Over 55 in Grambling vs. Northwestern State – Neither one of these teams have a great defense. Grambling is still breaking in an almost entirely new set of starters and was totally unable to stop Tulane’s triple-option attack last week. The Green Wave averaged almost six yards per carry and had their way with this front seven all game.
Northwestern State actually hung with Louisiana Tech for the first three quarters of their game last week and showed much improvement from a team that went 1-10 last season. The Demons had almost 400 yards of offense against Louisiana Tech and looked like an entirely different unit under new offensive coordinator Kyle Manley.
Grambling’s Devante Kincade is going to have a much better game than he did against Tulane. Kincade is one of the most talented quarterbacks at the FCS level and just couldn’t get it going against a Tulane front that constantly pressured him. He should be back to his old self against Northwestern State.
Montana State +12.5 vs. South Dakota State – The South Dakota State Jackrabbits decimated the Duquesne Dukes last week, but that was expected. SDSU could run or throw with ease and averaged 8.6 yards per play against a Dukes defense that was clearly outmatched.
Montana State didn’t light the world on fire in a 31-0 loss to Washington State last week, but it did about as well as you’d expect an FCS team to do against the Cougars offense. The Bobcats were able to pressure Luke Falk a little bit and did force some punts out of Mike Leach’s offensive juggernaut.
Quarterback Chris Murray will have a lot more success against South Dakota State than he did against Washington State. He is a dual-threat quarterback who showed a lot of promise as a true freshman last season.
This defense will have a better handle on the Jackrabbits offense, too. Linebacker Mac Bignell is one of the best defensive talents at the FCS level and can disrupt this ground game.
Presbyterian +24 at The Citadel – The Bulldogs just don’t score enough to be favored by this much. Even last season when The Citadel went on its 10-game winning streak and was ranked in the Top 5, the Bulldogs only would have covered this number one time.
This year, The Citadel is breaking in a lot of new faces on offense and managed to score just 31 points against Division II Newberry College in its season opener.
Presbyterian was blown out by Wake Forest in its own opener, but it did have some success moving the ball on the ground. The Blue Hose averaged 4.6 yards per carry against a decent Demon Deacons defense and should be able to move the ball a little bit against The Citadel.
The clock will be your friend in this one. Both teams will want to keep the ball on the ground as much as possible and neither school is in a hurry to snap the ball once at the line. Presbyterian has almost zero chance of pulling the upset, but it can stay within the number.
North Dakota -11.5 vs. Missouri State – Missouri State might get a lot of action later in the week as people go through box scores and see how this team fared against Missouri. The Bears scored 43 points on their in-state big brother, but most of that came off of four long plays. Rather than these being the result of something Missouri State did, these were the product of something Missouri didn’t do: cover or tackle.
The Bears allowed Missouri’s offense to move the ball with impunity and the defensive backs could not wrap up all game long. Five different Missouri receivers averaged more than 10 yards after the catch. And while some of this was scheme, tackling was an issue.
North Dakota is a little undervalued after a lackluster start to its season. The Fighting Hawks struggled to move the ball against Utah, but the Utes have a stout run defense. They will be able to move the ball much more effectively against a Missouri State team that is playing a completely different style of offense. Additionally, North Dakota has two more days to prepare for this game, and don’t underestimate how much that can help a team.