Big Al's Daily Angle: NCAA Football Preview

by Big Al Staff

Four college football games dominate the Friday sports card.

The Friday night college football game on ESPN involves two ACC teams with disappointing 1-6 records in conference play. Syracuse has lost five games in a row after a narrow 16-13 loss to Boston College as a 14.5-point underdog on November 7th. Freshman quarterback JaCobian Morgan made his first collegiate start in that game with mixed results. He completed 19 of 30 passes for just 188 yards with a touchdown pass and an interception. The Orange only gained 240 yards but were only on the field for just over 21 minutes.

Louisville has lost two games in a row as well as six of their last seven contests after their 31-17 loss at Virginia last Saturday. Head coach Scott Satterfield settled for the loss despite the Cardinals outgaining the Cavaliers by 110 net yards. Ye three Louisville turnovers were too much to overcome. Junior quarterback Micale Cunningham threw an interception returned for an 85-yard touchdown that began the scoring for the Cavs. Cunningham later fumbled in Virginia territory with 8:22 left in the fourth quarter to short circuit a potential game-tying touchdown.

Louisville won their meeting last season with Syracuse by a 56-34 score, with Cunningham throwing a career-high five touchdown passes in the victory. The Cardinals are an 18.5-point favorite with the total set at 56.5 (all odds from BookMaker). The ESPN broadcast begins at 7 PM ET.

Purdue travels to Minnesota for a 7:30 PM ET kickoff with the Golden Gophers. The Boilermakers opened their season with victories against Iowa and Illinois, but they lost at home by a 27-20 score to Northwestern as a 4-point underdog last Saturday. Purdue managed only 265 yards of offense against the Wildcats. Quarterback Aidan O’Connell completed 28 of 51 passes for 263 yards with two touchdown passes in the losing effort. He is questionable for this game with an undisclosed injury. The Boilermakers are hopeful that not only he plays but that junior wide receiver Rondale Moore makes his season debut after missing the first three games with a lower-body injury. 

Minnesota continued their disappointing season with a 35-7 loss at home to Iowa last Friday night. The Golden Gophers have also lost to Michigan and Maryland this season, with their lone victory in four games being against Illinois. Expectations were much higher for this team who returned 13 starters from the group that finished 11-2 last year. 

Minnesota upset Iowa last season with a 38-31 score in Iowa City as a 1.5-point underdog. The Hawkeyes are a 2-point road favorite for this rematch with an over/under of 61. The broadcast is on the Big Ten Network at 7:30 PM ET. 

Florida Atlantic hosts UMass at 8 PM ET. The Owls raised their record to a 4-1 mark last Friday with their 38-19 victory over Florida International. Freshman quarterback Javian Posey ran for 182 yards on 18 carries with a touchdown while completing 10 of 16 passes for 80 yards with another two touchdown passes. The Florida Atlantic defense has been the biggest story for this team under first-year head coach Willie Taggart as they are allowing only 13.0 points-per-game. 

UMass has only played two games this season as an independent in a sea of teams mostly restricting themselves to conference games. The Minutemen opened their season with a 41-0 loss at Georgia Southern as a 30.5-point underdog on October 17th. UMass returned to the field on November 7th, where they lost at Marshall as a 44-point underdog by a 51-10 score. 

FAU is a 32.5-point favorite with a total of 51. The CBS Sports Network has the broadcast.

The Friday college football card concludes at 9:30 PM ET with New Mexico traveling on the road to play Air Force in a Mountain West Conference showdown. The Lobos are winless this season after their 27-20 loss to Nevada as a 17.5-point underdog. New Mexico opened their season with a 36-21 loss at San Jose State before losing at Hawai’i the next week by a 39-33 score. Junior quarterback Tevaka Tuioti did not play against the Wolf Pack after entering the concussion protocol. He is doubtful for this game, which likely leaves the Lobos with Trae Hall under center. The redshirt sophomore completed 17 of 32 passes for 195 yards with an interception in his start last week. 

Air Force opened their season with a 40-7 victory Navy, but they have lost their last two games. The Falcons lost at San Jose State by a 17-6 score on October 24th before losing against on Halloween to Boise State by a 49-30 score. With junior Donald Hammond III leaving the program in the fall, the quarterback position has been unsettled for head coach Troy Calhoun in the fourteenth year with the program. Junior Warren Bryan rushed for 87 yards in the losing effort against the Broncos in their last game after replacing Haaziq Daniels, who got knocked out with a shoulder injury. The sophomore started the first two games for Air Force and should return for this contest. Daniels has rushed for 134 yards with a 5.2 yards-per-carry average while adding a passing threat to the flexbone option by completing 13 of 26 passes for 133 yards. 

Air Force is a 7.5-point favorite with an over/under of 55.5. FS1 has the broadcast.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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