Thursday Football News and Notes

Thursday Football News and Notes

Thursday night lights: Texas A&M at Miami
Covers.com

The matchup: Texas A&M Aggies at Miami Hurricanes

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET from the Orange Bowl

The line: Miami -2 ½, total 48 points

The forecast: South Florida will likely be swept by scattered showers on Thursday night with a 50 percent chance of scattered thunderstorms as well. There won’t be much in the way of wind and the temperature will be about 80 degrees at kickoff, dropping slightly through the game.

Key injuries

Texas A&M: Starting fullback Chris Alexander will be back on the field after missing A&M’s last game against Louisiana-Monroe.

Miami: The Hurricanes defense, which already lost linebackers Glenn Cook and Romeo Davis in the summer, will likely be without safety Lovon Ponder on Thursday night as well. Backup guard Orlando Franklin is questionable after suffering a leg injury against Florida Atlantic last Saturday.

Three reasons why Texas A&M can cover

1. The Aggies don’t let go of the ball: Texas A&M led the entire nation in time of possession last year and tied for second in fewest turnovers. With all of the key pieces in their loaded backfield back in 2007, the Aggies can count on more of the same ball-control game.

2. Red-zone efficiency: The Aggies also led the nation by scoring in all 20 possessions within the red zone. Texas A&M’s quality of opponents in the first three weeks has been a little lacking, but 270-pound Jovorskie Lane can score against anyone, especially with the push A&M’s line provides. Quarterback Stephen McGee and tailback Mike Goodson are excellent foils in the Aggies’ option attack.

3. The Big 12 has already asserted itself against the Canes: Miami was embarrassed 51-13 by Oklahoma less than two weeks ago, a game in which the Hurricanes were outgained 411 yards to 139. Texas A&M visited the Sooners less than a year ago and lost 17-16, outgaining Oklahoma in the process and covering the spread as 2 ½-point underdogs.

Three reasons why Miami can cover

1. Miami should be able to move the ball: The fact that the Aggies let Fresno State score 29 second-half points at Kyle Field two weeks ago is disconcerting and the 27-7 halftime score against Louisiana-Monroe last Saturday hid the fact that the Warhawks had gained 210 yards of offense by that point. Javarris James and Graig Cooper are the best backs A&M have faced since Marshawn Lynch in last winter’s Holiday Bowl, a game the Aggies lost 45-10.

2. Hurricanes finally going vertical: Quarterback Kyle Wright completed only 10 passes against Florida International last Saturday, but they went for 224 yards. Wright’s 80-yard strike to Lance Leggett was the Canes’ first real success in 2007 at opening the passing game up and Wright regularly hooked up with Darnell Jenkins downfield as well. No one would appreciate an improved passing game more than James and Cooper, who the Sooners ganged up on in Norman two weeks ago.

3. Texas A&M doesn’t travel well against big schools: Since Dennis Franchione took over at A&M in 2003, the Aggies have faced six non-conference BCS schools away from College Station. They’re 1-5 straight-up in those games and 0-6 against the spread. Texas A&M’s sole win among the half-dozen games was a 28-24 squeaker over Army in 2006, a neutral-site game in which Texas A&M was a 28-point favorite.

Cool stat of the day

The Palm Beach Post reports that the Hurricanes, going back to the 2005 Peach Bowl, have lost seven of eight games against ranked opponents. Six of those eight games came against teams ranked 11-25, as the Aggies are going into Thursday night’s game.

On the plus side, the only win in the bunch came in the Canes’ last home game against a ranked foe, a 17-14 triumph over Boston College in another Thursday night game last November. Miami covered as a 3-point home underdog.

Key quote

“I love playing on the road because I'm an underdog type of guy,” senior offensive guard Kirk Elder told Texas A&M’s The Battalion.

“There's nothing greater than walking into a stadium and having 50,000 people cussing your name. Nothing like walking into a stadium and having an 8-year-old kid flip you off.”

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Re: Thursday Football News and Notes

Western Kentucky (2-1) at Middle Tennessee (0-3)
The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Thursday, September 20th, 7:00 p.m. (et)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Floyd Stadium (30,788) -- Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Television: ESPN+. Home Record: WKU 2-0, MTU 0-0. Away Record: WKU 0-1, MTU 0-3. Neutral Record: WKU 0-0, MTU 0-0. Conference Record: WKU 0-0, MTU 0-1. Series Record: Middle Tennessee leads, 29-27-1.

GAME NOTES: The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders will try to collect their first victory of the season when they host the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers this Thursday evening from Floyd Stadium. The Hilltoppers opened their season with a terrible 49-3 setback to the defending champion Florida Gators. Fortunately the team was able to rebound with two consecutive wins, defeating West Virginia Tech,87-0, followed by a 26-6 victory over Eastern Kentucky this past weekend. Thursday night's game begins a rough four-game road stretch for the Hilltoppers, as the team will not play another home game until October 27th against North Carolina State. As for the Blue Raiders, they have yet to taste victory in 2007. MTU opened its season with a rough, 27-14 setback to Sun Belt foe, Florida Atlantic. The team put up a strong fight in its next contest against a strong Louisville squad, but eventually lost, 58-42. Unfortunately, the losing continued this past week as the Blue Raiders were dismantled by the second-best team in the country, as LSU destroy MTU, 44-0. If the Blue Raiders are going to change the momentum for the season it has to begin now, as the team will host four of its next five games. In regards to the all-time series between the two schools, the Blue Raiders have a slim, 29-27-1 edge over Western Kentucky.

After rushing for over 300 yards in their astonishing 87-0 victory over West Virginia Tech two weeks ago, the Hilltoppers turned to their aerial assault to complete a 26-6 victory over EKU this past weekend. David Wolke and K.J. Black both saw time under center for the Hilltoppers, as Wolke threw for 172 yards on 16-of-28 passing. As for Black, he completed 9-of-13 passes for 114 yards and one score. Black has been the more efficient quarterback thus far, as the redshirt freshman has completed an impressive 71.9 percent of his attempts for 282 yards and two scores. Regardless of who is under center, the signal-caller is usually looking to get the ball in the hands of Curtis Hamilton. Hamilton grabbed a career-high 12 passes for 139 yards in the win over EKU and now leads the squad with 16 receptions for 177 yards. As for the ground attack, the Hilltoppers were led by Tyrell Hayden in the win, as the RB rushed for 47 yards and one score. Hayden has been the best option out of the backfield, as the sophomore has 159 yards and three scores thus far.

The Hilltoppers put together another solid effort defensively in their victory over EKU. Western Kentucky held the Colonels to just 215 total yards of offense, including just 83 yards through the air. WKU did surrender 132 yards on the ground, but the defense held the Colonels to just 3.7 ypc. The team only forced one turnover in the win, but held EKU to just 3-of-14 on third down attempts. Overall on the season, the defense has done a tremendous job in both those categories, forcing eight miscues in the first three games, while holding the opposition to just 23 percent on third down conversions (8-of-35). In the win over EKU, Dusty Bear led the way with eight tackles and also grabbed one sack. He now has 17 total stops to go along with two quarterback takedowns.

Two weeks ago the Blue Raiders lost to national powerhouse Louisville, but the team was able to score 42 points. This past weekend MTU faced another powerhouse in LSU, but the offense did not have nearly the same success. In the loss to the Tigers, the Blue Raiders posted just 90 total yards, including just nine rushing yards on 37 carries (0.2 ypc). That total was a far cry from the 265 yards the team accumulated on the ground against Louisville in the previous week. Overall, this squad has had trouble running ball and heads into this matchup averaging just 97.3 ypg. Phillip Tanner has been the best option out of the backfield, as the tailback has 161 yards and three scores on just 19 carries (8.5 ypc). As for the passing attack, the Blue Raiders have also struggled. Joe Craddock has completed just 58.0 percent of his passes this season and has only three touchdowns against four interceptions. In the setback this past weekend, the signal-caller only threw 11 passes, completing just six for 59 yards. Craddock did not throw an interception in the contest, but was sacked four times.

The Blue Raiders have been simply atrocious defensively, as the team is surrendering 43 ppg, while being abused for 548.3 total ypg. The unit has struggled against the pass as well as the run, as opponents are averaging 301 ypg through the air and 247.3 ypg on the ground. In the recent setback to LSU, the Blue Raiders were simply overmatched, as the unit allowed 505 total yards. The defense was able to force two turnovers in the loss, but allowed LSU to convert on 8-of-12 third down attempts and all seven of its red zone chances. Andrew Harrington led Middle Tennessee with eight tackles in the loss and also grabbed one sack. Harrington is currently second on the squad with 16 tackles, trailing only Lonnie Clemons, who has 18 stops this year.

Middle Tennessee is coming off two rough road losses against top competition, but the Blue Raiders will have a home crowd behind them and will be facing a much easier opponent in Western Kentucky. Expect a close matchup, but MTU should post its first win of the year.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Middle Tennessee 27, Western Kentucky 24

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Re: Thursday Football News and Notes

(20) Texas A&M (3-0) at Miami-Florida (2-1)
From The Sports Network

Thursday, September 20th, 7:30 p.m. (et)

GAME NOTES: Two teams meeting for the first time since 1944 collide at the Orange Bowl this Thursday, as the 20th-ranked Texas A&M Aggies lock horns with the Miami-Florida Hurricanes in non-conference play. The Aggies concluded a perfect season-opening three-game homestand this past Saturday by posting a convincing 54-14 triumph over UL-Monroe. It was a nice follow up for A&M, which survived a scare from Fresno State, 47-45, in triple-overtime the previous week. The Aggies now take to the road, where they went a perfect 4-0 a season ago. Another thing that A&M has working for it, is that it has been unbeatable on Thursday nights, going a perfect 9-0 since 2000. As for Miami, it rebounded from a brutal 51-13 loss to nationally-ranked Oklahoma by outlasting Florida International, 23-9, last weekend. It was the second win in three games this season for the Hurricanes, with both triumphs coming at home. Much like its opponent, Miami has thrived on Thursday nights, posting a 10-1 all-time mark, including 10 straight wins. The Hurricanes have also not lost a game in the Orange Bowl to a team from the state of Texas since 1973. A&M however, has defeated Miami at the Orange Bowl before, posting a 70-14 triumph all the way back in 1944. It is the only previous meeting between these two schools.

The Aggies enter the contest averaging a healthy 46.3 ppg thanks to their potent ground attack, which is gaining an impressive 296.3 ypg thus far. The team has several options to run the ball, including quarterback Stephen McGee. The versatile gunslinger leads the squad with 263 rushing yards and he is averaging an impressive 9.1 yards per carry. In a lopsided win over UL-Monroe last weekend, McGree gained just 18 yards on the ground, but he made up for it by throwing for 237 yards and a score on 19-of-33 pass attempts. For the year, McGee has hit on 54.5 percent of his throws and he has passed for 428 yards. Despite McGee's low output on the ground last weekend, the Aggies were still able to rack up 310 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns. Mike Goodson led the way with 113 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries, while Jorvorskie Lane added 34 yards and a pair of scores on the same amount of attempts. On the year, Goodson is second on the team with 247 rushing yards and he is followed by Lane, who has 195 yards and a team-best seven touchdowns to his credit.

Defensively, the Aggies are giving up 22.0 ppg and 383.3 total ypg and while those numbers aren't terrible, they are a bit high considering the caliber of opponents they have played thus far. Last weekend, A&M yielded 348 yards of total offense to UL-Monroe, but that led to just 14 points. The unit however, was torched for 215 yards on the ground and that isn't a big surprise considering the Aggies are allowing 151.0 rushing ypg on the year. The defense though, did record a pair of turnovers, giving it seven for the year. Jordan Pugh and Arkeith Brown each had eight stops in the winning cause. Mark Dodge was held to just two stops, but he still leads the club with 32 tackles for the year.

After three games, the Hurricanes are averaging a modest 22.3 ppg behind an equally bland 302.7 total ypg. The offense however, has done well running the ball, gaining 172.0 ypg on the ground. In last weekend's win over FIU, Miami exploded for 428 yards of total offense, including 204 via the run. Javarris James led the way with 92 yards on 19 carries, while Graig Cooper added 48 yards and a score on 11 totes. For the year, James leads the club with 219 yards and two scores, and Cooper ranks second to him with 190 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Kyle Wright even chipped in with 44 rushing yards last weekend and he also threw for 224 yards and a touchdown. Wright completed 10- of-19 pass attempts in the game, although he also accounted for two interceptions. It was the first start of the season for Wright, who improved to 15-7 in his career as Miami's starter. Wright lost his job late last season to Kirby Freeman, but he got the chance to start again following Freeman's early season struggles. Darnell Jenkins didn't seem to mind the change at quarterback, as he erupted for five catches and 108 receiving yards last weekend.

Miami has done a solid job on the defensive side of the ball thus far, as it is holding opponents to 21.0 ppg and just 303.0 total ypg. The team is giving up a mere 108.7 rushing ypg and it has made up for the 194.3 passing ypg it is allowing by recording six interceptions. Last weekend, the Hurricanes limited FIU to just 264 total yards, including only 105 through the air. The defense intercepted two passes in the game and didn't allow a touchdown until midway through the fourth quarter. Tavares Gooden led the charge with nine stops and he now has a team-high 32 tackles to his credit.

This should be a good one, as A&M hasn't proven it should be considered one of the top teams in the nation just yet. Miami, on the other hand, has a lot to prove and a win would go a long way for this team's confidence. It should be a tightly played game all the way though, with the Aggies' ground attack eventually wearing down the Hurricanes en route to the victory.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Texas A&M 24, Miami-Florida 17

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Aggies take on Hurricanes in the Sunshine State
September 19th, 2007

Miami, FL (Sports Network) - Two teams meeting for the first time since 1944 collide at the Orange Bowl this Thursday, as the 20th-ranked Texas A&M Aggies lock horns with the Miami-Florida Hurricanes in non-conference play.

The Aggies concluded a perfect season-opening three-game homestand this past Saturday by posting a convincing 54-14 triumph over UL-Monroe. It was a nice follow up for A&M, which survived a scare from Fresno State, 47-45, in triple-overtime the previous week. The Aggies now take to the road, where they went a perfect 4-0 a season ago. Another thing that A&M has working for it, is that it has been unbeatable on Thursday nights, going a perfect 9-0 since 2000.

As for Miami, it rebounded from a brutal 51-13 loss to nationally-ranked Oklahoma by outlasting Florida International, 23-9, last weekend. It was the second win in three games this season for the Hurricanes, with both triumphs coming at home. Much like its opponent, Miami has thrived on Thursday nights, posting a 10-1 all-time mark, including 10 straight wins. The Hurricanes have also not lost a game in the Orange Bowl to a team from the state of Texas since 1973.

A&M however, has defeated Miami at the Orange Bowl before, posting a 70-14 triumph all the way back in 1944. It is the only previous meeting between these two schools.

The Aggies enter the contest averaging a healthy 46.3 ppg thanks to their potent ground attack, which is gaining an impressive 296.3 ypg thus far. The team has several options to run the ball, including quarterback Stephen McGee. The versatile gunslinger leads the squad with 263 rushing yards and he is averaging an impressive 9.1 yards per carry. In a lopsided win over UL-Monroe last weekend, McGree gained just 18 yards on the ground, but he made up for it by throwing for 237 yards and a score on 19-of-33 pass attempts. For the year, McGee has hit on 54.5 percent of his throws and he has passed for 428 yards. Despite McGee's low output on the ground last weekend, the Aggies were still able to rack up 310 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns. Mike Goodson led the way with 113 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries, while Jorvorskie Lane added 34 yards and a pair of scores on the same amount of attempts. On the year, Goodson is second on the team with 247 rushing yards and he is followed by Lane, who has 195 yards and a team-best seven touchdowns to his credit.

Defensively, the Aggies are giving up 22.0 ppg and 383.3 total ypg and while those numbers aren't terrible, they are a bit high considering the caliber of opponents they have played thus far. Last weekend, A&M yielded 348 yards of total offense to UL-Monroe, but that led to just 14 points. The unit however, was torched for 215 yards on the ground and that isn't a big surprise considering the Aggies are allowing 151.0 rushing ypg on the year. The defense though, did record a pair of turnovers, giving it seven for the year. Jordan Pugh and Arkeith Brown each had eight stops in the winning cause. Mark Dodge was held to just two stops, but he still leads the club with 32 tackles for the year.

After three games, the Hurricanes are averaging a modest 22.3 ppg behind an equally bland 302.7 total ypg. The offense however, has done well running the ball, gaining 172.0 ypg on the ground. In last weekend's win over FIU, Miami exploded for 428 yards of total offense, including 204 via the run. Javarris James led the way with 92 yards on 19 carries, while Graig Cooper added 48 yards and a score on 11 totes. For the year, James leads the club with 219 yards and two scores, and Cooper ranks second to him with 190 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Kyle Wright even chipped in with 44 rushing yards last weekend and he also threw for 224 yards and a touchdown. Wright completed 10- of-19 pass attempts in the game, although he also accounted for two interceptions. It was the first start of the season for Wright, who improved to 15-7 in his career as Miami's starter. Wright lost his job late last season to Kirby Freeman, but he got the chance to start again following Freeman's early season struggles. Darnell Jenkins didn't seem to mind the change at quarterback, as he erupted for five catches and 108 receiving yards last weekend.

Miami has done a solid job on the defensive side of the ball thus far, as it is holding opponents to 21.0 ppg and just 303.0 total ypg. The team is giving up a mere 108.7 rushing ypg and it has made up for the 194.3 passing ypg it is allowing by recording six interceptions. Last weekend, the Hurricanes limited FIU to just 264 total yards, including only 105 through the air. The defense intercepted two passes in the game and didn't allow a touchdown until midway through the fourth quarter. Tavares Gooden led the charge with nine stops and he now has a team-high 32 tackles to his credit.

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Aggies head to Miami for showdown
September 19, 2007

MIAMI (AP) -Texas A&M coach Dennis Franchione started hearing his players talk about facing Miami several months ago during spring practice. The Aggies meant no disrespect to any other opponent, but this was the nonconference game that stood out from the rest.

Now with Montana State, Fresno State and Louisiana-Monroe out of the unbeaten Aggies' way, that prime-time matchup with the Hurricanes is finally here.

``Coach said it best,'' Aggies defensive back Devin Gregg said. ``It can be exposure, or we can be exposed.''

The 20th-ranked Aggies haven't started 4-0 in consecutive seasons since the early 1940s. They'll get a chance to change that Thursday night, when they visit unranked Miami (2-1).

It's the first meeting between the teams since 1944, and the Aggies' first trip to Florida since 1968.

``This is a big game for us, but you've got to play every game like it's a big game,'' Miami defensive end Calais Campbell said. ``It'll be on national TV and all the people who do the little rankings and stuff will be watching, so we've got to go out and make a statement.''

While Miami has won its last 10 games on Thursday nights, the Hurricanes are 1-7 in their last eight matchups against ranked opponents and 9-8 in their last 17 games overall.

Coach Randy Shannon said neither the bright lights of Thursday night nor Texas A&M's ranking should provide his team with extra motivation.

``There's no such thing as a statement game. Every game is,'' Shannon said. ``Every game's got to be a statement game. You've got to be prepared and ready to play at all times. If you don't, somebody's going to sneak up on you and beat you.''

The way the Aggies run the ball, they don't sneak up on anyone.

Bruising 268-pound tailback Jorvorskie Lane already has seven rushing touchdowns, one shy of Rutgers' Ray Rice and West Virginia's Steve Slaton for the major college lead. His backfield mate, Mike Goodson, has rushed for 247 yards through three games, and quarterback Stephen McGee is the multifaceted type that often gives Miami fits. He's run for a team-best 263 yards, plus thrown for 428 more.

``Their schemes are what they're going to be,'' Shannon said. ``It's nothing sophisticated. They're going to come in and try to run the football and get you on a play-action pass - same thing we do, try to get a cheap one on you in some way, form or fashion. It should be a good game.''

In many years, this would be a strength-against-strength matchup, since Miami has perennially been difficult to run against.

But the Hurricanes yielded 159 yards rushing against Florida International in a 23-9 win last week, so they clearly had some things to correct in a short week to prepare for the Aggies' three-pronged attack.

``Up to this point, they're definitely going to be the most athletic defense we've seen,'' McGee said. ``You set their record aside and their one game against Oklahoma (a 51-13 loss two weeks ago) aside, and talent-wise they're going to be as good as probably most teams we're going to play this year.''

He meant on the defensive side of the ball. Offensively, the Hurricanes are still a work in progress, as Shannon likes to say.

Quarterback Kyle Wright will make his second start of the season for Miami, which is averaging nearly 23 points per game so far - not entirely bad, but not even half of what Texas A&M is scoring this year.

If recent history is any guide, teams have to be able to put up some big numbers to have a good chance of beating the Aggies. Over its last 20 games, Texas A&M has allowed 28 or more points nine times. The Aggies are 2-7 in those games, 10-1 in all others.

But the stat Franchione talked about this week was A&M's 5-0 record in regular-season road games last season - and how he hopes some of that success carries over into the Aggies' first road trip of 2007.

``When you go play a tradition-rich program like Miami in the Orange Bowl, if you are able to play well and get a victory, it does reinforce an attitude that you can go anywhere and beat people and play well on the road,'' Franchione said. ``I think this team carries that feeling with them.''

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Aggies at Hurricanes
VegasInsider.com

#16 Texas A&M (3-0, 0-0 Big 12) at Miami (2-1, 0-0 ACC)
Thursday, September 20
7:30 PM ET on ESPN
Orange Bowl (Natural Grass)

Well, it wasn’t easy but the Mountaineers (-16.5) managed to score just enough to not only beat the Maryland Terps but cover the spread by the narrowest of margins, winning 31-14. Of course, a winner is winner whether it’s by .5 or 50 points so you better believe I’ll be cashing that ticket at sports.com.
   
By the way, did anyone else catch that speedster freshman for West Virginia Noel Devine? The kid is a blazer and appears to be every bit as talented as Steve Slaton – which is certainly saying something.

But now that I’m on a certified roll (two whole games in a row!) lets move on to this Thursday night, it’s certainly a matchup I’ve been looking forward to.

Traditional rivalries are the lifeblood of college football, no question. But in my eyes, I get just as much enjoyment when programs with a rich history that never seem to cross paths do just that. That brings us to this Thursday and like I said, I’m looking forward to watching Texas A&M pay a visit to the Orange Bowl and Miami.

I’ll be impressed if anyone reading this was around the last time these two programs hooked up. This will be only the second meeting ever between the Aggies and Canes and you would have to go all the way back to December 8, 1944 to recall the last meeting. Think about that for a second – December of 1944 – D Day, the United States’ official entry into World War II had only occurred five months prior.

By the way, Texas A&M routed the Hurricanes 70-14 at the Orange Bowl that day.

This game pits two teams that have outstanding Thursday night records against one another. The Canes are10-1 all-time on Thursday nights, having won the last 10 games, while the Aggies just barely trail that mark, posting a 9-0 record on Thursday nights since 2000.

History is certainly on the side of the home team as Miami has not lost a game in the Orange Bowl to a team from the state of Texas since 1973.

Over the years the Canes have established a reputation for being unstoppable in the Orange Bowl and recent history bears that out as Miami has won 12 of the last 15 games, including three in a row at home.

However, it would be an understatement to say the luster has been taken off this program just a bit over the past couple years. A 7-6 season in 2006 was considered absolutely unacceptable and ended up costing Larry Coker his job.

In stepped Hurricane alum and longtime defensive coordinator Randy Shannon to assume the head coaching responsibilities. His goal is simple: take “the U” back to the top of the polls and restore its reputation as one of the mightiest programs in college football.

The early returns from 2007 show that Shannon still has a long road to hoe. After a tune up against Marshall (31-3) to start the year, the Canes headed to Norman, OK to face the Sooners and get a stern test to gauge just how far away they were from a Top 10 program.

When the final gun sounded the scoreboard read Oklahoma 51 – Miami 13 and the Hurricanes limped back to Coral Gables with their most lopsided defeat since a 66-13 loss to Syracuse on Nov. 28, 1998.

After an uninspiring 23-9 win over Florida International last Saturday, coach Shannon must rally his troops to prepare for a Top 20 team on a short week.

The main problem with Miami is their offense has become stagnant. Yes, they returned nine starters on offense this season, including a couple quarterbacks with starting experience but let’s keep in mind that the Canes ranked a lowly 87th in total offense in 2006. So far this season that statistic hasn’t exactly improved - in fact right now the Hurricanes rank 99th in total offense.

Shannon might be able to work around that lack of offense if his defense was one of those dominating, intimidating Miami units that simply suffocated opponents. But while this version of the Canes “D” is nothing to sneeze at, anytime you see an opponent post 51 points – even one with the considerable weapons of Oklahoma – you have to acknowledge there are at least a few holes.

You can be sure that Texas A&M head coach Dennis Franchione and his talented QB Stephen McGee have poured over the film of Big 12 brethren Oklahoma’s dismantling of the Miami defense. And the scary part for Hurricanes fans is, like the Sooners, the Aggies have plenty of weapons on offense.

McGee leads an offense that is averaging 444.7 total yards per game and 296.3 rushing yards per game, good for 32nd in the nation – and rising. Along with a pair of running backs in junior Jorvorskie Lane and sophomore Mike Goodson, McGee rounds out a very dangerous ground attack that is sure to test the Miami run stopping unit.

However, one positive for the Canes is that the A&M defense, aka “the Wrecking Crew” has been far from dominant so far this season - Louisiana-Monroe posted 348 yards of offense on them just last week.

Maybe this is the week that Miami’s offense finally gets in gear and helps to carry the team to a victory. With only five games left at the Orange Bowl – the Canes will move to Dolphins Stadium starting next season – you can be sure the home crowd will want to make this season a special one. The question is, can Miami deliver?

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College Football Betting Preview: #16 Texas A&M at Miami         
point-spreads.com

Texas A&M is undefeated on the season at 3-0 but they get a real test on Thursday as they face the Miami Hurricanes.  The 16th-ranked Aggies gave up 403 yards in a 38-7 victory over Montana State in their opener and 399 yards in a double overtime win over Fresno State.  They also gave up 348 yards last week to Louisiana Monroe.

The good news for the Aggies is that their offense has been excellent including last week when they had 547 yards of total offense. The Aggies are tied for the 11th-most points scored in the nation. "It doesn't matter to me how many yards I throw for or how many yards we rush for," said quarterback Stephen McGee , "Our goal is to be where we are today - 3-0. I'm happy for our guys that we just continue to push on." The Aggies started last year 4-0 before finishing 9-4.  They have not had two straight 4-0 starts to a season since 1956-57 under coach Bear Bryant. SBG Global reports that early betting has the public taking the favored Miami,Florida at home. 

"Now, more than ever, we're beginning offensively to get a flow going," McGee said. "That's very important. The coaches talk about getting better each week and we were able to do that."  The Aggies will need to play better on defense this week as they face a much more difficult opponent in Miami.

The Hurricanes had 428 yards in a 23-9 win over Florida International last Saturday. Kyle Wright was 10-of-19 for 224 yards and a touchdown, Darnell Jenkins had 108 yards receiving and Javarris James ran for 92 yards. Miami is second in the ACC with 172 rushing yards per game. "We've got athletes on this team," coach Randy Shannon said. "Everybody says, 'Well, you don't have the receivers to make plays.' Now it's an opportunity for us to sit down and use our strengths. ... Our strength right now is the offensive line and the running game ."

Miami’s defense has held 13 of their last 16 opponents under 100 yards.  The Hurricanes are 31-20 all-time against teams currently in the Big 12, but they lost earlier this season against Oklahoma.

Here is a look at the betting statistics for Thursday night’s game. The Aggies are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 road games vs. a team with a winning home record. The Aggies are 5-1-1 ATS in their last 7 games as an underdog. The Aggies are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 road games. The Aggies are 7-2-1 ATS in their last 10 games overall. The Aggies are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games on Grass. The Aggies are 5-16-1 ATS in their last 22 games as a road underdog. The Aggies are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 Thursday games.

The Hurricanes are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 vs. the Big 12. The Hurricanes are 4-10-1 ATS in their last 15 games on Grass. The Hurricanes are 8-23-1 ATS in their last 32 games as a home favorite. The Hurricanes are 3-9-1 ATS in their last 13 home games. The Hurricanes are 4-13-1 ATS in their last 18 games overall. The Hurricanes are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 non-conference games. The Hurricanes are 2-9 ATS vs. a team with a winning record. The Hurricanes are 2-9-1 ATS in their last 12 games as a favorite. The Hurricanes are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games in September.

The Over is 6-0-1 in the Aggies last 7 non-conference games. The Over is 4-0 in the Aggies last 4 Thursday games. The Over is 6-0-1 in the Aggies last 7 games in September. The Over is 13-3 in the Aggies last 16 games as a road underdog. The Over is 7-2-1 in the Aggies last 10 games on Grass. The Over is 6-2-1 in the Aggies last 9 games as an underdog. The Over is 14-5 in the Aggies last 19 road games vs. a team with a winning home record. The Over is 16-6 in the Aggies last 22 road games. The Over is 28-11-1 in the Aggies last 40 vs. a team with a winning record. The Over is 36-15-2 in the Aggies last 53 games overall.

The Under is 7-1 in the Hurricanes last 8 Thursday games. The Under is 6-1 in the Hurricanes last 7 games in September. The Under is 21-5 in the Hurricanes last 26 home games. The Under is 20-6 in the Hurricanes last 26 games on Grass. The Under is 22-7 in the Hurricanes last 29 non-conference games. The Under is 19-7 in the Hurricanes last 26 games as a home favorite. The Under is 39-16 in the Hurricanes last 55 games overall. The Under is 36-17 in the Hurricanes last 53 games as a favorite.

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Re: Thursday Football News and Notes

College Football Thursday: Texas A&M Aggies vs. Miami Hurricanes

College football continues on Thursday with the game of the Texas A&M Aggies against the Miami Hurricanes, we look at the betting odds, point spread and trends.

Week 4 of college football will start on Thursday with the match-up between the Texas A&M (3-0) and the Miami Hurricanes (2-1). The odds makers are approaching the game between the 20th-ranked Aggies and the unranked Miami with caution, which could turn out to be a good think for the bettors. The sports betting website Bookmaker has made the Hurricanes the favorite to win the football game on Thursday with odds -145 and Texas A&M are underdog with betting odds +125 on winning the game. The spread also favors the Hurricanes -2.5 points and the total is sitting at 47.5 points at this time. If the Aggies continue their winning streak at the Orange Bowl on Thursday the bettors could draw some blood from the bookmakers. 

Betting and point spread numbers posted by the odds makers in the past show that Texas A&M is 5-1 against the spread in its last 6 games on the road and 4-1 straight up in its last 5 games on the road. The Hurricanes are 3-7 against the spread in its last 10 games and 8-1 SU in its last 9 games at home. The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Miami's last 5 games at home. Questionable for Week 4 from the Miami team are Orlando Franklin, Charlie Jones, Lovon Ponder and Glenn Sharpe. For the Aggies the only uncertainty is FB Chris Alexander.

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