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Group of Five Rundown: BYU Faces Another Rugged Test

Nobody can accuse the Brigham Young Cougars of taking the easy road. A week after meeting up with perennial national title contender Notre Dame, BYU faces Arkansas out of the Southeastern Conference in the best game involving a team not in one of the Power-5 conferences. This will be another showcase for BYU quarterback Jaren Hall, who according to the sportsbook is priced at +4000 in the odds to be the top pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

James Madison, which broke into the Associated Press Top 25 poll in its first season at the Football Bowl Subdivision level, and Coastal Carolina will look to remain undefeated and both are double-digit favorites according to the college football predictions. Coastal Carolina is close to breaking into the top 25 in the two major national polls.

KJ Jefferson #1 of the Arkansas
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It will be worth keeping an eye on the Mountain West showdown between Air Force and UNLV, while the Memphis-East Carolina contest could be the best game in the American Athletic Conference.

Let’s check the latest NCAAF picks, stats, injury reports, and NCAAF predictions. We’ve plenty of NCAAF expert picks for you to consider.

Game of the Week

Arkansas Razorbacks vs BYU Cougars

  • Date, time (TV): Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)
    • Line: Arkansas -1

Brigham Young (4-2) is coming off a tough loss to Notre Dame and now comes a test against an SEC team in need of a victory.

Arkansas quarterback K.J. Jefferson could return to action after missing last week’s loss to Mississippi State.

BYU has a pretty good quarterback of its own as Hall is completing  68.6% of his passes. He has thrown 14 touchdown passes and just two interceptions.

During his time with the Cougars, Hall had 16 touchdown passes and four interceptions to help BYU post a 9-3 record against teams from Power-5 conferences in games in which he played.

Linebacker Max Tooley is one of five FBS players who has returned two interceptions for touchdowns. BYU has split its last six games against SEC teams. The last matchup between BYU and a team from the SEC resulted in the Cougars’ 29-26 win over Tennessee when listed by the college football odds as a three-point underdog in 2019.

Other Games to Watch

Old Dominion Monarchs vs Coastal Carolina Chanticleers

  • Date, time (TV): Saturday, Noon ET (ESPNU)
    • Line: Coastal Carolina -12½

Undefeated Coastal Carolina (6-0, 3-0) leads the Sun Belt with an average of 6.95 yards per offensive play. The Chanticleers are dangerous both running and passing the ball.

CJ Beasley has 524 yards and is averaging more than six yards per carry while Grayson McCall is completing 69.4% of his passes with 15 touchdown passes and just one interception.

Old Dominion (2-3, 1-0) is led by Ali Jennings, who leads the Sun Belt with 688 receiving yards. Coastal Carolina’s Sam Pinckney has 37 catches and 510 yards.

Air Force Falcons vs UNLV Rebels

  • Date, time (TV): Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (ESPN+)
    • Line: Air Force -8½

UNLV (4-2, 2-1) is third in the Mountain West Conference in rushing defense and that unit will be tested by an Air Force team that leads the country with an average of 352.2 yards per game. Brad Roberts is fifth nationally with 709 yards for the Falcons (4-2, 1-2).

After four years in a row being ranked 10th or lower in the Mountain West in total defense, UNLV is currently fifth with an average of 372 yards per game.

UNLV has had some issues defending the pass, but facing an Air Force option offense that rarely throws the ball, there shouldn’t be too many times when the secondary gets exposed.

UNLV has 36 tackles for loss but has also allowed 38 stops behind the line of scrimmage.

The Falcons have allowed only five touchdown passes this season, with two of them coming in losses to Utah State and Northern Iowa.

Air Force has won the last four games against UNLV. However, the Falcons have covered against the college football betting lines in just two of the last six matchups.

Kent State Golden Flashes vs Toledo Rockets

  • Date, time (TV): Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (ESPN+)
    • Line: Toledo -9

Kent State (2-4, 1-1 Mid-American Conference), which ranks second in the MAC in total offense, goes on the road against one of the two teams yet to drop a MAC game in 2022.

Toledo (4-2, 2-0) leads the conference with an average of 4.95 yards allowed per game. Desjuan Johnson is tied for third in the conference with 7.5 tackles for loss. Only two MAC teams have suffered more tackles for loss than the 40 allowed by Kent State.

The Golden Flashes’ Marquez Cooper is third in the MAC with 542 rushing yards.

Toledo has won five games in a row against Kent State. However, the Golden Flashes have covered in two of those games.

Group of Five Rundown: BYU Faces Another Rugged Test
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James Madison Dukes vs Georgia Southern Eagles

  • Date, time (TV): Saturday, 4 p.m. ET (ESPN+)
    • Line: James Madison -11½

James Madison’s first season at the Football Bowl Subdivision level has been something special. The Dukes look to improve to 6-0 with a game at Georgia Southern.

The Dukes are third nationally with an average 228.4 yards allowed per game. Only Oklahoma State and Cincinnati average more tackles for loss per game than the Dukes, with Taurus Jones leading the way with seven TFLs.

Georgia Southern’s Jalen White (a team-best 521 rushing yards per game) will look to test the top-rated defense in the Sun Belt.

Memphis Tigers vs East Carolina Pirates

  • Date, time (TV): Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPNU)
    • Line: East Carolina -4½

The teams will have a hard act to follow after last year’s 30-29 thriller with Keaton Mitchell, currently the leading rusher in the American Athletic Conference, rushing for 81 yards and adding 44 on two receptions. Memphis quarterback Seth Henigan threw for three scores in the game.

Memphis’ leading tackler, Xavier Cullens, is coming off his first double-digit tackle game of the season for the Tigers (4-2,2-1 AAC).

Memphis has scored on 26 of its 27 trips to the red zone. However, nine of those drives have ended in field goals. East Carolina (3-3, 1-2) has points in 21 of 25 trips to the red zone. The Pirates feature one of the best receivers in the conference as Isaiah Winstead, who has 44 catches for 565 yards.

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