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Florida State Looks for Upset of Favored BYU
Early season upsets can be shocking; especially when last yearís national
runner up goes down. Hardly anyone gave BYU a chance to take down Oklahoma, but
the Cougars were able to get the job done. If you had told me this summer that
they would be ranked in the top 10 this quickly, I probably would have chuckled.
Their climb to the top will be presented with an obstacle this week. That
obstacle is the Seminoles of Florida State. Bobby Bowdenís bunch narrowly
escaped a loss to Jacksonville State last week, but donít let that fool you. The
Seminoles are a tough team.
Though few expected it, the BYU Cougars were able to escape week one with a 14-13 win over the Oklahoma Sooners. That was thanks in part to Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford leaving the game with an injury. QB Max Hall was shaky at times, but threw a game winning TD with 3 minutes left. He ended the game with 329 yards while throwing 2 TDs and 2 INTs. Dennis Pitta played very well in that game at WR, catching 7 passes for 90 yards. Bryan Kariya also did well at RB, catching 4 passes for 76 yards. His longest catch of the game was 49 yards.
The running game was able to get on track for BYU in week two, as they rushed for 206 yards in a 54-3 win over Tulane. JJ Di LLuigi had 75 yards and 2 TDs from 12 carries. The sophomore is getting better with each game and the Cougars will rely on him more and more as time goes on. However, they will still rely on the pass first and foremost. The defense has been solid so far, but Iíd like to see them blitz FSUís Ponder early and often. Making him uncomfortable and forcing him to throw INTs would go a long way towards a BYU victory.
Christian Ponder looked like he was possessed by Joe Montana in the first half of the Florida State vs Miami game, but he quickly cooled off in the second half. He ended that game completing 24/41 passes for 294 yards while picking up 2 TDs and an INT. He was unable to score from the 3 yard line with first and goal while the game was on the line. Ponder also rushed for 28 yards and a TD. WR Richard Goodman had 82 yards from 5 catches, and a long catch of 28 yards. Ponder was strong in Florida State second game, throwing for 324 yards.
The fact that they had to work so hard to beat Jacksonville State is discouraging, but I wouldnít read too much into it. They were entering the game after a disappointing loss and on short rest. Iím worried about the Florida State defense. The defensive line wonít be able to effectively pass rush BYU, and the secondary also appears to be weak. If they allow BYU to throw the home run ball all game then this game will turn into a blowout very fast.
The line currently favors BYU at -7.5 at Sportsbook.com, and for good reason. They are a team on a roll and on the rise. The Cougars combine a potent offensive air attack with run support and a strong defense. There's some built in value here with the Florida State side as a result of BYU's win over Oklahoma and Florida State sruglging against Jacksonville State. We're going to grab +7.5 and the extra value that comes with it, Florida State +7.5
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