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G5 Spotlight: All in on the Chips in Week 2

Lew Nichols III

Lew Nichols III

GABY VELASQUEZ/ EL PASO TIMES / USA TODAY NETWORK

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Juuuuuuuuuuuuuuust a bit outside,” is what I told myself as I watched Army fall to Coastal Carolina by a score of 38-28 to close the doors on my 0-2 start to my 2022 G5 betting season.

Entering Week 1 as +2 road dogs to the Chanticleers, Army started the fourth quarter down 24-21, but found themselves outscored 14-7 in the final 15 minutes to walk away losers both outright and ATS.

My other pick, Tulsa (-6.5) had a chance to cover against Wyoming a few times, especially when they headed to overtime tied at 37-37. Quarterback Davis Brin performed up to my expectations, throwing for 460 yards and three touchdowns while limiting himself to just one turnover -- which happened to be a fumble on the second play of the game that Wyoming returned the other way for a touchdown.

It was great. It was fine. It was fun.

Bad beats and narrow misses are a huge part of the game. The close calls bring us back. While the hits leave us feeling invincible -- if only temporarily.

A few close calls, but an overall winning record on my other picks have me coming back for more. That, and the fact that I have bills to pay.

Desperately in search of a rebound this week, here are two G5 games I’m targeting in Week 2.

Army vs. UTSA (-3) - O/U 53.5

Army vs. UTSA 2022 Week 2

Army vs. UTSA 2022 Week 2

We’re still a few weeks away from conference play, which means the number of true G5 vs. G5 games on the slate is slim. And to top it off, you have to find spreads you actually like. This leads me back to another Army game, only this time, I’m heading in the opposite direction.

One of my favorite quarterbacks in the nation is UTSA’s Frank Harris, who can make plays with both his arm and his legs.

Last week against a tough Houston team, Harris completed 28-of-43 passes for 337 yards, three touchdowns and one interception while also rushing for 8-63-1. UTSA returns eight offensive starters from the 2021 season, including four starters along the offensive line. The loss of running back Sincere McCormick makes for a big blow, but Harris and his trio of wide receivers will cause opposing defenses plenty of fits.

Frank Harris UTSA Stats

Frank Harris UTSA Stats

In last week’s game against Houston, Zakhari Franklin and Joshua Cephpus combined for a line of 17-206-1, while De’Corian Clark added another 6-70-2 through the air. Early in the second quarter, Cephus and Harris connected for a 51-yard touchdown, which consisted mostly of catch-and-run production from Cephus. The rushing game was largely stifled outside of Harris’ production on the ground, but UTSA played well enough to win last week’s game against No. 24 ranked Houston.

For Army, the Black Knights and quarterback Tyhier Tyler struggled throughout much of last week’s game. A speedy dual-threat quarterback positioned to lead Army’s triple-option attack, Tyler was limited to five rushing yards on five carries last week and completed one pass for a 54-yard touchdown while also throwing one interception.

If not for Tyler’s touchdown -- which came on a wide-open play to Ay’Juan Marshall -- last week’s 10-point loss would’ve come at a wider margin.

It’s worth noting that Army did pivot to quarterback Cade Ballard later in the game, as Ballard threw for 88 yards and one touchdown on a three-for-five passing day. Much like Tyler’s touchdown, Ballard’s came on a 73-yard bomb to wide receiver Braheam Murphy on yet another wide-open play -- something defenses are prone to giving up when selling out to stop the run.

For a team that wants its success to come on the ground, Army bailed itself out of a blowout loss with two plays that resulted in 126 yards and two scores. Their rushing attack was mostly held in check, with the exception of running back Tyrell Robinson, who went for 9-135-1 -- breaking off a 70-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.

Three plays for 196 yards and three touchdowns gave Army 21 of its 28 points on the evening. In a game that’s projected to be rather close, I like UTSA to cover in this one and limit Army’s big plays.

Pick: UTSA -3

Central Michigan (-5) vs. South Alabama - O/U 58.5

Central Michigan vs. South Alabama Week 2

Central Michigan vs. South Alabama Week 2

Central Michigan returns seven offensive starters from their 2021 squad that went 9-4 and made an appearance in the MAC conference championship game.

Running back Lew Nichols III was one of the most productive backs in the nation last season, rushing for 341-1895-16, while also catching 40 passes for 338 yards and another two scores. And quarterback Daniel Richardson returns after throwing for 2633-24-6 last season.

Lew Nichols 2022 Stats

Lew Nichols 2022 Stats

On the road in Week 1 against a stout Oklahoma State defense, Nichols totaled 98 yards and two touchdowns, while Richardson went for an impressive 424-4-1 while completing 73.5% of his passes. For a game that the Chippewas (+20.5) were expected to get smoked in, their efforts last weekend can’t be overlooked.

Looking to replace last year’s No. 1 receiver, Kalil Pimpleton (62-690-4) aka the darling of Hard Knocks, Richardson connected with wide receiver Jalen McGaughy (6-126-2) on two scores -- including a 54-yard touchdown late, and also hooked up with John Paul Richardson on four passes for 73 yards and another score from 45 yards out.

Now set for their home opener, and in search of their first win, Central Michigan hopes to draw even at 1-1 with a win over South Alabama.

The Jaguars are replacing two key players from last year’s 5-7 team in quarterback Jake Bentley (2476-17-8) and wide receiver Jalen Tolbert (82-1474-8). Quarterback Carter Bradley led the Jaguars in their Week 1 win over Nicholls State, throwing for 260 yards and three touchdowns in the 48-7 win.

Carter Bradley 2022 Stats

Carter Bradley 2022 Stats

Last season, South Alabama threw at a 53.9% rate, and will likely be aggressive through the air again this season. They threw at a 48% rate last week, but the season is still young, and Central Michigan could push them to air it out.

On defense, the Jaguars return eight starters from a defense that allowed a 38.8% success rate on plays last season -- good for 23rd in the nation. Granted, this is a team that plays in the Sun Belt conference, but the experience they bring back for the 2022 campaign is undeniable.

Even with eight returning starters from last year’s defense, what Central Michigan managed to pull off last week on the road against an Oklahoma State defense that ranked seventh in defense success rate last season (36%). The Cowboys return only four defensive starters from last season’s team, but I’m hyped about what the Chips showed in Week 1 against a team that ranked No. 12 in AP polls to start the season.

The same Central Michigan team that showed up last week shows up again this week, the Jaguars will be in for a fight.

Pick: Central Michigan -5

2022 G5 Record: 0-2

Overall G5 Record: 14-12-1