Ohio Bobcats (0-0) at Idaho Vandals (0-0)
|Date & Time||Thursday September 3, 2015, 9:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Idaho Vandals +8.5 -- Over/Under: 54.5
The Ohio Bobcats and Idaho Vandals will begin their seasons at Kibbie Dome Stadium this upcoming Thursday night.
The Ohio Bobcats and 11th year head coach Frank Solich will be looking to improve on their 6-6 (4-4 MAC-East) record as they are returning 18 starters for last year’s team and boast one of the better defensive backfields in the MAC. The Bobcats defense were ranked 2nd in the MAC in scoring defense and will be led by LB Quentin Poling and DB Devin Bass. Ohio allowed an average of 23.9 ppg in the MAC last year and finished with the 55th in total defense giving up 388.38 yds/game. Ohio’s biggest question mark will come at the quarterback position as the Bobcats don’t have a true passer in either senior Derrius Vick Sr. or junior JD Sprague. Vick Sr. should be getting the start at QB for the Bobcats this season and although he only compiled 1156 yds passing with 8 TD and 4 Int, he was able to utilize his legs as he gained 390 yds on the season. Ohio has a strong running back in AJ Ouellette who rushed for 785 yds (4.9 yds/carry) with 7 TD’s and a decent WR group led by Sebastian Smith Jr. Ohio isn’t projected to win the MAC-East this season but certainly has enough talent to give the MAC favorites issues if they can get some quality play from the QB position.
The Idaho Vandals has a tough season last year finishing 2014 with a 1-11 (1-7 Sun Belt) record which was the third straight one-win season. Coach Paul Petrino has some reason for optimism for the upcoming season as he is returning sophomore quarterback Matt Linehan and will welcome back wide receiver Dezmon Epps who hasn’t played since 2013. Linehan finished the season with a 58.5 comp %, 2540 yds and 11 TD’s however, had trouble with turnovers as he committed 18 Int. Epps who was kicked off the team last year, is a speedy receiver who caught 980 receiving yards in 2013 and should be a new weapon for Linehan. On the defensive side of the ball the Vandals will be led by LB Marc Millan and DT Quinton Bradley Sr. Idaho has one of the best punters in all of college football in Austin Rehkow who ended up being a Ray Guy finalist last year. The Vandals did make some solid improvements last year on both sides of the ball even though it didn’t help with their overall record and although they are still projected to be at the bottom of the Sun Belt, if they can limit their turnovers, they could certainly get 3-5 wins this season.
The Bobcats are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 Thursday games however, 0-4-1 ATS in their last 5 road games. The Vandals are 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall but just 2-6 ATS in their last 8 home games.
Ohio was able to defeat the Vandals at home last season 36-24 in a game that they were able to pull away late in the 4th quarter however, the game was close entering the 4th quarter. Ohio is the better team here however, Idaho isn’t nearly as bad as their record may indicate. Overall, I think the Idaho defensive will be able to give Derrius Vick Sr. some issues and as long as Matt Linehan can limit his turnovers, I think he can take advantage of the inexperienced Bobcat secondary and Idaho can keep this one within the line. Take Idaho in this one.