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Friday Football

Friday Football

Game Preview for Bowling Green vs Eastern Mich

FACTS amp; STATS: Site: Rynearson Stadium (30,200) -- Ypsilanti, Michigan. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: BGSU 3-1, EMU 2-2. Away Record: BGSU 2-3, EMU 1-5. Neutral Record: BGSU 0-0, EMU 0-0. Conference Record: BGSU 3-2, EMU 2-3. Series Record: Bowling Green leads, 22-10-1.

GAME NOTES: The Bowling Green Falcons will try to remain in the win column when they travel to Ypsilanti to take on the Eastern Michigan Eagles this Friday evening at Rynearson Stadium. The Falcons have won two of their last three matchups, and that includes a convincing, 44-20 victory over Akron this past weekend. BGSU has done a solid job against conference opponents since the 2004-05 season, posting a 17-12 ledger. The Falcons will remain on the road for their next matchup when they battle Buffalo. As for the Eagles, they have lost five of their last six games, including a terrible 52-28 setback to Toledo this past weekend. Although EMU is a meager 3-7 overall on the year, the team has performed slightly better on its home field, posting a 2-2 mark at Rynearson Stadium. The Falcons have dominated the all-time series against EMU, winning eight consecutive contests, including a 24-21 victory over the Eagles this past season. With the win Bowling Green now has a solid 22-10-1 edge over Eastern Michigan.

The Falcons are a one-dimensional offense, as the team relies heavily on the passing attack, which is producing 300.1 ypg. Overall the team is averaging a solid 414.2 total ypg, and that has led to 30.9 ppg. In the recent victory over Akron, the Falcons soared high, racking up 517 total yards, including a whopping 301 yards through the air. Tyler Sheehan was outstanding in the victory, throwing for 268 yards and two touchdowns on 26-of-36 passing. Sheehan has been solid throughout the year for BGSU, as the signal caller has completed 63.3 percent of his passes for 2,420 yards. In nine games the QB has thrown 17 touchdowns, while tossing just 10 interceptions. Surprisingly in the victory over Akron the ground game also put forth a solid effort as the team rumbled for 216 yards on 38 totes. With Willie Geter battling a sprained ankle, Anthony Turner became the main running back for BGSU, and racked up 104 yards and one touchdown on 12 attempts.

The main problem for this defensive unit has been the team's inability to slow down the run, as BGSU is currently yielding a whopping 218.9 ypg on the ground. Overall the defense is being abused for 428.6 total ypg, and that has led to 32.8 ppg. Although the Falcons posted a 24-point victory over Akron this past weekend, the team still struggled defensively, allowing the Zips to collect 435 total yards, including an eye-popping 243 yards via the run. Bowling Green was able to force four turnovers, but finished the game with just one sack. The defense has been able to force 22 turnovers on the season, but has had trouble pressuring the quarterback, racking up just 17 sacks. The Falcons ave also been terrible on third downs, allowing opponents to convert 47 percent of their chances.

Unfortunately for the Eagles they have not enjoyed the same success as their counterpart. In fact, EMU has been terrible offensively, averaging just 320.6 total ypg, which has led to 21.0 ppg. In the team's recent matchup against Toledo the Eagles tallied 417 yards, including a surprising 217 on the ground, but the Eagles were still finished on the wrong end of a 52-28 decision. Pierre Walker had a terrific outing in the loss, rushing for 93 yards and three scores on 22 attempts. Walker has been the top performer in the backfield for EMU, rushing for 535 yards and six scores, but is averaging a mere 3.5 ypc. The passing game has also struggled for EMU, as the quarterback position has been split up between Andy Schmitt and Kyle McMahon. Schmitt has been the much more impressive signal caller, completing 62.6 percent of his throws for 1,267 yards and 11 scores against five interceptions. In the loss to Toledo, Schmitt threw for 111 yards and one score on 10-of-17 passing.

The Eagles' biggest issue this year has been the inability to stop the run, as teams are churning out a whopping 192.5 ypg. Overall this defense is being dismantled for 418.7 total ypg, which has led to 29.0 ppg. In the recent loss to Toledo, the Eagles were embarrassed for an atrocious 600 total yards, and that includes an eye-popping 324 rushing yards on 44 carries (7.4 ypc). The defense only forced one turnover in the contest, while finishing the game with zero sacks. The Eagles have been able to force 24 turnovers in the contest, but pressuring the QB has been a problem, as the team has recorded just 16 sacks. Another problem the defense has dealt with is within its own 20-yard line, as opponents are converting 80 percent of their red zone chances.

Neither team has performed well defensively, so expect to see a high scoring affair. Bowling Green has much more explosiveness on offense, and should be able to continue its dominance over Eastern Michigan.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Bowling Green 45, Eastern Michigan 21

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Re: Friday Football

Game Preview for Rutgers vs Army

FACTS amp; STATS: Site: Michie Stadium (40,000) -- West Point, New York. Television: ESPN2. Home Record: Rutgers 4-3, Army 3-0. Away Record: Rutgers 1-1, Army 0-5. Neutral Record: Rutgers 0-0, Army 0-1. Conference Record: Rutgers 2-3, Army 0-0. Series Record: Army leads, 18-15.

GAME NOTES: In an attempt to bring a halt to a two-game slide and in the process become bowl eligible for the third straight season, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights take to the road to battle the Army Black Knights in West Point on Friday night. Greg Schiano's Knights were supposed to vie for a Big East title this year, but have struggled in-conference (2-3) and are 5-4 overall. The team is coming off back-to-back losses, including last week's 38-19 setback at nationally-ranked Connecticut. The Black Knights return home for the first time since October 6th and will try to bring an end to their own losing streak, having dropped three straight games, including last weekend's 30-10 setback at Air Force. The loss dropped Army to 3-6 on the year. The Black Knights hold an 18-15 edge in the all-time series with Rutgers, but the Scarlet Knights have won the last three meetings.

It hasn't been a lack of offense that has caused Rutgers to slip out of the national spotlight. The team is certainly chewing up the yardage, amassing 462.6 yards per game. It has been great offensive balance that has led to the team's 30.6 ppg, with Rutgers rushing for 179.3 yards and passing for 283.2 yards. It helps to have one of the nation's premier tailbacks in the backfield and Schiano certainly relies heavily on Ray Rice to get the job done. Rice is averaging 139.7 ypg (sixth nationally) and has rushed for 1,257 yards on the year, with 14 TDs. Rice has gotten it done on the ground and QB Mike Teel has done the same through the air. Teel has completed a solid 58.1 percent of his passes, for 2,467 yards, with 14 TDs and nine INTs. Tiquan Underwood has been the top target downfield, leading the team with 57 receptions, for 962 yards and six scores. Underwood ranks seventh in the nation in receiving yards per game (106.9).

It has been the Rutgers' defense that has failed at spots this season. The unit is allowing 22.1 ppg and while the Knights have played well against the pass (164.1 ypg), they have not been so fortunate in stopping the run (162.2 ypg). In addition, Rutgers has struggled in the red zone, allowing foes to score 81 percent of the time, including TDs 59 percent of the time (19-of-32). The team as a whole has done a decent job at rushing the passer, with 24 sacks on the year. However, the squad has been miserable at forcing turnovers, with a mere 10 takeaways in nine games. Leading the defense is free safety Courtney Greene with his 72 total tackles. Other defenders of note include LBs Kevin Malast (70 tackles, 3.5 TFLs) and Brandon Renkart (57 tackles, 6.5 TFLs, 2.5 sacks) and DE Jamaal Westerman (35 tackles, team-high 10.5 TFLs, team-high 6.0 sacks).

Army lacks the offensive firepower to hang with Rutgers. The team is averaging just 17.2 ppg in 2007, on a meager 271.9 yards of total offense. The Knights have failed to get any kind of consistency on the ground (76.7 ypg) and the passing game has been just a little bit better (195.2 ypg). Through nine games, there is still no one on the roster that has amassed over 285 yards rushing, with Patrick Mealy representing the top ground gainer at just 284 yards. QB Carson Williams has been inconsistent as well. He has completed just over 50 percent of his pass attempts, for 1,281 yards. He has thrown eight TD passes, but against 10 interceptions. The only real offensive threat to date is WR Jeremy Trimble, who is having a nice season, leading the team in receptions (47), receiving yards (708) and TDs (five).

Defensively, Army has been gashed by the run (212.7 ypg) and that certainly looms large with Rice coming into town. To make matter worse, the pass rush has been nonexistent all season, with the team collecting just 13 sacks in nine games. Another potential problem, should Rutgers' Teel get hot early. There isn't a whole lot of positive stat lines on the roster. Free safety Jordan Murray currently leads the team in tackles with 76 total stops. Linebacker Frank Scappaticci has done his part and is probably this unit's top playmaker. Scappaticci is second on the team in tackles (74), with 5.0 TFLs, one sack, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries. The team's top pass rusher is defensive tackle Ted Bentler (32 tackles, 4.5 TFLs), with three sacks.

The Black Knights are in trouble in this game. They will receive no mercy from Rutgers, which should be able to move the ball at will, en route to a lopsided victory.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Rutgers 43, Army 10

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Re: Friday Football

What bettors need to know: Rutgers at Army

Major mismatch

Rutgers star running back Ray Rice shouldn’t have any problem tearing apart the Black Knights’ permeable rush defense Friday at Michie Stadium in West Point.

Rice has compiled more than 1,200 rushing yards with 14 touchdowns, which is more than 130 rushing yards per contest. The athletic running back ran for more than 100 yards against a stingy Huskies defense last Saturday, surpassing the 100-yard plateau for the sixth time this season. Rice also ran for an impressive 142 yards against West Virginia’s 15th ranked rush defense.

“[Rice] does it all,” Mountaineers coach Rich Rodriguez told reporters. “He's a complete football player. He's a very physical guy, and I think he's meant an awful lot to their program. If you didn't have to play him, he'd be fun to watch because he plays with such passion.”

The Black Knights are allowing opponents more than 200 rushing yards per contest and allowed two running backs (Matt Forte and Chad Hall) to gain more than 200 rushing yards against them in the past four weeks.

Rutgers loves the camera

The Scarlet Knights are set to play their fifth contest on either ESPN or ESPN2 since 2005.

Rutgers is 3-1 on Friday night nationally televised games, including a dominating 41-24 victory over Navy earlier this season. Scarlet Knights running back Rice compiled 175 rushing yards with two touchdowns and quarterback Mike Teel completed 14-of -19 passes for more than 266 yards with three touchdowns against the Midshipmen.

Friday night’s showdown against the Black Nights also marks the 24th consecutive contest that the Scarlet Knights have played on national television.

Army on the offensive

Army’s defensive statistics (22 points and 162 rushing yards per contest) almost seems respectable compared to their inadequate production on offense this season.

“It's a challenge to win any game we play,” Black Knights coach Stan Brock told reporters after their 34-10 loss to Georgia Tech. “We're not in a position to show up and beat anyone. We have to go out and execute and play to the best of our ability to have an opportunity to compete.”

Sophomore quarterback Carson Williams has thrown for less than 1,300 yards with a mere eight touchdowns against 10 interceptions this season. Army is tallying less than 300 total yards and a mere 17.2 points per contest this season. Their ground assault is also struggling, with freshman running back Patrick Mealy leading the Black Knights with less than 300 yards and no touchdowns.

Bowl aspirations

Despite a mediocre 5-4 record overall and an even worse 2-3 conference mark, Rutgers would be bowl-eligible with a victory over the Black Knights Friday.

The Scarlet Knights have never advanced to three consecutive bowls. They played in the Insight Bowl in 2005, losing to Arizona State 45-40 and made an appearance in the Texas Bowl last season, outlasting Kansas State 37-10.

Rutgers, one week removed from a 38-19 loss to the Huskies, are 7-3 straight-up following a loss. The program is also 4-0 against the spread in its last four contests against the Black Knights and is an impressive 8-3 in their last 11 overall games following an ATS setback.

However, the Black Knights maintain an 18-15 series lead over Rutgers and are 13-6 against the Scarlet Knights at Michie Stadium.

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Re: Friday Football

Bowling Green (5-4, 4-4 ATS) at Eastern Michigan (3-7, 3-6 ATS)

Bowling Green tries for consecutive midweek victories when it hits the road for a Mid-American Conference contest against struggling Eastern Michigan.

The Falcons pounded Akron 44-20 as a 6½-point home chalk last Friday. They have alternated SU and ATS wins and losses in their last four games, and they’re just 2-4 ATS in their last six lined contests.

Eastern Michigan is coming off an ugly 52-28 loss at Toledo, giving up 600 yards of total offense, including 324 yards on the ground. The 24-point margin of defeat matched the largest of the season for the Eagles, who are mired in a 1-5 slump (2-4 ATS).

Bowling Green has won eight consecutive meetings in this rivalry, but is just 4-4 ATS, including three straight non-covers. Last year, the Falcons squeaked out a 24-21 home win, falling short as a 10-point chalk.

Eastern Michigan is 2-3 SU and ATS in MAC play, with the winner covering the spread in all five games. Meanwhile, the Falcons are 3-3 in conference (2-4 ATS), including 1-2 SU and ATS on the road.

Bowling Green is giving up 36.2 points and 435.6 yards per game on the road (210 rushing yp), while Eastern Michigan is yielding 20.2 points and 402 yards per game at home (154.5 rushing ypg).

Despite last week’s rout of Akron, Bowling Green is still in ATS slides of 4-10 against losing teams, 4-14 as a favorite, 1-6 as a road chalk and 5-14 in conference games.

The Eagles, who have been underdogs in 15 straight games and 21 of their last 22, are 1-4 ATS in their last five home games.

The over is 3-1 in the last four meetings, with the lone under occurring last year. Also, for Eastern Michigan, the under is on runs of 11-3 at home, 9-3 in conference and 18-4 on artificial turf.


Rutgers (5-4, 4-4 ATS) at Army (3-6, 3-4-1 ATS)

Rutgers steps out of conference to rekindle its rivalry with Army, which returns home on the heels of a three-game losing skid, all on the road.

The Scarlet Knights dropped to 2-4 SU and ATS in its last six games after falling to undefeated UConn 38-19 as a one-point road underdog on Saturday. Rutgers lost despite a 510-397 edge in total offense and a 29-18 edge in first downs, while only committing one turnover.

Army got crushed on its three-game road trip, losing at Central Michigan (47-23), Georgia Tech (34-10) and Air Force (30-10). The Black Knights, who got outgained by a whopping 361 yards in Saturday’s loss at Air Force, are mired in an 4-10-1 ATS slump, including 0-3-1 ATS in the last four.

Rutgers has recorded three straight double-digit victories over the Black Knights, including a 36-21 triumph as a 6 ½-point road chalk in the most recent meeting in 2003. Going back to 1990, the Scarlet Knights are 8-2 ATS against Army.

All three of the Black Knights’ victories have come at home, with two going into overtime. However, they’re just 1-5 ATS in their last six at home, 0-6 ATS in their last six against the Big East and 3-8-1 ATS in their last 12 as an underdog, including 0-4 ATS as a home dog.

The Scarlet Knights are on ATS runs of 8-1-1 in non-conference games, 5-1 against losing teams 8-3 after an ATS loss and 4-0 on artificial turf.

The over is 9-3-1 in Rutgers’ last 13 overall and 7-1 in Army’s last eight on artificial turf.


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Re: Friday Football

Rutgers at Army

We called for the ‘under’ in last week’s scrub game between New Mexico St. and Nevada and felt good about the play through three quarters. However, the Cowboys and Wolf Pack erupted for 34 combined points in the final stanza to beat us.

Therefore, we turn the page and look to this week’s game between Rutgers and Army. Most sports books are listing the Scarlet Knights as 19-point road favorites with a total of 48. Gamblers can back the Black Knights for a plus 800 return (risk $100 to win $800).

Since capturing a 30-27 win over then-second-ranked USF back on Oct. 18, Rutgers (5-4 straight up, 3-4-1 against the spread) has lost back-to-back games by double-digit margins. The Scarlet Knights lost 31-3 to West Virginia as seven-point underdogs two weeks ago, and they dropped a 38-19 decision at UConn last week in a pick ‘em affair.

Army (3-6 SU, 3-5 ATS) has lost three consecutive games, including last week’s 30-10 loss at Air Force as a 17-point underdog. The Falcons beat up on the Black Knights in the yardage department to the tune of 542-181.

Make no mistake, RU head coach Greg Schiano took note of the 437 rushing yards Air Force produced against Army. In other words, look for Ray Rice to get plenty of touches Friday night.

Rice is one of the nation’s premier running backs, rushing for 1,257 yards and 14 touchdowns. The school’s all-time leading rusher recently eclipsed the 4,000-yard mark for his collegiate career.

Despite losing to the Huskies by 19 last week, Rutgers produced 511 total yards compared to UConn’s 396. However, the Scarlet Knights settled for four short field goals between 27 and 30 yards, and they gave up a 97-yard kick return on special teams.

Rice is certainly the go-to guy in RU’ offense, but the Scarlet Knights aren’t one-dimensional by any means. Junior QB Mike Teel is completing 58.1 percent of his throws for 2,467 yards, with a 14/9 touchdown-interception ratio.

Teel has a pair of outstanding wide receivers in Tiquan Underwood and Kenny Britt. Underwood has 57 receptions for 962 yards and six TDs, while Britt has 39 catches for 822 yards and four scores. Britt averages 21.1 yards per reception.

Army senior cornerback John Laird is “out,” while back-up QB David Pevoto is “questionable.”

RU has a 2-1-1 spread record as a double-digit favorite this season. The Scarlet Knights have only played a pair of road games going into this spot. They are 1-1 both SU and ATS in those road assignments, while the ‘under’ has cashed in both games.

This is the first of a three-game home stretch to conclude Army’s regular season. To date, the Black Knights are unbeaten in three home games, posting a 1-1 ATS ledger.

Dating back to 2000, Army has a 10-20-1 ATS record as a home underdog. Meanwhile, Rutgers is 3-5 ATS as a road ‘chalk’ during Schiano’s seven-year tenure.

ESPN2 will provide television coverage at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**

--Illinois is facing its first double-digit underdog spot of the year Saturday at Ohio St. The Illini posted a 5-0 spread record in its last five double-digit ‘dog spots last season.

--Florida State owns all 12 meetings against Virginia Tech during Bobby Bowden’s tenure.

--Dating back to 2002, Florida is 2-13 ATS as a road favorite. The Gators are 6 ½-point favorites Saturday night at South Carolina. The Gamecocks have covered the spread in both UF-USC meetings with Urban Meyer and Steve Spurrier on the respective sidelines.

--The visitor has an 11-3-1 SU record in the last 15 Georgia-Auburn games.

--Tennessee has won nine of the last 11 head-to-head meetings against Arkansas. The Vols are 5-0 both SU and ATS at home this year.

--Wake Forest is 18-8 ATS as a road ‘dog under Jim Grobe.

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