Big Al's Daily Angle: NFL and NCAA Football Preview

by Big Al Staff

The Thursday sports card features one game in college football along with one game in the NFL, with the World Series seeing a day off before Game 3 takes place on Friday.

The Thursday night game on ESPN features another clash of Sun Belt Conference rivals this week.

Arkansas State raised their record to a 3-2 mark on the season in the game last Thursday on ESPN with their 59-52 victory at home over Georgia State. The Red Wolves generated 609 yards of offense in this shootout while giving up 583 yards to the Panthers.

Head coach Blake Anderson is disproving the conventional wisdom frowning upon rotating quarterbacks. His offense produced 551 passing yards with eight touchdown passes last week. Sophomore Layne Hatcher completed 21 of 28 passes for 332 yards with four touchdowns, with junior Logan Bonner completed 18 of 28 passes for 197 yards with another three touchdown passes. Neither quarterback threw an interception (and wide receiver Roshauud Paul threw the final touchdown pass on a trick play). Bonner was the starting quarterback for the first four games last season before he suffered a season-ending hand injury, which provided Hatcher the opportunity to play with the former Alabama transfer averaging 294.6 passing yards-per-game the rest of the way, which was 8th best in the nation. Hatcher is completing 63.3% of his passes this season for 896 yards with a 9.0 yards-per-attempt passing average along with ten touchdown passes and one interception. But Anderson continues to rotate quarterbacks because Bonner is completing 63.9% of his passes for 938 yards with a 7.0 yards-per-attempt average along with 11 touchdown pass to three interceptions.

Appalachian State will take the field for the first time since September 26th when they defeated Campbell by a 52-21 score. The Mountaineers have also defeated Charlotte, with their loss being at Marshall in a battle of perhaps the best two non-power five conference teams this season.

Arkansas State is 1-1 in conference play with their loss to Coastal Carolina. Their second loss this season was at Memphis, but they have a quality non-conference victory on their resume with a 35-31 win at Kansas State. Appalachian State has yet to play a conference game this season.

BetAnySports lists the Mountaineers as a 13-point favorite with the total set at 66.5. The ESPN broadcast starts at 7:30 PM ET.

The Thursday Night Football game on Fox is a battle of two NFC East teams with losing records yet who remain very much alive to win the division and make the playoffs.

The New York Giants won their first game of the season last Sunday with their 20-19 win over Washington. Philadelphia has lost two straight games after their 30-28 loss at home to Baltimore last week. They are a half-game behind the first-place Dallas Cowboys with a 1-4-1 record. With six victories on the season quite possibly being the magic number to win their division, this is a critical game despite it being between two teams with just two combined victories between them.

Philadelphia has won the last seven meetings between these two teams after they swept their two games last season. BetAnySports lists the Eagles as a 4.5-point favorite with the total set at 45. Kickoff is set shortly after 8:20 PM ET.

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

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