 2 TD’s but he’s also the 2nd leading receiver with 11 catches for 155 yards and 2 TD’s. The Irish defense has been led by sophomore LB JD Bertrand who has 34 tackles and 1 sack. Notre Dame’s defense has given up 381 yards per game but has managed to make enough plays to stay undefeated. (did you notice the trend??? Sophomore TE, sophomore RB, sophomore LB leading the way. The Irish will be good for the next few years)
Wisconsin is 1-1 having lost their opener to Penn State then came back with a week 2 win over Eastern Michigan. The Badgers had a bye week last week. Sophomore QB Graham Mertz, who took over for the injured Jack Coan last year, has 326 passing yards but 0 TD’s and 2 Int’s. In the Paul Chryst offense the QB will not get the gaudy passing stats that someone in the Brian Kelly offense will get. Chryst runs the old Big 10 field position offense, and he runs it to perfection. Ground and pound, run the clock, limit the other team’s offensive possessions. Junior RB Chez Mellusi leads Wisconsin with 265 rushing yards and 2 TD’s. The Badger defense has been solid as is another staple of the Paul Chryst Badger teams. They gave up 297 yards in the opener to Penn State and only 92 yards to a bad Easter Michigan team. They have only generated 1 turnover, an interception against Eastern Michigan.
Prediction: While Notre Dame has had their struggles on both offense and defense, I think their offense will jump out to an early lead. Wisconsin will play their field position offense, wind some clock and may get a score or 2 in the first half. But I think Notre Dame’s offense is too much for the Badgers to withstand. With how the Wisconsin offense is built if the Irish get up 10-14 points late in the 3rd quarter, early in the 4th quarter, I’m not sure Wisconsin can mount the comeback needed. I think Notre Dame goes into Soldier Field and wins: ND: 23 Wisconsin: 16 take Notre Dame and the points.
West Virginia @ Oklahoma (Norman, OK) Oklahoma -17.5 per FanDuel
West Virginia is 2-1 this season. After dropping their opener to Maryland the Mountaineers have crushed Long Island University and beat a good Virginia Tech team. Senior QB Jarret Doege has struggled this season with consistency but still has 729 yards passing with 6 TD’s and 3 Int’s. Coach Neal Brown has utilized 2 QB’s this season, getting freshman Garrett Greene some decent playing time. The frosh from Tallahassee, FL has only 57 passing yards but it’s his legs where he’s doing the damage. Greene is 2nd on the Mountaineers in rushing with 126 yards and 2 TD’s. The leading rusher is senior RB Leddie Brown who has 265 yards and 5 TD’s. Junior wideout Sam Jones is tied for the team lead with 10 catches but he is the leader with 166 yards and 3 TD’s. WVU’s defense under Neal Brown over the years has been solid, typically one of the best in the Big 12 and this season is no different, giving up only 305 yards per game. In the Virginia Tech game the Hokies had the ball inside the WVU 10 yard line 3 times and got a total of 5 yards and no points. Very impressive! Senior LB Josh Chandler-Semedo leads with 23 tackles while fellow LB, sophomore Jared Bartlett leads with 3.5 sacks.
Oklahoma came into the season with playoff hopes and a Heisman hopeful at QB, but the Sooners have struggled a bit to start the season, even though they are 3-0. The offense has been decent but hasn’t lived up to the standards of a Lincoln Riley offense. Sophomore QB Spencer Rattler has been good but not the world beater we’ve come to expect from Oklahoma QB’s under Coach Riley. He has 761 passing yards with 7 TD’s and 2 Int’s to go along with 71 rushing yards and 2 TD’s. Junior RB’s, Kennedy Brooks and Tennessee transfer Eric Gray, led the rushing attack. Brooks has 210 yards and 3 TD’s while Gray has 185 yards and even though he has no rushing TD’s he has hit paydirt once in the receiving game. The receiving corps is young but deadly for the Sooners. A pair of sophomore WR’s lead the way as Marvin Mims has 168 yards and Jaden Hasselwood leads with 14 catches. Hasselwood is tied with freshman Mario Williams with 2 TD’s. The Oklahoma defense has been a concern for many years and the hype coming into this season is what was going to change…………it hasn’t. The Sooners struggled in the opener with Tulane, giving up 396 yards. After smothering hapless Western Carolina the Sooners renewed an old Big 12 rivalry with Nebraska. The Cornhuskers got 384 yards of offense, but the steal of the day was DB DJ Graham who made a one-handed interception which will more than likely go down as the catch of the year. If you haven’t seen it yet I highly suggest you get to Youtube and check it out.
Prediction: WVU’s defense is playing well, and Oklahoma’s offense is struggling. If WVU can get it moving on offense they will scare the Sooners. However, while I believe the Mountaineers will keep it close, I don’t think they will win this game. Oklahoma: 34 WVU 27; Take WVU getting 16.5
Texas A&M @ Arkansas (@ AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX)
Texas A&M -5.5 per FanDuel
Texas A&M, like Oklahoma, came into the season with lofty expectations. They finished last season #4 in the country but unfortunately lost star QB Kellen Mond to the NFL. In steps freshman Haynes King, who led the Aggies to a win over Kent State, 41-10 in week 1. King threw for 292 yards and 2 TD’s but also had 3 Int’s. Sophomore RB Devon Achane and Junior Isaiah Spiller combined for 237 yards rushing with Achane getting a pair of TD’s. Junior WR Ainias Smith led the way with 8 catches for 100 yards. Week 2 was a different story for A&M as they traveled to Boulder, CO to face the Colorado Buffaloes. Early in the game QB Haynes King broke his leg and is potentially out for the year. His backup, sophomore Zach Calzada, came in and struggled mightily, completing 18-38 passes for 183 yards and 1 TD. The Aggie ground game was kept in check by the Colorado defense as well, rushing for only 97 yards. The Aggie defense took care of business, though, only surrendering 250 yards to the Buffaloes offense. Week 3 saw Texas A&M host New Mexico and while he struggled with accuracy Calzada ended the game with 275 yards passing with 3 TD’s and 1 Int as the Aggies beat UNM 34-0. Isaiah Spiller chipped in 117 yards rushing and a TD. The Aggie defense smothered the Lobo offense, only giving up 122 yards on the day.
Arkansas comes into this week 4 matchup with Texas A&M sporting a 3-0 record. The Razorbacks struggled in their opener with Rice but pulled away at the end to get the 38-17 win. Week 2 saw former Southwest Conference rival Texas, #15 in the country, come to Fayetteville. The Hogs smothered Texas, earning a 40-21 win. Sophomore QB KJ Jefferson was efficient, going 14-19 for 138 yards with no TD’s and 1 Int, while chipping in 73 yards on the ground. The Hogs used multiple runners to gash the Texas defense for 333 yards rushing and 4 different players scored a rushing TD. The Arkansas defense limited Texas’ offense to just 256 yards on the day. Senior LB’s Hayden Henry and Grant Morgan recorded 15 and 13 tackles respectively. In week 3 Arkansas hosted Georgia Southern and came out with an easy 45-10 win. Jefferson threw for 366 yards and 3 TD’s. The running game by committee posted 269 yards on the ground. Junior WR Treylon Burks had 3 catches for 127 yards and a 91-yard TD. The Hogs defense once again stepped up, holding the Georgia Southern offense to just 237 yards.
Prediction: Texas A&M’s offense suffers without Haynes King. While Zach Calzada is improving, he’s inconsistent with his throws. A&M’s running game will be the difference in this game. KJ Jefferson has done what’s been asked of him from Arkansas and their running game is solid, but more will be needed from Jefferson if the Hogs want to beat Texas A&M in this neutral site game. Sam Pittman has Arkansas on the right path, but I’m not sure they pull out this win. A&M’s 1-2 punch of Spiller and Achane, coupled with some timely plays by Calzada, should earn the Aggies the road win. Texas A&M: 31 Arkansas: 21. Take A&M giving the points.