NCAA Independents Roundup: Cougars and Fighting Irish Meet for First Time Since 2013

UConn Rare Road Favorite as Huskies Head to the Sunshine State

 

Can Wake Forest and Army Top Last Year’s Amazing Matchup?

It has been nearly a decade since Notre Dame and Brigham Young met up on the gridiron and that will change on Saturday when both the Cougars and Fighting Irish go after a third win in a row. That game is the headliner among the four involving Football Bowl Subdivision Independent teams in this week’s NCAA Independents Roundup.

BYU has moved up four spots in the American Football Coaches Association poll and three positions in the Associated Press poll. The Cougars are now 16th in both rankings as the Cougars are the only team outside of the Power-5 conferences to be ranked in the top 25 in both polls. Follow us all season for the latest NCAA independent football standings.

Don’t schedule an appointment with your eye doctor, yes the lowly UConn Huskies are road favorites. UConn is a five-point favorite against Florida International. In the last decade, the Huskies have been road favorites by at least five points just twice and won both games – 7-3 over Tulane in 2015 with the lone touchdown being scored on defense and a 56-35 shootout at UMass in 2019.

When looking at the 2022 NCAA Independents roundup standings, BYU and Liberty are the only teams with winning records. While the Cougars are underdogs at Notre Dame, Liberty is favored by more than 20 points against UMass.

Don’t expect another 70-56 affair when Wake Forest and Army get together after a wild affair between the  NCAAF team in 2021

 

Game of the Week

 

Brigham Young Cougars vs Notre Dame Fighting Irish

    • Date, Time (TV): (NBC)

The explosive passing plays might be down for both BYU and Notre Dame in 2022 but both teams are all about efficiency when they drop back to pass.  BYU’s Jaren Hall is completing 70.2% of his passes while Notre Dame’s Drew Pyne has completed 69.8% of his passes. Pyne didn’t even start the season as the starter so perhaps he will have a chance to make more plays down the field as the season moves on.

BYU’s Jaren Hall is completing 70.2% of his passes while Notre Dame’s Drew Pyne has completed 69.8% of his passes.

This might not be the week for it, however.

This has the makings of a defensive showcase with a 4-1 BYU team allowing just 335 yards per game and 2-2 Notre Dame allowing 355.5.

Ben Bywater leads BYU with 37 tackles and two interceptions while Isaiah Foskey tops Notre Dame with three sacks.

There should be plenty of NFL scouts checking out this game with  Hall joining Foskey and Notre Dame tight end Michael Mayer are potential first-round picks. Hall is priced at +3300 to be the No. 1 overall selection in the 2023 NFL Draft.

This is the first meeting between the teams since 2013 when Notre Dame won 23-13 as a one-point underdog according to the college football point spreads.

 

Other Games to Watch

 

Liberty Flames vs UMass Minutemen

    • Date, time (TV): (ESPN+)

Quarterback Malik Willis might be off to the NFL, but Liberty is still a talented offensive team with remarkable balance.

The Flames have thrown for 1,081 yards and run for 974 through the first five games of the season.

The passing game could improve as four different quarterbacks have combined to complete just 52.3% of their passes with nine touchdown passes and nine interceptions. Sophomore Dae Dae Hunter leads the Flames with 458 rushing yards.

The Liberty passing game looks like Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs is at the helm compared to what UMass is doing. The Minutemen are 130 out of 131 Football Bowl Subdivision teams with an average a 67.4 passing yards per game. The passer rating of 65.1 is the worst in the nation.

Liberty is favored by 24.5 points in this one. The Flames have failed to cover in the last two games when favored by at least 20 points.

 

UConn Huskies vs Florida International Panthers

  • Date, time (TV): (ESPN3)

This will be the third road game since the start of the 2016 season – and first not against UMass – when the Huskies are favored.

UConn is coming off an upset of Fresno State, a team that beat the Huskies by 45 points in the 2021 season opener.

Devontae Houston ran for 105 yards in UConn’s 19-14 win while Jackson Mitchell leads the defense with 38 tackles.

FIU’s best offensive player is receiver Tyrese Chambers, who began his collegiate career in Connecticut playing at Sacred Heart.

Army Black Knights vs Wake Forest Demon Deacons

    • Date, time (TV): (ESPN3)

Talk about your tough acts to follow. When the teams played in 2021, there were four scoring plays of more than 70 yards in the third quarter alone. Things expect to be a little more subdued in Saturday’s Army at Wake Forest showdown.

When the teams played in 2021, there were four scoring plays of more than 70 yards in the third quarter alone.

Wake Forest emerged with a 70-56 win that must have had the scoreboard operator asking for some time off.
Wake Forest quarterback Sam Hartman threw for 458 yards and five touchdowns while Army ran for 416 yards.

Army had yet to beat an FBS team in 2022. Army’s lone win came against FCS Villanova and there was an overtime loss to UTSA as well.

Concluding our NCAA Independents Roundup: Once again, Wake Forest will look to make plays down the field in the passing game while Army is last in the country with 35 passing attempts through four games. The Black Knights are averaging more than 25 yards per completion because opposing defenses are committing extra players to try to slow down Army’s run-dominated option offense.

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