We have an exciting Conference USA matchup between UTEP (2-3 SU, 1-4 ATS) and Charlotte (1-4 SU, 1-4 ATS) on Saturday at a rainy Jerry Richardson Stadium at 6pmET.
These teams last met in 2020 with Charlotte winning 38-28 at home as a 17.5-point favorite.
The Miners are coming off a huge upset of Boise State, 27-10 at home as a 16.5-point dog. After upsetting Georgia State on Sept. 17 as a 20-point dog (42-41), reality hit the 49ers as they fell at South Carolina 56-20 as a 24-point dog.
Ben Hayes offers a big game today and tomorrow in college football. Tua going down last night didn't help his NFL Best Bet. He’s 638-358-30 in his College football career (64%). Last season, he hit 63.4% of his NFL sides and 64.9% of his college football night games. Check out his Best Bet today in college football. He has a team that has the defensive advantage in this one.
Stunner from El PasoUTEP had a rough start to the season heading to their game against Boise State last Friday. They fell to North Texas at home (31-13), lost at Oklahoma (45-13), beat a bad New Mexico State team (20-13) as a 17-point favorite and lost at New Mexico (27-10) as a 2-point road favorite. The Miners shocked the world when they beat Mountain West-darling Boise State at home 27-10. They played a tremendous game on the defensive side of the ball, holding the Broncos to just 84 rushing yards and 93 passing yards. Offensively, they were efficient, rushing for 199 yards and keeping possession for 40:35.
UTEP's Marcus Bellon takes it to the house on a punt return 💨 pic.twitter.com/6KpPVdIqUv— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) September 24, 2022
UTEP QB Gavin Hardison managed the game well with 123 yards (10-of-11) with one TD and a pick. He has completed just 52% of his passes for 1,125 yards with three TDs and three picks. Hardison is not a major threat as a runner (3yds). The Miners are averaging just 339.8 yards per game and 233.8 passing yards (81st) with 106 rushing yards (113th), so they are not the most explosive offense. They scored just two offensive touchdowns against Boise State and had a third on a 47-yard punt return from Marcus Bellon.
Defensively, they have been very good led by Cal Wallerstedt (3.0 sacks). The Miners are allowing just 336 yards per game (41st), 157 passing yards (11th) and 179.2 rushing yards (105th). Fortunately, the 49ers are not a strong running team.
No letdownCharlotte shocked Georgia State two weeks ago thanks to a brilliant performance from QB Chris Reynolds, who completed 31 of 43 for 401 yards and five TDs with a pick. His 2-yard pass to Grant Dubose with 17 seconds left was the game-winner and big win for the 49ers. Reynolds had missed the previous two games due to an upper-body injury so his presence was desperately needed. Missing the Maryland game (56-21 loss) probably wouldn't have mattered, but he didn't play against FCS William & Mary (41-24) and that loss was embarrassing, because you are paying those teams to come in.
"[In the second half,] we were just a step off, a split second behind, and then the batted balls led to big plays for them," said Head Coach Will Healy on Ninertimes.com. "I thought they did a great job with adjustments. It's hard to say about our adjustments defensively because we gave them the ball [deep]. They did a good job of coming out, creating some pressure, and getting some turnovers."
They stepped up in class against the Gamecocks last week and opened up with a 7-3 lead and led 14-10 with 9:43 left on two TD passes from Reynolds. However, South Carolina scored the next 39 points to put the game away. So while the 49ers were ready to play, they were just ambushed by a more talented team who ran all over them for 295 yards and six rushing TDs. Reynolds was also picked off twice and Charlotte decided to go to their bench at the end.
Overall, the 49ers average 368 yards per game and 274.2 passing yards. They rank 119th in rushing yards per game with 93.6. Defensively, they've been pretty awful, allowing 561.4 yards per game (131st), 307.4 passing yards (127th) and 254 rushing yards (129th).
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
So speaking of a letdown, I think this will be one for the Miners. They are coming off a huge win and while Boise State is not the same team it used to be, that's still an excellent win for Dana Dimel and his staff. Reynolds has been outstanding since returning from injury. He's completing 68% of his passes with nine TDs and three INTs. The three backup QBs are completing 52% of their passes so Reynolds is a huge step up. Chavon McEachern stepped up against Georgia State with 76 yards on 13 attempts. If the weather is poor, he has the ability to run the ball against that UTEP defense.
Full-Game Total Pick
This is more based on weather. If the weather was dry, the total would probably be closer to 60. But UTEP is not a high-scoring team in bad or good weather. Their offense is pretty pathetic, but their defense is strong. They've gone under in five straight games. Charlotte is the opposite when it comes to offense and defense, though the weather should slow them down some and also help their defense. Turnovers will happen but I see this as a score in the 20s at best.