NCAAF weekday preview: Temple vs. South Florida & 2 more

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November 6th, 2019

-1.5 (-109)
O 50 (-109)
South Florida
+1.5 (-111)
U 50 (-111)
Rod Carey jumped out to a 5-1 start in his first season as Temple’s head coach, but the Owls are hobbling lately, after lopsided losses to No. 19 SMU and Central Florida.

On Thursday, Temple will visit a 4-4 South Florida team and seek a fresh start. The Owls have allowed 108 points over the last two games, and the Bulls are coming off a 45-20 road victory over East Carolina and have won three of their last four.

Charlie Strong’s team began the year 1-3, including a 49-0 pummeling by Wisconsin, but has since flipped the script with a new quarterback. Freshman Jordan McCloud replaced senior Blake Barnett and helped boost South Florida’s offense, particularly in the run game.

McCloud has run for 242 yards and four scores, in addition to 776 yards and 10 touchdowns passing. He is second on the team in rushing, behind senior back Jordan Cronkrite, who has logged 587 yards and four touchdowns on 108 carries.

Temple is allowing opponents to rush for 188.7 yards per game and isn’t consistent enough on offense to make up for its defensive inefficiencies. The Owls rely far more on the pass (229 yards per game), but South Florida is holding opponents to 171.7 passing yards per contest, the 11th-fewest in college football.

The Owls are 0-4 against the spread in their last four road games, and the Bulls are 1-4 ATS against teams with a winning record. Perhaps the most important trend to note, though, is that the home team has won the last five games in this series.

Pick: South Florida +1.5, over 50

Louisiana-Lafayette (-14.5) at Coastal Carolina, Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU

The Ragin’ Cajuns secured bowl eligibility Saturday, in a 31-3 victory against Texas State and now shift focus to the Sun Belt title.

The 6-2 Ragin’ Cajuns boast just two losses, to Mississippi State and conference mate Appalachian State, and get the 4-4 Coastal Carolina Chanticleers on Thursday evening.
Run-focused Louisiana-Lafayette ranks sixth in rushing yards per game (266.3) and features the two-headed attack of Elijah Mitchell (12 rushing TDs, eighth-most in FBS) and Trey Ragas (8.4 yards per carry, second in FBS).

Coastal Carolina has allowed 190.6 rushing yards per game but is much better against the pass (20th in the country). In the Chanticleers’ last four games, the team has allowed 12 rushing TDs, including five to Appalachian State.

The Ragin’ Cajuns are winning by an average margin of 13 points, whereas Coastal Carolina’s average scoring margin is +0.1. Louisiana-Lafayette is 5-0 ATS in its last five road games and 7-1 ATS in its last eight games overall. The Chanticleers are 1-6 ATS against teams with a winning record.

Pick: Louisiana-Lafayette -14.5

Miami-Ohio at Ohio (-7.5), Wednesday, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN2

In a Mid-American Conference faceoff, the Miami-Ohio Redhawks visit longtime rival Ohio on Wednesday night in a battle for No. 1 in the East Division.

Both teams are 4-4 overall and tied for first in the MAC East at 3-1 in conference. Miami struggled through a much tougher non-conference schedule to start the season, as the Redhawks lost to No. 20 Iowa (38-14), Cincinnati (35-13) and No. 6 Ohio State (76-5).

The Bobcats dropped three straight in September to Pitt, Marshall and Louisiana-Lafayette. Senior quarterback Nathan Rourke is leading the team in rushing yards (536) and has thrown for 1,743 yards, plus 10 touchdowns and five interceptions.

His counterpart, Miami freshman Brett Gabbert, has accounted for five passing TDs and as many interceptions. The Redhawks average 174.3 yards per game through the air and just 117.4 rushing yards, yet the defense is holding opponents to fewer yards per game (411.7 ) than Ohio (456.9).

The Redhawks are 6-1 against the spread in their last seven conference games, while the Bobcats are 1-4 ATS in their last five in conference. Last season Miami pulled out a two-point win over Ohio, 30-28, but are 1-5 straight up in their last six meetings.

Pick: Miami-Ohio +7.5

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