College Football Friday Night Plays

***Charlotte -3 vs Middle Tennessee State 

Middle Tennessee State has thrown in two clunkers after their blowout win vs Monmouth in week one. After last week’s loss, Blue Raiders starting QB Bailey Hockman (transfer from NC State) hung up his cleats and left the team. 5-11, 185 lb. junior QB Chase Cunningham will now take over the signal calling. It will be Cunningham’s first collegiate start. The Middle Tennessee State offense is averaging 3.9 yards per play – good for #117 in all NCAA (for comparison, lowly New Mexico State is ranked higher). I would be concerned if the new MTSU QB was a runner, but he is not. The Charlotte defense is stingy against the pass and has allowed a low percentage of completed passes over their first three games. The aforementioned does not bode well for a Middle Tennessee State offense that can’t fall back on the running game if the passing game falters (MTSU averages 1.2 yards per rush attempt – bad!). The Blue Raiders are 28-36 (43.8%) ATS as a road underdog in Head Coach Rick Stockstill’s tenure (since 2006) and that pattern is likely to continue on Saturday. Look for Charlotte’s defense to be the difference here. Lay the field goal with the 49ers. 

***Liberty -6.5 at Syracuse

The Liberty Flames football squad enters this road contest as the number one team in all of college football (since 2019) when it comes to covering the spread: 19-8 (70.4%). The Flames travel to upstate New York to face a 2-1 Syracuse squad coming off a win vs FCS Albany. The Syracuse defense has an interesting pattern of points allowed over their 3 games this season. Game 1 vs Ohio: 9 points, Game 2 vs Rutgers 17 points, Game 3 vs Albany 24 points. Are offensive coordinators figuring out the Orange defense? Possibly – if this pattern continues it stands to reason that Liberty’s solid ground game will play and HC Hugh Freeze may finally unleash the passing attack that has been restrained so far compared to last season when the Flames were a top-30 passing team in terms of yards per game. The underrated Liberty defense will look to stack the line in order to stymie Syracuse’s solid running game – leaving Liberty’s defensive backs with the responsibility of keeping Syracuse’s best WR Taj Harris from making big plays. I don’t see a track meet here, but Liberty should have enough to clear the one-touchdown spread. Lay the 6.5.     

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