2015 NCAAF Bowl – Monday football – Games preview

Pittsburgh vs Navy 

– The location advantage certainly belong to Navy since it will be playing at home against Pittsburgh in the Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman in Annapolis, MD. As of Saturday afternoon, most betting shops had Navy (10-2 straight up, 8-4 against the spread) installed as a three-point favorite with a total of with a total of 53.5. The Panthers were +140 on the money line (risk $100 to win $140).

– Navy senior quarterback Kennan Reynolds led Navy to a 10-win season in its first competing in the AAC. Reynolds is the best QB to play for the Naval Academy since Roger Staubach. His career numbers are just ridiculous: 4,415 rushing yards, 3,875 passing yards, 85 rushing touchdowns and a 30/8 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Reynolds is the academy’s all-time leading rusher and with 122 yards passing against Pitt, he’ll become third in all-time passing yards.

– Reynolds completed 52-of-98 passes (53.1%) for 1,077 yards with a 7/1 TD-INT ratio this year. He rushed 241 times for 1,229 yards and 21 TDs while averaging 5.1 yards per carry. His favorite target is Jamir Tillman, who has 27 receptions for 570 yards and five TDs.

Navy’s second-leading rusher is Chris Swain, who has rushed for 909 yards and 10 TDs while averaging 4.9 YPC. The Midshipmen are third in the nation in rushing, averaging 319.2 yards per game on the ground. They average 36.2 points per game.

– Navy’s defense ranks 26th in the country in scoring, allowing just 21.3 PPG. This unit is 31st against the run and 43rd in total defense.

– Navy faced seven bowl-bound teams, compiling a 5-2 record both SU and ATS. The Midshipmen lost 52-31 at Houston and 41-24 at Notre Dame.

– Navy has thrived as a single-digit favorite, going 4-1 ATS. The Midshipmen are unbeaten in six home games, producing a 5-1 spread record.

– Pittsburgh (8-4 SU, 6-6 ATS) finished second in the ACC Coastal in its first season on Pat Narduzzi’s watch. The Panthers have their most wins since 2010. They lost their regular-season finale 29-24 vs. Miami as seven-point home favorites.

– In the loss to the Hurricanes, Pitt fell down 20-0 early in the second quarter. True freshman Darrin Hall rushed 12 times for 103 yards and one TD. Tyler Boyd had five receptions for 70 yards and 47 rushing yards on three carries. Nathan Peterman completed only 13-of-27 throws for 142 yards with one TD and one interception.

– Peterman had an outstanding season. The transfer from Tennessee connected on 61.6 percent of his passes for 2,150 yards with a 19/5 TD-INT ratio. Boyd has 85 catches for 873 yards and six TDs. He earned All-ACC honors for a third straight season. Boyd tallied 1,424 all-purpose yards.

– Pitt RB James Conner was a second-team All-American as a sophomore in 2014 when he rushed for 1,765 yards and 26 TDs. However, he went down with a season-ending injury in early September. Qadree Ollison stepped up and enjoyed a stellar redshirt freshman campaign, rushing for 1,048 yards and 10 TDs with a 5.1 YPC average.

– Pitt has been an underdog six times, posting a 4-2 spread record with three outright victories.

– Navy is gunning for its first 11-win season in program history. It will do so with eighth-year head coach Ken Niumatalolo, who was just given a raise after spurning overtures from BYU. Niumatalolo has the Midshipmen bowling for a fourth straight season. They have won the last two by beating San Diego St. (17-16 last year) and Middle Tennessee (24-6).

– This is the eighth consecutive postseason appearance for the Panthers, who lost a 35-34 decision to Houston at last year’s Armed Forces Bowl.

– The ‘over’ is 7-5 overall in Navy games, hitting at a 4-1 clip in its last five outings. The Midshipmen’s games have averaged combined scores of 57.5 points per game.

– The ‘under’ is 6-5-1 overall for Pitt, 4-2 in its road assignments.

– Kickoff is scheduled for Monday at 2:30 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.

Central Michingan vs Minnesota 

– The MAC and Big Ten will meet in Monday’s Quick Lane Bowl at Ford Field in Detroit, where Minnesota will take on Central Michigan. The Gophers are one of several teams taking advantage of a new rule allowing 5-7 teams to go bowling. As of Saturday night, most spots had Minnesota listed as a five-point favorite with a total of 49. The Chippewas were +180 on the money line (risk $100 to win $180).

– Minnesota (5-7 SU, 6-6 ATS) has lost five of its last six games outright, but it has covered the number at a 4-1 ATS clip in its last five contests. The Gophers lost a 31-21 decision to Wisconsin at home in their regular-season finale.

– Minnesota has been a single-digit favorite four times this year, going 2-2 ATS. The Gophers faced MAC foes twice during the regular season, beating No. Illinois 29-19 in Week 5 as one-point home underdogs. They slipped past Ball St. 23-21 but failed to cover as seven-point road ‘chalk.’

– Minnesota has lost four of five games since Tracy Claeys replaced head coach Jerry Kill, who decided to resign due to health reasons. In fairness to Claeys, all four defeats came against bowl-bound foes with at least nine wins.

– Minnesota QB Mitch Leidner has completed 57.8 percent of his passes for 2,478 yards with a 13/10 TD-INT ratio. Leidner also ran for 251 yards and five TDs. His favorite target is K.J. Maye, who has 65 receptions for 706 yards and four TDs.

– Minnesota’s leading rusher is Shannon Brooks, who has run for 644 yards and seven TDs while averaging 6.2 YPC.

– Central Michigan (7-5 SU, 9-3 ATS) is bowling for a second straight season and the third time in the last four years. CMU pulled out one of the most improbable backdoor covers in postseason history at the Bahamas Bowl last year. The Chippewas trailed Western Ky. 49-14 early in the fourth quarter, but they scored 34 unanswered points, including a Hail Mary with a lateral to score in the game’s final play. Nevertheless, they lost 49-48 as 3.5-point underdogs when the subsequent two-point try failed.

– Central Michigan has thrived as an underdog this season, compiling a 5-1 spread record.

– CMU is led by junior QB Cooper Rush, who has connected on 67.2 percent of his passes this season. Rush has thrown for 3,708 yards with a 25/10 TD-INT ratio. Rush’s favorite target is senior WR Jesse Kroll, who has 59 receptions for 856 yards and four TDs. Anthony Rice has 56 grabs for 584 yards and four TDs, while Ben McCord has 37 catches for 570 yards and five TDs.

– CMU ranks 17th in the nation in total defense and 30th in scoring defense (22.1 PPG).

– Minnesota is in the postseason for the fourth straight season, but it has lost in all five of its bowl games going back to 2008. The Gophers were on the wrong end of a 33-17 decision against Missouri as 4.5-point underdogs at last year’s Citrus Bowl.

– The ‘under’ is 7-5 overall for CMU even though the ‘over’ has cashed in back-to-back games. The Chippewas have seen their games average combined scores of 48.5 PPG.

– The ‘over’ is 7-5 overall for the Gophers after hitting in three consecutive games and six of their last seven. They have seen their games average combined scores of 48.7 PPG.

– ESPN2 will have the telecast at 5:00 p.m. Eastern.

December 28, 2015 by : Posted in College Football No Comments

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