BYU Cougars vs. Texas Longhorns Point Spread – Pick ATS

BYU Cougars (1-0 SU 0-1 ATS) vs. Texas Longhorns (1-0 SU 1-0 ATS) Week 2 NCAA Football, Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, AUSTIN, TX, 7 PM ET Saturday September 11, 2011 on ESPN2/ESPN3
by Jason Green, College Football Handicapper,

Point Spread: Brigham Young +7/TEX -7
Over/Under: 48.5

Texas is coming off a disastrous 5-7 season in 2010, but they got off to a good start in their first game winning a blowout. BYU came away with a solid away win in their opening game scoring 2 TD in the 4th quarter, but can they stop the Longhorns in their house this Saturday?

In their opening games Texas killed Rice 34-9 and BYU narrowly beat Mississippi 14-13.

Texas QB Garrett Gilbert had a lot of pressure on him coming into this season, as he had a rough 2010 campaign throwing only 10 TD while having 17 INT. He led the Longhorns to the win on Saturday after a slow start and finished 13/23 with 239 yards with 1 TD and, more importantly, no picks.

Gilbert will be facing a BYU secondary that was statistically solid last season, but did not play well against teams with a solid aerial attack. Still, in the Ole Miss win they held the Rebels to 144 passing yards and last season they stepped up at the end of the year with 13 picks in their last 5 games. Gilbert will be pressured by the solid Cougars’ pass rush, but he will be careful with the ball and not get killed by the INT.

Where the Longhorns shined on offense in their win over Rice was rushing the ball gaining 229 yards on the ground. Malcolm Brown and D.J. Monroe combined to rush for 127 yards and each averaged over 5.4 yards per carry. The Cougars held Ole Miss to only 64 rushing yards, but facing the solid Texas RB’s they will not keep the Longhorns from having a big game on the ground. That will be key, as the Longhorns will control the clock.

The Texas offense had too many penalties and did not protect Gilbert very well in the game against Rice, but that will change in this game.

BYU QB Jake Heaps had a decent game against Ole Miss passing for 225 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT, but he only averaged 5.9 yards per completion. The Cougars do have a solid WR corps, but while the Texas secondary has some young players, especially at the DB position, but they are very athletic, held Rice to only 94 passing yards, and they will keep Heaps from making the big play down the field.

The big question is can the Longhorns stop the run? BYU only had 91 rushing yards in the win over Ole Miss, but the Rebels have a solid run defense. Texas allowed Rice to rush for 130 yards with both of their RB’s averaging over 6 yards per carry. Texas has the size and speed up front and while they will not totally stuff the run BYU RB JJ Di Luigi will not have a huge game.

In some betting trends for this big non-conference game Texas is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games as a favorite of 3.5-10, 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games following a ATS win, and they have an Under record of 6-2 in their last 8 games.

BYU is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games, 5-1 ATS in their last 6 non-conference games, and has an Under record of 4-0 in their last road games as an underdog.

Texas was only 3-9 ATS in 2010 in a season every UT fan would like to forget, but the Longhorns are ready to get back to national prominence and they will get closer to that this Saturday playing great at home.

Jason’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Gilbert will come in and have a big game in this match up, as I think he comes off last week’s win with no picks with a lot of confidence. The Texas D is full of young and talented players and they will show that in this game keeping BYU’s offense in check. On top of that BYU’s offense was stifled against Ole Miss, which is exactly what will happen in this game, as the Longhorns will win and cover the 7-point spread.

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