Notre Dame Fighting Irish (8-1 SU, 7-2 ATS) vs. Miami Hurricanes (8-0 SU, 4-4 ATS)
BYU Cougars (2-8 SU, 2-8 ATS) vs. UNLV Rebels (4-5 SU, 6-3 ATS)
College Football Week 11
Date/Time: Friday, November 10, 2017 at 10:30PM EST
Where: Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, Nevada
TV: ESPN 2
by Scott, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: BYU +4/UNLV -4
Over/Under Total: 50.5
The BYU Cougars come to Sam Boyd Stadium on Friday to take on the UNLV Rebels. This is a battle of two teams heading in opposite directions. At just 2-8, its been a rough season for Brigham Young, with their only goal being to finish this season strongly to set things up for the future. It wont be easy against a plucky UNLV team that enters this game on the heels of two straight wins, including a 31-23 win over Hawaii in their last game on Saturday. BYU came up short on the road on Saturday, losing 20-13 to Fresno State, now facing their second road game in a row and their 4th in five games.
BYU will be on the road for the fourth time in five weeks and for a team struggling to find its bearings, well see how they hold up. They lost every game on the road this season and since a week one win over the FCS Portland State, they have lost 8 of 9 games, with their only win a few weeks ago over a really awful San Jose State team. They have now lost starting QB Tanner Mangum and its hard to find the silver lining with the Cougars this season. A respectable program a few short seasons ago, things havent worked out and were seeing the downward spiral of a team that has really fallen on tough times.
The BYU offense had another bad development on Saturday in the loss to Fresno, with Tanner Mangum suffering what might be a season-ending ankle injury. They are near the bottom in a lot of categories, which is bizarre with Mangum having showed he can get this offense moving before. They are averaging a preposterous 15.1 points a game. Only a few teams average less offensive yardage per game than the Cougars. Losses to LSU, Utah, Wisconsin and even Boise State and Mississippi State are understandable on a lot of levels for a team many suspected would have a hard time this season. But losing to Utah State and East Carolina as decisively as they did is a really tough pill to swallow. It looks like they will be going with sophomore Beau Hoge (questionable) at quarterback or maybe Koy Detmer, Jr. or Joe Critchlow if hes not ready on the short week. Squally Canada isnt a bad back. Micah Simon, Jonah Trinnaman, Aleva Hifo, and TE Matt Bushman (questionable) arent bad targets aerially, but its hard to find good things to say about how this offense has performed this season.
Injuries havent helped on the other side of the ball for the Cougars. Its unusual to not have at least a couple go-getters on this side of the ball. But thats the case, especially in the pass-rush department where they are more often than not silent. The 26 points they are giving up per game maybe isnt so awful, but with the offense putting up 15 a game, its not hard to see how BYU has ended up in this spot. And even with not having a lot of tough offenses to play over the past handful of weeks, they havent gotten the job done. In a lot of ways, the defense is just there taking up space. Theyre not bad, but with the offense as lousy as they are, its hard to tell.
UNLV started the season 2-5 and have won two in a row to get near .500, something they could reach with a win this week in what looks to be a winnable spot. Wins over Fresno and Hawaii have restored order and suddenly, bowl-eligibility isnt out of the question. Johnny Stanton has taken over at starting QB and has been pretty good, including 244 yards and two touchdowns on Saturday and one on the ground, as well. Junior back Lexington Thomas ran for 98 yards and a touchdown. And after a rough patch where the defense had descended into laughingstock status, theyve been a lot more resilient the past two games, giving up a combined 39 points.
UNLVs offense has been better recently and at their best, they are actually pretty adept at running the ball. Lexington Thomas is at 1063 yards on the season with 14 touchdowns, getting good support with former starting QB Armani Rogers and Xzaviar Campbell chipping in with production on the ground, as well. Stanton might be able to get more out of the Rebels aerial attack, as theyve been pretty quiet on that front so far. Senior Devonte Boyd is still a good weapon with Brandon Presley the only other ball-catcher who has had real production this season.
The UNLV defense has recovered 11 fumbles this season. Finding much else good to say becomes really difficult. They have looked better the past two weeks, but are still a readily-exploitable group, especially against the run. Their front is somewhat laughable even by Mountain West standards. With 6 sacks on the whole season, they make the weak BYU pass-rush look like the Purple People Eaters. Giving up 43 points in week one to the FCS Howard Bison was a bad sign and it didnt get much better. Still, they look to be heading in the right direction over the past two weeks and maybe they can show some of that same resilience and hustle this week.
BYU is looking pretty rough around the edges. And now they are digging deep into the barrel for quarterbacks and it might be a team that is looking for the finish line at this point. UNLV has been playing pretty well and actually has something to shoot for with a win here getting them to 5-5. Coming into Vegas on a Friday night isnt an easy spot and with BYU looking so bedraggled coming off the short week, I see UNLV playing well enough to win and cover the spread.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the UNLV Rebels minus 4 points. - Bet your pick for this game using your credit card at an online bookie where it WILL work for deposits and where you’ll receive a generous 50% signup bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $250! (Example: Deposit $250 and they’ll give you an extra $250 FREE!) Find this great offer at Bovada Sportsbook.