TJ’S THREE: WEEK 6
Last week: 3-0 Straight Up; 2-1 ATS (Against the Spread)
Season: 9-6 Straight Up; 8-7 ATS
Penn State @ Iowa (Iowa City, IA) Iowa -1.5 per FanDuel
Penn State comes into this game 5-0 and ranked #4 in the latest sportsvivaldraft.com Top 25 poll. They’re led by senior QB Sean Clifford who has 1,336 yards with 11 TD’s and 3 Int’s. He also chipped in 137 rushing yards and 1 TD. Junior Noah Cain is the leading rusher with 187 yards & 3 TD’s while sophomore Kevone Lee has 174 yards but 0 TD’s. The Nittany Lions have a strong group of receivers led by star senior Jahan Dotson who has 35 catches for 446 yards and 6 TD’s. Sophomore Parker Washington has 25 catches for 331 yards & 2 TD’s. Penn State’s defense has surrendered 314.4 yards per game but only 12 points per game. Living up to their reputation as Linebacker U, the top 3 tacklers are all LB’s: sophomore Brandon Smith leads the way with 32 tackles while seniors Ellis Brooks & Jesse Luketa have 30 and 22 respectively. The defense has accumulated 8 sacks, 7 Int’s & recovered 2 fumbles. The secondary is led by sophomore Joey Porter, Jr. who has 20 tackles, 2 passes broken up and 1 Int. Senior safety Ji’Ayir Brown has 3 passes broken up to go along with 3 Int’s.
Iowa is also 5-0 coming into this game and is ranked #3 in the latest sportsvivaldraft.com Top 25 poll. Junior QB Spencer Petras has 963 yards, 7 TD’s & 1 Int, he’s also added 3 rushing TD’s. Junior RB Tyler Goodson has been the workhorse getting 430 yards and 5 TD’s. He’s also been a force in the passing game adding 12 catches (2nd on the team) for 146 yards and 1 TD. Junior TE Sam LaPorta leads with 22 catches for 263 yards & 2 TD’s. The defense is a typical Kirk Ferentz defense, surrendering only 242 yards per game and 11.6 points per game. The Hawkeyes had 6 Int’s last week alone on a Friday night matchup at Maryland, bringing their season total of Int’s to 12 to go along with 13 sacks and 3 fumble recoveries. Like Penn State, Iowa also has a trio of LB’s who lead the defense in tackles. Junior Jack Campbell has 46 tackles, junior Seth Benson has 33 while sophomore Jestin Jacobs has 28.
Prediction: The toughest game for me to pick so far this season due to my feelings against Penn State. But it’s time to swallow pride and be objective! Iowa’s defense has been incredible and with their offensive approach of ground and pound they will try to limit the possessions Penn State’s offense gets. Penn State’s defense has been opportunistic this season and on offense the passing game looks to be clicking. Penn State has won 6 of the last 7 meetings including the last 3 in Iowa City. Penn State: 24 Iowa: 20 Take PSU and the 1.5 points.
Oklahoma -v- Texas (Dallas, TX) OU -3.5 per FanDuel
Oklahoma is 5-0 heading into the Red River Rivalry and #5 in the sportsvivaldraft.com Top 25 poll. Sophomore QB Spencer Rattler has “struggled” this season, throwing for 1,260 yards with 10 TD’s & 4 Int’s. He also has 95 rushing yards and 2 TD’s. Rattler came into this season as one of the favorites to win the Heisman Trophy, but his numbers are down as the OU offense has been slowed this season. The crowd in Norman at the last home game for the Sooners was chanting for freshman QB Caleb Williams to be put in the game. (They should’ve been chanting for replacements on the offensive line) Junior RB Kennedy Brooks leads in rushing with 318 yards and 4 TD’s while fellow junior, Tennessee transfer Eric Gray has added 245 yards but no TD’s. Sophomore WR Marvin Mims, senior Michael Woods, II & freshman Mario Williams have combined for 629 yards & 4 TD’s. The defense has been decent, yielding 324.8 yards per game & 19 points per game. They’ve generated 15 sacks, 3 Int’s and have recovered 6 fumbles.
Texas enters this week 4-1 and ranked #21 in the sportsvivaldraft.com poll. Junior QB Casey Thompson took over as the starting QB in week 3 and hasn’t looked back. Thompson has 707 yards passing with 9 TD’s & 3 Int’s while adding 115 rushing yards and 3 TD’s. Sophomore Bijon Robinson has been a monster for the Longhorns, toting the rock 105 times for 652 yards & 7 TD’s. Robinson has been a big part of the passing game as well with 10 catches for 167 yards and 2 TD’s. The 2 leading receivers are a pair of youngsters as sophomore Jordan Whittington leads with 21 catches for 324 yards and 3 TD’s while freshman Xavier Worthy has 15 catches for 253 yards & 4 TD’s. The defense has been putrid, giving up 393.8 yards per game and 24 points per game. They’ve racked up 10 sacks, 3 Int’s & recovered 5 fumbles.
Prediction: Oklahoma’s offense has sputtered this season, not living up to the standards set by the past 5 seasons of Sooner football. The Texas defense has been atrocious giving up yards and points like a virgin on prom night. OU has made some offensive line changes, which were long overdue. If they can get the run game going, they will pick apart Texas’ defense. Texas can run the ball very well. Bijon Robinson is a threat in both the run and pass game. They say in rivalry games you can throw out all of the records as these guys hate each other. While I understand that I don’t think it will play out here. HORNS DAHN! Oklahoma: 44 Texas: 38. Take the Sooners giving the 3.5 points.
Michigan @ Nebraska (Lincoln, NE) Michigan -3.5 per FanDuel
Michigan is 5-0 and ranked #12 in this week’s sportsvivaldraft.com Top 25 poll. Junior QB Cade McNamara has been solid for the Wolverines, throwing for 731 yards with 5 TD’s and 0 Int’s. The consistency of McNamara has the Wolverine faithful thinking “it’s about time” as coach Jim Harbaugh has struggled with QB play during his 7 years as Michigan head coach. The rushing attack has been lights out as the Wolverines are rushing for 255 yards per game. They’re led by Sophomore Blake Corum who has 521 yards and 7 TD’s who is splitting duties with senior Hassan Haskins who has 369 yards and 6 TD’s. Junior WR Cornelius Johnson is the leading receiver with 10 catches for 245 yards & 3 TD’s. The defense has been great giving up only 243.2 yards per game and 10.8 points per game while getting 13 sacks, 2 Int’s and have recovered 4 fumbles. Senior Aidan Hutchinson leads with 4.5 sacks to go with 18 tackles. Junior LB David Ojabo has 3.5 sacks and 15 tackles.
Nebraska is 3-3 and, surprisingly, only a 3.5-point underdog at home. Junior QB Adrian Martinez has been the dual threat Scott Frost covets for his offense. Martinez has 1,436 yards passing with 6 TD’s & 2 Int’s. He is also the Huskers leader in rushing attempts with 80, rushing yards with 412 and 9 rushing TD’s. Freshman Rahmir Johnson is the next leading rusher with 231 yards and 2 TD’s. Senior Samori Toure is the leading receiver hauling in 23 passes for 483 yards and 3 TD’s. The defense has been decent, giving up 322 yards per game and 18.6 points per game. They’ve amassed 11 sacks, 5 Int’s and recovered 2 fumbles. The D is led by 2 young LB’s, Sophomore Luke Reinert & freshman Nick Henrich, who both have 43 tackles on the year.
Prediction: While Nebraska has 3 losses, they have come a long way since the Week Zero loss to Illinois. The offense has started making plays and Adrian Martinez is finally looking like he’s improving. The Michigan defense, however, has been outstanding. And Harbaugh has finally found a way to get a QB to excel in Ann Arbor. The rushing attack of Michigan, coupled with the stellar play of their defense makes it near impossible to pick Nebraska in this game. Even though it’s a home game for the Huskers I think Michigan controls play from the start and walks away with a big win in Lincoln. Michigan: 38 Nebraska: 20. Take Michigan giving the 3.5 points.