Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Notes For Thursday/Friday Game (Games of the Week)

Appalachian State at Tennessee (Thursday)
For the Mountaineers to Win: Appalachian State needs to get Tyler Lamb, one of the best young QBs in the nation, going early. Lamb passed for 31 TDs last fall, and is ready for a break out game. If he does not come and play his A game, that could be a problem. RB Marcus Cox will help balance out the attack after rushing for over 1400 yards last season, and will need to run hard, and help drag out drives.
There is quite a bit of returning talent for the Mountaineers on the defensive side of the football, and that will help when going against a vert talented Vols offense. For the Mountaineers to be successful, they have to get into the face of Josh Dobbs early, create pressure up the middle, and contain on the perimeter. If they can force some bad plays early, ASU can hang in here.
For the Volunteers to Win: UT is favored by 20 in this game, so they should be able to to get a fast start and keep up the offensive pressure in what should be a balanced attack. Dobbs was ineffective last season, and was limited to 176 yards passing per game. When he is good, he can be very good. When he is bad, you know the rest. The pressure may fall on Jalen Hurd and Alvin Kamara to get the run game going, but App State isn't just going to allow them to run wild.
The Vols strength is on defense, and they will need to bring pressure and force Lamb and company into making mistakes. Tennessee averaged 35.2 points per game last fall, and gave up just over 20.

Kansas State at Stanford (Friday)
For Kansas State to win: The Wildcats are a team that is constantly underrated every single season, but lately, the wheels feel like they are jumping the track just a bit. Few teams will play more physically, and in that way, both teams are the same. Kansas State has to get the edge on that level, and they need to grind out drives on the ground. K State will need to find someone to step up and RB, and they didn't have that last season. They will be relatively young on offense, so there is a chence of finding a surprise in this game. Jesse Ertz just has to be a game manager and doesn't have to force anything, but if the run game doesn't get going, he could be in trouble.
Kansas State was uncharacteristically weak defensively last season, and gave up over 31 points per game. They will be rather young this fall, so that may still be a problem. If Kansas State is going to pull an upset, they will have to get at new Stanford starter Ryan Burns immediately. THey also have to find a way to stop Christian McCaffrey, which is a tall order.
For Stanford: The Cardinal will need to establish McCaffrey, the favorite for the Heisman in 2016, in every way possible early on. He is a weapon in both the passing game, and in the run game. Get McCaffrey going, and Ryan Burns doesn't have to worry.
Stanford gave up just 22 points per game last fall, and that unit should be a strength once again. If they can get at Jesse Ertz and force him into mistakes, and can make him go beyond being a game manager, the game has been won. Disrupting their run game should not be very difficult, and that would put a cap on it.

Toledo at Arkansas State (Friday)
For Toledo to win: It will be interesting to see who lines up at QB between Logan Woodside or Michael Julian. Neither has a whole lot of experience, OK, next to none, so there is an issue there in trying to get the passing game established. If they can get going, that will take some pressure off. Kareem Hunt should be healthy and with Terry Swanson adding his abilities to the run game, the Rockets could get the win if that duo can break some plays.
Defensively, Toledo gave up just 20 points per game, so they will try to keep the overall scoring low to get a crack at winning this road game.
This will be the debut of coach Jason Candle.
For Arkansas State to win: The Red Wolves will likely be starting a new QB according to their most recent 2 deep. RS junior Justice Hanson will be starting at QB, and he has no experience there. Johnsont White will step into the starting job at RB, and rushed for 616 yards and 14 scores last season. Getting him going early will be key. Warren Wand rushed for 707 yards last season, so the run game should carry the day.
Defensively, Arkansas State had to outscore opponents in track meets, as they gave up just over 30 points per game. That will not be an option here. If Toledo gets moving, and their strong defense frustrates the Wolves ground game, Arkansas State may not be able to keep up. ASU cannot allow long drives, and must stop Toledo, especially on 3rd down conversions to win this game.

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