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12:00PM EST: Nebraska -2.5 (4 Units)
Would like to point out Matt Rhule is a very good College Football coach. Plenty of people will knock him and remember him for his NFL stint but he's had success at every Collegiate program that he's coached, and Nebraska will be his next. Despite a carousel of Quarterbacks in his first year whether it be from injury or poor performance, the Cornhuskers have a shot at bowl eligibility.
They started the year with Jeff Sims under center before benching him for Haarberg. Haarberg righted the ship and had Nebraska playing good football. He went 5-2 as a starter in the 7 games he played in from start to finish but then he got hurt against Maryland. Jeff Sims came on in relief and they lost that game 13-10.
Last week Rhule started Brock Purdy's younger brother Chubba. Rhule liked what he saw and provided a vote of confidence going into this week. They lost 17-24 in Overtime at Wisconsin in Purdy's first start of the year. He completed 62.5% of his passes for 169 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT. He added 14 carries for 105 yards and another score though. Those legs are a big factor in today's game.
Those aren't blow you away numbers, but Wisconsin has one of the best defenses in College Football. They're the 17th ranked scoring defense and Nebraska was also playing in Wisconsin last week. Iowa's defense is better than Wisconsin’s, but Nebraska is at Home. A whole different ball game for an offense, especially with a signal caller who's made just 134 career pass attempts. Rhule will be able to help him out a bit more and the communication at the line of scrimmage will be better.
Taking care of the football is going to be paramount in this game as points will be at a premium. Chubba has an interception on his stat line from last week, but numbers lie. He did a very good job protecting the football the whole game and his pick came on 4th and 16 on the final play in Overtime. He just threw it up for grabs. Again, in Wisconsin against a very good defense in his first start. He showed great composure last week and that might just be a family trait.
With Purdy's ability to run the football and extend plays in the pocket we like their chances to stay ahead of the chains. This will be a grind it out affair. Field position is going to matter. I'd be shocked if Purdy isn't close to 20 carries by the end of this gamer. They do average 186.6 rushing yards per game as a team and trying to throw on Iowa is dangerous business.
Defensively Nebraska is also very good. That's kind of flown under the radar this year but they rank 16th in the FBS allowing just 18.7 points per game. Ever since the Michigan beat down they've been lights out too. Going back 6 games they've allowed just 87 combined points, that's 14.5 points per game. They've also had to deal with a QB injury and 7 of those points came in Overtime.
Deacon Hill had to take over at QB for Iowa after JJ McCarthy went down with a season ending injury against MSU. He's averaged 119 passing yards per game since then. He's a large Quarterback but not much of a runner. At 6'3 258 he's a load to bring down but he doesn't move too well. He has 32 carries for -88 yards with the lost sack yardage.
Of the 133 FBS programs, Iowa ranks 132nd in yards per game. They're 130th in passing yards per game, the only 3 teams worse are the academy teams that run the Triple Option. They want to and at least try to run the football although they average just over 120 yards per game. The problem for them is that Nebraska's run defense is their strength. They allow just 86.5 rushing yards per game, 6th best in College Football. Iowa is 9-2 because of their defense but that's just not a sustainable formula.
This is also the Heroes Game. These two have met annually since 2011 and is most certainly a rivalry game. Nebraska may not have the same football success as their dominant eras, but this is still a football school. There's also a lot to look forward to right now if you're a cornhusker fan with the way Rhule's got the team playing. That stadium is going to be absolutely rocking today.
7:30PM EST: Texas -13.5 (3 Units)
Like last week, Texas is just a vastly superior team. A Win here locks them into the Big 12 Championship game and 1 step closer to the CFB playoff. A loss here and they can all but kiss their playoff hopes goodbye. This in-state rivalry had been dominated by Texas, winning 4 straight before the Red Raiders pulled off the upset last year. Tech beat them 37-34 in OT at home a season ago but there's just 1 major underlying factor. QB Quinn Ewers didn't play so you can put an * there.
Now Texas gets them at Home in a revenge spot, which is a great spot. Ewers is also 3 weeks removed from his injury stint this year and good to go. With Ewers under center at Home, the Longhorns have absolutely dominated. In 4 games, 27-point win, 21-point win, 26-point win, 29-point win. Texas's only other Home game came with QB Maliik Murphy under center, and they beat Kansas State 33-30. Murphy turned the ball over twice and Brooks fumbled in Texas territory. The offense setting up the defense for failure there.
Texas has one of the best defenses in the Nation, allowing just 18.2 points per game against FBS opponents. 15th best mark in the Nation. That also dips to 14 ppg when playing at Home but that's inflated from the Kansas State game. With Ewers as their starting QB (4 Games) their defense has allowed just 10 points per game. Can't play elite defense without a complimentary offense.
Texas Tech on the road in conference play this year has scored 16 at Kansas, 14 at BYU, 39 at Baylor, and 13 at West Virginia. They all allow more than 27 points per game, but Baylor's defense is exceptionally bad this year allowing 35.9 points per game, 120th out of 133 FBS programs. The Texas defense they're facing today is light years ahead of those teams.
The Tech offense goes through Tahj Brooks legs. He's having a monster season. 249 attempts, 1,348 yards (5.4 YPC), and 9 touchdowns. He's had 98 or more yards in every game but the Oregon game. He only received 7 carries but did take them for 71 yards that day. Even with that Horse running wild the Red Raiders offense has been stonewalled at times. They've had some great days against mediocre defenses but really struggle on the road or even at Home against respectable teams.
This is an absolute match-up nightmare for Tech too. Texas holds teams to just 83 rushing yards per game (5th) but more importantly just 2.9 yards per carry (7th). A good chunk of the rushing yards they've allowed have come from mobile quarterbacks too. Something Tech doesn't possess in Behren Morton. Morton has 38 carries for 11 yards this year.
Texas is just the superior team with superior talent at every position group. There's always the chance for some whacky football during Rivalry Week but having lost to Tech last year we love Texas to show out today. They won't be sleepwalking for this one as revenge is a hell of a motivator. They know if they take care of business today, they're in the Big 12 Title game. Sark will have them ready to go.
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