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Unlv at FRESNO STATE (-31)

By Gus Augustine, Featured Handicapper


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I can't begin to tell you disgusting things looked Saturday night, when the Iowa State Cyclones dismantled the UNLV Rebels in Las Vegas. It wasn't just a 14th-ranked team taking on a scrub, it looked more like a Varsity team playing the low-income high school's freshman squad that doesn't have enough players to field two units. It was terrible.

And now the Rebels will face their third straight ranked opponent, after losing at Arizona State, and getting hammered by Iowa State. UNLV opened the season with an overtime loss to FCS Eastern Washington.

Fresno State, meanwhile, made a statement with a last-second win at UCLA, using a powerful offense to help produce 40 points in the Rose Bowl. For his efforts against the Bruins' shoddy defense, Fresno quarterback Jake Haener was named the Mountain West Offensive Player of the Week.

Haener completed 39 passes for 455 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winning 13-yard touchdown pass with 14 seconds remaining.

The 455 passing yards are the fourth-most by a FBS quarterback in a single game this season, while the 39 completions are second-most.

UNLV's defense was decimated by Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy, and with this being a conference rival, on an isolated Friday night, I think Haener could have a career night against a Rebels defense that is ranked 115th in the nation in passing yards allowed (286).

The Rebels also rank 123rd with their scoring defense (40.0), and 120th overall in allowing 476.3 yards per game.

For perspective, UNLV is now 0-9 since Marcus Arroyo took over the program in 2020, and the Rebels have been outscored 348-150 in that time - an average final of 38.6-16.6.

Now when you consider the Bulldogs have scored 40, 56, and 48 points the last three games - 48 per game - to the Rebels' 57 (19 per game), I think you can see how Fresno will have its way.

2* FRESNO STATE



San Jose St. (+3) at WESTERN MICHIGAN

By Gus Augustine, Featured Handicapper


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My free winner for Saturday is the San Jose Spartans plus the points against the Western Michigan Broncos, as both teams come in 2-1. And while I know the Broncos outlasted Pitt in a wild on, I'm stuck on the San Jose offense under the direction of quarterback Nick Starkel, who hasn't had a chance to really let his unit fly.

This could be the week, considering the Broncos allow nearly 30 points per game on 366.0 yards.

Where this gets dangerous is in the red zone, where the Broncos' defense is tied for 104th in the nation. Michigan took advantage and scored 47. Pittsburgh took advantage and scored 41.

Now Starkel has a chance to attack a pass efficiency defense that ranks 127 out of 130 teams, at 181.63. The Spartans' passing offense is 18th best in the nation, with 317.7 yards per game, and should be tuned up after two straight road games, at USC and Hawaii. Don't worry, this is not their third road game in as many weeks, they had a bye between the Trojans and Rainbow Warriors.

The Spartans put up 45 on FCS Southern Utah, but they're going to want to spread them wings and soar against a D-I foe.

This is the spot, as San Jose State aims for the outright win.

1* SAN JOSE STATE



Ucla (-5) at STANFORD

By Chris Jordan, Featured Handicapper


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In last year's truncated season, the UCLA Bruins lost to the Stanford Cardinal in their season finale, and quarterback Dorian Thompson Robinson threw up a clunker. Last week the Bruins lost at the last second to the Fresno State Bulldogs.

DTR will want revenge for both.

Thompson Robinson is the top-rated quarterback in the Pac 12 at the present moment, and with this being the conference opener, there will be a heavy emphasis on correcting any mistakes made in Pasadena last week - both offensively and defensively. The Bruins were embarrassed, and now face a Stanford team that has won two straight since its season-opening loss to Kansas State at neutral Arlington, including a win over USC in both teams' conference opener.

The Cardinal are ho-hum on defense, with its only strength being the passing D. But, Stanford hasn't seen a quarterback like DTR, one who can move elusively, or throw to a target with precision control.

Stanford ranks 104th with its red-zone defense, and 87th in allowing 62 first downs through three games. It also ranks 106th with just 52 first downs.

UCLA has been efficient on offense, with a nice balance that has created the 28th highest scoring offense (39.7 points per game).

Look for the Bruins to rebound in this one, as DTR will take this one personally.

5* UCLA