James Madison Dukes (3-0) vs Texas State Bobcats (2-2)

Saturday, October 01, 2022 at 1:30 pm

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My math model only favors James Madison by 15.8 points in this game and the Dukes are coming off one of the most improbable comebacks of the college football season. James Madison erased a 28-3 Appalachian State lead before leaving Boone with a 32-28 win as a seven-point underdog. James Madison improved to 3-0 SU and ATS (covering the spread by an average of 19 ppg) in its first season as an FBS but now falls into a negative letdown system based on last week’s upset win. James Madison quarterback Todd Centeio has thrown 11 touchdowns without an interception this season but now faces an excellent Texas State secondary that is allowing just 5.8 yards per pass attempt (17th in FBS). The Bobcats own the best coverage grade in college football (93.1), per Pro Football Focus (PFF), and lead the nation in passing explosiveness allowed. Texas State also possesses an elite pass rush – No. 2 in the nation per PFF – led by defensive linemen Levi Bell (91.2) and Davon Sears (86.8). Bell and Sears have combined for four sacks and ten quarterback hits, while Bell’s 92.8 pass rush grade on passing downs is one of the best in the country. Edge rushers Ben Bell (83.9) and Jordan Revels (81.0) have combined for six sacks and sixteen quarterback hurries this season, while Bell has a 91.2 pass rush grade on passing downs. Centeio struggled last week against Appalachian State, posting a pedestrian 67.6 PFF passing grade, and will likely have a difficult time moving the chains through the air against the Bobcats. Let’s also note that James Madison’s rushing attack is ranked 65th in the nation, per PFF. James Madison is one of the most inexperienced teams in the country, ranking 114th in returning production (52%). The Dukes’ defense (four returning starters) suffered a lot of attrition following the 2021 campaign. James Madison lost its top two tacklers in linebackers Diamonte Tucker-Dorsey (14 starts, 116 tackles, 9 tackles for loss) and Kelvin Azanama (14 starts, 7 tackles for loss), together with its two best cornerbacks in Greg Ross and Taurus Carroll. James Madison’s defensive coordinator also left during the offseason. Texas State’s successful ground attack makes it an attractive underdog. The Bobcats’ veteran offensive line (4 returning starters, 95 career starts) owns a PFF run blocking grade of 64.0 (57th) and ranks in the top-30 in Offensive Line Yards, Stuff Rate Allowed and Power Success Rate. Silas Robinson is one of the best centers in the conference, while tackles Richard West and Dalton Cooper are two of the best run blockers in the league. The Bobcats should be able to control the line of scrimmage against a James Madison front seven ranked 53rd in Finishing Drives Allowed. With Texas State standing at 7-4-1 ATS as a road underdog since 2002, grab the points with the Bobcats and invest with confidence.

Jeff’s Pick Texas State Bobcats: +22 -110

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