College Football is back and its first Thursday night has three key matchups.
Temple at Rutgers
The Scarlett Knights return almost all starters and will be running out of the tunnel to a sold-out crowd at SHI Stadium for the first time since 2007. Temple’s defense may keep them in the game early but their offense is going to struggle. Look for star receiver Jaden Blue for the Owls to make the majority of plays. Unfortunately, Temple doesn’t have much else going in their favor on offense.
Verdict: (Rutgers -13.5) Rutgers is overall a better team than Temple despite the Owls having the best athlete on the field in Jaden Blue. Rutgers returns every starter on offense and will be a major advantage against a Temple defense that will still be figuring out their identity. There is doubt surrounding Temple’s quarterback , D’Wan Mathis’s, ability to throw the football. Although he’s a tough runner, he has not shown consistency throwing down field. Rutgers defense should be able to help their offense with good field position and score points in front of an excited crowd in Piscataway.
Rutgers 31- Temple 14
Boise State at UCF
Gabriel and Co. will look to take an even bigger step forward this season. The entire line is back and Gabriel looks to perform even better with a full season. The Golden Knight defense had the TFLs, sacks, and pressure but couldn’t get off the field on third down. Broncos defense looked solid despite giving up 51 to BYU, and 34 to San Jose State. Look for Boise States’ big-time receiver Khali Shakir to stretch the field for the Broncos.
Verdict: (O68) UCF is favored by 4.5. I won’t be betting on this game, but I am confident that the over will hit. Both of these defenses give up big plays to decent offenses. Hank Bachmeier and Dillin Gabriel will be able to throw the ball all over the yard.
UCF 42 – Boise State 38
Ohio State at Minnesota
Expect Minnesota to keep this game close in the first half. The Golden Gophers return almost everyone from the 10-2 team from two years ago. The defense was the problem last season, and with the amount of production returning there is no way it can be worse. CJ Stroud’s first start will be in front of a hostile crowd in Minnesota. Luckily, he has some help with Chris Olave, Garret Wilson, Jeremy Ruckert, and Master Teague in the backfield. He also has both tackles returning for protection. Both offense’s should be fun to watch against defenses that are unproven.
Verdict: (O63.5) This spread is tricky and I advise everyone to stay away from it. Minnesota is a +13.5 underdog at home on a Thursday night in front of a sold out crowd in U.S. Bank Stadium, with the opposing team starting a brand new quarterback. The +13.5 is tempting and will look good most of the game. What should worry you if you take that line is Ohio State scoring a late game touchdown, due to a Minnesota mistake in crunch time. The key matchup is Minnesota’s veteran offense against the Buckeye defense that only returns 5 starters (even though all 5 returners are bonafide studs). Minnesota scores enough to keep it close, but Ohio State has too many horses and pulls away.
Ohio State 45- Minnesota 31