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Louisville Cardinals quarterback Malik Cunningham. (Photo by Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire)
September 29th, 2021
My Week 5 college football picks will focus on conference matchups, including an early season Big 12 showdown between unbeaten teams — Baylor and Oklahoma State.
Let's dive into the games.
After they were embarrassed by Wake Forest in their home finale last year, the Cardinals will be motivated. Underdogs have covered seven straight in this series, and Wake Forest is laying too many points.
Following a lackluster 2020 campaign, Malik Cunningham has the Cardinals offense rolling. The rising quarterback is tied for the most rushing touchdowns (eight) in the FBS, and he completed 25 of his 39 passes, for 264 yards and a pair of touchdowns, in Louisville’s 31-23 victory over Florida State in Week 4.
Malik Cunningham connects with Tyler Harrell for a 59-yard TD. pic.twitter.com/HrFyevRxWY— Stadium (@Stadium) September 26, 2021
Malik Cunningham connects with Tyler Harrell for a 59-yard TD. pic.twitter.com/HrFyevRxWY
Sam Hartman leads a prolific Wake Forest attack, but both teams have defensive deficiencies.
The Demon Deacons showed vulnerabilities against Virginia in Week 4, as they surrendered 31 first downs and 506 total yards, and Louisville will score enough points to keep it close.
Missouri will get right against inconsistent Tennessee.
Ranked third in the SEC East in many preseason polls, Missouri has narrowly dropped a pair of difficult road tests (Kentucky and Boston College) because of its inability to stop quality running backs. That won’t be an issue against Tennessee, which lacks star power at the position.
Quarterback Hendon Hooker showed progress in the first half against Florida, which led to 14 Tennessee points, but the Volunteers were shut out in a dismal second-half performance.
Against a young Tennessee defense that makes too many mistakes, Mizzou quarterback Connor Bazelak can guide an offensive onslaught for a balanced Missouri attack.
The Tigers will begin their SEC home schedule with a rousing win.
Following an upset road win at Colorado, Minnesota showed up flat in Week 4 and gained only 94 total yards in a loss to Bowling Green, but the Gophers will rebound against Purdue, which lacks an offensive punch because of injuries and ineffective quarterback play.
Purdue hasn’t scored more than 13 points the last two weeks. Quarterback Aidan O’Connell came off the bench to lead the Boilermakers to a 13-9 win over Illinois in Week 4, but they are a mess on offense. It’s a favorable matchup for Minnesota’s opportunistic defense (tied for second in turnovers forced), which ranks 12th against the run, with an average of just 77 rushing yards allowed per game.
Treyson Potts (141 rushing yards last week) has found his footing in Minnesota’s backfield, and the resilient Morgan Tanner will put last week’s fiasco behind him.
Trey Potts 🍯 turns the wheels 𝕆ℕ. 🔥@GopherFootball // @PottsTreyson pic.twitter.com/5IMnzFFNlf— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) September 25, 2021
Trey Potts 🍯 turns the wheels 𝕆ℕ. 🔥@GopherFootball // @PottsTreyson pic.twitter.com/5IMnzFFNlf
Picked eighth in preseason Big 12 polls, Baylor has outperformed expectations, but the Bears are ripe for a letdown, following a thrilling upset over Iowa State.
Oklahoma State flexed its muscles in a convincing home win over Kansas State last week, jumped out to 31-13 halftime advantage, and this is a manageable number to lay against a vulnerable run defense. The Cowboys will be too big and fast up front for Baylor, which will embark on its first true road test.
Baylor managed to stick around last week, even though the Bears were held to just 282 total yards, but Oklahoma State’s running game will be too much on this occasion.
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