Hurricane Matthew cares not for the UMass vs. Old Dominion game. Originally slated for Saturday, the independent Minutemen and the Monarchs of Conference USA will get their game finished before the weather fully hits Norfolk, Virginia. This will be an 8 p.m. kickoff a day earlier with flooding and winds expected on Saturday up and down the Atlantic coast. UMass has played quite an interesting schedule as a team without a conference so far and Old Dominion has mostly played teams around the East Coast plus a couple of conference matchups. The Monarchs are laying a touchdown with a total that had been progressively dropping due to the weather forecast.
UMass vs. Old Dominion College Football Preview
Date/Time: Friday October 7, 8:00 p.m. ET
TV: Local TV? WatchESPN?
College Football Betting Odds from 5Dimes
College Football Betting Favorite: Old Dominion -7
After spending its first four years in FBS as a member of the Mid-American Conference, UMass went independent this year. The school had a football-only partnership with the MAC, as the basketball team has been a Division I member of the Atlantic 10 for a while now. Because they declined an offer to become a full member of the MAC in both sports, they are now orphaned. UMass is 1-4 straight up, but 3-2 against the number. UMass is on the road for just the second time this season, after losing on the road at Florida in Week 1. They have played Boston College, FIU, Mississippi State, and Tulane. Old Dominion is off to a 3-2 start and they are 3-2 against the number, covering in every favorite role thus far. The Monarchs could be halfway to their first bowl berth in program history.
It hasn’t been easy for Mark Whipple and his staff. They’ve had to look for transfer quarterbacks and have had to build a program in what is actually a very competitive area to recruit, with schools like Maryland, Rutgers, Virginia Tech, UConn, and other MAC programs all looking for talent in the northeast. Ross Comis won the starting job, but Andrew Ford played against FIU and Mississippi State before both Ford and Comis played in the Tulane game. Ford has been the much better option, completing 62.4 percent of his passes with a 9/5 TD/INT ratio. Both are expected to play this week. Somebody needs to step up in the running game because the Minutemen are averaging 2.6 yards per carry and 83 of their 408 rushing yards came on one Marquis Young scamper. Take that away and the Minutemen have 2.1 yards per carry on 155 tries.
Defensively, the Minutemen had a lot of rebuilding to do. They lost six of last season’s top eight tacklers, but that was from a defense that allowed 31.8 points per game. This season, UMass has only given up 28.2 points per game and only 414 yards per contest. Both of those would be the best performances in the school’s short FBS history. UMass hasn’t played many good offenses, though, as Florida has struggled, Boston College is methodical and one-dimensional, FIU is bad, and Tulane is adjusting to a triple-option. Over the last two weeks, UMass has given up 1,046 yards.
Old Dominion Monarchs:
That makes this a pretty good matchup for Old Dominion. The Monarchs have racked up 6.1 yards per play and 33.6 points per game. That includes a poor showing against Appalachian State in Week 2. Dual-threat quarterback David Washington was originally a wide receiver for Bobby Wilder’s program, but he’s turned out to be a pretty good quarterback. This season, Washington has only completed 56.2 percent of his passes, but there have been a lot of big plays. He has thrown for over 1,000 yards on just 77 completions with an 11/2 TD/INT ratio. Ray Lawry is one of the top running backs in Conference USA and he’s averaging 6.1 yards per carry. Jeremy Cox keeps stealing his touchdowns, as he has seven to Lawry’s two, but the tandem has been very productive.
On the other side of the ball, the Monarchs have had some issues, but they’ve shut down the bad offenses that they have played and UMass would qualify as a bad offense, with just 285 yards per game. Old Dominion allowed 35.8 points per game last season and they’ve shown some big strides this year. Many of their top playmakers returned, including a really good corner in Brandon Allison and leading tackler TJ Ricks. This is only Old Dominion’s fourth FBS season and third season in Conference USA, so it took a little bit of time to build up the program.
College Football Free Pick: Old Dominion -7
The adjusted timeline of this game should help Old Dominion, since UMass will have one less day to travel to Norfolk and travel could be a significant headache for anybody going to that part of the country this weekend. UMass may also want to get in and get out before the weather shows up. Old Dominion has a decent home field advantage with 51 straight sellouts and the Norfolk/Hampton Roads area is pretty crazy about football. Aside from the situational elements, ODU is just a better team and this would get them two-thirds of the way to bowl eligibility with six games and the tough part of the schedule left to go.
Kyle Hunter is on a MASSIVE 25-6 run in his last 31 plays. Totals are his specialty and Kyle is offering a discounted $400 all football totals package. Every single totals play from now through the end of the college football and NFL season. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or send him a message on twitter for more details