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Michael Pratt
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
Odds and Ends

G5 Spotlight: Riding the Wave in Week 4

by Zachary Krueger
Updated On: September 24, 2022, 9:10 am ET

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I stole a win last weekend when I opened my article with a quick take on last week's matchup between Air Force and Wyoming. After taking the Cowboys at +16.5, I was devastated to watch the troops -- my troops -- fall 17-14 on the road as outright losers.

Props to the Cowboys for covering, but a quick end to the Falcons' 2-0 start was one I didn't see coming, as they now look to bounce back this weekend at home against Nevada (+24).

There's a lot to be learned about teams this season, and only a short time to do it. Hoodwinked by the likes of Georgia State (-19.5) and Louisiana-Lafayette (-11) in Week 3, we can quickly realize how little we know despite playing out the #process as best we can.

Back in the saddle for another go in Week 4, here are two games I've got my eye on this weekend.

Tulane vs. Southern Miss Week 4 2022

An undefeated Tulane team plays host to a 1-2 Southern Miss squad, but against the spread these two are a combined 6-0 -- something's got to give.

Tulane opened with a 2-0 start with wins over Massachusetts and Alcorn State, but it was their 17-10 road win over Kansas State that's gotten people talking.

Undoubtedly the better team on paper, Kansas State managed just 10 points at home against Tulane, unable to capitalize on two forced turnovers while limiting the Wave to a single third-down conversion. Tulane failed to force a turnover, failed to record a sack and lost in the time of possession in a game where both teams managed 336 yards on the day -- yet it was the Wave (+14) who came away as outright winners.

Along the defensive side of the ball, Tulane has gotten off to a solid start.

Through three weeks, they are one of just 12 teams to allow a success rate of less than 30% to opposing offenses. Meanwhile, their overall offensive success rate sits at 46.5% -- good for 47th in the nation. Tulane has also allowed the fewest passing yards per game of any team in the nation, surrendering just 72.0 yards through the air to date. 

Despite a relatively conservative play style that includes a 56.9% rush rate, Tulane has been one of the better passing teams in the nation when they do opt to air it out. Quarterback Michael Pratt has thrown for 657 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions on the season, completing 62.7% of his passes. 

Michael Pratt 2022 Stats

Surprisingly, Tulane ranks fifth in the nation in passing success rate (57.6%), trailing the likes of Georgia, Coastal Carolina, Wisconsin and USC. To the credit of Southern Miss, the Golden Eagles are allowing a 33% success rate against the pass but are allowing 232.3 yards through the air.

For Southern Miss, the Eagles are averaging an impressive 405.7 yards per game with games against Liberty, Miami and Northwestern State. Quarterback Zach Wilcke is set to start his third consecutive game, and has thrown for 303 yards, two touchdowns and one interception over the last two weeks.

Of course, we can't overlook Frank Gore Jr., who leads Southern Miss' backfield with a rushing line of 46-267-3. Gore has rushed just 14 times over the last two weeks, but that likely has more to do with the opponents he faced and less to do with the scheme. Gore managed just 10 yards on seven carries in a tough game against Miami, but erupted for 7-82-7 in a blowout win over Northwestern State -- these things happen.

Frank Gore Jr. 2022 Stats

Southern Miss is rushing at a 59.5% rate and is near the bottom of the nation in overall offensive success rate (38.4%). Tulane's ability to stifle Kansas State on the road leads me to believe they can move to 4-0 ATS this weekend.

It's also worth noting that since 2019, Tulane is 13-4 ATS at home -- the best home record ATS of any AAC team.

Pick: Tulane -12.5

Eastern Michigan vs. Buffalo Week 4 2022

For the first time in the 2022 season, we're having a look at the total in this one.

Buffalo and Eastern Michigan kickoff conference play this weekend in a game that could feature a lot of passing -- and I believe, a lot of scoring.

Here's a side-by-side look at how these teams compare nationally in a few categories that I think could dictate how this one goes.

Buffalo vs. EMI 2022 Stats

Both Buffalo and Eastern Michigan are top-40 in pass rate, and bottom dwellers in defensive success rate, and defensive success rate against the pass. Between the two teams, the over is 4-2 on the season, with EMI playing in two games that have gone for 70+ and Buffalo playing in two games that have gone for 60+.

Buffalo quarterback Cole Snyder has thrown for 735 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions, airing out 22 deep balls on the season -- averaging 7.3 deep attempts per game. Snyders only converted on four of those deep balls but could find a bit more success against a porous EMI pass defense.

Cole Snyder 2022 Stats

For EMI, quarterback Taylor Powell has gone for 673-4-5 in his three starts, but managed just 93 yards in an injury-shortened win over Arizona State while throwing one interception. Powell left early in the second quarter of last week's game but was off to a solid start before exiting. However, reports on him leading up to this weekend's game against Buffalo suggest he should be good to go.

Taylor Powell 2022 Stats

These teams love to air it out, and they haven't stopped opposing teams from successfully airing it out against them. I don't care who wins or loses, I just want a shootout.

Pick: OVER 60


2022 G5 Record: 1-5-1

Overall G5 Record: 15-15-2

Zachary Krueger

Zachary Krueger is a college football fantasy/DFS analyst for NBC Sports EDGE, and hosts his own live stream “Roster Locked: A Best Ball Show” in the offseason. He will proudly tell anyone that he was the first to believe in Darren Waller’s elite upside as a tight end - and has the article to prove it.