NC State at Maryland (Over 42.5) - 9:00am Pacific - Game #121-122
Maryland's offense ranks only 87th nationally but has been boosted in recent weeks by an improved running game, the emergence of WR Derrius Heyward-Bey, and the recent return of senior WR Drew Weatherly from injury. RB Lance Ball rushed for 116 yards vs Georgia Tech's #7 ranked run defense two weeks ago and RB Keon Lattimore rushed for 114 yards (7.6 average) with Ball adding 78 more (6.5 average) vs Virginia's #55 ranked run defense last week. Tackle Jared Gaither, only a sophomore, is already considered the top offensive lineman in the ACC. Head coach Ralph Freidgen has always been a great offensive coach and this week noted that the team can make more plays down field in the passing game. Freidgen said, "I need to be more wide open (play calling) offensively." The recently established balance on offense will only help. Defensively, Maryland has not had a single b effort all season. 1-AA William & Mary, Middle Tennessee State, and Florida International all gained 300+ yards vs Maryland. Last week Virginia racked up 421 yards, by far their season high, and almost 200 yards more than their season average heading into the game.
The talent NC State lost on defense from last year is well documented. They currently rank 48th nationally in total defense but have not yet faced a single top 50 offense this season. Wake Forest's 96th ranked offense scored 23 points on them last week and that was in Raleigh. Even NC State's top notch defenses of the past two seasons gave up 20.1 points per game on the road. This years version is far less stingy and has only forced five turnovers all season. They gave up 37 points at Southern Miss in their only road game of the season so far. Starting DT Demario Pressley, an important part of the run defense, is listed as questionable this week with a wrist injury. Clearly NC State's offense has been better since sophomore Daniel Evans took over the QB job in week four. The powerful RB duo of Andre Brown and Toney Baker has been solid and figures to pose problems for Maryland's suspect run defense.
Since coming off a BYE on September 30, Maryland's two games have averaged 52 points. NC State games that QB Daniel Evans has played in have averaged 44.5 points. Both teams have plenty of room for improvement offensively. Both teams have overrated defenses as NC State has only played one road game and is yet to face a top 50 offense. Maryland ranks 81st nationally in total defense despite four of their six games coming against three offenses ranked in the bottom 10 in the country and a 1-AA team. Play the over.
RAS Official Play: Over 42.51 UNIT
Kansas at Baylor (Over 47.5) - 12:00pm Pacific - Game #141-142
As mentioned here in the past, Baylor installed a new "Texas Tech" style spread offense in the offseason. The system produced mixed results in the early going with a lot of near misses and dropped passes. In the past two weeks it has finally began to produce the kind of numbers they had hoped. The Bears put up 34 in an overtime win at Colorado two weeks ago and put up 31 at Texas last week despite four lost fumbles. Senior QB Shawn Bell threw for a career high 303 yards vs the Longhorns and has thrown six touchdown passes in his last three games. While the Baylor offense is finally starting to click, their defense has shown signs of wearing down. Baylor gave up 31 points vs a Colorado team who came into the game having not scored more than 13. Last week Baylor gave up 63 points vs Texas. Another sign of the unit's fatigue is that opponents are scoring more than twice as much in the second half as they are in the first. This will be Baylor's eighth straight game without a BYE.
Kansas enters this game ranked 101st nationally in total defense and 117th in pass defense. They only returned 3 starters on defense and recently became more inexperienced with the loss of senior LB Eric Washington to injury. They gave up a whopping 603 yards and 42 points last week to Oklahoma State. Their defense historically is much worse on the road where they have given up 35.83 points per game in last six road games dating back to last season and that is not counting any overtime points. KU also will be playing their eight straight week without a BYE. On offense, promising redshirt freshman QB Kerry Meier returned from a three game absence last week and performed well. Meier adds another dimension to the KU offense with his running, toughness, and overall leadership ability. Not counting KU's 49 points vs 1-AA Northwestern State in season opener, KU is still averaging an impressive 28.0ppg with Meier as the starter.
Both of these teams are set to have higher scoring games the rest of the way. Both offenses are underrated and improving while both defenses are getting warn down without any BYE weeks. The previous two meetings between these schools (2002, 2003) generated an average total of 58. Play the over.