Friday Night Lights Tip Sheet

Coastal Carolina QB Grayson McCall has a remarkable 28/3 career TD-INT ratio and seven rushing TDs.

Bettors have a pair of games to wager on Friday night in college football. First, Coastal Carolina takes on Kansas in Conway, S.C., in a 7:30 p.m. Eastern kickoff on ESPN2. In the late game on Fox Sports 1, Boise St. will play host to UTEP at 9:30 p.m. Eastern.

Let’s break down both of these contests before touching on a variety of topics in Bonus Nuggets.

**Kansas at Coastal Carolina**

–As of Wednesday morning, most betting shops had Coastal Carolina (1-0 straight up, 1-0 against the spread) installed as a 25 or 25.5-point home favorite vs. KU. The total was 52 points, while the Jayhawks were anywhere from +1260 (FanDuel) to +1700 (William Hill) on the money line.

–Coastal Carolina has won 13 of its last 14 games while going 9-5 ATS. The Chanticleers thumped The Citadel 52-14 as 33-point home favorites in this past Thursday’s season opener at Brooks Stadium. The 66 combined points went ‘over’ the 54.5-point total.

–Coastal Carolina quarterback Grayson McCall completed 16-of-19 passes for 262 yards and one touchdown without an interception in the season-opening victory. He also had 24 rushing yards on a pair of attempts. McCall now has an incredible 28/3 TD-INT ratio in 14 career games. He has 604 career rushing yards, seven TDs and a 5.3 yards-per-carry average.

–Coastal Carolina junior RB Shermari Jones ran for a team-best 100 rushing yards and two TDs on nine carries vs. The Citadel. Sophomore Reese White ran for 62 yards and two TDs on seven attempts. Junior wide receiver Jaivon Heiligh, a first-team All-Sun-Belt selection last year when he had 65 receptions for 998 yards and 10 TDs, had six catches for 133 yards and one TD.

–Coastal Carolina finished last season — only its third as a full-fledge FBS program — with an 11-1 SU record and an 8-4 ATS mark. The Chanticleers brought back nine starters on offense and 10 on defense. They went 11-0 in the 2020 regular season before losing to Liberty 37-34 in overtime at The Cure Bowl.

–Kansas (1-0 SU, 0-1 ATS) started the Lance Leipold Era with a 17-14 home win over South Dakota this past Friday night. The Jayhawks failed to cover the number as 11.5-point home ‘chalk,’ but they ended a 13-game losing streak thanks to Jason Bean’s 16-yard TD pass to Lawrence Arnold with 1:10 remaining.

–Bean, a transfer from North Texas who was making his KU debut, completed 17-of-26 passes for 163 yards and two TDs without an interception. He also had a team-high 54 rushing yards on 15 attempts. Arnold snagged three catches for 33 yards and two TDs.

–KU fired Les Miles in March and hired the 56-year-old Leipold away from Buffalo in late April. Leipold brought six players with him from Buffalo to join six other transfer additions. One of them was WR Trevor Wilson, who had five catches for 50 yards in his KU debut against the Coyotes. Wilson had 16 receptions for 319 yards and three TDs for the Bulls last year. Another former UB player is center Mike Novitsky, who started in 20 of 23 games he played for the Bulls from 2018-2020.

–Kansas has been decent of late in the road underdog role, posting a 10-7-1 spread record in 18 such spots since November of 2017.

–These schools will be meeting for the third straight season. Coastal Carolina won 12-7 at KU as a seven-point underdog in 2019. Then in last year’s opener, the Chanticleers captured a 38-23 win as a 6.5-point road underdog. They raced out to a 28-0 lead until the Jayhawks got on the board with a 47-yard field goal on the final play of the first half. KU scored twice in the third quarter to trim the deficit to 28-17, but Coastal answered with a nine-play, 81-yard TD drive that was capped by McCall’s two-yard run to paydirt.

–In last year’s victory in Lawrence, McCall connected on 11-of-18 throws for 133 yards and three TDs without an interception. He ran for 73 yards and two more scores on 11 carries. Heiligh had three catches for 74 yards and one TD, while Isaiah Likely caught three balls for 47 yards and one TD. DT CJ Brewer had four tackles, three tackles for loss and two sacks.

–Coastal Carolina is 4-4 ATS in eight games as a home favorite during Jamey Chadwell’s four-year tenure.

–Kansas RB Amauri Pesek-Hickson is ‘questionable at best’ at Coastal Carolina after missing last week’s opener with an undisclosed injury. Pesek-Hickson ran for 145 yards on 40 attempts (3.6 YPC) as a true freshman in 2020.

**UTEP at Boise St.**

–As of Wednesday morning, most books had Boise St. (0-1 SU, 1-0 ATS) listed as a 26-point home ‘chalk’ with a total of 55. The Miners were +1200 (FanDuel) to +1700 (Circa and William Hill) to win outright.

–Boise St. allowed a 21-point lead to get away in last Friday’s 36-31 season-opening loss at Central Florida. The Broncos did cover the spread, though, thanks to some late line movement that pushed the spread from +4.5 to +6.5. The 67 combined points resulted in a push for bets on the 67-point tally.

–BSU darted out to a 21-0 lead at UCF in the debut of new HC Andy Avalos, who replaced Bryan Harsin after he left to take the Auburn job. Avalos was hired away from Oregon, where he served as Mario Cristobal’s defensive coordinator in 2019 and ’20. Avalos is a familiar face, though, serving on BSU’s staff from 2012-2018 under both Chris Petersen and Harsin. Avalos also played for the Broncos from 2001-04 and ranks fifth in program history in career tackles. Anyway, the 21-0 lead in Orlando was cut to 24-14 by halftime. The Knights surged into a 28-24 lead in the final minute of the third quarter. After UCF added a safety to extend its lead to 30-24, BSU responded to go back in front 31-30 thanks to Hank Bachmeier’s seven-yard TD pass to Khalil Shakir with 8:02 remaining. But the Knights took the lead back for good on Isaiah Bowser’s eight-yard TD run with 4:16 left. BSU drove into enemy territory and was facing a third-and-four play at UCF’s 35-yard line with 2:07 remaining, but the Knights’ Dyllon Lester intercepted Bachmeier’s downfield pass at the seven. BSU was able to force a punt after a three and out, but the Broncos only had time for two plays and their Hail Mary pass fell incomplete as time expired.

–Boise State’s defense gave up 573 yards of total offense to UCF. The Broncos only generated 283 yards, but they were +1 in turnover margin and got a 100-yard interception return for a TD from Tyric LeBeauf to open the scoring in the first quarter.

–Bachmeier completed 25-of-39 passes for 263 yards and two TDs with one interception. Shakir had five receptions for 91 yards and two TDs, while Stefan Cobbs made four catches for 63 yards. LeBeauf had four tackles and added another interception that he returned for 27 yards. Sophomore safety JL Skinner had a team-best 13 tackles, while Isaiah Bagnah recorded four tackles and a pair of sacks.

–BSU had its ground attack completely nullified by the UCF defense. The Broncos ran for merely 28 yards on 20 attempts, averaging an abysmal 0.8 YPC.

–UTEP (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS) opened its season on Aug. 28 in Week Zero by winning 30-3 at New Mexico St. as a 9.5-point road favorite. The 33 combined points dropped ‘under’ the 59.5-point total. QB Gavin Hardison completed 11-of-16 passes for 249 yards and one TD with one interception. WR Jacob Cowing had five receptions for a career-best 158 yards, including a 59-yard TD grab.

–In the win at New Mexico St., UTEP RB Ronald Awatt had a team-high 74 rushing yards and one TD on 11 attempts. Star RB Deion Hankins ran for 50 yards and one TD on 11 attempts, but he had to leave the game with a shoulder injury in the first half. RB Quardraiz Wadley ran for 51 yards on just six totes against the Aggies.

–UTEP won a 38-28 decision over Bethune-Cookman in Week 1, but the Miners failed to cover the spread as 20.5-point home favorites. They jumped out to a 10-0 lead at halftime, but Bethune-Cookman twice cut the deficit to three in the third quarter. Dana Dimel’s squad pulled away with a pair of TD drives in the first five minutes of the fourth quarter. Hardison connected on 14-of-23 passes for 183 yards and three TDs without an interception. Awatt ran for 126 yards and one TD on 19 attempts, while Willie Ethridge had 118 rushing yards on 14 carries. WR Justin Garrett snagged five catches for 45 yards and one TD, and Cowing had two receptions for 23 yards and one TD.

–Hankins sat out the win over Bethune-Cookman and is ‘out’ again at BSU. Dimel told reporters on Monday that the Miners hope to have Hankins back after their open date when they host New Mexico on Sept. 25. Hankins ran for 592 yards and nine TDs last year, averaging 4.9 YPC.

–UTEP owns a 9-8 spread record in 17 games as a road underdog on Dimel’s watch.

–BSU has won all five head-to-head meetings against UTEP. The last was in 2004 when the Broncos won a 47-31 decision in El Paso.

–Boise St. owns a 7-2 ATS record in its last nine games as a home favorite.

**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**

–Eastern Michigan has compiled a 19-2 ATS record in its last 21 games as a road underdog. The Eagles are 26-point underdogs Saturday at Wisconsin.

–Clemson safety Lannden Zanders had season-ending surgery earlier this week. In 2020, Zanders recorded 34 tackles, four QB hurries, three passes broken up, 2.5 TFL’s and one sack.

–After being flagged for targeting in the second half of last week’s home win over Rice, Arkansas LB Bumper Pool will miss the first half in Saturday’s home game vs. Texas. Pool was a second-team All-SEC choice in 2020.

–LSU WR Dontre Kirklin will miss a second straight game Saturday vs. McNeese St. due to an undisclosed issue. Kirklin had 13 receptions for 184 yards and three TDs last season.

–After South Carolina star RB Kevin Harris missed the team’s 46-0 home win over Eastern Illinois, HC Shane Beamer declared him ready to go for Saturday’s game at East Carolina. Beamer said, “He’ll play. He looked good out there today. He’ll help. It’s another back in the room.” Harris garnered second-team All-SEC honors in 2020 when he ran for 1,138 yards and 15 TDs while averaging 6.2 YPC.

–After losing 24-7 vs. Kansas St. in its opener at Jerry World in Arlington, TX., last week, Stanford has announced that Tanner McKee will get his first career start Saturday at Southern Cal. As of Wednesday, the Trojans were listed as 17-point home favorites.

–Down 24-0 against the Wildcats, Stanford scored a TD with 3:16 remaining. When trailing by 16 or 24 in the fourth quarter, anybody that knows anything about football knows that you go for two in this situation. If you simply go for the PAT, you’re still down by three possessions. Stanford HC David Shaw inexplicably opted to go for one. Okay, if Shaw just wanted to say, ‘Uncle,’ to concede that the game was out of reach, then that’s lame but I guess I get it. However, if that’s the thought process, then you kick it deep and allow Kansas St. to chew up the remaining clock and go home with your loss. But Shaw did attempt an onside kick. Huh? If you’re going for the onside kick, then you’re still trying to win the game. So why the hell didn’t you go for two? Man, some of these coaches make the most perplexing knucklehead decisions.

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